Co-sleeping and large dogs? X-posted in the Family Bed. - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-02-2008, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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X-posted in pets and The Family Bed as it had to do with both co-sleeping and pets.

We recently rescued a beautiful one year old Golden Retriever from going to the pound. He is a total lover. Wonderful dog all around. Great with the kids, cats, other dogs, knows all basic commands, etc. My issue is what to do about co-sleeping?

We have a large sized bed that he can sleep on (and he keeps sneaking up there). However, he wants to sleep right between us alongside my 22 mo ds and my almost 4 yo dd. Both of them are not continuously with us at night as they usually go to sleep in their beds, but wander in around midnight.

I'm not worried about the room, we can find a way to do anything, but I am worried about him rolling over on one of the kids. He is HUGE. Haven't weighed him yet as the vets have been closed but I would guesstimate around 90 lbs. Very overweight, poor thing. However, it is pretty clear that he really wants to be up there with us, and I want to bond with him as much as possible. WWYD? Or what do you do with co-sleeping and pets?
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Old 01-02-2008, 01:41 PM
 
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I would not invite the dog in the bed. It can lead to pack structure confusion. Perhaps he (the dog) can have its own spot at the floor or in a crate in the same room.

With all the posts I've seen, here and other places, of co-sleeping dog issues I would say that it really isn't 'bonding' as much as we humans attribute to it. I think proper dog bonding would better occur during daily awake interactions like walks and a dog learning the manners expected of them.

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Old 01-02-2008, 01:42 PM
 
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We're crate trainers, so we have a different experience than you. I'd try to crate train him since he's still young (we have our crate right next to the bed so Clara's still a part of the fam - and we do take naps with her on the bed during the day, but not at night), but if that's not possible or outside your comfort zone, try training him to sleep at your feet, instead of right next to you guys. Maybe fill the space he usually occupies with kids (have a fun sleepover night or something) or with pillows and make sure he knows he can't sleep there, but he can sleep at your feet.

Good luck! And thanks for rescuing this guy. Sounds like he's found a good family!

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Old 01-02-2008, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your ideas. I didn't know what "people" normally did in this situation. All dogs that I have had have slept with us, but I haven't had a dog with little ones before so it is a bit new for me. Last night we did bring his bed in and put it at the foot of the bed. We helped him get down each time he hopped up and praised him when he laid in his bed. However, a large dog jumping on our bed every couple of hours was a bit much, so I think I will go get a crate today.

We love him so much already. Perfect dog for us.....

Thanks again!
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Old 01-02-2008, 02:12 PM
 
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My old pit bull sleeps in the bed. ITA that it can lead to pack structure confusion and dominance issues, depending on the dog and the relationship. But I've always slept with my dogs and not had any problems. Not sure what I will do when my new baby arrives, although I'm sure I allowed the dog at the end of the bed when DD was small.
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Old 01-02-2008, 02:55 PM
 
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I have a 10 yo 65 lb pit bull terrier that sleeps at the foot of the bed with us even when the boy is in bed. She sleeps on dh's side of the bed at his feet - he is her alpha so she sleeps where he allows her to.

It has never been an issue with us. Perhaps just try to train your dog to sleep on the other side of you by the edge of the bed instead of between you all.

Good luck!
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Old 01-02-2008, 03:03 PM
 
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My Aussie boy sleeps at our feet; often ON my feet : He was crate trained, and would still probably sleep in a crate if we still had one He started sleeping in the bed with us shortly before DD was born, due to his constant need to be up my keester while I'm pregnant :

Anyhoo... cosleeping with everyone works out great in my house. We're always very careful to watch for dominance issues, though. Like, super careful. Like, if he looks at someone the wrong way, we take action :

We cared for my SIL's dog for a while and he wasn't allowed anywhere NEAR our bed, because of his dominance issues.

As long as everything is working in harmony, cosleeping with pets is awesome. I love having Baxter on my feet :

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Old 01-02-2008, 03:56 PM
 
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A dog who is jumping up and down all night and who is wiggling his way to the top of the bed is, in my opinion, establishing dominance. I'd get him a big thick bed beside the human bed and make him stay there.

My dogs often sleep on the bed, but they don't even try to get to the head of the bed. They know they're not allowed up past my feet (and one of them has never even tried--she's naturally very submissive and would be appalled at the thought of trying to get too close to me at night). They're also small enough that they're not dangerous. The Danes, with the exception of Lucy-the-most-perfect-dog-who-has-ever-lived, were never allowed on the bed.
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Old 01-03-2008, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE:

He has already learned not to get on the bed. We only had that one night of him trying to get up and now he stays happily on his bed at the foot of our bed.

I think he was trying to establish dominance. He isn't aggressive in any way, but I see little things he tries to do to see where he is in our "pack". So far, luckily, he is learning he is on the bottom. He defers to all of the people in our home (including our two littlest) and our cats.

Very smart dog. I wasn't going to try to teach recall until he settled in a bit, but I think I'm going to go out with him today and start the process.
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Old 01-03-2008, 07:28 PM
 
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Yay! Sounds like you found one heck of a good dog!

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