THE BLOG

Dogs And The Couple's Bed

Almost everyone I interviewed who slept with a dog or dogs smiled, laughed, or chuckled about it. They enjoyed, were amused by, liked, or otherwise felt positive about their doggy sleeping companions. And some also felt safer sleeping with a dog.
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Some couples I interviewed for my Two in a Bed book shared their bed with a dog or dogs. In most of those couples the partners agreed that sharing the bed with the dog or dogs felt right. In fact, almost everyone I interviewed who slept with a dog or dogs smiled, laughed, or chuckled about it. They enjoyed, were amused by, liked, or otherwise felt positive about their doggy sleeping companions. And some also felt safer sleeping with a dog.

Partner Differences about Having a Dog in Bed
In a few couples one partner was very positive about having a dog or dogs in bed, but the other partner felt less so. In some cases the dog was part of the dog-loving partner's life before the other partner came along, so in some sense the dog had prior rights to sharing the human bed. In some instances one person was more of a dog person than the other, and both partners and the dog knew that. And in those cases the dog slept closer to or on top of the person who was the dog person.

What Dogs Want
From what the humans I interviewed said it seemed that the dogs that slept in the human bed wanted to be there. So in some sense the choice of where a dog or dogs would sleep was not only a human choice but also a dog choice. And I suppose for many of the humans, being chosen that way was a positive thing.

The Advantage of a Bigger Bed
Some couples who shared a bed with a dog or dogs had a bigger bed partly to accommodate the dog or dogs, often a king-sized bed. With a king bed there is room for a big dog, there is room for two or more dogs, and there is room for a human partner who doesn't particularly want to be near a dog to have some distance from the dog or dogs.

Where Dogs That Sleep in the Couple Bed Sleep
Where the dogs actually slept if in the couple bed was typically patterned and predictable, and it seemed to represent what the humans and the dogs wanted. Some dogs slept between the humans. Some slept on human feet. Some slept curled up behind the legs of one of the humans. One woman often slept with her little dog in her arms.

Dogs as Guards
As much as dogs were objects of affection or at least a welcomed member of the family, some couples were clear that the dogs were also guards. Dogs would wake up if they heard something and would alert the humans with whom they shared the bed. Some people said that a dog's barking at whatever might be dangerous was good protection. Some dogs that were big and potentially ferocious were seen as especially valued guards. And in some heterosexual couples, when the man was away the woman felt safer having the dog with her in bed. So just as for many women sharing a bed with a human partner can be partly about safety (see my blog, "Safety (and Sometimes Danger) in the Couple Bed") so can sharing a bed with a dog. Of course, with any guard system there can be false alarms, and so sometimes dogs barked or growled during the night at nothing or maybe a passing rabbit.

Dogs and Couple Intimacy/Sex
Some couples said that the dogs in bed were no barrier to couple intimacy or sexuality, but other couples said the dogs got in the way. But then they would just throw the dogs out of the bedroom and close the door.

Dogs that Snore
Some dogs snore, particularly older dogs or dogs of certain breeds. And sometimes one or both of the humans who slept with (or near) a dog were awakened by the doggie snoring or couldn't get to sleep with it going on. But as with a human snorer, sometimes a nudge or shaking of the dog was all it took to stop the snoring for a while. At the extreme, some people who couldn't sleep because of a snoring dog simply carried the sleeping dog to another room.

Doggie Affection
A big plus for many couples who slept with dogs is that the dogs were affectionate. They might be affectionate when arriving in bed, and they might be affectionate during the night. Some dogs had morning wake-up routines, having their way to say hello to the humans they lived with before going on to other things. One couple said that their dog was kind of a doctor in that if one of the humans was coughing, the dog would come over to the human as though examining the human to see what was wrong. And of course for many humans, and seemingly for many dogs, human-dog contact and maybe even snuggling in bed was a very positive thing.

Dogs in Bed Aren't for Everyone
I also interviewed people who had no interest in having a dog in bed. Some had dogs, but the dogs slept in the hallway outside the couple bedroom, in the garage, in an outside kennel, or somewhere else away from the couple bed. And there were plenty of couples who didn't have a dog and seemed to have no interest in having one. One person had allergies to dogs, but others didn't care for dogs or had a life with no room for dogs. So read this blog as not recommending dogs as part of the life of every couple. But it obviously works very well for some.