Why do dogs sleep at the foot of the bed?

April 13, 2012

Are you the kind of dog owner that ties a dog in the yard or one that provides a quiet corner for the dog inside the house complete with comfortable bed and warm blankets? Or do you go as far as allowing the dog to share your bed? For thousands of years dogs has been the affectionate and loyal companion of man. These creatures are truly man’s best friends. Dogs have been the sounding board of man’s problems and victorious moments. Unlike other species (human?) dogs do not know how to lie, deceive or seek revenge. These loyal and affectionate animals love their masters unconditionally. No wonder people get attached to their pets so much so that best care and utmost comfort is given to these animals. It is not surprising to see people kiss, snuggle and cuddle the pet and even allow dogs to share their beds.

A survey conducted by a pet insurance company stated that only 25% of dog owners allow the dogs to sleep outside the home. Most would provide the pet sleeping quarters inside the house and a big percentage allows the dog to sleep in their own bedroom. It is pretty normal for a dog to have its own bed or a comfy blanket inside the owner’s room. This is most common during the cold winter months if the house is not centrally heated. Some dogs however would insist on sharing the master’s bed. Dogs are affectionate creatures; they would love to constantly snuggle with their favorite person. Notice how they would instantly jump to your lap or lay down on your feet when you sat down to watch TV. It would not be surprising for the pet to want to share your bed. Some owners actually allow the dog to sleep with them. Most dogs sleep at the foot of the bed. These “ankle heaters” keep the feet warm. For instance the hairless Peruvian Inca Orchid is a breed known to have a higher body temperature thus the dog is used as a living “hot water bottle” by its owners. Moreover, a dog inside the room means having a personal “body guard”.

Dogs can sleep inside the covers, snuggle between the wife and the husband. Some large breeds would even take a large portion of the bed and some would commandeer the pillow. So why then do dogs have to sleep at the foot of the bed? Dogs are pack animals. Many dog owners wise to the fact that the dog would need to look up to a leader allows the dog to the share the bed but they are specifically instructed to stay at the foot of the bed. Dogs in the wild know that the leader would have the best sleeping area. Your dog considers you to be the alpha dog and as such the dog actually expects you to have the best sleeping quarters. Allowing the dog to sleep on your pillow while you only have the sheets will confuse the dog. A good natured dog will not suddenly become a dominant one if it is allowed to share your bed. But once the dog has decided to take a large portion of the bed to stretch luxuriously and you are left lying on your side at the edge, when the dog is appropriating the pillow and you have to make do with a corner of the blanket then it can be a problem as the pet is challenging your authority. Sleeping on your bed should be a privilege given to the dog. When the pet is showing a dominant behavior wouldn’t you think it is time to relegate the pet to the floor or even outside the room? This can be quite difficult especially when the dog would beg to be let in with its imploring eyes but you have to reassert your authority as the leader of the pack.

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