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When Dogs Are Not Welcome in the Bedroom

Last Friday's posting about designing a dog-friendly bedroom received some interesting reader comments, with a few readers explaining that they solve this design dilemma by...

Julia Szabo  |  Oct 1st 2010


Last Friday’s posting about designing a dog-friendly bedroom received some interesting reader comments, with a few readers explaining that they solve this design dilemma by crating their K9s. But one commentin particular really hit home for several readers, this blogger included.

“Anonymous Doggie Lovers” wrote, “What do other people do when you want to be intimate? Shut Puppy out of the bedroom? Let him have a ringside seat? I have never seen this addressed anywhere, and we need help, fast. My DH is really having a lot of trouble with this, and I don’t want an ‘it’s me or the dog’ situation!”

In response, “Amber” wrote: “When my boyfriend and I first got our dog, we kept a pre-stuffed Kong or meaty cow femur ready for situations that would require our dog to be preoccupied elsewhere (during times we’re eating, intimate times, if I’m folding clothes – he’s a terrible sock thief) and I paired it with the command ‘Go to your spot.’ Now when we need him out of the way (almosta year later), I simply tell Coby ‘Go to your spot’ and he lies down until we pay attention to him again. It’s a very useful habit to have.”

This topic comes up in “Where SleepingDogs Lie,”a book produced bythe Humane Society of New York on the occasion of its 2004 centennial. The book suggests that dog owners who are single and dating, or considering re-entering the dating arena, can maketheir lives easier by making some simple preparations. Start by practicing this easyroutine: close the dog(s) out ofyour bedroom once every two weeks. This can go a long way toward introducing your pet into a new relationship (although it may break your heart at first).

According to William Berloni, Director of Behavior at the Humane Society of New York, “If you have an overnight guest and you close the door on your pet occasionally, it won’t be as much of a shock – and the pet won’t resent the new person.”

Dogs can become quite excited to witness their owners having sex. “Some dogs get very agitated when their owner is being ‘mounted’,” Berloni explains.Somemight peer over the edge of the mattress to be sure everything’s OK; others might attempt to jump up on the bed and join in somehow, perhaps by licking one person’s feet.

We understand the pet’s perspective; now let’s consider the human’s.Somelovers feel self-conscious to the point of experiencing performance anxiety when they sensea pair of canine eyes watching them. Others feel threatened, because dogs sometimesbecome protective of their owners when they get physical with another human, no matter what the context.

On the other hand, some peoplearen’t fazed bycanine company in the boudoir. These people make great lovers, says Dr. Gilda Carle, who recalls the first time her then-fiance stayed over: “Shepherd Von Carle was furious. All along, SHE was my bedmate; now, for the first time in a long time, she was closed out of the bedroom. Horrors!”

What happened next? “So when we reopened the door,” Dr. Gilda continues, “and Fiance went in for an early morning shower, Brilliant Dog found the exact spot on Fiance’s thong sandal and defecated exactly in that spot, maintaining the parameters, and not spillingfecal matter onto the carpet beneath the shoe. Neither of us knew this happened. Suddenly, as Fiance put his foot into the desecrated shoe, he screamed out my name: ‘GIIILLLDA!’ I thought someone had died. Sheppie ran for cover with her tail between her legs … Fiance’s kids made me tell the story again and again, as they laughed their heads off. But Fiance was never amused, even after time. A sense of humor is vital for a relationship’s shelf life. Guess that was one reason I chose not to marry him!”

Concludes Dr. Gilda, “My Gilda-Gram for relationship issues of all kinds is, When something happens TO you, it really happens FOR you. See all human reactions to your pet and its behaviors as neon personality revelations. Sense of humor is often the #1 trait singles look for in a mate. If a new beau can’t laugh about your pet’s antics, what’s up? Seriousness is self-righteousness; if a prospective love can’t take life in stride, perhaps you ought to reconsider your attraction. Allow your pet’s antics to lead the way to understanding the kind of person you think you love.”