Bedtime With Dogs

One of my clients who’s happily married, has a wonderful Cavalier named Ben who has been driving her a little crazy over the issue of sleeping arrangements. He competes with her husband for the bed space.

This is a common problem. Dogs are territorial, just as we are, and if we won’t take charge, they will. In the case of Ben, I’ve advised that my friend prepare a separate bed for him that is large and comfortable enough that he will enjoy lying in it. I also recommend that she place this other bed in the bedroom, so Ben won’t feel too separate. The next step is to be firm about seeing that he stays put and is not allowed to sneak back up to the bed when they aren’t looking. Easier said than done of course!

What’s wonderful about dogs is they love to learn and respond when boundaries are clear. There are little incentives we can give them. One is to spend quality time with them while they are in their own bed, lying close beside them and making a fuss. The other is to make sure that some piece of our own clothing or even a small blanket of ours containing our scent is tucked into their special bed. They will be at peace having our scent close. This is as comforting as lying near us.

The other is to sneak a treat into their bed once in a while! Be firm but keep it fun for all of you.

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