Sleeping with Dogs

by kimblossom
(Toronto Ontario)

Blues and China

Blues and China

Sleeping with dogs--is it a good idea? Or not?

I have Blues (Staff) who is 8. (I have had him since he was 6 weeks old). And I rescued China (red nose pit) when she was 6 mos old and she will soon be 6 yrs.

Blues has a sweet gentle nature and he is 80 pds and China who is now 60 pds (was only supposed to get to be around 35pds) is so sweet and still very playful.

About 2 yrs ago she started to attack Blues if at night they ended up under the same blanket. (They sleep with me). So I now have 2 comforters and each one sleeps under their own.

I thought he might be agitating her because when I'm not home she is crated and he isn't. But he is confined to the same room she is in and usually hangs out in his crate anyway.

Anyway lately she will growl and then attack him. It is for no reason either. He is usually asleep when she does it. I am always there to stop her and she gives fair warning with her horrible growl. She tends to look at him out of the side of her eyes, growls then lunges.

He will show his teeth if she gets that far but I am always right there. It seems to happen more often now. I usually just forcefully throw her out of bed and into a crate I keep in the bedroom.

It doesn't happen when they are hanging out in the yard. I need to put an end to it because it just is plain destructive behavior.

There have been a few times when I got caught in the middle and she has nipped me lightly. Blues can hold her down with his paw if need be but she is strong and I never want to bring out the aggressive side in Blues.

Thanks I need some advice. I love them both dearly but I get very nervous when she gets so aggressive. There is BSL here so neither of my dogs are very friendly towards other dogs anymore (muzzles can do that).



Gale's Reply:

Hi Kimblossom

My first recommendation is that you stop letting your dogs sleep with you in bed. I know it's sweet to snuggle with them at night. And, you've done it this way for awhile.

The problem with doing this is that it does tend to create leadership confusion. Some dogs have the personality to handle it. But for others it seems to create the unsettling sense that everyone is on the same level, so to speak, and no one is in charge.

A lot of people have found the booklet How To Be The Leader Of The Pack - And Have Your Dog Love You For It! very helpful in re-programming the leadership dynamic with their dogs.

From your description, it sounds like China's aggressive behavior only occurs when you are all in bed together. And, if that's the case, making the bed off limits and establishing yourself as the leader may solve the problem.

However, if the problem persists in other situations, you'll need to work with her individually. A very excellent book along this line is: Click to Calm - Healing the Aggressive Dog. Depending on the severity, you may need to enlist the help of a behaviorist.

And while it sounds like this has been going on for awhile, if the behavior is more recent or has sharply exacerbated all of a sudden, a trip to the vet is in order to make sure China is not experiencing any health issues that would cause her behavior.

Good luck. Feel free to post back and let us know how things are going. You have two gorgeous dogs.

For more information on obedience training, visit our Pit Bull Training page.

For help with behavioral problems, check out our Dog Behavior Training page.

Comments for
Sleeping with Dogs

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Jun 15, 2011
Sleeping with our dog okay
by: Mac's Mom

We adopted our pity Mac at 2 1/2 from a shelter after numerous owners and one final abandonment. He is quite well socialized and gets along well with most other dogs. He has very thin fur-almost like he's covered with tiny little eyelashes instead of a coat like most dogs. We live in the mountains in Colorado so Mac gets too cold at night to sleep on his own. He whines until we cover him up with his own blanket. It took a while to get used to but you've never really been spooned until you've been spooned by a pit bull. He makes sure to sleep with all of our guests on their first night here too! Good boy Mac!

Nov 26, 2011
Sleeping with Dogs
by: Rose

I have always slept with my dogs and for me I am single and live with my three dogs and my Pit cenzie is like having a man next to me at night she snorzes loud and sleeps on her own pillow and likes covered. she was my sons dog but took to me and has to be with me every minute. I can not sleep with out her next to me.

May 20, 2012
She howls all night if she does not sleep in my bed
by: My pitbull is such a big baby

My pitbull is such a big baby! She howls all night if she does not sleep in my bed. We have a tiny peekapoo, who sleeps with my son. We have a cat who is nocturnal, so we never know what he's really up too. But since I rescued my pitbull puppy 8 years ago, here she sleeps. She has to be touching me when she sleeps. If I shut my bedroom door, she will howl all dang night. We've tried it before. If I am not home, she needs to sleep in my bed. If we are all watching movies in the living room, she will try and sit on my lap, all 70 pounds of her, if she can squeeze on the couch, if there is any room.
So, let me guess, I should have never started this habit, right? So now that its a 8 year old habit, are we doomed to sleep together till death do us part?

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