Thursday, 15 September 2011

Battle of the Bed

The rule in our house is that dogs are not allowed on the couch.  It is not that I have any great objection to the dogs being on the couch but Riley is just way to big and when Lucy was a pup we were told how bad it was to have your dog on the couch.  I now know that isn't true but the couch is also the cat's domain where they are able to cuddle with us so it doesn't really seem fair to have the new puppy hogging the prime lap positions. 

The first night Stella was home she came over to where I was sitting on the couch and put her feet up.  I then reached over to scratch her head and she pushed back on my hand for leverage and had climbed onto the couch so fast I didn't even figure out what she was doing until she was on my lap.  Since then the best way to buy a respite from puppy craziness was to allow her onto the couch where she would promptly snuggle down and go to sleep.  Now she has successfully managed to bounce her way unassisted a few times onto the couch so I decided it was time to addresss the issue. 

We have a large foam bed (can fit three dogs)and also a crate in this room but based on her desire to snuggle into something when she is sleeping I decided to buy a new bed.  The new bed is more of a basket style with sides.  She really wasn't all that interested in the bed for the first few days so I added an extra snuggly baby quilt and the bed is placed right next to where she normally would ask to come on the couch.  There was another dog bed there before that I did often treat her when she was sitting or sleeping on it so there is a small history of reinforcement for that area.  When she asks to come up onto the couch I would ignore her and look directly at her bed.  She kept trying but eventually she followed my gaze and went to her bed and lay down.  I heavily treated this behaviour. 

It has only been a few days but she has now mostly adopted her new bed as her "spot" and has only asked to come on the couch a few times today.  I continue to randomly reward her when she is on her bed. Both cats are pleased with this development and have made quick cuddle appearances this evening.

Our bed however is a full on cuddle zone for all animals.  The rule is if two humans are in bed then no dogs but once a side is vacated it is fair game.   That really is more a function of limited space as we often have two cats all night long.  Hubby works early in the morning and Riley generally hops up as soon as he gets up to shower.  Stella loves to have a morning snuggle (or lazy weekend afternoon snuggles) and when released from her crate she goes straight over to the side of the bed waiting to be lifted up.  Once on the bed she snuggles in for as long as I am willing to stay.  I laughed today when Riley was on the bed later in the day and Stella was jumping up at him and trying to get on the bed (it will be a while yet for that one).  Riley growled at her just like when he was a puppy and Lucy growled at him.  Lucy wouldn't let him choose to jump on the bed with her until he was about eight months old.  If I invite the pup then no problem but apparently dog house rules are that those special sharing priviledges need to be earned by puppies!

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