|Our Airedale Sandy|
One thing we wouldn't let her do, though, was sleep in one of our beds. Charley and I tried it once and the only one who got any sleep was Sandy. I got so hot I had to throw all the covers off. Then I got cold, when she went down by Charley's feet. I guess he had more comfortable toes!
Airedales are hunters, and if Sandy got out of the yard, she chased Canadian geese on a pond two streets away. One winter she fell through the ice chasing them and a boy had to rescue her in his rowboat.
Even after we'd wrapped her in blankets and warmed her by the fire till she was sound asleep, we didn't bring her into one of our beds. She had a bed of her own in the kitchen.
The practice of sharing a bed with a dog was documented as far back as the ancient Greeks. Approximately 42 to 45 percent of American dog owners today say their dogs share their bed with them, according to a survey by the American Kennel Club.
"The dog will think, 'This is my bed,' if you don't create that invisible boundary...by claiming it as yours...If one partner resents the dog being on the bed, the dog is going to sense that, so the bed won't feel like a safe place to the dog. It has got to be a mutual and unanimous decision," said Cesar Millan, star of "The Dog Whisperer" on TV.
According to Clive Wynne, an Arizona State University psychology professor who studies canine comportment, "it doesn't do a dog any harm to ban it from the bed." In other words, dogs can sleep anywhere without being psychologically damaged!
Not so for humans. If the dog is getting all the affection in bed, that becomes the more intense emotional relationship. Dogs can become a substitution for intimacy and sex. Jealous of a dog? It happens frequently, according to Donna Pall, an L.A. psychotherapist specializing in couples counseling. Especially if it's the guy's dog and the woman came later.
Another reason for not bring Sandy into our bed? Studies show an increased rate of Pasteurella infection, ringworm, and even plague (transmitted by fleas), according to Dr. Bruno Chomel, professor of veterinary medicine at UCDavis. Sandy wore flea/tick collars and was bathed regularly, but did I want even one flea in our bed? The Pasteurella bacteria exist in domestic dogs' and cats' respiratory tracts, so a scratch or bite might cause transmission, even a lick And a lick would have been probable, if Sandy had had her head on our pillow.
All quotes and statistics used in this post are from an article by Dan Crane in The NY Times, May 3, 2015, Sunday Styles, p. 12.