Dogs love routine! They are more settled and become more confident when they know what’s what. Constantly changing the goal posts of what they are and are not allowed to do will not do them any good at all. When you welcome a dog into your life at any age, they will benefit greatly from structure and routine.
There is no hard and fast rule on where the best place for your dog to sleep is but I believe you should start as you mean to go on.
I.e If you want your puppy to nap in his crate then start teaching him this from day one. If you don’t want him to lurk under the dinner table while you eat, don’t allow him to do it now because he’s only a baby.
Dogs need their own quiet space just like we do to relax and sleep well so choose somewhere away from heavy footfall and noisy areas. I prefer not to have my dogs upstairs in my bedroom as I like to keep one area of the house just for me! I also think its good for dogs to learn to sleep independently so if you need to leave them alone for periods of time you know they will be happy.
When your dog is sleepy lead them to their sleep area and settle them down. It can take a dog up to 50 repetitions to learn something new so keep this in mind if it takes a while for them to get it!
If you want your dog to sleep in a crate this will require extra steps as you should gradually increase the amount of time your dog is left in a crate. Some dogs settle quickly but others need gradual increments beginning with leaving the crate door open and getting you dog used to this before you close the door on them. We will cover this in another blog as is a whole topic on its own!
Use calm, reassuring praise that they are doing a good job settling in their bed. Nothing too energetic or you’ll wake them up ?
If you have a dog that will only settle near to you then you can start here and gradually move them little by little to where you want them to be. Small changes shouldn’t unsettle your dog are a gentler way of training your dog where they will be sleeping. Some rescue dogs for example need a longer period of time to adjust to a new home so you should be sensitive to this.
In a time when we are home a lot, having your dog settle away from you will benefit you both greatly when life returns to normal. It’s lovely to have your dog sleep at your feet but to have them attached to you permanently isn’t healthy. Everyone needs time to themselves. There aren’t many opportunities to have time apart from your dog so naps are a good time to show your dog it’s ok to be on his own. Separation anxiety is stressful for you and dog and can be tricky to overcome.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter where your dog sleeps as long as able to settle by himself, he’s happy, safe and can relax. A puppy or new dog will benefit greatly from learning to settle in the same spot and you will too. You’ll feel confident you can leave him by himself and you get on with work or have some time to yourself.