Jealous Dogs, Ask Victoria Stilwell

posted: 05/15/12
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It's okay to allow your pets to sleep in your bed as long as everyone's getting a good night's sleep.
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"We just adopted a 3 year old male neopolitan mastiff from the shelter. We had a 3 year old male chocolate lab already. The dogs get along good, but every time i try to be intimate with my husband, the mastiff goes nuts! He starts barking, crying, and running back and forth from one side of the bed to the other. The lab never used to care but now he joins in. What should I do? Please help!!" — Jen03313

Get the dogs out of the room! When people are being intimate, there are odd sounds and movements that might freak the dog out.  Dogs aren't sure what's going on and if the dog is protective to one person over the other, then it can give the dog a lot of stress.  Put the dogs out of the room and close the door.  You can allow the dogs back in later. Keeping the dogs away is the only solution. 

Some dogs may also get very jealous even when a couple is just hugging or holding hands. If the dog is trying to jump up on you when you are holding hands, hugging, etc -- ignore the jumping/attention-seeking behavior, wait for three seconds of calm behavior and then reward the calm behavior with attention so the dog is getting rewarded for being calm around you when you are hugging, holding hands, etc.

"My husband and I have a five-year old Boston Terrier who we have allowed to sleep in bed with us all the time. However, we now want to have him sleep in his own bed, but next to ours, as he is increasingly interrupting our sleep and other things. What is a kind and effective way to train him to sleep in his own bed? Thanks!" OtisNYC

First, I always tell people that if your dog isn't guarding the bed and you enjoy having the dog in bed, it's fine to allow your dog to sleep in your bed.  But, sometimes it may be difficult for you or your dog to get a good night's sleep if you share a bed so it's good that you are looking into the best way to transition your dog.

To move your dog out of your bed, you must start gradually.  Find a way to raise the dog bed so that it's only 2-3 inches lower than your bed and place it up next to the mattress on the side of your bed. You will still be able to touch him and he will feel like he's still on the bed.  As he adjusts to sleeping in his nice, new, luscious bed, gradually lower it over time until it's finally touching the floor.  At that point, you can begin to move the bed further away from the bed until you have placed it in the space you want.  Just do not go cold turkey because that's not fair to the dog.

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