Is there anything more cute and cuddly than a puppy? That’s a rhetorical question… of course there isn’t! Which is why, as a new puppy parent, you may be tempted to let your fluffy family member sleep in your bed with you.
You get to spend loads more time with the pup, you get your fill of poochy cuddles, and, perhaps best of all, you don’t have to deal with the heartbreak of hearing them whining the night through on their own in another room.
Yet, despite the benefits of bed-sharing with your fluff ball, you rarely hear of dog owners allowing their new puppies to sleep in their bed with them, so why is this the case? Is there a good reason why this isn’t the done thing? Let’s find out!
The general consensus is no, you should not be sharing your bed with a dog in its first stages of puppyhood, and not only is there one good reason for this… there are many!
So, let’s take a closer look at them so you can make an informed decision on whether to invite your puppy up onto the blanket at night.
Much like baby humans, puppies are incapable of sleeping through the night. They’re prolific fidgets, so if you plan on sharing your bed with one, you better hope you’re a heavy sleeper, otherwise, they’ll keep you up all night.
If you too are a consummate squiggler between the sheets, then the opposite could happen, with you interrupting their developing sleep cycle and making it tricky for them to fall back asleep once roused.
Separation Anxiety… Anxieties
Threaded inextricably into doggy DNA is a pack mentality. In the wild, they’d have been around other dogs from birth until death, so it’s no surprise that being separated from their human pack can be stressful for puppies.
Dogs are predisposed to serious cases of separation anxiety, and allowing your puppy to be with you at all times increases the chances of and exacerbates this condition when you finally do need a moment to yourself.
We pup parents don’t just make our fluffy children sleep elsewhere because we get kicks out of making them miserable, but because these are teachable moments.
Alone time at night is said to inspire independence and confidence, so when the time comes to split up for a while, your dog is happy enough in their own company.
It may not be nice hearing your pup calling for you during the night, but it does ease up after a while, and it certainly beats dealing with separation anxiety and the destructive behavior it often leads to.
Puppies are figuring a lot of stuff out. They don’t have their own bodies mastered just yet, and as they say… when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go!
If you choose to share your bed with a puppy, you and your sheets will inevitably get peed and pooped on — there’s no way around it.
Lack Of Discipline
It may seem like you’re doing the kind thing allowing your puppy to sleep with you in bed, but this can actually lead to a lot of problematic behavior such as nipping, biting, barking, jumping, and a general disregard for authority.
The structure of regimented nighttime away from you and your cozy bed instills the importance of boundaries, a lesson that will stick with your pooch throughout their life.
Co-sleeping with your puppy can be dangerous in the same way co-sleeping with a baby can be dangerous. These young animals are often only very small creatures, especially compared to a full-grown human adult (or two).
What happens if you’re a heavy sleeper and you roll over onto your pup in the night without waking up? Nothing good, that’s for sure!
Even if you consider yourself a very light sleeper, there will be occasions when you don’t wake up so easily, such as when you’ve had a drink or you’re particularly exhausted.
Is It Ever Okay To Allow Your Puppy To Sleep In Your Bed With You?
Letting your puppy sleep in your bed with you at night is by no means out of the question… It’s all just a matter of timing.
They just need to develop the confidence and discipline that comes with sleeping separately, and they also need to grow a bit physically to ensure they’re in no danger of being crushed or suffocated in the night.
This typically takes around 1–2 years of crate training, but once the structure of this period has settled into your puppy’s psyche, you can absolutely transition them to sleeping in bed with you.
This transition is an earned privilege rather than an entitlement. Wait for your puppy to exhibit a readiness for it, and whatever you do, don’t try to fast-track this process. Making the switch too early can lead to some pretty rapid behavioral regression.
If your puppy has started having more accidents, ignoring you, or is showing signs of separation anxiety that weren’t present before the switch, it’s time to reinstate the original sleeping plan.
Do bear in mind, though, that once they get a taste of the good life in your bed, crate training is going to be more difficult than ever before, so do your best to nail crate training the first time around, and only let them into your bed when you’re sure they’re ready.
Don’t allow your dog to sleep in your bed if there will be periods of time when they are unable to do so (eg. when a partner is around) as they will not understand why this privilege has been taken away.
It may seem like what your puppy needs most at this point in time is love, which is true, but equally important is structure, so don’t feel bad about crate training. It’s not negligent, nor is it cruel; it’s the responsible thing to do and the healthiest option for both you and your pup.
Attributes picked up during crate training will filter down into other aspects of their life, making a more well-rounded, happy, and healthy pet further down the line.
The more discipline they pick up early in their puppyhood, the greater the freedom they can enjoy when they’re all grown up!
Optimal Sleep Arrangements
There isn’t just one way to go about keeping your puppy separate from you when the sun goes down and you both need a good snooze, but the only one that I recommend using is known as crate training.
Why Crate Training Is Your Best Bet For Nighttime?
Crate training has proven to be the most effective method for inspiring independence and confidence in your puppy. It entails shutting your puppy in a crate situated either with you, or in a separate room overnight.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… a crate? Isn’t that cruel?. Well, no, not really; it actually makes a lot of sense. Hear me out…
A Space Of Their Own
Their crate may be a negative symbol to your puppy at first, as it means you’ll be leaving them for a while, but as the training unfolds, the crate steadily becomes a symbol of pride, a place your pup can call its own.
A puppy will eventually feel about their crate the way an older dog feels about their bed.
Never use the crate as a punishment for your puppy to help foster this positive relationship.
Crates Can Be Calming
Dogs tend to seek out small, enclosed spaces to rest in as it provides a sense of security, allowing them to truly unwind and get the rest they need to thrive. When you crate train your puppy, you’re simply providing them with such a space.
This can be especially useful if you have more than one dog, or children in the house as it allows your puppy a safe place to retreat to if they are feeling overwhelmed.
Puppies instinctively understand that it’s a stinky idea to go potty where they do their adorably twitchy dreaming. Time in their beddy byes crate can gently encourage them to hold their peeps and poops for longer, thus strengthening their bowels.
It’s inevitable that your puppy will at some point in their life have to spend time in a kennel at the vet, the groomers, or while you travel. Introducing the concept via crate training early on helps to make them feel at ease when this eventually comes around.
Keeps Destructive Behavior At Bay
When in their crate, your puppy can’t engage in destructive behaviors to try and get your attention such as pawing at doors or furniture.
This is also important for safety. You cannot adequately supervise your puppy when you are sleeping so crate training allows you to remove them from potential dangers.
Good In An Emergency
If you can rely on your dog to follow orders and hop into a crate, it makes dealing with stressful emergency situations a lot easier, ensuring both you and your puppy get to safety promptly.
Great For Recovery
After an injury, a puppy can easily exacerbate their condition accidentally if they can’t settle, but a crate-trained pup will feel at ease in their sleeping space and get the rest they need to recover in record time.
Makes Transport Easier
The soothing nature of a crate can make transporting your puppy a lot more bearable for everyone in the vehicle. A crate is a safe space for your puppy, a space that will calm them down when dealing with scary prospects such as a long drive.
The same principle applies to other spooky things, such as fireworks or an unfamiliar presence in the house.
Crate Training Tips
When starting the crate training journey, you should prioritize creating positive associations. Try giving your pup treats or small meals in their crate. Alternatively, play lots of fun and stimulating games involving their crate.
Another fantastic bit of advice is to choose the correct size. You want a crate that your puppy can grow into, but it should be compact enough to give your puppy that sense of restful calm we discussed earlier.
Furthermore, don’t be afraid to experiment with different sleeping surfaces. While some dogs prefer the hard surface of the crate itself, others may prefer a towel or bed to sleep on.
Letting them decide on the particulars of the crate experience helps to keep them comfortable and ease them into the process.
And one final bit of advice, ensure your dog is naked whenever they’re in their crate. Anything that could catch such as a collar or coat needs to be removed beforehand.
It’s extremely tempting to let your puppy hop into bed with you on the very first night in their new home, but it’s best for you and them if you start crate training immediately and then make the transition to bed sleeping once they’re a little older.
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