If you are thinking of letting your German Shepherd sleep with you or it already does, you might be wondering whether or not it will be ok.
This post will show you whether or not it will be ok for your German Shepherd to do so and some things for you to consider.
So, can my German Shepherd sleep with me? Research has shown it is not problematic provided that the dog is healthy and without behavioral issues. However, if it does have some behavioral issues such as aggression, resource guarding or separation anxiety then it might make them more pronounced.
There are actually a number of pros and cons to consider when deciding on whether or not to let your German Shepherd do it.
In the following sections, I will show you some pros to letting your German Shepherd sleep with you, some cons and some things to consider.
Reasons that letting your German Shepherd sleep with you might not be a good idea
It might contribute to separation anxiety
If your German Shepherd has separation anxiety then letting it sleep with you might not be a good idea right now. Separation anxiety is where your dog does not like being left without you and being left without you causes it to become anxious. If yours has it then sleeping with you could contribute to its separation anxiety.
If it does have separation anxiety, then it would help to work on getting rid of its separation anxiety before letting it sleep with you.
It might make it harder for you to sleep
Another thing to consider is that letting your German Shepherd sleep with you might make it more difficult to sleep for you. When you will be trying to fall asleep your German Shepherd will be moving around and possibly trying to get attention from you, especially on the initial nights.
With that being said, it would always be an option to stop letting it sleep with you if you find that it does not work out so well.
It can aggravate your own allergies and transmit diseases
It is possible that letting your German Shepherd sleep with you will aggravate allergies and there is a risk of transmitted diseases. However, this is a very rare occurrence (source) but it is something to be aware of.
It might increase resource guarding
If your German Shepherd has issues with resource guarding then letting it sleep with you might make them worse. For example, you might find that it will start trying to protect its spot on its bed.
As with separation anxiety, it would help to work on stopping its resource guarding before letting it sleep with you.
It might be difficult to get it to stop if you change your mind
One more possible issue with letting it sleep with you could be that it will be hard to get it to stop if you change your mind. This is because your GSD will get used to sleeping around you and suddenly stopping it from doing so could be met with some resistance.
Reasons why it is not such a bad idea
It improves feelings of companionship
A positive of letting your GSD sleep with you is that it will improve feelings of companionship between you and your dog. German Shepherds were bred to work alongside their owners and they are usually a lot more comfortable when they can be around their owner as and when they please.
It might make you feel safer
German Shepherds are highly protective dogs and they are often used as guard dogs for this reason. Letting your GSD sleep with you could help to make you feel more secure at night. This could help you to fall asleep more easily after the initial nights where it might be trying to find its best spot.
Research has concluded that it’s not so bad to let it sleep with you
People, in the past, would say that you shouldn’t let your dog sleep with you for reasons such as it causing it to feel like you are no longer its leader. However, recent research has concluded that the pros can outweigh the cons when letting your GSD sleep with you. It also found that there is not a significant issue with doing it if your relationship with your GSD is a healthy one.
Things to consider
Before deciding on whether or not you should let your German Shepherd sleep with you, there are some particularly important things to consider that I will mention below.
Whether or not it has behavioral issues
If your German Shepherd has behavioral issues such as separation anxiety, resource guarding or aggression then letting it sleep with you could make them worse.
If you do decide that you want to let your GSD sleep with you then it would help to work on the issues before doing so.
On the other hand, if your German Shepherd does not have any behavioral issues and your relationship with it is a healthy one then the research shows that this would not come with significant issues when letting it sleep with you.
How old it is
Another thing to consider is how old your GSD is.
If it is a puppy still then it might pee in the bed and it could contribute to it getting separation anxiety later on. If you do notice that it starts getting anxious when you leave then it would be very important to immediately start working on getting rid of the anxiety so that it does not become a more significant issue.
You could get it to sleep on the floor beside the bed instead
One way to reduce some of the negatives would be to let it sleep with you but on the floor beside your bed. By doing so you will be able to get the benefits but it won’t contribute to its separation anxiety as much and it will reduce the likelihood of it resource guarding.
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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.