Do you have a dog? Does your dog sleep with you in bed? Have you had days when you wake up feeling exhausted because you’ve been up numerous times with Fido at night? Did you know that your dog may be depriving you of sleep? A recent Mayo Clinic study found that approximately 18% of pet owners were in agreement that their pet disturbs their sleep at night. But, the actual numbers may be much higher. Part of the reason is that many people don’t want to admit to themselves that their cat or dog interrupts their sleep because more than likely, people are intensely loyal to their pets.
If you don’t get enough sleep it can negatively affect your health, your mood, your memory and, in some cases, even your heart. The pets that get up to look around, scratch (which in itself is noisy), and get up and fidget and reposition in bed, can keep you from falling asleep and staying asleep as much as a snoring spouse can. The Mayo Clinic study went on to say that even if you’re not consciously waking up, your dog could be causing what they call “micro arousals” which, with many wake ups during the night, causes disruption to your entire sleep cycle. These wake ups leave you constantly tired and exhausted during the day.
Tough Love Time!
If this sounds familiar to you, then it might be time for some tough love for your pet! You need to get your dog out of the bedroom. Retraining your pet out of your bed will not traumatize him contrary to popular belief. Despite what many people think, you can teach your older pet new “tricks” and retrain your dog from sleeping in your bed by buying him his own plush bed and rewarding him with treats and belly rubs when he decides to rest there at any time. Then, when it’s time to turn in at night, you can just move his bed next to your bed and you can reach down and pet him so he knows that he’s being a good dog. If your dog is too loud to be so nearby to you, you can gate him out of your bedroom so that he can see you, but it blocks him from entering the room. It is totally possible to retrain your four-legged family member into a good habit.
The best thing you can do for your dogs is to crate train him from when he is a puppy. Your dog will then perceive his crate as a safe place to go to sleep. You can then place the crate outside of your room, or inside your room near your bed, and encourage him to use his crate at night. You may be familiar with the saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – which translates into “don’t let bad habits become established from the beginning”. It is much easier to prevent them, then to have to retrain and cure the dog of the habit. Dogs are naturally den animals, and in the wild, they would find a place to sleep, usually under something to feel safe. By nature, they like to feel secure so by using the crate it would give them this feeling of security.
My Final Thoughts
It is a big help if a puppy is introduced to the crate from the day you bring him home. Then, once he becomes reliable at night and doesn’t soil in his crate, he can then be allowed the privilege of staying out of his crate at night because he has earned it. As a bonus, if you leave the crate door open, my bet is he will wind up back in there to sleep – which goes back to the theory of liking a safe place to sleep. Be sure to situate the crate, and eventually the dog bed, which will replace the crate, in a safe spot so that if you must get up during the night you do not step on your dog. It’s better for your dog to have to catch up on his sleep, rather than you being half-asleep when you’re at work!
I would love to hear your comments, feedback stories and ideas.
Scoops is a pooper scooper, dog waste clean up and pet waste clean up service located in central New Jersey – Check us out at www.ScoopaPoop.com/contact-us