|Image copyright, Teece Aronin|
No matter how you share your bed with your dog, the dog thinks he is sharing his bed with you. In addition, the dog probably sleeps much better than you. Remember: the phrase is "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed," not "blurry-eyed and bushy-bottomed."
The fastest route to better sleep with Fido starts with leveling the playing field so that he does not play the alpha in the bedroom. Your dog will respect you for it, and you will both sleep better as a result. To avoid the awkward his/her/he/she, we will assume that your dog is male.
Step One: When your dog springs onto the bed at night, you spring onto the bed. This will startle your dog, and he will automatically surrender much of the alpha status he has enjoyed until now.
Step Two: Once your dog recovers from the shock of Step One, he will likely begin walking in a circle on top of the bed clothes. This is known as "rounding" and is an instinctual ritual dating back to your dog's wolf ancestors. Dogs round as a means of tamping down sticks and leaves to make a more comfortable bed. Similarly, dogs often scratch and dig at times like this.
When your dog begins to round, you begin to round, while explaining to your dog how ridiculous rounding is when there are no sticks or leaves in your bed. If there are sticks or leaves in your bed, assist your dog in the rounding process. This will get the job done faster so that you and your dog can fly off to the Land of Nod that much sooner.
Step Three: Anticipate your dog's impending plop to the mattress, then plop first. This tactic allows you first choice of valuable prime mattress real estate, and surprises your dog into relinquishing more alpha status. Once you have both plopped, be the first to snort, preferably in your dog's face. Some dogs prefer to burrow under the bed clothes before plopping and snorting. If this sounds like your dog, once again, beating him at his own game is key. Just don't forget to snort.
Step Four: Roll closer and closer to your dog until your bodies slightly overlap, yours on top. Next, inexorably work your way tighter and tighter against your dog. Your dog's body will at first be unyielding, but be patient, as this is normal. Eventually he will give just a bit, and you will be on top in more ways than one.
Over the course of the night, continue inching towards him as he slowly moves away from you. When you have your dog at the edge of the mattress, roll one last time. Your dog will drop gracefully from the mattress, landing safely on the nice, soft dog bed you secretly purchased earlier in the week and placed on the floor for just this moment. However, if your dog is a Great Dane or St. Bernard, the fall might not be as graceful, and damaged flooring could result. With overweight large-breed dogs, damage has been known to extend as far as splintered floor joists. In addition, the resulting thud can be unnerving but, provided the dog bed is nicely cushioned, your dog will not be injured during his fall.
And there you have it. It is best to perform this process on the weekend, or some other night when you can nap the next day.
Do everything just right, and your dog will need a nap too.