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Canine Behavior/Where dogs sleep

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Question
We have 2 dogs. Trip(8 yr old Golden Lab) clearly loves me the most.  We bought Lobo(Husky/Shepherd) at 6 wks. Slept on wife's chest for 3 months while potty training.  Clear attachment there.  Wife and I sleep separately(snoring!).  Trip sleeps with her, Lobo sleeps with me.  Please explain!!??

Answer
Thank you for your question. I'd say the easiest explanation comes down to comfort. You didn't indicate which of you snores, but perhaps one dog is more sensitive to it than the other, so they switched places. Or perhaps they are more mutually bonded between you than you realize. Or they prefer the bed or the cuddle styles of the one they are choosing to sleep with.

Without some observation of the interactions between the four of you, as well as the sleeping arrangements, I can't really say. And even then, I'd only be able to make an educated guess as to why or how they are choosing their sleeping partners.

In my own home, both dogs sleep on my bed. My older dog usually chooses the foot of my bed, though occasionally he chooses right up against the pillows (is he feeling cuddlier that night?). And then a few times per year, he chooses his bed which is on the floor. I have no idea what motivates those choices - maybe he was hot or just felt like he needed more space and didn't want to be laid upon by the littler dog and so relocated to his own bed, which is too small for them to share. It's all just an educated guess because I cannot ask him in a way that will bring about an actual answer (much to my dismay).

In your situation, it may be borne out of habit, or comfort of bed or morning rituals - if you and your wife have different morning schedules, maybe one dog likes to get up earlier (or needs to potty earlier) and the other prefers to sleep in a little and so that decided it for them. Or, the bed itself feels more comfortable, or sleeping styles of the human, or the amount of dark or noise in a particular room.... the reasons behind the motivation for that sleeping choice are potentially endless.

If it doesn't bother you, I'd say relish that each dog has a favorite place to sleep and that they are sharing the two of you. If you need it to change, you might need to have the humans switch rooms and see if the dogs stay in the room, or if they go with the person. That could be telling - room preference or person preference. That might shed some light as to the motivations behind their choices.

I'm sorry this probably isn't really that helpful to you, but this is one of those things that are just not as straight forward to determine (especially without further conversation and observation).

Please feel free to followup if I can be of any further assistance.

Jody, CPDT-KA, APDT
Worcester, MA Behavior Specialist
Masters Candidate - Animals and Public Policy (Animal Behavior)
Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Behavior
http://NutzAboutMutz.com  

Canine Behavior

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Jody Epstein, CPDT- KA, APDT

Expertise

IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR DOG IS ILL OR INJURED, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS NOT THE FORUM TO ADDRESS URGENT MEDICAL ISSUES. I AM NOT A LICENSED VET AND HAVE NO DIAGNOSTIC SKILLS. ***I have been answering questions on All Experts for over 5 years now. I enjoy being able to offer assistance in this forum. I do need to be clear, though. If you’re looking for free advice about a specific behavior question, you MUST submit your question to me via All Experts. If you bypass All Experts and write to me directly through my website, I will ask you to submit via All Experts. On the flip side, if you’re local to Los Angeles and you wish to speak to me privately about an in person consultation, please go through my website. I appreciate your assistance in keeping my volunteer work on the volunteer site.*** I can answer questions about the following canine behavior issues: obedience, timid/fearful & fear-based aggression, nuisance behaviors, families that are expanding with either new human or new animal members. If you have potty training questions please first read my trio of blogs at http://CashewsCorner.wordpress.com/ If you still have questions after reading the blogs you can post your specific questions here. PLEASE be as specific as possible when asking a question. Give me a detailed example of the situation - dog's behavior, body language, circumstances surrounding the issue, what the consequences are (another dog's response, your response), etc. I can only provide insight if I can get a picture of the whole scenario. If I ask for further details, please provide them. In person I would normally observe for at least 90 minutes to assess the situation and the dynamics before offering tools and suggestions to modify it. In writing it is ever so much more difficult. Thank you for your participation in the process.

Experience

I have been professionally modifying behavior and training obedience for 7 years. I have owned dogs my entire life. I have just changed the name of my business. It is no longer Good Dog! Dog Training. The new name is Nutz About Mutz!. If you see previous questions with the Good Dog! website information, that is my response.

Organizations
I am a Certified Profession Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), #2133301 ; I am a member in good standing with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), #77763 ; I am an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator (CGC), #71253

Publications
http://NutzAboutMutz.com ; http://CashewsCorner.wordpress.com ; Multiple articles in the local pet magazine Pet Press (found across Southern California)

Education/Credentials
I have a graduate education in animal behavior and learning. (While I completed my coursework and did the requisite research, I did not defend a dissertation. I am qualified, but not certified and so technically not a doctor. This is commonly referred to as Ph.D.-ABD which means All But Dissertation.) My educational focus was with non-human primates, but my personal interest is with domestic dogs and their relationships with humans and other animals. I continue to educate myself to canine-specific behavior through extensive reading, online interactive workshops, vidoes and attending canine behavior conferences.

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