Why should dogs sleep near their humans?
January 31, 2008 10:48 AM   Subscribe

Help me convince my stubborn hubby that the best place for a dog to sleep is in the master bed room with (or at least close-by) us.

We don't have one yet, but my hubby and I are planning on getting a dog. We are differing on where the dog should sleep. I say in the bedroom with us (or possibly nearby the bedroom). He says it should be shut into the utility room.

I grew up in a household where the family dog slept on a folded blanket in my parents' bedroom. My hubby, on the other hand, grew up in a household where the family dog was forced to sleep shut up in the mud/utility/laundry room, as far away from the rest of the family as you can possibly get. His parents do this now with their miniature long-hair dachshund. It sometimes takes her quite a long time to get a response if she needs to go out in the middle of the night.

I can think of several reasons why a dog should sleep in the master bedroom:
- health/safety: if the dog has a medical emergency, it will be quite easy to hear and respond. Plus, if the dog needs to go out, it won't need to spend undue amounts of time getting your attention.
- security: if there is something amiss, the dog will be aware of it before the humans are, and can act as the first line of defense. This goes for fire safety, too.
- mental health: dogs are pack animals, and crave the presence of others. The aforementioned mini-dachs gets very lonely at night, and there's really no need for a dog to be lonely at night.

His argument goes along the lines of:
- if the dog has an accident, it's ok. we don't care about the floor in the utility room
- that's the way his family has always done it (I hate that argument, in all its forms)

What arguments would *you* make in favor of dogs and humans sleeping in the same room?

If any pet-whisperers / animal behaviorists are reading, is having the dog sleep in the master bedroom actually better than isolating it in a small utility room?
posted by Cordelya to Pets & Animals (62 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would side with your husband, if only because having the dog sleep in your room might put a damper on your sex life.
posted by snoogles at 10:52 AM on January 31, 2008

I don't like the smell of dogs, and would definitely not want that smell permeating my bedroom. Yuck. Sorry, but I side with your husband. (Cats, on the other hand, belong on the bed.)
posted by Capri at 10:54 AM on January 31, 2008

Finding out that my spouse believes in locking animals in closets would be enough to dampen our sex life.

Sounds like your husband is not of the 'dogs are part of the family' mindset. I can't imagine why people who feel that way would even want to have a dog in the first place.
posted by daveleck at 10:58 AM on January 31, 2008 [15 favorites]

Absolutely no scientific background to back this up, but: A dog who sleeps in your bedroom will be happier and better adjusted. Dogs are social animals; they need their pack. It's cruel to make them sleep away from you.

People I know who do this (including those who make their dogs sleep outside) tend to be the sort of people that treat their animals as property or as a "thing." A pet is a member of the family and it has feelings, too.

Our dog knows how to sleep on her bed and not get up on ours unless invited. And she's a pound rescue. If she's "putting a damper on [our] sex life," we get up and shut her out of the room for however long we need to. No big deal. The number of times we've been saved from big gross messes (because she will wake us up to go out) alone is totally worth it.

I'm sure someone will come in behind me and disagree with all these points, but I'll never have a dog that doesn't sleep at least in the same room with me. (And they are great heaters on extra-cold nights, to boot!)
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:59 AM on January 31, 2008 [9 favorites]

It's never ok for the dog to have an accident in the house. You do *not* want to set up a pattern where the dog thinks it's okay to pee in the utility room. If your husband is worried about the dog having an accident, it is vastly better to keep the dog close where you can respond quickly to the dog's cues and get the dog out of the house before anything happens.

I agree with you on the dog sleeping with the people philosophy. Our dog has his own dog bed in the corner of our bedroom, and would be miserable if we shut him out. I'll throw out another argument:

The Monks of New Skete promote having the dog sleep in the same room with you as a way of encouraging bonding. The dog has a long unbroken stretch of exposure to your scent over the course of each night- that level of scent exposure is often hard to achieve during daytime hours, but it can really help a new dog settle in.
posted by ambrosia at 11:00 AM on January 31, 2008

I can see why he might not want it in the bedroom, but not why it must instead be in the utility room. Can't you compromise and have it sleep in the kitchen? Accidents are easy to take care of there (although they really shouldn't happen with a properly housebroken animal) and the dog would still be relatively close by, good for all your safety concerns and the dog's mental health.

Because as you say, there is really no need for the dog to be lonely at night!
posted by bluenausea at 11:03 AM on January 31, 2008

mental health: dogs are pack animals, and crave the presence of others. The aforementioned mini-dachs gets very lonely at night, and there's really no need for a dog to be lonely at night

This is the primary reason. My dog used to sleep on the bed with me, when I got married my wife said absolutely not. We compromised. Now my dog has a very nice comfy orthopedic bed next to my side of the bed. She loves it. Shutting her in another part of the house goes against their instincts. For sex, you can and should crate the dog.

I mean dogs are adaptable and they'll get used to it, but if you want to crate a dog off in the utility room, then, frankly, why get a dog in the first place? Part of why I *like* dogs is that constant companionship. I like the feeling knowing she is right next to me.
posted by xetere at 11:03 AM on January 31, 2008 [3 favorites]

Can you compromise and put a dog bed right outside the bedroom door?
posted by tristeza at 11:04 AM on January 31, 2008

For me, it's the pack animal argument. Everything I've read states that every moment a dog is away from it's pack, is time that it is anxious. Your dog will be more able to relax if it sleeps in the same room as you. This will also facilitate to strengthen your bond with your dog.

If you are getting a puppy, the easiest thing to do will be to crate train it and keep the crate in your bedroom. That negates the "accident" argument. Soon enough, the dog will think of the bedroom area as a den, and wouldn't think of using the bathroom there anyway.
posted by AaRdVarK at 11:08 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

The dog will want to be your friend. Would you make your friend stay far away from you if he would be so much happier with you? If you treat your friend like an object, he'll have to love you less or go insane.

Taking care of a dog is a commitment that requires time and love, enough time and love to make sure that the dog will want to keep the home of all of you clean and safe. If you're not able to make that commitment, should you be taking on another living creature?
posted by amtho at 11:12 AM on January 31, 2008 [4 favorites]

i would never let a dog sleep with me, but i wouldn't shut it up at night, either. put its bed in the kitchen, so he sleeps in his own space, but has the freedom to come to your door if he needs your attention.

(the dog, that is, not the husband!)

unless you adopt a sick dog, it's unlikely that it will have a medical emergency that a) he can't alert you to in the middle of the night from anther room but that b) you will wake up and respond to.
posted by thinkingwoman at 11:13 AM on January 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

Again, reiterating the "dogs are pack animals and need to be where their pack is" point. Also, if your dog sleeps in your bedroom AND is adequately house-trained, it's unlikely she will have an accident in the bedroom, as dogs hate to "go" in their "dens" (one reason crate-training works so well). If Doggie thinks of the bedroom as her den, she isn't going to want to go potty there.

Make sure you housetrain your dog well, and get a dog bed for her to sleep in. My mom's dog sleeps either in her dog bed, or at the foot of mom's bed (on the floor) and has never had an accident in the bedroom, even though she was adopted as a poorly housetrained adult rescue (who is now well housetrained, btw).

Mom tells me that when she met my dad, he was like your husband - he was brought up to believe that animals were not part of the family, did not belong in the house, etc. Mom, OTOH, was brought up in a pet-loving family. After their marriage, Mom soon brought Dad around to see things her way, and he became a fervent pet-lover too. So training/convincing a spouse to love pets can certainly be done.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:13 AM on January 31, 2008

Nthing the pack animals, bonding and all the other. They need their people! And yes, a housebroken dog will wake you up to go out. I now have a doggie door but years ago my bassett hound would stand and stare at me in the middle of the night until I woke up. An occasional whimper would escape her lips if I was particularly out.

We now have 4 dogs (a bit excessive even I admit but they are all rescues) and they all sleep in the bed with Mr. Shaarog and me. But a bed in the room would be just as good.

They are scent animals so they like to smell you there. They are pack animals so they like to be near. Makes for a happier dog and consequiently a happier pack.

As for the sex life, we have gotten used to the stares. If you are involved enougth you don't even notice them. But if they are all on the bed we just do a sweep off and that takes care of that.
posted by shaarog at 11:15 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Definitely agree with the pack animal point. If you spend any time looking at books/research you will find consistent evidence to support you. And a dog shouldn't be going on the floor after it reaches adulthood. It really isn't that hard to train a dog to sleep in a bed in your room.

I don't find that our dog is really that interested in our sex life. If she is in the room (which she normally is cause that is where we are) she just falls asleep. She doesn't stare or bother. It isn't like she is a six year old child wondering what is going on. And I have never heard her say "wow, you are doing it my style, awesome!".
posted by Silvertree at 11:25 AM on January 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

Utility room, when Scooby gets old, stinky and incontinent do you really want him in the bedroom, and if he's always slept there he won't mind it one bit.
posted by zeoslap at 11:26 AM on January 31, 2008

First, neither dogs nor cats have anything to do with sex. They might watch but they don't care what you're doing; pretend they're furniture.

I personally wouldn't get a dog with my spouse/SO if he were not planning to treat it like a *companion* animal. I guess the sleeping arrangement is a personal choice, but I do know that both my cats and both my dogs often whine/meow/scratch outside my bedroom door when I shut them out at night. I got them so that we would all be companions, not toys to lock up when I'm not in the mood for them. (I will admit that sometimes when I'm sleep-deprived, sick or injured, or if the cats are being particularly crazy, I will close the door and lock them out of my room at night. But it's not an every night thing.)

I know of people who put up a child/dog gate in their bedroom doorways so their dogs can still see/hear them, but not sleep with or next to them. This seems like an acceptable practice if the hallway is comfy enough to sleep in.

That said, not all dogs require constant companionship. Some dogs prefer to retire to their crates at night (mine always hated/feared crates, so we don't have them), some dogs prefer to sleep on their bed in the living room at night, etc. Maybe your husband will luck out and you'll end up with one of those pups.

Bottom line: dogs are social/pack animals. They tend to think of the family as their pack. Dog lovers think of their dogs as part of the family. Locking it up in a far-away room just doesn't adhere to these principles.
posted by iguanapolitico at 11:30 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Forget one dog in your room...I've got 3. They know they're allowed on the bed when I'm in it by myself and not so much when the GF is there...only because it's a small bed, not because of any snog-dampening. I like them there, all warm and cozy in my room. I like them there when people poke around outside. I like them there when it's cold and I'm alone to keep me warm.

Mostly though, here's why I love them in my room when I get up in the morning:

Dogs don't wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Ever. Every morning they're happy to see you, longing for a moment of your time and a simple pat on the head. Every day they tell you "HELLO! GOOD MORNING! I LOVE YOU, LETS HAVE A GREAT DAY TODAY!!!". Days I wake up without that, it's a lot easier to be "bah. day. yuck." I'm weird like that though.
posted by TomMelee at 11:34 AM on January 31, 2008 [17 favorites]

A pet is a member of the family and it has feelings, too.

Yes. And I didn't sleep in my parents' room, either.

Seriously, I do side with the put a dog in a utility closet, but I also come from the background of crate training a dog. The point of having the dog sleep somewhere other than the master bedroom is not to banish it from your bedroom per se. The idea is that room/crate is their domain. Their happy place. Whatever. For instance, when our dog gets bored, he goes into his little room and just chills out because it is his.
posted by jmd82 at 11:35 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Utility room, when Scooby gets old, stinky and incontinent do you really want him in the bedroom, and if he's always slept there he won't mind it one bit.

Can I treat my spouse this way for this reason too? Please? ;) Seriously, you can't even assume that any dog is going to end up this way. So far, no dogs or cats close to me have ended up like that. (They died other sad ways, but pooping/peeing in the bedroom was never one of the symptoms. All I'm saying is, confining a dog to a utility room at night for its whole life, for the sole reason that there is a chance that it will be incontinent when it is old, is ridiculous and unfair.)

Seconding the argument that a grown, trained dog won't piddle in the bedroom anyway. One of my dogs has trouble holding it in if I don't let her out on time, but she has NEVER done so in the bedroom. She has done it in every other room in the house, but never the bedroom. (I've learned to interpret her cues much better at this point, thanks.)
posted by iguanapolitico at 11:36 AM on January 31, 2008

fleas, mud, hair, farting, smelliness and the dog's shifting around ceaselessly at night will cause you to change your mind

i'd compromise

my dog sleeps in the living room at night on her blanket or the couch, i can hear her and she can hear me, as my bedroom is close

this is the same place she sleeps at any other time, and she knows this

if it's thundering out, or if she's feeling really playful or lonely i'll call her up on the bed to snuggle for 10 minutes or so, then gently tell her to go to her bed, which she does

she's gotten used to this arrangement and will come in to say hi, or to let me know she has to pee, but will not get into bed unless i tell her it's ok

it's a nice arrangement...

i'd set up sleeping quarters for her somewhere, and that will be her spot, stick with it
posted by Salvatorparadise at 11:38 AM on January 31, 2008 [4 favorites]

Personally, I would never sleep in a bed with a dog. I completely agree with your husband, and think you should compromise by having the dog sleep somewhere between your room and the utility room. I don't see that somehow your husband's wishes need to be changed or 'covinced.' He's not being unreasonable.

I think dogs are fine, but I wouldn't want one sleeping in my bedroom, or eating at my table. Yeah, they're your 'friend', but they are also animals. Having one sleep in a different room is not cruelty.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 11:40 AM on January 31, 2008 [3 favorites]

I think that putting the dog in the utility room is unkind. If the dog is that much of an inconvenience to him, why does he want one? As others have already said, dogs are pack animals, and once they are trained they won't pee in the house. If your husband absolutely won't let the dog sleep in the bedroom, at least let Fido sleep nearby.
posted by bassjump at 11:41 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

My dogs are crate trained AND they sleep in my room. Boo hoo. I think this is really the dividing line between dog people and people who, like jeff-o-matic, say "dogs are fine."

Those among us who are "dog people", want them as PART of our lives, not merely accessories there-to. Lots of people "have dogs". Not as many dogs "have families."
posted by TomMelee at 11:49 AM on January 31, 2008

Put another way, three of you are sharing a house. Two of you are human beings, presumably life-mates. The third member of this trio is a dog.

So who compromises, your life-mate or the dog?
posted by jeff-o-matic at 11:51 AM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

You might want to discuss how the dog might feel when it's old. My dog has two beds, one downstairs in the living room and the other in my office, just outside my bedroom door. When she was young she used to prefer sleeping downstairs, but now that she's old she wants to be close by.
I recently tried to get her to sleep downstairs, when she was wobbly from anesthesia, but she was clearly miserable and nearly hurt herself trying to get around my makeshift barrier and up the stairs. So even if a dog seems to be fine sleeping far away, that could change.
posted by PatoPata at 11:55 AM on January 31, 2008

I wonder how many of the people who have responded on the lines of 'the dog needs to sleep with you because it's a pack animal' also stay home with their dogs all day? Doesn't the dog get just as anxious during the day while you're gone? Should we not have dogs at all if we can't be in the same room with them 24/7?

I used to let my dogs sleep in the same room with me, before they both started to snore. Now they sleep downstairs. They adjusted; they know I will be coming back downstairs in eight hours.

That said, I think if I just had one dog, she might be pretty miserable sequestered downstairs. So there is your solution: don't just get one dog.
posted by bricoleur at 11:57 AM on January 31, 2008

I would side with your husband, if only because having the dog sleep in your room might put a damper on your sex life. I've been married 23 years, have owned dogs for most of that time, and I have no idea how having a dog in the room would affect my sex life. None. I can't even imagine a scenario where they would, short of the dog sleeping on the bed with you.

My suggestion is to have the dog sleep in the bedroom, or just outside it, in a crate. It's the best way to prevent "mistakes", the dog has the comfort of sleeping near its pack, and the will be comfortable there if you need to leave it in the house alone and you don't want to let it have the run of the house (for whatever reason).
posted by Doohickie at 12:01 PM on January 31, 2008

Part of the family is all very well but you would not have the rest of your family sleep in your bedroom and particular your bed either!
posted by koahiatamadl at 12:01 PM on January 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

It seems that both your ideas about "bed" are different as well. I like animals, I have a cat, etc. etc., but having any animal on my bed every night would pretty much force me to sleep on the couch. I doubt I could ever go to sleep like that, and the even the idea makes me a little uncomfortable. I think of my bed as the most comfortable, most private, and most intimate place in the entire house, and the idea of sharing that with anyone but another flesh-and-blood human whom I am in love with makes me uneasy at best.
posted by Benjy at 12:02 PM on January 31, 2008

- health/safety: if the dog has a medical emergency, it will be quite easy to hear and respond. Plus, if the dog needs to go out, it won't need to spend undue amounts of time getting your attention.

Why do you presume a medical emergency? What the heck would he get into in your bedroom (our dog once ate rotten food from the garbage, but we were awake then)? Are you planning to get an old dog? And if you let the dog out before bedtime, he shouldn't need to go out in the middle of the night. We have medium size dogs (45 lbs), but my mother's small dog (8 lbs) still doesn't need to go out in the middle of the night.

- security: if there is something amiss, the dog will be aware of it before the humans are, and can act as the first line of defense. This goes for fire safety, too.

Won't the sound of barking from the utility room wake you up? If it's an intruder, and you have a small dog, he can't physically protect you anyway. If you have a big dog, he can't fight the intruder while he's in the bedroom with you, and by the time the intruder gets to the bedroom, hopefully you've called the police and grabbed a bat or a gun or whatever. A barking dog is a deterrent more than an attack animal.

- mental health: dogs are pack animals, and crave the presence of others. The aforementioned mini-dachs gets very lonely at night, and there's really no need for a dog to be lonely at night.

Yes, dogs are pack animals. The simple solution to this is to get two dogs. Ours sleep in a crate together outside of the bedroom. If someone knocks on the door, they bark. If we sleep too late and they need to go out, they whine. Otherwise, they're perfectly content, and we have no dog stink/hair in the bedroom. Yes, they are "members of the family," but they are not more important or equal to than the human members. They're dogs - they want the social order of the humans as pack leaders. (We also have 2 cats, who of course ignore the entire hierarchy - and who also do not sleep in the bedroom.)
posted by desjardins at 12:04 PM on January 31, 2008

I left out one of my main points in my haste: for me, "bed" extends across the entire bedroom. I've never understood why people show visitors to their house the master bedroom as the most important part of the house tour--it's the last place I want other people.
posted by Benjy at 12:05 PM on January 31, 2008

So by your theory jeff-o-matic, if the husband wants a new TV, but the dog needs food, the dog should have to compromise and eat less, because heaven forbid the husband have to compromise. And the argument isn't between who compromises, the husband or the dog, the wife WANTS the dog in the bedroom, the compromise comes between the two of them, why should she have to compromise her wants and he not have to compromise his?

I've always let my dogs roam free, sometimes they sleep on their bed on the floor of my bedroom (and yes, I just lock them out for sex, it's really not a big deal), sometimes they are off on a couch or their bed in another room. That way they can be comfortable and we can be comfortable. Locking the dog in a room seems mean and unfair, and very different from crate training.
posted by JonahBlack at 12:09 PM on January 31, 2008

Growing up, my family had our first dog crated in the kitchen across the house every night. She ended up being so protection of the corner her crate was in that it was a serious problem. With my dogs, the little one sleeps in the bed (horror of all horrors!) and the big guy has a mat set up at the foot of the bed.

I got the dogs to be companion animals. We love hanging out together, and I love having them in the room with me. At one point one of my dogs did have a breathing problem in the middle of the night (reaction to something she ate during the day) and had to go to the vet; this situation would have ended badly had she been across the house locked in the laundry. My dogs are both pound pups, and accidents aren't a problem after house-breaking 'em.

I think that your problem involves a more basic discussion between yourself and your spouse as to your individual reasons for getting a dog and what you expect out of the relationship with said dog.

As for desjardins, the idea I've always worked with is to have the dogs bonded to me more than each other, though two dogs are good company for each other during the day.
posted by Acer_saccharum at 12:20 PM on January 31, 2008

JonahBlack: Read what I wrote. I was not suggesting cruelty, or putting the animal's life at stake in any way. I Just think the human being that you happen to be married to gets a bigger say as to where the animal you own sleeps. Get a grip.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:25 PM on January 31, 2008

Please please please don't get a dog if your husband wants to lock it in a utility room at night!! That is so unfair to the dog!

Maybe he's just saying he wants a dog because he knows you want one, but he doesn't really want one himself.
posted by mccxxiii at 12:25 PM on January 31, 2008

I'm going to go with crate right outside the bedroom. The dog still gets the "I'm with my pack" feeling, and your spouse doesn't have to worry about the bed smelling like dog or with dog sticking it's cold nose in a suprising location during sex. My wife had similar objections when our dog wanted to sleep on the bed, even though I didn't have any problems with it.

When the dog is older you can use a baby gate to keep the dog out of the bedroom and keep your door open to hear the dog if something unusual comes up.
posted by jrishel at 12:41 PM on January 31, 2008

My experience with dogs in the bedroom has led me to beleive it is beneficial to a puppy to be in the same room with you. Your smell and your breathing comfort the dog and its less likely to whine. I am not sure that an older dog would need this kind of comfort.

All three of our German Shepards have crates in the bedroom. We all sleep in the bedroom. I usually leave the crate doors open and that leads to a cold nose in the stomach when they are ready to go out in the morning. Its like a completely organic alarm clock and who could be mad at that face?

It is important to establish boundaries if you don't want the dog actually in the bed. They very much want to be in the bed but if the dog spends time outdoors they will be very dirt and you don't want a gritty bed. So my vote since its comforting to both of us and all the dogs is to have them in the bedroom, but not the bed at night.
posted by stormygrey at 12:47 PM on January 31, 2008

In my opinion, the dog should sleep either on the floor in the bedroom, or just outside the bedroom. If the kitchen is central and warm, that seems fine too. On the bed is definitely far too intrusive, but in a closet is far too exclusionary.

Under no circumstances should the dog be locked away. That is cruel and completely unnecessary. If you want privacy from the dog, close your bedroom door, leaving the rest of the house to be roamed.
posted by explosion at 12:48 PM on January 31, 2008

My dog has run of the house at night. As best I can tell, he spends about 1/3 of it sleeping at the foot of the bed (not on the bed), 1/3 of it in the living room on the couch, and 1/3 of it in his crate.

If you're going to keep the dog in the utility closet, just don't get one. You're not a farmer or rancher, dogs are really not that great for protection in the age of handguns, and the humane society will let you come walk/socialize their dogs pretty much any time you want.

There's just no reason to get a dog that you're going to lock away in a remote part of the house. It's not cruel, per se, but I certainly feel bad for any dog who lives with people who treat it like that.
posted by toomuchpete at 12:53 PM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

How about if both of you talk to a vet, or the SPCA, or maybe a trainer (Pet Smart has them, or an independent one)? They might hold more authority with your husband.

(I agree with you!)
posted by KAS at 12:57 PM on January 31, 2008

Funny, in my family we always just trained the dogs to stay in the living room and kitchen. If they got really scared or something, there wouldn't be a physical barrier to the rest of the house, but they knew it wasn't their territory, just as they learned not to go into the neighbors' yards or jump onto the couch. Thus, both the free reign, jumping up on everything situation and the OK, time to lock you up in a tiny room alone situation (and some people seem to use a combo of both) always seemed extreme to me. I've never had a dog try to jump onto a bed with me. A couch in a thunderstorm, maybe once or twice.

So who compromises, your life-mate or the dog?

I see your point, but those aren't really the choices. It's what are you going to do, agree on how the pet fits into your home, or not get a pet? It's not like the pet is going to be like "I want nothing less than free bedroom access, or I'm moving out!" It's the whole household that will suffer if they can't come to an agreement and still try to get the dog, no matter who is perceived as making the actual sacrifice.
posted by lampoil at 1:04 PM on January 31, 2008

If your dog is so farty, smelly, flea-ridden (WTF?) that it disturbs you to have in your bedroom, then you are not taking good care of your dog. A dog fed high quality food won't fart or stink - my dog's farts can peel paint, but she only gets them if we give her too much people food. Dogs groomed at the frequency necessary for its breed simply should not stink. And easy-to-use flea protection products exist.

My dog's bed is a washable zippered cover filled with washable comforters that I bought from a thrift store. Yes, it does get stinky after a long while (2 months or more), but then I wash it and it's good as new. (For best results, wash the bed and the dog on the same day.)

I totally understand not wanting your dog actually in your bed. But if you work during the day and leave the dog home alone, in my opinion you should allow the dog some amount of closeness to you at night. If not in your bedroom, at least right outside your bedroom. Otherwise you're talking about 16+ hours where the dog is kept from his pack/family.
posted by misskaz at 1:09 PM on January 31, 2008 [3 favorites]

Our dog disdains having her own bed, and plops herself down wherever she feels like it, spread eagle on the floor. She seems to prefer the hallway so she can keep an eye on all the bedroom doors. I am thankful for the nights that her spot is NOT in our bedroom because she has deadly wicked farts that wake me up and make my eyes burn. Those are the times I wish she WAS locked in the laundry room.
posted by molasses at 1:10 PM on January 31, 2008

Who really cares what we think. It's definitely a personal choice thing. Some people let dogs lick their faces... not my thing, but hey knock yourselves out!

If your Dad.. I mean husband hasn't got a better reason than "Because I say so," then I feel for you because this is or will be the least of your worries.

Puppies have 'accidents'. Do you sleep with your door closed? - if you leave the utility room accessible, the dog will stick to the plan... if it comes to that. Most animals aren't keen on befouling their living space (usually *rolleyes*).

And another argument 'For' is that if there's a fire - the dog is toast. (literally)

And another thought is - I have cats - but sometimes I shut them in their room for the night, when I need some space.
I will usually let them out at some point because I miss them though :)

Oh and if *your* dog stinks - wash it!! ick.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 1:20 PM on January 31, 2008

My wife and I have been raising a puppy for the last eight months. She's quite small, and so she's able to sleep in the bed with us. At first, she liked that a lot, and we let her; however, as time went on, she's gotten used to sleeping on the couch in the room right outside our bedroom. That's her place, and she likes having the space to herself, I think.

My perspective is this: it's a delicate balance, the space that animals take. There is such a thing as being to crowding and cloying with any animal; no creature likes to be fawned on at every moment, and I've seen dogs, cats, even horses who were miserable because their owners were too touchy-feely and too close to them constantly. Because of that, I don't think it's generally a good idea to have a dog sleep on the bed all the time; I don't think it's good for them.

But it's utterly ridiculous to think that shutting a dog in a room for the night makes sense. First of all, it makes no logical sense, the excuse he gives; if the dog is toilet-trained, then locking her or him in a room won't be necessary, and if she or he isn't, then you need to toilet-train. If the fear that the dog is going to mess up the floor is even an issue, then you have larger problems you need to resolve; either the dog is unhealthy or is too young and must be taught. In fact, isolating a dog will more than likely encourage it to do this; it won't be likely to understand the cycle for a while, at least, and training a new dog, an important process, is impossible when the dog is isolated.

Personally, I'd say this: don't isolate the dog anywhere. Don't isolate anybody. A good compromise would probably be encouraging the dog to sleep in a nearby room and, if possible, leaving the door slightly ajar so that she or he can get in if need be.

As for the "that's how my family's always done it," every marriage is a marriage between two people from different families trying to create a new and better one than the one they grew up in. Point out, as gently as you like, that custom doesn't make it right, and that his family might well be completely wrong about this.
posted by koeselitz at 1:40 PM on January 31, 2008

There's just no reason to get a dog that you're going to lock away in a remote part of the house.

But you're SLEEPING. Unless you can play fetch in your sleep, what difference does it make?
posted by desjardins at 1:43 PM on January 31, 2008

- security: if there is something amiss, the dog will be aware of it before the humans are, and can act as the first line of defense.

That's an awful argument. A dog can be a deterrent but is not protection and not, in any way, a line of defense, and you really should not be thinking that way. That sort of dog requires intense and specialized training and a very good and also trained handler. You'll be lacking on all those fronts.

Sorry if that sounds harsh but I feel that that sort of thinking can lead to irresponsible owners with dangerous and aggressive dogs. That may not be you but there are a lot of bad dog owners out there.

As for the actual question, I side more with your husband. But then my dad was raised on a farm and dogs were absolutely outdoor animals and a dog even our house was a big concession. So maybe not the utility room but I sure wouldn't want a dog (or any animal) in bed with me.
posted by 6550 at 1:47 PM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you plan to get a puppy, the decision will be made for you. I've owned lots of dogs in my life and have never found one that didn't yelp at the top of its lungs for hours on end when separated from the rest of the family. Your husband will see how much anxiety it is causing the animal and cave.
posted by Ugh at 1:56 PM on January 31, 2008

Think of this from your puppy's point of view. One day she is sleeping warmly in a pile of puppies, listening to the heartbeats and breathing of the other puppies, breathing in the familiar, comforting smells. Then the next day she is taken away from everything she's ever known and put all alone in a utility room where everything looks, smells, tastes, sounds, and feels different. Her cries go unanswered, or answered by an angry voice. She is terrified, and rightly so, because in the wild, a puppy left alone is a dead puppy.

Now consider the alternative. You give your puppy a comfortable crate and place it on the floor next to your bed. She feels securely confined, and her instinct to keep her space clean will keep her from pottying in it. She can hear your rhythmic breathing and smell your comforting smells. When she needs to go outside, you will hear her right away (before she gets hysterical enough to be heard from the utility room) and take her out. By doing so, the puppy will learn that the outdoors is the place to go, not the utility room. You will have an easier time house training the puppy.

When the puppy is old enough to sleep outside the crate, you can leave the door open and see where she wants to sleep. She may stay in the crate, or she may sleep at the foot of your bed. She may even sleep in the other room. If you want, you can even keep her in the crate with the door shut--she won't mind. But please respect the fact that your dog is a pack animal, and if she feels the need to be with her pack, she shouldn't be forcibly separated from it.

Dogs are different from people, and they have different needs. If meeting those needs is inconvenient for you, then please don't get a dog.
posted by Enroute at 2:20 PM on January 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

I strongly advise you to compromise. I have nothing against dogs but I wouldn't want one in my bedroom at night. Do I even have to give a reason for that? I don't think so, although, out of my love and respect for someone I might do so. Put it this way: It's not an anti-dog thing, it's a pro-wife thing. Apart from anything else, you must understand, if you persist in arguing this, your husband may begin to have doubts about your interest in him. I kid you not, be prepared.

Does it really matter to the extent you think? Put the dog in the kitchen, or outside the bedroom door (I can understand, maybe not where your husband suggests). Or do you believe dogs are human beings in a funny shape? Even if they were, well, even children get to sleep in their own rooms. The idea that a dog's gonna grow up neurotic and deprived by not sleeping in your bedroom is, frankly, absurd.

Seriously, are you actually gonna fight to put the imagined needs of a dog before the expressed feelings of the guy you married?
posted by londongeezer at 2:36 PM on January 31, 2008

I'm that guy. Yup, every girl I've dated has been jealous of my dogs. With that in mind, it's no more rediculous to pick a fight over your companion than it is to be jealous of...well, a dog.

Anyone who would seriously say "zomg you don't love me because you let the dog sleep in our room" is someone with more issues than a TV guide subscription.

Just the same that you "dogs are ok people" feel bad for those of us who live and breathe for our canine friends, we feel bad for you that you'll never quite get it and what a person-canine bond can actually *be.*

With that said, it's perfectly rediculous to assume that a dog in your bedroom should, will, or even can cause marriage issues---and if it does, then your marriage had issues before the dog was introduced.
posted by TomMelee at 2:42 PM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Dogs are social animals, yes, but they are also accustomed to a social hierarchy. Letting the dog sleep with the humans -- even in the same room -- can serve to reinforce a message that the dog is alpha. This might not be a concern based on the breed/temperament of your particular dog, but in the process of raising our currently one-year-old puppy, my wife and I were advised not to let him sleep in the room with us until he was older, to help in establishing the hierarchy (he's quite defiant by nature). This was the advice given to us by an animal behaviorist and professional dog trainer.
posted by camcgee at 2:45 PM on January 31, 2008

Anyone who would seriously say "zomg you don't love me because you let the dog sleep in our room" is someone with more issues than a TV guide subscription.

This is so true.

Plus, I am definitely weirded out by the thought that your husband thinks the dog is likely to have accidents. Even a puppy, once she is housetrained, will only have accidents if ill.

It really doesn't seem like he has much reasoning behind his stance aside from 'because that's the way it will be.'
posted by miss tea at 2:55 PM on January 31, 2008

I can't imagine my dogs sleeping in some other room. What a horrible idea! My dogs sleep in crates right next to my side of the bed. They sleep very soundly, too, because they get plenty of exercise every day. I wash the pads in their crates regularly and I wash the dogs regularly, too. They are also silent until I get up and put on my socks (no socks means I am only going to get some water or whatever).

Putting a dog in another room to sleep is telling the dog you don't want him/her as part of the family. Unless you have an LGD that is actually guarding livestock on your farm or something. Then it is working and belongs with the stock. But most people with dogs have them as pets and pets are members of the family.

I think you need to sort this out before you bring the dog home. Are there going to be a bunch of other issues, too, over how to train the dog (positive versus some other method), whether to take classes (agility, rally, obedience, etc.), going to the dog park, how many toys the dog gets, what kind of food it eats (i.e., how expensive), and who will watch it when you go on vacation? This all needs to be discussed before the dog is in your home.
posted by AllieTessKipp at 3:45 PM on January 31, 2008

cam, you had a bit of a wonky behaviorist. I'm not a professional trainer, but I've trained everything from search and rescue dogs to prison dogs to companion dogs. One of my current dogs will hopefully start titling this spring in agility and competition obedience. Sure, letting the dog pick its spot in the heap can go towards him thinking he is alpha, but even in wolfpacks (beta and delta dogs have it hardest) they tend to sleep together. If you're not doing anything else to assert alpha, and if you're not making your dog listen when you tell it to "get off" your bed or w/e, then it can hold true that you've got leader of the pack issues. Simply allowing your dog to get on your bed as a method to confuse pack roles...that's nonsense.

Believe me, I've seen bite-and-track trained Malinois' and Shepherds who cuddle up at night with their big burly handlers, and there are certainly no alpha-issues there.

I think those of us who were lucky enough as kids to have dogs who slept by or on our beds are the ones for whom it's hardest to let go of the idea of having them around. When you're young, absolutely nothing compares to your trusting, guarding, warm snuggle of fur that tucks you in at night and stays with you through thick and thin.

True story---my classic "a boy and his dog" dog was shot to death when I was 11. That night, when it was time for bed and he wasn't at my door ready to herd me inside, I knew he was hurt. The next morning I found him outside, he'd crawled home after being gutshot by our piece of shit neighbor and had died in our front yard.
posted by TomMelee at 3:47 PM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Tom, what a heartbreaking story. I'm sorry.
posted by miss tea at 4:08 PM on January 31, 2008

I would never crate a dog all night as a long term thing. They should really only be in there for 6 hours at max so 8+ hours is too long. And if you also crate them during the day then why even have a dog? get a hamster and keep it in a cage all the time.

Our dog sleeps in the living room in her big squishy bed, she used to sleep in the bedroom but snores like a troll so was banished. She would prefer to sleep on the bed, ideally under the covers but that ain't going to happen and the living room is a good compromise for her. She can wander around and get a drink or play with her toys if she wants to and the door is open so she can come in and check on us when she feels like it.
posted by fshgrl at 5:06 PM on January 31, 2008

It depends on the size of the dog.

A Great Dane or other very large dog would be equivalent to a third person in bed with you, taking up a lot of room.

A small dog on a high bed might be unable to climb up and down, and might fall and injure itself.

Keeping the dog on the floor (in a dog bed) in your bedroom is appropriate; the dog can hear his or her owners breathing and smell them, but won't bother the human sleepers.
posted by bad grammar at 5:17 PM on January 31, 2008

Dogs are pack animals, and YOU are the alpha. Or at least your husband is. The dog is a member of your pack. If the people aren't dominant, it leads to behavior problems. Because alpha dogs are mean, rude dogs.

Nthing the use of crate training. They need a place that is their own, and your bedroom isn't it. The happiest, calmest, politest dogs I've ever met were crate trained.
posted by gjc at 6:26 PM on January 31, 2008

If your dog is so farty, smelly, flea-ridden (WTF?) that it disturbs you to have in your bedroom, then you are not taking good care of your dog. A dog fed high quality food won't fart or stink - my dog's farts can peel paint, but she only gets them if we give her too much people food. Dogs groomed at the frequency necessary for its breed simply should not stink. And easy-to-use flea protection products exist.


And the "alpha" nonsense is just that: nonsense. Proper dog-human relationships are established in day-to-day interactions, people aren't dogs, dogs aren't people, and the "alpha" concept is misused, overused and pretty outdated in the sense most people use it. Train your dogs, behave like a fair, benevolent leader, be considerate of your dog's needs, learn how dogs think and learn, and you will have few problems. My dogs sleep on my bed or on the floor as they see fit once they are housetrained (before that they sleep in bed with me until they are big enough to jump off the bed, and then they sleep in a crate right beside the bed, close enough for me to stick my hand in), my dogs have an appropriate relationship with me and my husband, and my dogs don't smell. Dogs shut away in another room do not understand that people are right next door the way other human beings do, all they understand when you lock them away in the utility room is that they are shunned from their pack, and in the wild that means death. I side (unsurprisingly) with those who feel that you just shouldn't have a dog if you plan to treat it like something you put away when you're not using it. I think your husband's view is wrong, but I also think that agreement about the proper way to raise an animal is vital, and a fundamental difference of opinion should mean that getting an animal should be put off until you are in agreement about the way to raise it. Any dog training/raising book written in the last few years and based on modern knowledge of dog behaviour and training will tell you that shutting the dog away is a bad idea.
posted by biscotti at 6:56 PM on January 31, 2008

I love having my small warm pup to cuddle with at night. Occasionally when the boyfriend stays over we move the pup next to the bed for a while, but he (the dog, that is) usually winds up curled up next to us at some point in the night. He's clean and sweet-smelling, doesn't snore or kick or move around. This doesn't answer your question about whether it is better for the dog, but I find it infinitely better for the human.
posted by judith at 8:33 PM on January 31, 2008

Another vote for allowing the dog access to the bedroom. Dogs are pack animals. Your dog wants to be with you. When you separate it from the pack, it is Not Happy. As others have said, if the dog is well cared for and well trained, it will not smell, and will be in its own bed/crate, not your bed (unless you invite it there). Honestly, it will not inconvenience you in any way. So why would you choose to torment the poor creature night after night? "You," of course, being your husband.

And really, what daveleck said.
posted by somanyamys at 9:44 AM on February 1, 2008

« Older How is the health insurance stipend built into my...   |   How to automate sorting files into subdirectories? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.