Help my partner and me to resolve our Dogs-on-the-Bed stalemate!
December 31, 2009 1:09 PM   Subscribe

My partner has two cute and excitable 2-year old male dogs who are used to sleeping on the bed. I have a problem knowing that dog butts and genitalia have been lying where I put my face.

I apologize for the graphic descriptions here, but I must describe my dilemma. I am a pet lover, and have owned both a dog and cats in my life. I cuddle with my pets, but I have never felt comfortable about allowing them on my pillows, where I rest my face. This is just a personal preference- I don't prefer to wake up with fur on my mouth from a shedding animal.

My partner has two cute little dogs who present an even more disturbing problem for me: I have witnessed them doing the drag-the- anus-across-the-rug thing that dogs do, and have seen them do that on the bedsheet on more than one occasion. I have also seen wet spots on the pillows where their genitalia meet the fabric. My partner, who has NO PROBLEM WITH THIS (and doesn't see the need to change the sheets or pillow cases each time) told me that dog butts on the bed are no different than my (clothed) human butt on the bed.

I don't find this to be a healthy practice and have made it clear (politely) that I do not want the dogs on my pillow or the part of the sheet I lie on. Since this habit existed before I moved in, I have been willing to compromise by covering my pillows with a sheet or towel so that when the dogs are on the bed, I don't have to deal with their dirty paw prints or any invisible "leave-behinds". Unfortunately, I have come home several times to find the dogs on the bed and on my unprotected pillows. Only then does my partner angrily order the dogs down. If we are both at home and the dogs jump on the bed, I have to check to see if they are on my pillows or whether the sheet is protected because my partner won't check. The mere act of my turning to look at the dogs so exasperates my partner that a round of angry dog-shooing ensues, even though I am careful not to say a word or even make a face. When I try to discuss the situation during a calm moment, my partner becomes too angry for a civil conversation.

Now, to be honest, my partner knows that I can deal with cats on a bed better than dogs. When my partner visited my home before I moved in, I would allow my room mate's cat on the bed during the visit because the two of them got along so well. I just grinned and bore it, basically. This is because cats are cleaner and have never left dirty paw prints or pee spots on my bed (and I've never witnessed a cat scratching its anus the way dogs do).

The bottom line is that my partner doesn't like not having the dogs on the bed whenever they want to lie there, and also believes I am discriminating against them. No amount of discussion or compromising has been able to clear this issue between us. I am viewed as unreasonable. By the way, I play with the dogs and am friendly towards them. I have taken them outside when they need to go out, fed them their treats, etc. The dogs like me.

I am asking the MeFi community: am I being unreasonable about the dogs being on my pillow or unprotected sheets? I'm baffled as to my next step in resolving this problem.
posted by Piscean to Pets & Animals (52 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Ew! NOT being unreasonable. Get them off the bed (wet spots?!?!?!?!)!!!!
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 1:15 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think the problem is with the partner and not the dogs. Your partner knows this bothers you, and it is not that big an issue, so why are you having to still deal with it?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:17 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Do you make the bed when you get up? It seems like you'd be happy if your sheets and pillow are covered when you're not using them. That sounds very simple to accomplish. Instead of using a towel (?) you just need a bed covering that covers all the sheets and pillows. Most beds have this - what kind of bedding do you have other than sheets?
posted by fritley at 1:17 PM on December 31, 2009

I wouldn't even keep the pillows (or cases) on the bed. Can you put them in a closet or something?
posted by Madamina at 1:19 PM on December 31, 2009

I'm kind of more wondering why your partner isn't doing the thing that would solve this whole problem for you? Which is to say, I don't think it's a big deal for him to recognize that you're not cool with dog ass on your nice, clean pillows. Even if he is cool with that, what's the point in him trying to somehow convince you to be cool with it...especially by means of dismissing and ignoring your concerns?

This isn't so much about whether or not the request is objectively reasonable. It's not even about dogs. It's about your valid and personal boundaries and he doesn't seem to be respecting them a whole lot.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:22 PM on December 31, 2009

I think this is one of those circumstances that pet owner's find themselves in where you simply have to change your own routine, because you're going to lose the battle trying to train the dogs. It sounds like you need to take all of the covers/pillows you use off the bed during the day, and remake the bed each night. It totally sucks, but if your partner helps you (and yes, they should, even if they think you are being unreasonable) maybe it will be the right solution.
posted by juliplease at 1:24 PM on December 31, 2009

I have come home several times to find the dogs on the bed and on my unprotected pillows.

I don't understand how this is happening. You do or do not cover up your pillows? Do they somehow get uncovered? How? I think it's okay for you to want your pillows not covered in dogbutt (would not be my personal preference, but you've said that it's yours and all that really matters is your feelings and your partners feelings on this issue). That said, you may need to do the work for this one and keep your pillows dogbutt free. If your assertion is that dogs on the bed are totally okay and that dogs on your pillows are not, it seems that you and your partner can work towards this goal, whether it's via keeping the pillows covered or putting the pillows elsewhere. If your partner becomes seethingly angry when discussing this, there's somethign else going on.
posted by jessamyn at 1:25 PM on December 31, 2009

When I try to discuss the situation during a calm moment, my partner becomes too angry for a civil conversation.

This isn't about dogs or pillowcases.
posted by headnsouth at 1:27 PM on December 31, 2009 [29 favorites]

ew! You are not being unreasonable. I say this as a current cat owner and a past dog owner (I fostered Boxers for a little while after law school and had a cocker spaniel during high school). Dog butts and wet spots on my sheets or pillows would result in immediate washing in hot water and, possibly, bleach!

Your partner needs to grow up and honor your requests. That he's not points to there being some other issue going on there.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 1:27 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

When you aren't in the bed, put your pillow somewhere the dogs can't go. It is unreasonable to ask your partner to police the bed for you.
posted by richrad at 1:29 PM on December 31, 2009

Is it possible to close off the bedroom to the dogs when you two are not around and able to supervise the dogs? That would eliminate some of the problems keeping the linens clean. It won't work if you live in a bachelor or loft apartment, of course.
posted by orange swan at 1:33 PM on December 31, 2009

I'm actually more concerned at the drag-the-butt-on-the-carpet thing -- because that's a sign of impacted anal glands. If that's not been addressed, that is a bigger problem than "the pillowcases have dog germs."

Conversely, if your vet does an anal gland extraction, then they'll stop scooting their butts anywhere, and....problem solved.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:34 PM on December 31, 2009 [4 favorites]

This seems like an easy one. (Maintain a protected pillow...additional removable pillow case, store it in a closet...or whatever.) If keeping a clean pillow is truly what you are after here, it seems you have the ability to address your problem adequately in a way that requires only your own actions. But that's too easy.

Forgive me if I am completely talking out of my ass here, but it seems like what you really have a problem with is the feeling that your partner doesn't respect your concerns. And (s)he probably gets angry quickly at what might seem like the hypocrisy in your outrage, since apparently you aren't as concerned with cat ass on your pillow. If this is the case (for either of you) you might be looking at a lot of these little turf battles until you address what probably scares you both as much bigger, far more complicated issues with each other.
posted by nickjadlowe at 1:41 PM on December 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

Instead of using a towel (?) you just need a bed covering that covers all the sheets and pillows. Most beds have this - what kind of bedding do you have other than sheets?

There is no "formal" bedding per se. The current bed cover doesn't cover the entire bed, but has sentimental value. I'd love to change all of that, but I'm being respectful of the fact that I'm the newcomer. Another hurdle...
posted by Piscean at 1:48 PM on December 31, 2009

I've never witnessed a cat scratching its anus the way dogs do

Data point: I have a cat who does this though I've never seen him do it on the bed. The little bastard seems to prefer carpet, fortunately. Even so, your blind trust in felines may be misplaced.
posted by contraption at 1:50 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Situations like this always remind me of Brown and Levinson's Politeness Theory. It goes like this:

Humans generally have two kinds of face, negative and positive. Negative face boils down to "don't infringe on my rights; don't tell me what to do." Positive face can be summed up as, "I want you to like me; to respect and like what I like."

Now, there are certain ways that we interact in the world that inherently threaten these two types of face. Asking somebody to close a window because you're cold impinges on that person's negative face, because you're telling them what to do. Critiquing somebody's work, commenting on their bad breath, or telling them you disapprove of their choices threatens positive face, because you're telling them that something they're doing or some way they're being isn't pleasing to you. This is why we use politeness strategies (hedges, compliment sandwiches, bargains, discourse markers, etc.) to soften requests and comments. These strategies can also be positive or negative in form...saying "I don't mean to tell you what to do, but could you..." (recognizing their need to be autonomous and unregulated) vs. "Hey, I really like that you are cool with [x], but it displeases me that..." (recognizing their need to be liked and respected; aligning with positive elements about them) and positive strategies don't necessarily have to align with positive face threats and what not. It can be all mixed up, and people may react differently to different match-ups (ex., some people may be more willing to communicate/respond to a negative face threat that is softened with a positive politeness strategy, etc.)

This can create a minefield in communication. Some people really LOATHE being told what to do. Some people really want to be liked. This can also change depending on situation and other factors. And within all this, some people deal with situations by only acknowledging and/or addressing positive face, or vice versa.

The trick here might be to recognizing how this all fits into your situation. Maybe your bf sees you as 'telling him what to do' (threatening his negative face). It sounds like you are mitigating this by expressing your positive face needs (please understand that this is uncleanly to me). Recognizing this, and taking a different approach might help break a communication loop you are stuck in.

Also, him believing you are discriminating against the dogs...sounds like he also views your negative reaction to the pillows/sheets as evidence of you not liking what he likes (positive face threat), the dogs. When this comes up, try aligning with him on love the dogs. Getting hung up on this point is not going to help either of you, but just creates a new issue that doesn't exist for you (but it sounds like it does for him, so you need to find a way to make it clear that you love the dogs and this isn't about that).

If you can find some workable patterns in your interactions, that result in communication breakthroughs or happy results, those are choice ways to proceed! In general, people just want to be heard. It sounds like neither of you feels heard. He's not addressing your concerns in the way you need, and you're not addressing his in the way he needs. You both care about it and each other, but the alignment is off. Work on that and good luck!
posted by iamkimiam at 1:51 PM on December 31, 2009 [43 favorites]

Why not cover your pillow/bed with something like this?
posted by Menthol at 1:55 PM on December 31, 2009

The practical solution seems obvious and already addressed several times in the thread: cover up or move the pillows so the dogs can't get to them.

The larger issue has also been addressed several times- the way you described this conflict with your partner, which I am assuming is part of a new or recently-updated living situation between the two of you, seems unwilling to negotiate at all on mutual living conditions. This seems like a very big problem for the future.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:57 PM on December 31, 2009

If it's just about the pillows, then what I'd do is buy a box of those giant Ziploc storage bags and keep one near the bed to drop my pillows into each morning. Then stick it into a closet or somewhere out of reach of the dogs. It'd only take a few seconds and would be worth it to me to sidestep an ongoing fight.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:02 PM on December 31, 2009

Your partner is being awfully passive aggressive about this. How big a deal is it to throw a blanket up so it covers the pillows?

Store your pillows in a closet during the day and have a talk with your partner about whatever else is going on, because this is mean and weird and suggests something is wrong.

And I say this as a person whose dog routinely sleeps on the pillows.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:05 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

I love dogs, and my dog sleeps in my bed, and I don't think you're being unreasonable. Butt-scooting across the bed = NO. I'd advise putting the pillows on the bed before sleep, and moving them after waking.

Also, 2nding other posters that 1. there are greater communication issues going on here and 2. take the dogs to the vet or groomer for an anal gland expression.
posted by gnutron at 2:09 PM on December 31, 2009

When our cats got super-old and a little leaky, we didn't have the heart to evict them from the bed they'd slept on for so many years. Instead, we used a plastic sheet (they make them for just this sort of thing) with a big cheap washable comforter over it. It was never an issue for even a moment, so I agree that you might want to examine the situation a little more deeply.
posted by bunji at 2:17 PM on December 31, 2009

Based on the responses, there seem to be two sides; one where the onus is on me to resolve the problem (move the pillows off the bed when I'm out of the room, for example), and one where the two of us need to figure out what the real problem is. I like the idea of putting the pillows elsewhere when I'm out, or using two pillowcases. I will also find a large sheet to put under the undersized comforter to protect the bed. But I'm still concerned about my partner's anger and lack of ability to compromise.
posted by Piscean at 2:21 PM on December 31, 2009

What in god's green earth is your partner so upset about? Man, if I had this problem, my husband would be sleeping on the couch with the dogs so fast his head would spin (ours are not allowed on the bed at all). I'm wondering if s/he really never wanted you to move in, and s/he's upset about having to adjust a routine. You two need to have a talk about what's REALLY going on, and I would ask point blank. I would keep asking until I got an answer, because I just cannot even conceive of a person who would let their pet's ass come into contact with their partners pillow. If this was your first post I'd think you were trolling.
posted by desjardins at 2:33 PM on December 31, 2009 [3 favorites]

once you solve the pillow issue, you can get to the nitty gritty of communication styles. right now you guys are having a prolonged fight using something that isn't even the root of the issue. remove the proxy (the dogs/pillows issue) so you can really see what's going on. another point - from your description of his frustration, i wonder if he didn't pull the idea that you aren't overly fond of dogs/his dogs out of thin air...

it's my opinion that one partner moving into another partner's house is far rockier than both of you moving in some place together. if you guys are renting, you might want to move towards both of you picking a place. that way there is no more his and yours, or him compromising to fit you into his already established routine. the situation becomes about both of you etching out your place.
posted by nadawi at 2:35 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

I love my cats, and I love having them on the bed with me. However, they also LOVE to sleep on my pillow, which causes me allergy problems. So I got a bedspread that goes over the whole bed, on top of the pillows, which I can turn down at night. So I get to have happy cats on bed, and happy me at night.
Yes, this puts it on you; but, to be fair you are the person who is bothered by the dogs on the bed; add to that that the dogs are far too habituated now to learn how to stay off the bed, that the point is moot as to whether or not they should be allowed there.
posted by Billegible at 2:39 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

This would result in separate beds, for me. So I vote no, you are not being unreasonable. If dogs are wiping their butts on the sheets and pillows, this is (to me) the same as the dog using me as their toilet paper.

Your partner will not compromise on this issue, nor the bedspread issue (or whatever the sentimental bedding is that is being used as doggie toilet paper). You almost sound like an unwelcome guest in that home.
posted by Houstonian at 2:50 PM on December 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

There's a dynamic that you're missing here:

Your partner sleeps with their head on a pillow that the dogs lie on. Your partner doesn't mind when they rest/play/scoot on their side of the sheets. So by being grossed out by this, you are not just being grossed out by the dogs but also by the current level of hygiene, which is set by your partner. While to you it may seem like a matter of logistics, to your partner it is a condemnation of their current way of life. Dog butts are gross, therefore the sheets and pillows are gross, therefore sleeping on them are gross, therefore someone who is okay with sleeping on them is gross, therefore your partner is gross. And every time your partner sees the dogs lying on the bed and doesn't act until you make a face, they're reminded again how gross you think it all is.

This may not even be a conscious response, but I'd wager a large part of the hostility you are getting is because your partner is feeling judged every time you make a stink over how disgusting it all is (justified or not).
posted by hindmost at 2:58 PM on December 31, 2009 [11 favorites]

You are right there are two types of answers - I think the responses about how he gets really mad are more important, but many (including me) answered "why not just fix it?" because (sorry) it sounds like such a trivially simple problem to just fix. But it's more than that of course.

I think part of this might be that you're the newcomer. Something about a sentimental bed covering sounds important too, and makes it hard for you to just change/fix it. If I try I can see from what I think might be his point of view (forgive me if it sounds overly blunt):

I've been living here for years. Then she comes along. She thinks my bed is nasty. She doesn't like my bedspread which I'm attached to. She doesn't like my dogs. My dogs have been with me a lot longer than she has. We got along just fine for quite a while. I bet she thinks they're nasty too. She wants to come in and change everything. She's a neat freak. She's a control freak. Maybe she thinks I'm nasty too? ... ...

Of course I'm just guessing, but I bet one or more is floating around in his head. You REALLY need to figure out which one and then talk about it. Like others have said, it's not about pillows.

On the one hand he's got to understand that it's your place too now, and you have to live together and get along! But on the other hand adjusting to a new setup like that can be HARD. I hope you two can work it out.

(Meanwhile, do hide your pillow during the day!)
posted by fritley at 2:58 PM on December 31, 2009

Would he be fine with you taking one of his dogs and wiping your butt with its face?

I would advise you to do whatever you need to do in order that the dogs don't have contact with your pillow, or the sheets near the top of the bed.
posted by Danf at 3:11 PM on December 31, 2009

So, I could be totally off-base here, and don't get riled if I am, but I have a new theory.

Your gender-neutral description made me curious, so I checked out your blog, and I see that you are an enthusiast of raw foods, garden-grown organic produce, and home-made artisanal breads. All of which is awesome. I am envious of your delicious healthy lifestyle. It also leads me to wonder if maybe you are a bit of a...purist.

Which is to say, people who are on indefinite special diets, and who do all their own cooking and gardening, tend to also be people who have very specific ideas about the proper way to do everything else in their day to day lives... the dishes must be washed with a certain kind of soap, there must be a certain amount of sleep and exercise each day, etc.

I'm not saying that you're like that, but if you are, then I wonder whether your partner sees the dog sanitation thing as a sort of last frontier. You carefully regulate what goes into your body, what touches your body, etc. which is cool to an extent, but now it has extended to her dogs, and that's beyond the pale.

If you think that there might be something to this, then my suggestion is: look for some other front from which to retreat as a compromise. Maybe you've also argued over what kind of detergent to use, or how high to set the thermostat. Pick one or two of these issues and unambiguously turn them over to your partner's control. Give her the sense that there is some real give and take happening, and this will make it harder for her to see the dog/bed issue as an extension of a larger problem.

p.s. This might be a good approach, even if I 'm wrong about the food thing.
p.p.s. I'm suggesting the food theory partly because, when I was a vegan, I was kind of like that myself.
posted by bingo at 3:28 PM on December 31, 2009 [5 favorites]

I don't find this to be a healthy practice

That's a poor argument, I'd imagine there's basically zero health impact here. But it's still gross and you're allowed to be illogical about stuff like this.
posted by floam at 3:53 PM on December 31, 2009

(Re: Bingo's remark: No, I'm not a purist at all, but I'm not upset at your suggesting that. I think the things I'm upset about are valid. I have no problem with the dogs on the bed itself. I do have a problem with dog butts, dirty paws and pee spots where I lay my head. That is my only complaint, and I'm happy to protect the bed & pillows so as to allow the dogs their customary behaviors. The extreme response from my partner is what baffled me and made me wonder if I'm being unreasonable.)

I still don't think I am being unreasonable, but you all gave me some good ideas for further protecting the pillows and sheet, and gave me some food for thought as to the "real" problem. I'm quite sure, for example, that the respondents who suggested that I might be coming across as criticizing my partner as being "nasty" have a point- that might indeed be the underlying issue that I need to address. Thank you!!
posted by Piscean at 3:55 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Note: I'm fine with dogs in my bed and don't find that gross. The gross part is being expected to sleep with a wet spot in a pillow. I'm not sure if you mean they're there often, or what, but yeah. That's gross.
posted by floam at 3:58 PM on December 31, 2009

Might I also suggest figuring out why the dogs are dragging their asses all over everything? They shouldn't be doing that. They may have impacted glands or something. Yes, address the communication issues. But please find out why the dogs are having the problem.
posted by Justinian at 4:02 PM on December 31, 2009 [7 favorites]

It seems clear that you have irritated your partner with your demands. You're turning this into a way bigger deal than it needed to be --- did you really need the input of two dozen MeFites to suggest putting the pillows away during the day? Obviously, you are a thoughtful, rational person, so it makes no sense that you couldn't have come up with that yourself. Like everyone else, I think this is about a lot more than just the issue of the dogs. It sounds like you don't want them sleeping in the bed at all, that you're gritting your teeth trying to bear it, but you should openly and candidly discuss this before it becomes an even bigger deal.

And I am puzzled by your description of "wet spots where their genitalia meet the fabric." I have four dogs. They all sleep on the bed. Their genitalia simply do not leak or ooze liquid. I have never, ever seen a wet spot on my bed from their genitalia. So I am guessing you are mistaking saliva that may have drooled from their mouths for genital excretions.
posted by jayder at 4:04 PM on December 31, 2009

Jayder, they are also dragging their asses across the sheets; this means they are probably having some sort of issue with their excreta that is making their butts itchy - dragging is how they scratch when the tissue becomes swollen and irritated, for example if they are having diarrhea issues or have become too old and stiff to wash themselves properly. I have a cat who has started doing this lately, so I try to clean her behind with a wet papertowel now and again to help her keep clean and healthy.
All that to say that in a situation here something is leaking or hanging around back there, enough to make the dogs need to scratch with the butt-wiping, then a bit of residue is more likely imo.
posted by Billegible at 4:15 PM on December 31, 2009

Okay, maybe she is using "genitalia" broadly to include "anus." I didn't think genitalia included the anus, since it is often referred to as the "ano-genital region," but I am probably overthinking that plate of beans. I thought she was saying that she thought their penises and vaginas leaked.

(I do, however, find it hard to believe a dog is doing butt-scooting on a pillow. Dogs are particular about where they scoot their butts, and a big lumpy soft thing isn't going to fit the bill as a butt-scooting surface, from what I know about dogs.)
posted by jayder at 4:28 PM on December 31, 2009

I can't imagine the OP can mistake saliva for anal gland juice. If their anal glands are leaking/expressing, you couldn't stand to be on the bed, much less lay your head right on it. It is eye-wateringly awful.
posted by CwgrlUp at 6:24 PM on December 31, 2009

When you moved in, even though it sounds like you moved into your partner's house/apartment, it became your shared home. You've made a couple comments that make it sound like you think of the place as still being mostly your partner's and feel like you're infringing on his/her territory. You're not.

There are practical solutions that you can implement on your own (moving pillows to a closet, etc.), but there also needs to be discussion of compromise not just in terms of "I prefer X, you prefer Y," but more specifically, "I prefer X in my living arrangements, you prefer Y in your living arrangements, and now we both live here together in this house--how do we make it a home for both of us?"
posted by Meg_Murry at 6:32 PM on December 31, 2009

For those who feel I have made "demands" on my partner, that simply isn't the case. Although I am adamant about my feelings on this matter, I have made compromises specifically to allow my partner and the dogs to maintain their habits while satisfying my needs. My goal is for all of us to be as satisfied as we can be. However, I do see how any changes I suggest could be seen as unwelcome, as I am the newcomer. The bed issue is the only problem, though.

And about the "wet spots"- this happens when they have just been taken out to do their business. They have a habit of rushing back into the house and leaping directly onto the bed. Since their genitalia haven't had a chance to dry, they leave a wet spot (and even if they didn't leave that wet spot, their dirty paws are leaving prints!)

I have mentioned to my partner that the dogs may need to see a vet regarding the butt scooting, but considering the current debate we are having, my comment was not taken in the spirit given (it appeared to be part of a salvo, I'm sure).

Thank you all for your input.
posted by Piscean at 9:32 PM on December 31, 2009

I will preface by saying that I have cats, not dogs (and just found out I'm allergic to them, so I'm trying to deal with bed issues as well), and I like dogs, but find them to be kinda stinky, but I was actually just thinking that it would be kind of gross to take a dog walking outside, and then have its wet/dirty paws tracking in your car or in your house, let alone your BED. Ew. I'm not overly squeamish about this stuff, but direct from outside - or worse, direct from peeing/pooping outside - TO THE BED, is kinda gross.
posted by FlyByDay at 9:44 PM on December 31, 2009

Can't the last one to leave the house in the morning just close the bedroom door to keep the dogs out of the room entirely?
posted by 4ster at 10:01 PM on December 31, 2009

I would take up the habit of reading a large hardcover book in the morning, which I would leave tented on my pillow to mark my place. It's heavy, slippery, unfriendly to lie on, and doesn't have the same passive-aggressive flavour that removal of the pillow might.

I don't think removing the pillow is passive-aggressive, but from what you say, I'm thinking your mate might interpret it that way.

You could also try buying the dogs a fuzzy, foam-filled blanket with a peeproof bottom. I saw these at the local giant pet store for about $16. You could put it at the foot of the bed and see if they like it better than your pillow.
posted by Sallyfur at 11:32 PM on December 31, 2009

Okay. Seriously? Dogs cannot be retrained to sleep elsewhere? People! We have thumbs! They will learn. Plus... doors close. Not even magically – you can close them yourselves.

Yes on the practical solutions. Yes on the communication/relationship issues. And, yes, on the dogs-can-sleep-elsewhere-and-its-probably-better-that-they-do.

Our cat slept on our bed for five years. He was a good little bed sleeper. Then we got a second cat. That cat sucks for sleeping on our bed. Thus, sadly, they both got banished from nighttime sleeping. It took awhile but they both got used to it and, in fact, original cat seems to prefer sleeping elsewhere (probably got sick of getting accidentally nudged off the bed in the night).

They are pets. They can be retrained. However, it'll take both of you to do it. Can you two work together on this?
posted by amanda at 11:48 PM on December 31, 2009

First: Ask your partner: What is going on regards this issue, Sweetie?

Then: Ask your partner: What is really going on regards this issue?

Last: Ask your partner: What the fuck s/he is doing here, why the fuck does s/he keep fucking with your head about this issue, which isn't minor at all.

I wouldn't want dogshit on my pillow, either, or on my bed, and while I don't care about dog hair it's clear that you do, and the fix for this is so goddamn easy that it's clear to me that s/he's either really mad at you about something and expressing it really, really passive-aggressively here and/or s/he's a total wackjob; either way, you've got some major talking to do.

Screw all this being nice jive; this is total bullshit, you've got to get it on the table. This is just the first of many times you're going to see this sort of behavior if you don't start jumping up and down right now.

/end rant
posted by dancestoblue at 2:04 AM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

What your partner's dogs are doing is foul. Your partner insisting that there's nothing wrong with it is also foul.

You should not have to hide your pillows and sheets. You should be secure in your own home.

This is not a dog problem.
The problem is with your partner, who is imposing what these animals are doing on you. You should not have do deal with dog shit, dog piss, or dog semen on your bed. You are entitled to be disgusted, and you are entitled to expect your partner to do something about it.
If your partner does not respect you on this and do something about it (proactively keep the dogs out of your bedroom, for example) you are entitled to give an ultimatum: 'One way or another, I am not going to be sleeping on shit-spackled sheets.'
posted by dunkadunc at 3:59 AM on January 1, 2010

From Piscean's OP: "My partner, who has NO PROBLEM WITH THIS (and doesn't see the need to change the sheets or pillow cases each time) told me that dog butts on the bed are no different than my (clothed) human butt on the bed."

In addition to showing little-to-no respect for your feelings and concerns, your partner is being pointedly illogical. What kind of fool equates a clothed butt sitting on the sheets with a dog's anus being dragged across the sheets?

Answer: a fool who wants to be right, at the cost of everything else.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:37 PM on January 1, 2010

I have 2 dogs. They sleep on my bed at night. One prefers to be up *near the pillows and the other always sleeps at the foot of the bed. When my boyfriend stays over the dogs get delegated to the floor. And you know what? They survive!

Who matters more here, you or the dogs? Whose wishes, habits and preferences are more important? It sure sounds like the dogs' doings matter more than your simple request that they don't put their asses where your head goes at night. Here's a news flash..... This ain't right!!!

If your partner actually wants you in the bed with them, why don't they want you to be happy and comfortable in that bed? Why should you have to put up with this for a single second?? That your partner is not at all disturbed by dog ass ANYthing on the pillow speaks of a whole 'nother problem, that being basic hygiene. WTF!!??

My advice is - #1 Get the dogs to the vet to see why their doing the ass scoot and/or leaking anything. #2 Determine the food chain. If you're not in line ahead of the dogs, I'd be re-evaluating this relationship big time! #3 Close the damn door to the bedroom and insist that it stay closed! How difficult is it to keep the dogs OUT of the room - period.

Good luck!
posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 7:06 PM on January 1, 2010

If you can't stand the dogs on the bed and your partner insists on it, you probably should sleep separately.

If you don't mind the dogs on the bed as long as your personal bed linen is protected, then you need to arrange to cover the bed with a large, easily washable duvet or bedspread, put your pillow out of harm's way, keep the bedroom door closed at times when the dogs go out to pee/poop, and put down a couple of dog beds that the dogs might prefer to use some of the time, instead of being always on the bed. If your partner won't acquiesce to simple changes like these, s/he probably doesn't really want to be your partner, at least not to the degree of living together.
posted by taz at 3:37 AM on January 2, 2010

If you can't stand the dogs on the bed and your partner insists on it, you probably should sleep separately.

If you can't stand the dogs on the bed and your partner insists on it, you probably should find a new partner.

When it comes down to it, this is not a dog question, this is a partner-respect question. If the dogs are so godawful important that the partner refuses to keep them away from the bed (either by getting rid of the dogs or by keeping the door closed) then the OP should leave. You simply don't tolerate being driven out of bed by someone's gross animals.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:05 AM on January 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

The key issue here is that this is something that is important to you. No matter what it is, he should be trying to address it with reasonable compromise. Why can't he compromise on this? If both of you can understand why--or, I guess, if he's not willing to work with you on this--then you'll certainly have new and important insight to the relationship.

I really feel for you, Piscean. I'm dealing with some other dog behavior issues, which are getting better through counseling (both for us and the dog). Good luck!
posted by emkelley at 10:10 AM on January 4, 2010

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