Dog Myth, Never Let Your Dog on The Bed, Debunked
I am preparing myself for hate mail as I write this…some might say I am contradicting years of dog training theory, but I propose that not all dogs should be treated the same and not all owners need to adhere to the same dog training rules and I know some will comment with kudos for finally being able to admit to a behavior we are hard wired NEVER to do with our dogs.
I spoon with my dog! That’s right, and I am not ashamed of it! For 9 years he was the only thing that spooned with me. I use to call him my soul mate and was certain I had been cursed. I told people, sure my soul mate is big and hairy and he sniffs the butts of other people and animals, but everyone has their down falls!
I am happy to report I have now found my human soul mate, and we will be married soon! But, when he is off working at night, or when I need some comfort and unconditional love I still spoon with my dog. He likes it almost as much as I do 😉 ha ha! We have had a very special connection from the moment I brought him home, unlike any other animal or person I have ever known. He is a part of my soul!
Dog training protocol of old would say, NEVER EVER to bring my dog up on the bed or furniture with me! Breaking this cardinal rule could create a dog that doesn’t know his place in the pack! If I’m not careful I could incur a bite!
Don’t get me wrong, I respect the dog trainers of old and I absolutely subscribe to the dog training theory of keeping dominant dogs off of beds and furniture. Dogs that challenge their dog obedience commands and the dog pack pecking order don’t deserve the privilege of getting on the sofa, much less the bed.
Not All Dogs Are the Same!
I don’t believe in one theory fitting all dogs. I believe in developing a dog training or puppy training program that fits the individual and the specific needs of the human, family, and their particular dog or dogs.
This specific dog of mine has NEVER, EVER challenged my authority! Other than knowing where all my buttons are and occasionally giving me the “I’m too cute to have to listen” big brown doggy eyes, he has always been accepting of his place way down in the pack pecking order. He has always listened to his commands at home and away from home.
Bringing him up on the bed (typically he lays at my feet) or the sofa or encouraging him up to give me some doggy snuggles and “sugar” has never changed this fact. He simply has no desire to vie for alpha dog title, in fact, he is happy to be lowest man on the totem pole no matter what other person, dog or animal I bring into my house! He once even let baby squirrels crawl and try to nurse in his fur! He has never shown me any aggressive tendencies.
Why should I make him adhere to philosophies of old when there are no bad behaviors or conflicts within our relationship or in our home? I like spooning with him!
A Word of Caution
If your dog is a dominant dog, if he tends toward aggression, if he demands you do things for him throughout the day, or demands that you stop doing certain things; giving him these types of privileges and affection without making him work for it is a recipe for disaster!
If you are unsure, ask yourself:
- Has your dog ever growled at you; even if it has been over his food bowl, rawhide, or trimming his nails?
- Does your dog demand your attention and affection?
- Is your dog jealous of other members of the family and has he ever growled at them?
- Does your dog ever get snappy or irritated with you if you ask him to move or interrupt him?
- Does your dog ignore his dog obedience commands (Sit, Down, Come, Quiet) most of the time?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, your dog has not earned the benefit of being on the furniture! And, you should only show him affection and attention after he has performed an obedience command!
When your dog listen’s to you 90% of the time he can gain more rights but if he has ever shown aggression, snappiness, irritation towards you or anyone else in the family he needs to stay off of the furniture and out of your bed, for good!
I have a female dog who’s behavior is a little more questionable than my old male dog, and as of right now she has not earned the ability to snuggle in the bed or spoon with me, she might misunderstand her role in our relationship and I am not going to take that risk. As she ages, I will continually determine what benefits are appropriate for her based on her ability to listen to and not challenge me.
Take your dog seriously! Dogs kill people each year, and I have heard and read about people who have been mauled and killed in their beds because they didn’t take their dog’s previous warnings seriously! Safety and respect are the most important facets to living with any animal.
In order to create a dog I enjoy and a dog that I can trust I work on my dog’s training skills every day. Aim for at least 15 minutes of practice. We go outside and work on formal commands, like Heel, Stay, and Focus and I also work with them randomly throughout the day inside the house anytime I bestow treats or affection. They not only enjoy this daily training they look forward to it, and so do I!
All dogs are not created equally, even dogs in the same family can and should be treated differently according to their temperaments and their willingness to listen to you and perform obedience when asked.
Most dogs have innate temperament traits, and some dogs simply never have a desire to usurp your leadership as long as you are a fair, consistent and kind leader. Knowing I can indulge in a little dog spooning occasionally when he or I need comfort makes me happy!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.