You may ask yourself, “Why does my dog sleep on my bed?” You may be surprised to find there are three reasons for this actually. All of the reasons dogs sleep on beds have to do with natural instinct from when dogs were wild animals. If you, simply don’t mind this all is well. But for people who don’t know how to stop it, or deal with it, here are a few suggestions as to why dogs sleep on beds and possible ways to deal with it.
To Keep Warm
When dogs were living wild, they kept close to each other for warmth at night. People call this “conservation of energy”. If your dog gets cold, it will curl up next to you so that it can maintain body temperature and be warm. Many dogs love to sleep around the legs behind the knees, or right up against the back.
Dogs live in packs, which is simply a group animal who live and hunt and sleep together. Dogs want to sleep in the same area that the pack leader sleeps. This is because your dog will want to find the place which smells like the pack leader, which is you, to relieve anxiety so they don’t feel alone. Most often this will be your bed; which is why you will notice sometimes that your dog will be on your bed even when you are not there.
Like humans, dogs like to sleep on beds because they are soft surfaces to sleep on. This is the same reason why dogs like couches, blankets, pillows and your lap. Dogs are nesting animals and will create their “nest” where they are most comfortable. This is instinctive for them. If you want the dog to sleep in another area, you should provide a soft spot for them to use.
Adding Another Person
Adding another person to the household may prove difficult. If your dog sleeps on your bed or on a spare bed, and they find themselves having to share their spot with another person this may cause a problem. Even if it is for a short period of time, your dog may consider this an invasion of their territory. Dogs believe in a hierarchy. When a new member enters the pack, your dog will insist on establishing their place in the pack. Cats also do something similar. If you add a new dog to the home when you already have a cat; the hierarchy is already established – owner, cat, dog. When you bring home a kitten, the dog will quickly teach it who was where on the ladder. Your dog will attempt to do this when you add another person, as well.
How to Avoid This
How do you keep the dog from sleeping on the bed? As stated above, you will want a soft place for the dog to use as its own. Your best bet is to get a set of pillows, blanket or dog bed and place it next to your own bed. Put some favorite toys or treats in the bed so your dog associates the bed with good things.
Dogs are like two-year-old children. Praise the dog whenever it uses the bed or spot to reinforce the positive behavior. Younger dogs will take to this faster than older dogs.
Dogs who are used to sleeping on beds will have a longer transition than dogs which are trained from the beginning of life. Some dogs will easily take to sleeping at the foot of the bed, some will insist on sleeping at the head of the bed.
If you have dogs, think about if you want them to sleep on the bed with you. If you don’t, be sure to train them when they first join the family so they know what is expected of them and what is appropriate. If you don’t mind, you may find that not only will the dog jump up into the bed to go to sleep, you may also find that having them there is a comfort for you as well as for it.