Dog lovers will lap up the news that a study shows sleeping with dogs can help you rest easier.
According to the Mayo Clinic, sleeping with your dog doesn’t necessarily compromise sleep quality, as previously suggested.
It turns out a calm and well-behaved pooch in your bed can help you relax.
Now that we have permission to sleep with our dogs, should you relax the rules and let your dog on the furniture, too?
The answer: it depends.
Here are the pros and cons of letting your dog on the furniture.
Consider the mess
Some dogs shed more than others and are more prone to tracking in dirt and debris to their favorite spot on the couch. But this can be remedied by wiping their paws and spot cleaning regularly. Keeping a mat by your exterior doors can also help reduce the amount of dirt coming in and out of your home.
As far as dog hair is concerned, regular brushing and grooming can help reduce shedding and keep your dogs happy and healthy. Remember that keeping dog nails trimmed can also help reduce wear and tear on your furniture. However, simply putting down a heavy blanket and designating it as the spot for your dog can also help protect your furniture.
Reinforce appropriate behavior
It’s a myth that letting your dogs on your bed and furniture can make them more aggressive and dominant. They won’t necessarily declare themselves the alpha of the family simply because you invite them onto the couch. Of course, the trick is to have both a well-trained dog and big enough furniture so everyone can be happy and comfortable.
Dog lovers who want to invite their pooch into their bed, for instance, may need to upgrade to at least a full-sized mattress to give their dog dedicated space.
However, you could be reinforcing bad behavior by letting your dog have free reign of all of your furniture.
Making sure your dog knows that some furniture is off-limits, or designating a specific spot on the chair can help keep dog owners as the leader of their pack. You should also remove your dog from your furniture if they growl whenever someone tries to sit down next to them and decides the couch is for their paws only.
Make it easy for guests
Not all guests enjoy dogs, and even the ones who do may not want to sit in dog hair or have your furry friend in their lap. Always consider how your guests feel when they enter your home and train your dog accordingly.
For example, it may be worth training your dog that they may only join you and other humans on the furniture when invited. You can also set aside a unique chair that’s just for your dog so guests can enjoy their own space and relax without worrying about who will end up in their lap.
Think about your furniture
Ask yourself what you want from your furniture over the next few years. If you’re going to keep it indefinitely and minimize wear and tear, then keeping your dog on the floor is a wise decision.
You could also consider investing in durable furniture without stress and replace it in a few years when you can determine just how much your dog is contributing to its wear and tear. Or you could take steps to dog-proof your furniture by using slipcovers.
Consider the future
Think about what your future will look like, and how your dog and furniture will impact that. For example, a couple looking to have a baby in a year or two may not want their dog to jump onto furniture with a little one nearby. You may also be changing up your lifestyle and moving in with a parent to save on money while transitioning through graduate school or a career change, or plan to have your dog stay with friends while extensively traveling. A dog who invites himself into everyone’s furniture may not be the characteristic you want in a best friend.
Inviting your dog onto your bed and furniture can be a relaxing and cozy way to pass the evening with the right consideration and care. Like anything else, consider how to train your dog to fit the needs of your home life while still keeping your furry friends happy and healthy.