There’s a theory in dog training that you have to be the Alpha, or the pack leader, at all times in order for your dog to respect your commands and work for/with you. And there are any number of transgressions that can undermine your Alpha standing in a dog’s mind: the dog leading a way on a walk, entering a door/gate before you, eating before you, putting its paws on you or jumping up, etc, etc.

One of the deadly sins, supposedly, is letting your dog sleep in your bed. To the dog, it’s supposed to elevate him to the same status as you, the leader. I’ve heard this from more than one person/source and I’ve also heard variations of the idea that allow for exceptions: “it’s okay as long as they’re at the foot of the bed” (supposedly, while the dog is elevated onto the same level, being relagated to the foot of the bed keeps him in his place…).

So what I’m wondering is: how many of you out there allow your dog to sleep in the bed with you?

I’ll admit that my pooch crawls up into bed with me and the missus. I never notice it until morning when I wake up and he’s there and the wife isn’t. Sometime during the night, after I fall asleep, he jumps up and lays at the foot of the bed. Then, at some point in the night he begins to stretch out and slowly migrates sloth-like toward the pillows. When I wake in the morning he’s usually upside-down with all four legs in the air, lips flipped backwards with his pearly white canines and Eukanuba breath staring me in the face.

While this nightly routine seems innocuous to me, my wife tells another story: a battle of wills that she usually loses. Apparently, while I sleep soundly, our black Lab jumps up and curls up against the back of her legs, pinning her against one side of the bed before making his stealthy stretch down the middle of the bed.

I have no clue if Kona (our Lab) respects me enough not to enter my bed space (but not enough to stay out of the bed) or what, but I rarely am awakened by his nightly transgression (when I am he’s either told “off” or “manually assisted” in leaving the bed). I haven’t seen a downside in the field to his leading the easy life of sleeping on a queen-size pillow-top mattress; his whistle-sits and casts are sharp and he takes pretty good lines (of course, we haven’t encountered the suction of a pillow-top mattress in the field yet, either). I also know a couple of pro trainers that allow their dogs to sleep in the bed with them. One pro I know admits that he and his wife have up to four Labs in their bed with them and that they’re squished to the very edges!

So let’s hear it OL dog lovers. Does your pooch(s) sleep in your bed?