“I think it really came from this idea that dogs should be segregated from the best parts of the house — they shouldn’t be in the kitchen, the dining room, on the couch or on the bed,” Dr. Horowitz said. “For some reason, there is this sense that we have to maintain our dominance over them by having full possession of these things. It sounds ridiculous because it is ridiculous.”
Dr. Horowitz said that when her dogs, Finnegan, a lab mix, and Upton, a Great Dane-bloodhound mix, started crowding the bed, the solution in her house was not to kick them out, but to “expand the size of our bed.”
“They’re getting older, so they can’t leap up onto the bed anymore,” she said. “We actually have to lift them onto the bed. But it’s the best place. It’s a comfy place. It’s where we are.”
Dr. Horowitz recently got a new puppy, a Schnauzer-cattle dog mix named Quiddity, who sleeps with her son. She said that if someone was having trouble sleeping because of a dog, they should try to find another cozy spot for the pet to enjoy. “They don’t have to sleep in the bed,” she said. “Find some other place as spectacularly good — or maybe they want to sleep with your son.”
One question the Mayo Clinic study didn’t address was how sleep changes for dog owners if the dog leaves the bed. On a few occasions, my dog Maddie has chosen to sleep elsewhere, and I find myself waking up even more wondering where she is. When that happens, I go find her and bring her back to bed.
When Jamie Contreras and her husband, who live near Portland, Ore., got their bulldog mix puppy, Cooper, they planned for him to sleep in a crate next to the bed. But soon, the dog made it clear he wanted to be on the bed. As the dog got bigger, it became apparent there wasn’t enough room for everybody — so the couple bought a king-size bed.
Now, nearly 12 years later, the 83-pound dog’s nightly routine includes sleeping under the covers in between Ms. Contreras and her husband. Often, the dog moves on top of the covers during the night, pinning the couple under the sheets. Sometimes, Cooper runs and kicks in his dreams.