The thoughtful comments from readers on the Sleeping Around post were outstanding. Opinions ranged from allowing dogs to sleep in the bed every night to the idea that because of dominance, dogs should never be allowed on the bed.
This discussion reminded me of an experience I had years ago. I was going to California and called an old friend from college days and told her I’d be in town. “I’ll stay at a hotel near you and we can spend a day together,” I said. She wouldn’t hear of it. “Absolutely not! You’ll stay with me. I insist!” she said.
I told her while I appreciated the warm hospitality, some people are simply more comfortable in a hotel. My friend must not have heard me because when she picked me up at the airport, she cheerfully announced that she had taken the liberty of canceling my hotel room. Begrudgingly, I went to spend the night at her house.
She lived in a small, older bungalow on a main street in Los Angeles. The front of the house seemed to be only about 20 feet from the busy sidewalk that was the walking route to nearby bars. When it was time to go to bed, I realized there was only one bedroom. “You’ll have my bed,” my friend said. “I insist. My boyfriend is coming over and we’ll sleep on the couch.”
How do I get myself into these situations?
Sure enough, the Boyfriend of the Week showed up and he was the kind of person who made me feel uncomfortable. I went to bed and listened to the loud partygoers walking down the sidewalk. The windows were open and it was a hot and steamy night. Darn, if I was at home or in a hotel, I’d have air conditioning and I wouldn’t be sweating. Plus, I wouldn’t be laying here thinking of how the first floor unscreened bedroom windows would provide extremely easy entry for murderers.
I was just drifting off to sleep when I was jerked awake–it wasn’t a dream. Someone was crawling into the bed with me. I was literally so paralyzed with fear I could not speak. My heart was pounding and my mind raced. Had someone broken into the house and now they were going to kill me? Or, maybe it was the creepy boyfriend crawling into the bed. With my whole body trembling, I jumped up and turned on the light. There in the bed, staring at me as if to say, “Hey man, turn off that light- I gotta catch some z’s,” was a large, long coated German Shepherd. I had no idea my friend had a dog. Apparently, he had been in the back yard until bedtime. In the back yard laying in the the sand, that is, which now filled one side of the bed.
“Okay, buddy, Off,” I said. He gave me a defiant gaze. “OFF,” I said. He stared at me like I had just dropped in from another planet. I called him to come to me with no luck. Confidently, I reached to help him get off the bed. He growled, pulled back his lips, and made it very clear that this was his bed and he wasn’t going anywhere. Then he moved over to my side of the bed. Now the whole bed was filled with sand.
It was obvious that this was a dog who had a reinforcement history of having things his way, and this was not the first time he had commandeered the bed. While plenty of dogs do very well sleeping in their owners’ beds, it is resource guarding behaviors like this that result in some trainers saying dogs should never be allowed in beds belonging to people.
I decided that rather than implementing a late night behavioral intervention with someone else’s dog, the wisest move would be to ask the owner to get the situation under control. I went to the living room and turned on the light to ask my friend to come and get her dog. Of course, it was only after I turned on the bright, overhead lights did I discover that my friend and her boyfriend were completely naked and they apparently didn’t own a blanket.
It was one of the longest nights of my life. The next time I checked into a hotel, as I took my key and walked toward the elevator, I heard one desk clerk say to the other, “She must not get out much; I have never seen someone so happy to check into a Holiday Inn.”