You may have heard the old proverb “lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.” Today, sleeping with pets is no longer a strange practice, and a considerable percentage of pet owners allow their pet to come to bed with them nightly. There are arguments both for and against letting your pet sleep in the bed with you, not to mention plenty of people with a strong opinion either way. Perhaps you brought your cat or dog home with the intention of making him or her sleep in his own bed or crate, only to surrender to his cries to be let into the master bedroom. This article will discuss the pros and cons of catching zeds with your pet, as well as offer some advice for those seeking to keep their pet in a separate room. Pros:
There are many potential downsides to sharing your bed with a pet, but plenty of owners do so with no serious consequences, or find that the pros far outweigh the cons in terms of their personal preference. However, if your sleeping arrangements are not working out and you feel it’s time for a change, you’ll find that with some discipline it is possible to break your pet of the habit. Here’s how. **Getting your dog off the bed:**1. Choose an appropriate new bed. It could be a fleece blanket or kennel with his favourite toys and soft bedding. 2. Encourage your dog to settle into his new sleep space by offering him treats and lots of praise. You may also tie in a command at this stage, telling him “kennel” or “bed” each time you reward him for settling in his new sleeping space.3. Repeat step two until your dog takes to his new bed, or reliably responds to your command.4. Ensure your dog knows the bed is off-limits by training him to “get down” on command. You can do this by leading him off the bed, then praising him and only giving positive attention when he is on the ground.5. Start a routine whereby your dog is left in his bed or crate at night. This will work best if the bed is in a separate room with a door, as he may experience some separation anxiety at first. **Getting your cat off the bed:**1. As with dogs, you should make sure your cat has a comfortable alternative to your bed. Choose a warm, quiet place to put a blanket or cushion. Some cats may like to sleep in a partially enclosed space, like a box or corner.2. Cats come and go during the night, but may try to wake you up to solicit food. If your cat does this, leave some food out over night – you can use a food bowl with timed release or an activity feeder to prevent overeating.3. Make sure your door is firmly closed overnight. If possible, keep your cat from directly accessing your door by putting him in a separate room – at least for the first few weeks.Be consistent. Whatever your preference, it’s important that once you have made your decision to keep your pet in or out of your room at night you are prepared to stick with it. Adjusting a cat or dog to a new routine can be very stressful for them, so always try to use positive reinforcement whenever possible.