I Love My Dog, But Oh! You Wife!
June 6, 2014 9:22 AM   Subscribe

How can I return the spontaneity to my sex life now that I have to share the bed with a blanket-hogging dog?

Time was, my wife and I would frequently cuddle before bedtime, and if we both happened to be in the mood, it would end up with spontaneous sexytimes.

Four years ago, we got a dog. The sweetest, silliest, most loveable dog you ever met. However, a couple of months after the dog was housebroken, she started jumping up on the bed and sleeping between us. She's a small dog, but she sprawls, and she always positions herself in bed directly between me and my wife and suddenly weighs a thousand pounds and won't be moved by any force on earth.

This has made cuddling incredibly awkward, and as a result, spontaneous sexytime is mostly a thing of the past. If we decide that we really, really want to have sex, we put the dog out of bed, but she whines, and at any rate, having to forcibly remove a small thousand-pound dog from bed pretty much kills any spontaneity.

I've mentioned the problem halfheartedly to my wife, but she feels bad about making the dog sleep elsewhere. It doesn't help that we have a young child now and we're both too tired to think about sex much of the time.

posted by anonymous to Human Relations (28 answers total)
Positive reinforcement! Sexytimes are for very special chew treats (bully stick, rawhide chew, greenie, whatever lights her up), which are chewed on the floor or in another room.

She can come back when everyone is done with their treats.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:28 AM on June 6, 2014 [19 favorites]

I was about to say "now you know how parents feel" but boom, yeah.

I mean, it ain't sexy to schedule trips to funkytown, but sometimes you just need to.
posted by Oktober at 9:29 AM on June 6, 2014 [6 favorites]

Cuddling is really important, whether or not it results in sex.

Kick the dog out of your bed. If she whines outside your door, kennel train her or keep her in the mud room or whatever else works for you. But seriously, she's a dog. She'll manage. Your marriage and your happiness and maintaining an affectionate physical connection are all more important than your dog.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:30 AM on June 6, 2014 [48 favorites]

Don't let a dog be in charge of your love life?

I'm serious. It's not going to hurt the dog in any way, shape, or form to sleep on a dog bed or in a crate in another room. Just do it.
posted by zug at 9:31 AM on June 6, 2014 [47 favorites]

You have to get the dog off the bed. It will be cleaner and nicer as a bonus.
posted by ftm at 9:31 AM on June 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

Get the dog to sleep at the foot of the bed so he's not between you. Then when the time comes, push him off.

This is what I do. I like sleeping with my dog in bed with me, he's my best little fur friend and his life is so short...this is a reasonable compromise for me.
posted by phunniemee at 9:39 AM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've mentioned the problem halfheartedly to my wife, but she feels bad about making the dog sleep elsewhere.

Mention it whole-heartedly to your wife. "Darling at the end of a long day I just need to hold you!"

Then put a doggie bed somewhere beside your bed. Put a chair beside the bed that the dog can sleep on.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:52 AM on June 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

We have a small dog who sleeps in the bed with us, and magically increases her size and weight threefold when she does. She loooves to sleep in the middle on top of the blankets, but we don't let her.

When we are going to bed, one of us will physically move her to our feet which frees up space for spooning and whatnot. Sometimes in the middle of the night she will scooch back up to being in the middle, but there's nothing to stop that while everyone is asleep. When we want sexytimes, she gets pushed off of the bed and gives us the worst hurt expression that our hearts melt... but only a little. Her kennel is in our bedroom and she goes in there to pout for a while.

This has been the routine since she was a puppy (well, since she was house trained enough to trust her to sleep on our bed), but an older dog can be taught this as well if you are consistent with it.
posted by rhapsodie at 10:03 AM on June 6, 2014

You outweigh the dog by several dozen pounds. You can physically pick it up and put it on the floor, and make sure it stays there.

I hear you about not wanting to make it feel bad, but if it is affecting your sex life, you need to make an exception. I liked having my cat jump up on my bed and cuddle with me, but when I got freaky he went outside the bedroom and the door got SHUT so he couldn't get back in.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:11 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I agree with the Super Special Chew Item idea - set the dog up in another room with super special thing (that takes a long time to chew up). But that would require planning. Sometimes you just have to plan.

If you don't want to plan and want the spontaneous stuff back, doggie has to sleep in a crate. If wife does not agree, you have bigger problems.
posted by AllieTessKipp at 10:25 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mr Fig and I have nightly cuddle time, sans the 2 dogs. I give them some treats in a puzzle toy or a chewy out in the hallway and shut the door. After cuddling is done, we open the door and wait for the puppy stampede.

I'm pretty sure the dogs are a little unhappy about this, but I don't really care. Its an hour per day, max. The rest of the time they are ridiculously spoiled.
posted by Fig at 10:30 AM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm a mom who co-slept with my babies for the first year, and I definitely saw the "but no spontaneous adult time!" argument and made sure that I tried to balance the "baby focus" with enough unencumbered cuddling, which is hard to do. But for a dog, there's no way this should be a question. Your relationship absolutely needs to take priority. Kick the dog out, no guilt.
posted by celtalitha at 10:33 AM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

you and your wife are the humans who are nominally in charge of your household. if you cede control to a dog, you will have no end of trouble. your dog can't work a doorknob now, can it? i would have performance issues if my cat were even in the same room watching me.
posted by bruce at 10:34 AM on June 6, 2014

We have 2 small dogs that manage to hog the bed and steal the sheets, one of which will actually try and climb up you to put his head in the middle if my husband and I start kissing. We do the whole give them a treat and put them outside the bedroom and shut the door when we want some "mummy & daddy" time. My non kiss stealing dog will actually go and sit under where we keep the spray cheese if we start to get too amorous as a reminder. Keep some spray cheese in your room or just some nice dog chews, even if you just want to hug for 10 minutes, your dog will get used to it in no time and be happy he got a treat. When you all done let him back in. The dog that waits for the treat will start jumping up at the door if he hears us "finish", funny thing is he's learned to wait for both of us to be done. Dogs are smarter than you think and as long as you keep the routine the same he'll be fine.
posted by wwax at 10:36 AM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

P.S. people, I don't think the issue is he can't take the dog out when they're going to actually have sex, it's that having a dog in the middle of the bed throws a damper on the cuddling and potential-initiation process. Which makes total sense.

I would have an actual conversation with your wife and explain that you feel like having the dog sleep on the bed makes you feel less close and less intimate with her. Then find the dog a new bed.
posted by celtalitha at 10:39 AM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Little dogs often like sleeping on the bed for sociability but it's also warmer there!

Get a little pet heating pad like this, put it under a fleece blanket on a super cozy pet bed and seed it with treats. If that doesn't work, put it in a small crate in your room. It's not super hot, but it's warm enough that the dog won't move from it all winter :-)

For me, I don't do well when I have to make a decision about these things. If your dog is expecting to sleep on the bed and you have to "convince" yourself or the dog to move, it often seems impossible in that moment. You feel bad, the dog complains, nobody is happy. It's much easier when the habit is a new pattern: the dog always sleeps on his bed (or in his crate) and there's no decision to be made. So much easier.

You'll sleep better too.
posted by barnone at 10:45 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

i would have performance issues if my cat were even in the same room watching me.

That's because your cat would be judging you. That's what cats do. The dog just wants to help.
posted by tapir-whorf at 11:01 AM on June 6, 2014 [56 favorites]

I like my dog, but I loathed sleeping with him.
Unfortunately he's a sneaky little bed hog.
It took a few months, because he's not a bright one, but every time he sneaked into my bedroom or onto my bed I redirected him back to a child's bed.
Now he happily sleeps with them and they happily accommodate his blanket hogging and loud snoring. Everyone wins.
posted by tenaciousmoon at 11:16 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've mentioned the problem halfheartedly to my wife, but she feels bad about making the dog sleep elsewhere.

... so your wife is choosing the dog over you? I don't think this is a dog problem. Pick up the dog, put it outside the bedroom, shut the door. Put on some music or run a fan to drown out the whining. The dog will not die.
posted by desjardins at 11:20 AM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Kick the dog out. Give her a toy or play some slow jamz to drown out any whining. I sympathize with your wife's concern for the dog, but the dog will forgive you, honest.

I think it's hyperbolic to categorize this as your wife choosing your dog over you; it's natural to feel a little guilty about pushing a comfortably sleeping animal out of bed. Just remember that the dog will have forgotten all about it soon enough, and the more you do it, the okayer both your wife and dog will feel about it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:31 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I used to sleep with my dog. Ahem. My dog used to sleep with me. And then I brought in a super comfy kick ass dog bed with extra fluffy blankets into the bedroom, right beside the bed, and without much encouragement, my bastard traitor of a dog abandoned me. Everyone is happy. (I kinda miss his stinky breath, dutch oven farts, and an occasional paw in my ribcage.)
posted by HeyAllie at 12:27 PM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

When staying at a friend's apartment and getting a little . . . close . . . We were interrupted by the very curious household dog. I suggested putting him in another room, because ew!, but SO complained, "He'll just whine and cry the whole time." This reticence lasted for about one minute, which was how long it took for the dog to decide that my SO was another dog and stuck his wet, slimy nose up SO's butt.

The dog was perfectly unharmed - went willingly into the next room and curled up on his doggie bed. So I agree with the posters that say train your dog to ALSO sleep elsewhere, in a doggie bed or a kennel, and have sleeping with the humans to be a special treat.

(And no, we have never admitted to the dog's owner what happened!)
posted by chainsofreedom at 1:03 PM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Give that doggie a job. It's time for the dog to go on guard duty in the baby's room.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 2:39 PM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Our new dog is so big she's actually too uncomfortable to sleep between us - I mean, uncomfortable for *her*, but our old dog slept between us for ten years. We just picked her up and put her on one person's side or the other's when we wanted to be together, and snuggled up together and ignored her. She always got back in the middle eventually, but we managed to have human based snuggle time also. People vary in their attitudes about this clearly, but to us, dogs are pack animals, we're the pack, they want to sleep with us, and we're cool with it. Every now and then you'd turn your head and get a pair of baleful eyes staring at you in the most intimate of moments resulting in a Very Special Buzzkill, and on those occasions she'd be escorted out of the room. As she grew older, our human shenanigans became increasingly boring to her, thank God, and the moments where I found myself meeting her eyes in the most intimate of moments were very rare.

If the dog is so young that your 'wrestling' is an invitation to playtime, first, time in another room for the dog = happy time for you, and also, do your best to wear the dog out during the day so that she's not quite so interested in whatever you're doing.

Oh, also, do you have a king sized bed? Pretty much mandatory.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:53 PM on June 6, 2014

You need to train the dog that he joins you on the bed when invited, which only happens as you are about to roll over and go to sleep, i.e. after cuddles and/or sexytimes are over. You could do this by any number of methods, but the easiest might be that you close the door with him on the other side when you first go to bed, and then when you are ready to actually sleep, you get up and open it. You could combine this with a nightly chew treat for him during that time. If it's your wife who wants him on the bed, she can be the one responsible for the opening of the door, and then you don't even have to get out of bed to deal with it.
posted by lollusc at 8:07 PM on June 6, 2014

Well, you could try harder to be the mammal that aims for the middle of the bed. Bonus: will need to hold on more tightly to spouse to win the game.
posted by macinchik at 12:50 AM on June 7, 2014

My relationship with my dog improved so much when we kicked him out of the bed. He listened better, and there were fewer domination games. Plus my wife and I slept a lot better and no longer had the problems you are describing. We made a cozy den for the dog in the closet that he seems to enjoy as well, so everyone is happy.
posted by Roger Dodger at 6:25 AM on June 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love my beasts desperately, but life (with or without sexytimes) improved drastically when I banished them from the bedroom. No four a.m. butt in face! No stray crumbs of litter winding up in the sheets! No being awakened when someone horked on the spendy-to-clean comforter! Oh, and my allergies got waaayyyy better.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 2:45 PM on June 8, 2014

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