Dog bed

Q. How can I get my dog to like sleeping on a dog bed?

A. You mean, as opposed to sleeping on your bed? In theory, the answer is easy: Get your dog a comfortable dog bed, and don’t let him get on yours.

But that's easier said than done, and I admit I gave up on trying years ago. My wife, Teresa, would sooner have me sleep on the floor than force her darling little Quixote to use a mere dog bed.

While it won’t change anything in many homes (certainly not in mine), your dog doesn’t need to sleep on your bed, and if you have allergies or problems sleeping, you’re probably better off if he doesn’t. Get him to sleep on his own bed by teaching him the “place” command, demonstrated here by my daughter, Vetstreet trainer Mikkel Becker.

But if you don't mind sharing your bed with the dog, then let him stay. Sharing our beds with the dogs is a measure of how much we’ve changed in our views of the “proper” place for pets. I like to say that in my lifetime, dogs have gone from the barnyard to the backyard to the kitchen to the bed. The transition has also ruined some perfectly good expressions. When a husband used to say that he was "in the doghouse,” it meant he had been banned from the house because his wife was angry with him. These days? The doghouse probably comes with indoor plumbing, a spa and room service. Some punishment!

Once your dog knows what’s expected of him, be consistent. If you want him sleeping on his bed, don’t ever let him sleep on yours. And if you're prepared to let him lounge on your bed, don't expect him to suddenly start hankering for the doghouse.