The term 'let sleeping dogs lie' refers to the fact that dogs can be unpredictable when woken, which raises the question, "Should your Cocker Spaniel be allowed to sleep in your bed?" Understand the pros and cons of sleeping with our pets.
I'm often asked whether or not owners should allow their dogs to sleep on or in their bed so I decided to discuss the pros and cons here.
This is a controversial subject and opinion seems to be widely divided.
There are those who wouldn't dream of allowing their dog(s) on their bed and others who couldn't bear the thought of moving Fido off the bed!
Allowing our dog on or into our bed raises many questions, including issues such as safety, hygiene, allergies and pack control.
However, there are other more favorable arguments, such as a strengthening of the relationship and bond between dog and owner, and the stress relieving calm created by sleeping with your dog.
There's also the straight forward and simple fact that many owners and their dogs love it!
Let's explore some of the issues of letting sleeping dogs lie in human beds.
There are many pet owners who believe that it's dangerous to allow their dogs to sleep in or on their bed in case they wake their pet during the night and are accidentally bitten.
There are many incidents where owners or their family (particularly children) have been seriously injured by a dog that's been approached when asleep.
Could this on it's own be a good enough reason to insist that sleeping dogs lie in their own bed? Isn't it better to be safe than sorry?
Believe it or not, there's a hierarchy even when dogs are sleeping!
Allowing your dog to sleep on your bed may also throw up alpha male issues, particularly where there's an uncertainty in your 'pack' about who exactly is the alpha dog.
In the wild, the alpha dog would always have the best sleeping area and his (or her) bed may be sited slightly away from the rest of the pack. It may also be higher up than the others because height reinforces the position of the alpha dog.
In your Cocker Spaniel's domesticated world, you are the alpha male and your bed is the alpha bed.
If you allow sleeping dogs to lie on your bed, be aware of the potential for an alpha challenge. If we are to take the alpha theory to it's limit, your bed should be out of bounds to your dog.
In reality, we know that's not going to happen, but, if your dog tries to claim your bed as his own or he growls at others who approach your bed, move him, quickly and firmly!
There is also the issue of allergies.
If you or anyone in your family suffer from allergies, the chances are that lying next to your sleeping dogs won't help as being so close to him could make the allergy worse.
Our pets are always shedding something or other, whether it's their coat, fleas or flea debris, (yuk!) dust, dirt or something equally unpleasant that they may have picked up whilst outdoors.
Any one of these could aggravate an existing allergy.
Perhaps, if you have an allergy, this is a good argument against allowing sleeping dogs in human beds?
As many of our Cockers often like to roll in carrion, or something equally disgusting, it raises the additional question of whether or not sleeping with our dogs could be dangerous to our health.
It's said that dogs can pass on diseases to humans, however, I could find little evidence of this being any more than one or two isolated cases.
Although this question shouldn't be dismissed out of hand, most owners keep their dogs clean and well-groomed, and some wonder what harm a little exposure to the occasional germ can do.
Perhaps a limited exposure to germs can help to strengthen our (and our dog's) immune system?
Is today's sterile society contributing to ever-increasing allergies in humans?
Food for thought!
We all need a good night's rest but that's not always possible when we have sleeping dogs on our beds!
Not all dogs will lie quietly at the bottom of the bed. Some will vie for pole position in the middle of the bed, with their head on the pillow, or will lie across the bed, pushing you towards the edge.
Some of us end up sleeping on about two inches of bed (if we're lucky) which is not conducive to a good night's sleep. I'll bet many of you can relate to that!
It's said that sleeping with dogs can be beneficial to your well-being as it can help to calm your nerves.
Many doctors firmly believe that the act of stroking your pet de-stresses you, hence the increasing popularity of PAT dogs (petting as therapy).
It's also argued that where dogs are sleeping in their owners' beds, it can help to build and strengthen the bond and relationship between pet and owner.
Aside from that, many owners feel that allowing their dog to sleep next to them is simply wonderful. I know I do!
Having your dog beside you at night can also help you to feel safe, especially if you live alone.
Many dogs are literally part of the family and their owners wouldn't have it any other way...and, most of all...your dog loves it too!
So, the $64,000 question is...
"Should your Cocker Spaniel be allowed
to sleep in your bed?"
I guess the answer to this question is that it all boils down to individual owners and their pets.
Every owner is different and holds different beliefs and opinions about what's acceptable and what's not.
Above all, each dog is different. Some may be fearful, aggressive, excitable, submissive, and others simply calm and relaxed. One thing is certain, they will all react in a different way in varying situations.
There are many, many, owners who allow their dogs to sleep on their beds and wouldn't have it any other way, no matter what.
On the other hand, there are those owners who wouldn't ever allow sleeping dogs in their beds.
I've given reasons for and against allowing sleeping dogs in your bed, but at the end of the day, you know your own dog, his temperament, how well-trained he is and how he behaves around your family and others.
Only you can decide what's best for your family and your pets.
That's why I believe it's a personal choice.
If you do decide to allow your pet to sleep on your bed, here are a few guidelines.
If you don't like the thought of your dog(s) sleeping in any room other than your bedroom, why not allow him sleep in his own bed, on the floor, by the side of your bed?
The subject of whether or not we let sleeping dogs lie in our beds is turning out to be quite a controversial subject, don't you think?
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