Is it good to let your dog or cat sleep with you?

Bedtime on the funny farm

I don’t have a choice.  As you can see in this photo, this is what happens here at the Funny Farm the minute I put the big blanket on the bed at night.  They all pile on.  Then I’m grateful that I do a lot of yoga so I can squeeze myself around my beloveds!

The truth about whether it is good for them depends on several things, mainly, what is your relationship like with your dog or cat?

First of all, cats usually will just claim their spot.  In fact, it usually feels like quite an honor if a cat joins you in the ritual of sleep.  It’s so honoring that we find ways not to disturb them if our foot has fallen asleep from a funny angle or you have to slide out to go to the bathroom.  The trick is always about sliding back in so as not to disturb the cat.

Dogs have similar rights.  Yet, watching a dog’s behavior can determine whether this is a good idea.    When dogs have placed themselves above you, so to speak, this is not a great thing.  You might want to rethink letting them sleep with you.

Cats will have an air about them that feels like they deserve to take over the bed and we are lucky to share it with them.  Rarely does this blossom out into many more dominant behaviors.  They possess a certain humility, usually.

Dogs are a little more opportunistic.  They start to take certain rights for granted.  For example, if they go through the door first, they get to lead the walk, they get to push your hand to pet them, they incessantly lick you and then they get the first position in the bed, these are all behaviors that you might want to have a more conscious approach with.

I’m not saying this is the equation for something more dominant or aggressive, yet, I would guess, the more dominant dogs or dogs that exhibit aggression in public, also do these things.  You could have a perfectly sweet dog that also does those things.

That said, sleeping with us should be an invitation.  A privilege, not a right.


Related Articles