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Eversince my dog was a puppy, my parents did not allow him to sleep on the bed..and not even inside the bedroom (because of health issues). So every night he slept in the living room all by himself.

Is it okay? I really want to sleep with him in my bed....I'm just worried that he is lonely and what if he feels he is not part of the family? He is already 3years old. He seems already used to it, but I don't want him to be lonely.

Is this okay for my dog? Do you think he is lonely?

And usually, where do dogs sleep?

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  • The dog is fine and you are over worried.
    – Huangism
    Jan 5 '15 at 15:49
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I think he's fine where he is.

1) Humans are pack animals too. But we all learn to sleep alone in our beds, rather than with our parents or siblings, without feeling very lonely or worrying that they don't like us. We know we'll see our family and friends when we wake up the next day. The dog has drawn the same conclusions, and may even feel that his preferred sleeping spot puts him "on guard" to protect the family.

2) The health risks of having the dog in the bedroom are probably overstated -- if you're taking good care of the dog, living with it may actually be less likely to make you sick than living with your human family, since many diseases have trouble crossing from one species to another. There is some risk of fleas or other parasites crossing over, depending on what your dog is exposed to, but I'm not convinced that's much greater if the dog is sleeping with you than if he isn't. However, the simple fact is that many adults really aren't comfortable with having animals sleep with their kids, and as long as it's their house they get to make the rules. When you're living on your own, you'll be able to make your own decision.

3) This is speculation, but there may actually be some minor psychological benefit to the dog in not sleeping with you. Dogs are much happier when they know exactly what their status in the pack is -- who they are and aren't dominant over. Where they get to sleep shouldn't confuse that, but each rule that they have to follow and you don't helps them realize that you're allowed to boss them around, not the reverse.

4) Answering the last question is difficult, since the answer can be different for every dog. Dogs sleep where they're allowed to sleep, just like you don't usually get to sleep in the living room or on the kitchen table even if you want to. Some people do let the dog sleep in the same room with them, though usually not in their bed. Some people believe that "animals belong outside" and insist that dogs should sleep in a doghouse even if they can come into the house during the day. Some dogs have dog beds (a cushion on the floor), others sleep in their travel crates (this is becoming more common), others curl up in a spot that's warm and not drafty, others (as I suggested above) pick a place where they can watch out for unexpected visitors. There really is no single answer.

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  • Thank you so much for the in-dept informations! :) I really learned a lot :) I think I don't have to worry too much since he slept that way eversince he was a puppy...and I understand what you mean by the analogy with dogs and humans I've realized it's same thing for them as humans :)) It really helped tnxx!!
    – Anjee
    Jan 2 '15 at 11:06
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I think keshlam mentioned pretty much everything. However, I'd like to add a few more notes, also from personal experience with both cats and dogs:

Is this okay for my dog? DO you think he is lonely?

From what you've written I think it's fine for him. He isn't lonely.

For most dogs it's pretty obvious once they feel lonely, since they'll try to end this state either by starting to whine (e.g. getting attention) or simply trying to get to you.

When we got our dog as a puppy, he didn't allow me to go further than 2-3 meters from him, yet alone leaving the room and leaving him back. He'd immediately start to follow and start whining if he wasn't able to do so (e.g. closed door). If that didn't help, he started to howl (he's a Husky after all). Over time this became less of an issue for him. Now he's sleeping on his own next to the stairs or on the balcony. Knowing that I'm inside is enough for him to feel comfortable.

If he'd still feel lonely, he wouldn't just sit it out. Dogs aren't like that. You can train dogs to stay alone for a while, but even then they do this because they know you'll be back. If they're unsure about this, they won't allow you to go silently (or leave you on their own) in the first place.

Also, since we don't know how you keep him where he's supposed to sleep: If you're able to sleep with an open door without your dog coming to you, he's perfectly fine with it. But even if he'd try to get to you it could have other reasons (like wanting to play, wanting some food, or just getting attention).

And usually, where do dogs sleep?

That's really hard to answer, since it depends on the individual dog and also his "pack". Some dogs like to be on their own, others want to cuddle. In our case, the dog prefers to sleep alone, but sometimes, especially when it's very cold, he won't say no to some body contact. As long as your dog has freedom to move around (i.e. not inside a kennel), he'll pick a place that's comfortable for him. Don't worry too much about him being unhappy where he's sleeping. If he'd like to sleep somewhere else, he'd most likely do so (if able to).

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  • Thank you for your help :) Yes I do open the door in the day, but I close it at night when I sleep. Sometimes it seems that he wants to get in, and other times not. But usually he doesn't really mind me being inside....I guess it's fine for him unless he shows unusual behavior like attention seeking and howling :)
    – Anjee
    Jan 2 '15 at 11:14
  • @Anjee In case you don't mind and there's nothing the dog might chew or get hurt or otherwise, try leaving the door open (leaned or just a bit open) in case you've got the next day free (i.e. a night with less sleep won't hurt) and see what happens. But really sounds like he's fine with his spot as-is.
    – Mario
    Jan 2 '15 at 11:29
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If your dog is lonely, (s)he will give signs. Asking for attention, or even howling. If you receive these signs, one thing you can do is to put an old piece of your old clothing in the place where (s)he sleeps. Your dog will be comforted by the familiar smell.
Also make sure the water bowl can be reached easily from where (s)he sleeps.

Where dogs sleeps depends on the owner; I've known several dogs who slept in the same room as their masters, although none of them were allowed on the bed. These cases never caused health issues. You should, however, consider health issues if there are allergies involved.

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  • My dog never howled or showed signs of seeking attention...But it seems that he wants to get inside the bedroom when I do some activity in my room. He would sit and wait for me until I come out...hm I guess this doesnt really mean he is lonely?
    – Anjee
    Jan 2 '15 at 11:08
  • @Anjee Most likely not, he's just interested (and might actually want to participate). After all you might be chasing some bunny in there or whatever. As long as he's silent, he's most likely fine waiting though.
    – Mario
    Jan 2 '15 at 11:26

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