We all love to cuddle a dog on the sofa, but is it right for day one? The answer will depend on the dog and your family.
When a new rescue dog comes into your home they are learning the rules from scratch. Many will only have known kennels and spaces shared with other dogs. Initially they are bound to have some insecurities and be unsure of your expectations.
The times dogs are most likely to feel anxious are typically with new people, when being fed, in tight spaces, doorways, corners and when settling down to sleep. It is important to recognise this and ensure they are given enough space to feel comfortable.
The dog’s bed should be a safe place where they will not be disturbed, they will hopefully quickly learn that if they want a snooze they can go there and relax. Children and adults should remember not to approach the resting dog nor lean over the dog’s bed.
The confusion can arise around the sofa. The dog can learn to see this as a wonderful big dog’s bed and the humans can think this is a seat for them. If the dog is used to settling down on the sofa for a snooze, they may still want their peace undisturbed. People sitting on the sofa or approaching the sofa or moving about on the sofa may make the dog very uneasy. Sadly this can lead to real issues, when all the dog really wanted was to be able to sleep in peace.
So what is the answer? Well that depends on your dog and your family. If you have young children at home or visiting regularly, then think carefully because it is especially important that young children do not approach sleeping dogs. Wherever the dog relaxes it needs to be a safe, undisturbed place.
Initially the dogs may not recognise a dog’s bed as a good place to sleep, so make a note of where they like to relax and maybe mark it with a mat so that it is more comfortable and the family realise this is the dog’s relaxing place and respect it. Over the coming weeks the use of a dog’s bed can be encouraged by popping treats in it.
We all love a cuddle on the sofa, but it is not something to be rushed into (remember you can always join them on the floor initially for games and strokes). For a nervous dog it is much better that they learn where their own safe spot is first, then maybe a few months down the line they feel brave enough to share your sofa, or maybe they only come up when invited.
However you work it, please do remember to see things from the dog’s viewpoint too and ensure they always have a safe, peaceful, comfy place to rest undisturbed. And you must also remember to LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE.