Can I please have a dog AND a relationship?
December 3, 2013 8:22 AM   Subscribe

I recently moved in with my partner and my 5 year old dog is making it difficult for him to sleep. My 15 lb dog has always slept in my bed, but his snoring and shifting during the night is keeping my partner awake. We've tried keeping the dog out of the bedroom, but he usually wakes up in the middle of the night and cries or scratches at the bedroom door. My partner wants to put the dog in a crate at night, far enough away that we won't hear him. I feel like this is cruel and don't want to do this. Although he is crate trained, I've rarely put him in his crate overnight, or for any long periods. Am I wrong about this? Any ideas for how we can live together in harmony?
posted by mumbleitaliano to Pets & Animals (49 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Crating isn't cruel and in fact, some dogs prefer it. Mine is rarely in it as well during the day but sleeps in it at night. Lay a few blankets down, Put your dog in the crate, lock it for a few nights and your dog will be fine. The snoring will take some getting use to but your boyfriend will adjust - buy some ear plugs for him as an early Christmas gift.
posted by lpcxa0 at 8:25 AM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Can the dog be trained to sleep on the floor next to the bed?
This won't alleviate the snoring, but might help with shifting and separation anxiety caused by closing the door. Perhaps this, and some earplugs for your partner might go a long way toward solving this dilemma.
As an aside, did the partner ever sleep over at your place before you moved in? How was the dog situation handled then?
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 8:25 AM on December 3, 2013


Do you have an entire room that you can close the dog in overnight, rather than just a crate?

If not, I agree with lpcxa0 -- he'll likely get used to being in the crate for sleeptime within a week.
posted by Etrigan at 8:26 AM on December 3, 2013


We have had similar issues in that our dog slept with us for years but as she aged, the snoring became impossible. We ended up exiling her to the downstairs with a baby gate. There was three nights of diminishing complaints and then she accepted it as the new normal.

Dogs are capable of evolving to new routines and crating the dog overnight will be fine with the dog if you are consistent about it.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:27 AM on December 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


If we could train our cats to stay out of our room at night in about two weeks, I'm sure you can train your dog to do it. It may take several long nights of repeated wakings to correct him, or to put up with his whining, but he will learn eventually.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:29 AM on December 3, 2013


What would happen if you put him in a crate in your room? It might seem less cruel to you and more like he's in a spot with his people to him.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:31 AM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


You can't just cram a dog in a crate overnight and call it a day. He would need to be trained to sleep in the crate over a period of time.

i think locking him out of the bedroom or crating him away from the bedroom after he's been able to sleep with you for 5 years is kinda mean, honestly.

My first approach would be to train him to sleep on his own bed in the bedroom with you. I've had to train every one of my foster/rescue dogs on this (5 so far). They take to it pretty quickly; I just gently remove them each time they hop on the bed, and encourage them to lie on their own bed. Currently, two of my dogs sleep in the bedroom on their beds, and the third has decided she'd rather sleep in the office.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:33 AM on December 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


I snore and Husbunny used to snore before the CPAP, and we have separate bedrooms because...that shit's annoying!

When we travel we each have foam earplugs that we use. They work REALLY WELL, but they're not a permanant solution to anything. I got a box of 20 for $2 at Wal-Mart.

As for Rex, having him sleep elsewhere is not that big a deal. Because he's noisy, I'd make him a new bed, near his crate in another room and just lock him out of the bedroom. He may whine and complain, that's where the ear plugs will come in handy for you.

Just let him figure out that he has a new bed and he'll settle down and be just fine.

Reward him when he's in the bed, so he associates it with treats and pets and love.

You're not punishing your dog, you're just getting him used to a new situation.

It'll be fine.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:39 AM on December 3, 2013


My dog is crate trained and she runs right into it when it's bedtime. She has a worse time settling down if there are people around, though, so I don't know if her being in your bedroom in a crate would be good or not. If you make it comfortable with a pillow and some toys then I think she'll be just fine.
posted by dawkins_7 at 8:39 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dogs appreciate really soft beds, too, so wherever dog ends up sleeping - put some extra padding in there, and make sure it's as warm as it needs to be.
posted by amtho at 8:48 AM on December 3, 2013


Are you and your partner willing to invest in a bigger bed and a noise machine?
posted by mochapickle at 8:51 AM on December 3, 2013


No real experience with dogs, but just went through a similar situation with my 15 lb cat and my boyfriend. We had good success by putting a baby gate in the hallway so he (the cat) can't get close to the bedroom door, and putting on a loud fan so we can't hear him if he cries. We keep the bedroom off limits for the cat and he got used to it pretty quickly, though this is a new place for all three of us. Depending on the layout of your place, maybe a gate could work for you?
posted by Shadow Boxer at 8:51 AM on December 3, 2013


I think you need to crate your dog at night. It isn't punishment, your dog will adapt and be fine as long as it is a comfortable warm space. I really don't think your partner is being unreasonable.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:03 AM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sleep in separate beds.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:05 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd start by crating him in the bedroom, with really super soft bedding and a fan to drown out some of his smaller noises.
posted by barnone at 9:09 AM on December 3, 2013


I had a dog that used to sleep on the bed, and we trained him not to by giving him a comforter we had slept with as a bed, and getting a new comforter. He enjoyed sleeping near us, and it was useful as he got older that he could let us know if he had to go out in the night.
posted by hrj at 9:15 AM on December 3, 2013


My dog is much larger than yours (German Shepherd mix), so when my fella is over she has to sleep somewhere else. She also has to sleep outside the bedroom when he's around, because she has a tendency to sit up and stare at him while he is trying to sleep. (She does this to me too, but I don't mind. It drives him mad.) So I've made a little nest of a bed out of old blankets in the spare room for her, and she sleeps there when he's around. We have to close the door so she doesn't come in and stare at him.

I was on the receiving end of many accusing glares and exasperated sighs from the dog about this arrangement, but in the end she got used to it. I'd rather SHE sleep on the floor of the spare room than him!
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:21 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a fifteen pound dog in bed with me every night. I honestly can't imagine how he could move enough to be disruptive to sleep, especially when there's an adult-size human also in the bed, and that human presumably does things like roll over and cough, etc. Have you and your partner slept together in this bed before? I'd make sure that they're actually responding to the dog and not, say, to you flopping around in your sleep, or trucks outside, or whatever.

You said that you've just moved in with your partner, which I assume means a new location for you and the dog, if not all three of you. Moving is stressful for any creature, especially once who don't understand what's going on. It seems mean to me to make more big changes to the dog's life right now. If the residence is new to all three of you, that just seems like more of a reason to me to wait it out a bit and see what happens when everyone starts to settle.
posted by MeghanC at 9:24 AM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


When we lived with my MIL she went out of town a few times, so we were in charge of her very codependent teacup Yorkie. The Yorkie sleeps in MIL's bed every night, but that wasn't going to fly with me as our own dogs slept in their crates in our room. We put Yorkie in his bed in the corner of our room, tucked him in and gave him a treat, and went to bed. He tried to get in our bed a few times, but we got up, tucked him back in, and he finally got the picture.
posted by radioamy at 9:27 AM on December 3, 2013


Wouldn't teaching the dog to sleep in a dog bed in your bedroom be a good compromise? Could you keep the bedroom door slightly open, so that your dog can enter and exit whenever he pleases without scratching/whining?

I have no idea why your partner is insisting that the dog be crated "far away" from the bedroom as a first measure. Crating is not cruel, but I see no reason to head in that direction without trying something that will make both of you happy first.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 9:29 AM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I strongly agree with this:

I honestly can't imagine how he could move enough to be disruptive to sleep
posted by schroedingersgirl at 9:30 AM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


previous commenters are talking about training the dog. how about training the partner instead? people and dogs both move around in their sleep at night. he doesn't seem to have any problem with your movements, which brings me to wonder if there isn't some kind of psychological issue involving sole control of the bedspace. maybe appeal to his dignity? competing with a dog for the proximity of your woman at night puts you on the same level as the dog. a gentleman would rise to a higher level and permit the presence of the small dog who also loves the woman and gives her so much pleasure to be around.
posted by bruce at 9:34 AM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


a gentleman would rise to a higher level and permit the presence of the small dog who also loves the woman and gives her so much pleasure to be around.

People > Pets. If the dog's presence is bothering him, the pet's situation should be modified to suit the people, not the other way around.
posted by DWRoelands at 9:52 AM on December 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


Response by poster: Many people are suggesting putting the crate or a dog bed in the room with us. We have done this, but the dog's snoring wakes my partner up. We can definitely try a fan. The dog does have a soft, fluffy, warm bed.
posted by mumbleitaliano at 9:55 AM on December 3, 2013


Train the dog to sleep on a bed in the room or get a bigger bed that fits all creatures.

I have a 50 lb dog and she used to sleep with me, but now that my boyfriend does, i have night night time where I pet my dog on her bed, then when my alarm goes off, she's allowed to jump onto my side of the bed for some morning cuddle time. Her loyalty was there first, so I didn't want to push our bond aside that much.

Can partner get used to earplugs to sleep? I mean, one day it'll be you snoring waking him up is a 15 lb dog is doing it now.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:57 AM on December 3, 2013


If the dog is overweight for its size, losing weight might help the snoring. Might.
posted by amtho at 10:16 AM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have an almost-15-lb dog and I find it really hard to imagine that his snoring, even in advanced old age, could begin to approximate even the lightest snoring of a 100-lb+ human. How loud could it possibly be? I would let the dog sleep in a bed or crate on the floor next to your side of the bed and put on a white noise machine. Crating is not cruel but most dogs really do want to be near their humans when they sleep and if your dog is used to this, I think it's kind to let him continue, especially considering all the other upheaval in his life. No matter which bed/sofa I'm lying on, my dog will follow me there and sleep on the floor next to me, even if it's the hard, cold floor and there's a nice soft dog bed next to a warm fire in the other room. This is a primal need for most dogs and I think it should be respected if at all possible.
posted by HotToddy at 10:39 AM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm having trouble imagining that a 15 lb dog can snore loudly enough to wake a grown man on the other side of the room. Is he just a super-light sleeper? What happens if you start snoring?

Seconding several ideas - a fan, a white noise machine, earplugs for the mister. Also might be worthwhile finding out if your partner has some underlying sleep issue.
posted by kythuen at 10:42 AM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


My dog used to sleep with me and I switched her to a crate (not in my room) because she would start moving around very early and wake me up. I also banned her from all furniture to make the distinction clear to her. She sleeps WAY better in her crate, and I sleep better in my bed (and my sheets smell better). She hangs out in her crate most of the day, as well, even though she could jump on my bed if she really wanted to. It has a dog bed inside with lots of blankets that she makes into a nest and tucks herself in under.

Also, a white noise machine might help with the snoring.
posted by quiet coyote at 10:42 AM on December 3, 2013


Are you sure that your partner just feels uncomfortable sleeping with a dog in the room? I would.
Perhaps it's way of hinting that if you guys want to get down to business - that the dog is kind of in the way?
posted by KogeLiz at 10:45 AM on December 3, 2013


Could you compromise and put your dog in a crate in the room where you guys sleep, but not in your actual bed?

This has worked very well for my dog and I.

Also, I will say that you really don't have to respond to all your dog's cues as if they are signals of existential distress. If you're meeting his material needs and giving him plenty of attention during the day, feel free to just ignore him whimpering at the door at night because he's frustrated that the routine is changing. I once accidentally reinforced my dog's whining about something, and he started to whine all the damn time. Ignoring him when he did that made the problem vanish inside of a week.

It's absolutely not cruel to have your dog sleep somewhere that isn't your bed. Even if he whines about it at first.
posted by Sara C. at 11:15 AM on December 3, 2013


Many people are suggesting putting the crate or a dog bed in the room with us. We have done this, but the dog's snoring wakes my partner up. We can definitely try a fan. The dog does have a soft, fluffy, warm bed.

Okay, but there is no need to prioritise the comfort of the dog over the comfort of your partner. The dog really will be fine in the crate. I know (believe me, I really do) the guilt of contemplating separating overnight a pet used to sleeping with you, but I also know that the dog will be fine if you do.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:49 AM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


What did your partner do before you moved in together? Did your partner never sleep at your place?
posted by sm1tten at 1:29 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Personally I would make the partner sleep in another room... or move out. But that's just me.
posted by désoeuvrée at 1:43 PM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


FWIW, training the dog sleep in a crate is a good idea if you ever need to board him or travel with him or if he has to stay overnight at the vet. The crate becomes a place of comfort (you can buy padded liners and such) that the dog can retreat to. Seriously--I actually have a dog that is POSSESSIVE of his crate: He loves it so much he won't let anyone near it.

Crate train the pup and teach him to sleep in another room. Dog will learn to love it, and your partner will sleep better.
posted by elizeh at 1:46 PM on December 3, 2013


What did your partner do before you moved in together? Did your partner never sleep at your place?

Yeah, this is weird.

Also, I have an eighty pound dog with a nasal tumor, and he doesn't snore as loudly as a human. I think you should have the dog sleep in a dog bed in your room, get a white noise machine, and that's that.

It would be one thing if this had been going on for quite a while, but if you compromise by having your tiny, probably-not-snoring-very-loudly dog sleep in the room but not in your bed, I think your partner should give it a shot.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 1:47 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


That dog has either you or itself as Alpha and is not going to give up that status without at least some moaning/groaning/wailing/gnashing of teeth/etc. I went through it with Rusty, The Wonder Dog, both in my pickup(s) and in bed; whenever a new woman came onto the scene Rusty got displaced.

The pickup she just had to ride over by the window (mostly; over time all was well for her to snooze in between us of course) and in the bedroom she had a bed, her own bed, at the foot of my bed, and it had her own pillows and blankets and toys in it etc.

Once that bed was in place it wasn't really a problem, she accepted and actually loved it, part of getting ready for bed was rough-housing just a bit, then getting her all tucked in, blankets and pillows under her, blankets over her, her fave squeak toy right there, a favorite chew toy right there, etc and etc.

All that went out the window if she/when she got sick, she slept wherever the hell she wanted and ate whatever she wanted and anything else. And then once she beat that damn cancer life pretty much changed in most ways, ice cream treats, hey, no problem, want an egg mixed into the dog food, hey, here you go. (Though eggs made for truly ghastly farts, world-enders, and she didn't get the bed those nights. Gawd.)

Let your sweetie know you love him just all to pieces, and he's family now, but so is the pooch, and the pooch was here first, and may be here after, hint hint.
posted by dancestoblue at 2:22 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I have an eighty pound dog with a nasal tumor, and he doesn't snore as loudly as a human.

We have a 45lb Boxer with a neck tumour and her snoring shakes the floors. You can hear her clearly from one end of the house to the other. It's insane.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:33 PM on December 3, 2013


People > Pets. If the dog's presence is bothering him,the pet's situation should be modified to suit the people, not the other way around.

In my house we go by seniority. So, since my dog had been with me for 15 years my then boyfriend of one year had to lump it. Eventually the dog died and my boyfriend stuck around and became my husband. Now he gets to decide where the new pups sleep. This is considered very fair in our house. : )
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:48 PM on December 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


As a data point: I adore dogs, but I do not love sleeping with them.

As an extremely light sleeper, I can tell you from experience that even small dogs can shift around/snore loudly enough to interfere with my sleep, and that's with already using earplugs and a fan every night.

I don't think your partner is being at all unreasonable. The dog doesn't have to go to work the next day, and he (presumably) does. Train the dog to sleep in its own bed/crate outside the bedroom.
posted by Salamander at 2:58 PM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I put my dog, who was my best friend for nine years, to sleep three weeks ago.

I never had to choose between her and my partner, and I would have dumped anyone who tried to get me to do this. Fortunately, I didn't have to, because my partner understood that we were a pack.

YMMV, and your values may vary.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:08 PM on December 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


People > Pets. If the dog's presence is bothering him, the pet's situation should be modified to suit the people, not the other way around.

Seconding Walker Westridge, and bruce.

It's not a question of whether people or pets are more important. It's a question of which commitment was made first. Boyfriends come and go. A pet is yours for life. AND a pet is a significant part of who you are. Inability to compromise and adapt to what's important in your life...well, one could extrapolate many things from that. I realize this is not the advice your asking for, however, but I think it's important to consider in deciding which path to take.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 3:54 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe a heavy blanket over the crate would muffle the noise significantly enough for your partner. Although I also think the dog will be fine to sleep in the crate in another room with some training; maybe your partner would front the money for an in-home training session (or you could split it, I mean, either way) to ease the transition (and give you a chance to have a professional weigh in on how much your pup will be affected by the change).

Additionally, I wonder if it isn't the influx of sudden changes (sharing a home, sharing a bed, sharing a dog, sharing a noisy, shifty dog in the bed in the home) that's making your partner want to put the dog not only in a crate, but far, far away (like in those cartoons where, for example, you have a snoring dog that's driving you so crazy that everyone you talk to starts to look like a snoring dog). It may just be a sensory/emotional overload that he'd be willing to revisit later (i.e., after six months of the dog being in the crate in the living room, he could move to crate in the bedroom, or something). I empathize. Sometimes when my drooly cat wakes me up at 3am I also want to put her in a place that's far, far away, like Nebraska or the ocean.
posted by tyrantkitty at 4:06 PM on December 3, 2013


I don't think you need to think of it as "boyfriends come and go, pets are forever." I think a healthy way of thinking about this is pretending your dog is your kid. What would you do if your kid got scared at night or decided to knock on your door every night just because they woke up? would you let your kid sleep in bed with you every night, even though it's disrupting one of your sleeping? Or would you try to figure out a solution - teaching the kid not to be scared, or teaching the kid to not wake you up, or putting a cot in your room for the kid so they don't climb into bed to wake you up but quietly go to sleep in your room? You would probably ultimately want to teach your kid not to wake you up at night, right? Even if the kid isn't too happy about it at first, as long as ultimately the kid gets enough sleep and is used to sleeping in their room that would be fine, right? It doesn't have to be dog OR significant other.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 6:02 PM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


It doesn't have to be dog OR significant other.

Right. But the SO in this case is kind of making it that way, at least that is the how I am reading it. And that is rather unsettling to me.
posted by bahama mama at 7:28 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Crating the dog at night is not mean. If you do this, the dog will get used to it and will be totally fine.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:53 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Put the dog in the crate with a treat. It will make you all feel better. My dog is larger, but when he sleeps in the house I can't have him in a the room with me because of his shifting and snoring. My cat however, can practically sleep purring on my face and I wouldn't notice.
posted by 101cats at 8:38 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


What would you do if your kid got scared at night or decided to knock on your door every night just because they woke up?

You obviously haven’t read any of the kid’s crying it out, etc. threads around here have you? Many people are OK with letting a baby get used to being by itself at night.

If it’s a choice between the dog and the boyfriend (and a boyfriend who is not used to sleeping with a dog shouldn’t necessarily have to change the habit of a lifetime just because the dog has its own habits) then the crate, with suitable comforts and adjustment seems reasonable and humane. If that won’t work for you, be honest with the boyfriend and let him know that you prefer the dog.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 10:50 PM on December 3, 2013


Sleep deprivation cannot possibly be good for your boyfriend's health or your relationship in the long term.
posted by eustacescrubb at 1:15 PM on January 30, 2014


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