Maybe my dog should sleep with me?
This is a personal choice and a decision that should be made with thoughtful consideration of possible consequences, both good and bad.
Are you happy with your dog sleeping on your bed to be a long-term arrangement? Yes or no?
If your answer is no, then make sure you lay the ground rules early and be consistent. If you answer yes, then you need to take into account the following considerations. If your dog is being the boss of you by failing to follow simple instructions (just wanders off) and isn’t tolerant of other people or family members being in either your or their personal space, then having the dog sleep on your bed in some cases can reinforce the dominant behaviour.
If you like the idea of your dog sleeping close to you but want to avoid the disturbed sleep that can come from having your dog on the bed, there are alternatives you can consider.
1. Your dog has their own bed
2. Your dog has their own crate close to your bed. This gives your dog a suitable sleeping space and his own private enclosure.
If you’re worried about your dog’s inconsistent behaviour, then it suggests that there is a hiccup with your human-dog relationship. Your dog needs to learn that being in your personal space is a privilege earned by consistent good behaviour. Don’t allow your dog to choose their own behaviour (like chasing or bench-surfing to steal food) otherwise you are inadvertently reinforcing bad practices.
A period of time sleeping away from you, even if it’s in a comfy bed in the corner of your bedroom, instead of on your bed can make all the difference to establishing a healthy and compliant relationship with your dog. The old saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ is true here.
If you’re having ongoing problems with ‘bossy behaviour’ then removing the dog from your bed is probably not going to be enough. You will also need to spend some time rewarding your dog for the good behaviours you’re after.