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My Wife Won't Let My Dogs Sleep with Us!

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Bruce Sallan: I love my wife, I love my boys and I love my dogs. In that order. Because I remarried after a contentious divorce, the blending of the family -- my two boys, my two dogs and me with her and her one dog -- was a challenge. She had to deal with more adaptation, without a doubt, but we had to deal with a woman in our midst -- one who, surprise surprise, actually cared about cleanliness and order.

Just a Guy Who Loves His Dogs In Bed

For me, the biggest challenge in dealing with the mostly positive changes in our all-male household was giving up the warmth and companionship of having my dogs in bed with me. They were there for me in the darkest hours of my separation and divorce -- when my boys were with their mom; when our then-large home felt cavernous and terribly quiet and empty -- and I think they literally saved my sanity.

Those who know me well -- my current wife included -- might question my sanity at any given moment, but I continue to credit my dogs with helping me overcome those lonely and honestly scary times. Their warmth, their closeness, their unconditional affection and love kept me going.

Now my wife says, "No dogs in bed." It's not a negotiation or a discussion; it's a decree. Even having them there when she's not there is unacceptable, given their telltale leave-behinds of hair and/or dirt. And putting a special sheet over the bed doesn't hide their presence from her eagle eyes and lint brush. When I get presented with that hard evidence, I plead guilty -- and I'm banished to the guest room with my tail between my legs.

I know that my wife provides a lot more genuine warmth than the dogs -- and the level of intimacy is certainly greater -- but I sure miss having my dogs in bed with me. Why can't we all bunk together? Oh well ... what do I know? I'm just a guy.

Do YOU let your dogs sleep with you? Or is this something you and your spouse fight about, too? Comment below.

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22 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jeff June 17, 2010, 8:47 AM

Bruce, yipes, that’s why you have a wife. Let the dogs go. Cuddle with your wife. Maybe do more than cuddle, huh huh?

Tara June 17, 2010, 10:19 AM

I agree with Jeff. You created an emotional tie with the dogs when you were in a rough spot and that’s great. That being said it’s time to rely on your wife for the cuddling and intimacy. She has a right to a fur/dirt free bed, I’m a stickler like that too. Maybe compromise with her by once a week sleeping in the guest room with the dogs if it’s THAT BIG of an issue. (though after I suggest it, that sounds creepy)

Black Iris June 17, 2010, 11:03 AM

I wouldn’t want dogs in my bed. It’s not just the smell, it’s inhibiting. Be glad your wife thinks a romantic life is important. Maybe you can nap with the dogs on the couch sometimes.

Ann June 17, 2010, 11:15 AM

I am a wife who loves having the dogs in bed :) My husband travels and when he is gone I have three in bed with me. My husband prefers that they not sleep in the bedroom. So we take turns allowing them in bed. One of our dogs won’t sleep in bed, so he has a pillow next to my side of the bed. We also let them sleep with our daughters - it has always brought them comfort too! They aren’t just animals, they are my furry kids!!

I have a very tolerating husband though, not sure what I would do if he wasn’t.

The wife comes first though, but maybe you could try to make her understand.

Steph June 17, 2010, 11:34 AM

I used to let my dog(s) sleep with me until I met my husband, who said nope, not happening. Which I thought it was just horrible!

But I’ve since become a no-dogs-in-bed convert, because it’s a good way to teach them who the alpha figure is. The two dogs that I’ve had with my husband have been infinitiely better behaved than all the ones I grew up with.

David June 17, 2010, 1:13 PM

I welcome having a dog “sleep” next to me … when I’m in my casket! Sure, under those circumstances I won’t give a rat’s behind if a dog is lying next to me, kicking its forelegs at my face in a dog dream … because I will already be D-E-A-D!

I don’t “get” the concept of a pet, canine or otherwise, in the first place … I “get” service dogs, working dogs (e.g., on a ranch), and all sorts of practical applications of a dog or other beast.

But a pet dog … it’s like, “For the next 70 years, or a decade in human years, I will spend many thousands of dollars feeding a creature, paying its veterinarian bills, walking it a couple of times a day, and figuring out whom I’ll con into doing that for me I’m not home for more than 12 hours….” What’s the attraction?

If you answer, “Companionship…a dog gives me unconditional love…” and son on, allow me to remind you: It’s a DOG! It has neither opposable thumbs (for holding your hand when you’re lonely) nor the gift of speech (whcn you want to talk through an idea or a feeling).

And, in BED with me? For mouthfuls of dog hair on my pillow, dog saliva on my sheets and mattress pad, mud from dog paws on my comforter, dog odor on my body and bed linen, and dog panting (because they breathe with their dog mouths hanging open) in my face, I receive what actual payoff? I have more respect for my BeautyRest than that!

Tara June 18, 2010, 3:00 AM

Awesome David, just awesome :)

Starra June 18, 2010, 3:46 PM

Our dogs are part of the family, even furry & 4-legged as they are.

The two of us have hardly ever had times in our lives whether apart (Meaning Before we met & fell in love) or Together that we did not have fur-babies; be they cats, dogs, rabbits and once even a ferret, etc.

Cats, dogs & kids have all at one time or another shared in our Family Bed.
(I did & still would draw the line at rabbits & ferrets sleeping with us.)

I think during those needed Romantic Encounters they should be out of the Boudoir.
But a good snuggle down all together just seems to fit our laid-back animal loving family Purr-fectly! Pun intended of course.

To each their own Bruce. Give a little you get a lot.
So keep the love of a good womyn & enjoy your companionship of these loyal dogs too. They probably do not mind as much as you do in not being in the bed.

Bruce Sallan June 18, 2010, 4:34 PM

So, David, I’m not really sure how you feel? Lol.
What is evident in the comments so far is that “to each his or her own” and “different strokes for different folks (or animals)” - I’m sure there are many more cliches as well! Check back on Sunday for my Father’s Day blog - it’s a tearjerker and has nothing the least controversial unless you didn’t like my dad (and I never met anyone that didn’t love him!)

Maxine June 18, 2010, 10:58 PM

I have to agree with your wife. I don’t believe in having pets in bed-probably, because I’m allergic to their fur. I think that as human we clean up before we go to bed and dogs don’t. I see my bed as a sacred space for Tony and I and I’d want it to remain that way. Perhaps I’d feel differently if I didn’t have allergies and I had a pet that I loved.

Jessica  June 19, 2010, 7:08 AM

So, it’s actually not good for the dogs to be sleeping in bed with you. Sleeping in your room is good, as it bonds them to you as a part of the pack - but sleeping in your bed is bad as it puts them in the running for “Alpha Dog”. Other things to watch for are walking through doors ahead of you, jumping on you, etc. My happy, friendly, well-socialized and very well-behaved Rottweiler sleeps on a crib mattress beside my bed, and when my boyfriend’s 10 year old daughter is with us he sleeps with her. This makes her “his” and he will protect her more fiercely than anything or anyone else - - but he won’t always do what she says, she is more of a sibling than a leader. :)

Bruce Sallan June 19, 2010, 7:13 AM

Jessica, of course you’re right. And, seriously, I understand all those rules of training dogs. However, the “Alpha Dog” position is long gone and on one else has a chance. My wife runs the show, period, the end!

Daddy Files June 19, 2010, 11:41 AM

I’m with you Bruce.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing the bed with dogs. I love my 70-lb Golden and she sleeps with us every night at the foot of our bed. My wife doesn’t care and I love her for that.

Not to mention I wouldn’t deal well with a wifely decree. That would not go over well. If something cant even be discussed then that’s a problem.

Not quite as blunt as 'David' June 19, 2010, 11:47 AM

I, also, don’t “get” pets. I have three young children, so my house (and life) is messy/noisy/chaotic enough. The LAST thing I want is an ANIMAL in the house! My husband grew up with pets, but since having kids, he now shares my viewpoint…mostly! If I wanted a dog, he’d probably say sure, but he’s not begging to get one any time soon. That being said, when he was a teenager, he used to sleep with his beloved dog -whom he was allergic to- every night. Aside from companionship and warmth, his bedmate also treated him to fur, urine, and the occasional vomit. I’ll pass on that, thanks. I won’t even let my kids in my bed if they’re sticky or filthy…which they usually are.

Casey June 19, 2010, 8:01 PM

When I met my now husband, I moved 600 miles away from my family to be with him. I had a dog, who had been my rock many times over 4 years, and I had to leave her behind for a few months to get situated. I always judged people I dated on how my dog reacted to them and how they treated my dog. Once a guy said he hated my dog while she was trying to cuddle with us on the couch and I immediately told him to leave and not bother to call again. So when my (now) husband told me she couldn’t sleep in the bed (also given the fact he worked offshore weeks at times) I told him she was or I was headed home and not looking back! Needless to say I won that bump. Now I sometimes regret I was so insistant. I started getting lonely right after we got married, and he worked so much he bought me another puppy (although now 6 and 2, they’re still “pups” to us) and immediately after the addition to our family, we became pregnant! I now have an 18 month old and 2 dogs and our dogs are total bed hogs!! I constantly say I want to move them to the floor and now it’s my husband that whines about the idea! He suggests we go buy a cali king so we can fit the dogs and our daughter in bed! I want a good nights sleep, though i think after one night my oldest dog would not have ANY of it! They’re SPOILED and totally part of our family, we just can’t kick them out! I must say when my husband leaves early in the mornings for work, they immediately make their way up to his spot to get some cuddling and loving!

Jonh June 22, 2010, 2:33 AM

Ha, sounds like fun Casey, Thats the point the dog lovers on here are trying to make, the dogs get to sleep with you because they are part of the family, they arent ”pets” really but actual family members, they sleep with the family, eat with the family, exercise with the family, and you cant exactly kick out your family now can you?

Blake July 25, 2010, 9:29 PM

Bruce, your a man after my own heart. I too want my dogs to sleep on the bed with me but she says absolutely no! I hate it so bad. I love my dogs and they too have brought me through some terribly low times. I feel you bro.

Amanda August 27, 2010, 8:51 PM

David June 17, 2010, 1:13 PM

You are entitled to your own opinion about dogs, however not all dogs breath in your face with mouth wide open, they breath through their nose too. Also they are great pets, either you just don’t like them, are a cat person or just had a very bad experience with a dog as a pet.

My husband and I allow our dogs to be in bed with us, the oldest one sleeps at our feet and of course he is the tiny one a Yorkie, our other one she is a Jack Russell and she always tries to sleep right between me and my husband. We do allow it but most of the time she just ends up by our heads or under the covers. Come winter our Yorkie would prefer to stay under the covers until it was spring like a bear. Its funny because I took over for the care of the Yorkie, has been in my family for 12 years, I have had him for 2 years now. Our Jack Russell I took her in from some family off of “Craig’s” list that from the looks of them they could hardly afford to feed themselves let alone a dog. So instead of them just giving her to some random person who wouldn’t take care of her I took her in. It took some time for both dogs to get use to each other but now they are inseparable from each other and from us. They are our babies and we may treat them like babies but that is our choice. Wherever I go, the Jack Russell goes, she is practically attached to my hip. Honestly though where else would you get better attention, besides your spouse, if you left your house for 5minutes or longer and come back and they be so excited that you are back home and want you to play catch with them. I love my dogs and they love me. Dogs are actually very smart and my Jack Russell proves that to be so true. As for the Yorkie he is old and is always like whatever, did you say something because I’m old and stubborn. The funny thing about the Jack Russell is she is JUST like a kid, you tell her no and she tries to be sneaky just like a toddler or older child would be, but I wouldn’t change her or trade her for any other. Bruce I really think you just need to talk to her about it, if anything get them some comfy dog beds/pillows and lay them next to your side. I bought $2.50 bed pillows with no covers and they both love them, Walmart has them. Hopefully things work out for you. The only time I plan to break this habit of theirs is when I become pregnant and while having children growing up. I have a feeling though that when we have a child one or both dogs will be sleeping near the crib to protect the baby, at least the Yorkie did that when my nieces were first born, but hopefully he will still be around then. Good luck.

Diane October 15, 2010, 7:39 AM

I agree with Bruce. I have two GSD’s I love them with all my heart. They sleep in bed with me. I wouldn’t have it any other way. This does not make then think they are alpha. They know that I am the alpha. They know who feeds them who walks them and basically who cares for their needs and that’s me. They show total respect for me. They don’t just jump up in the bed they wait for the say so and then they get up in the bed. I say to each their own, there’s nothing wrong with not letting a dog in the bed and there’s nothing wrong with letting a dog in he bed. I know one thing for sure I can always count on my dog being there for me in good times and bad and for that I am truly grateful.

Elizabeth November 18, 2010, 9:38 PM

Okay, I get the comments about the dog being part of the family, but I dont let my kids sleep in bed with me either. After a long day at work and still keeping my family together, I deserve my sleep at night. My husband doent get that sleeping with his arm around the dog instead of me speaks volumes. I am supposed to be his rock yet he lets the dog take that from me. If you dont show your wife that she is needed and loved and even adored, your bed will be alone with the dog. Pick one….

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