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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16877
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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My puppies are 5 months. My husband has taken to Chloe (girl),

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My puppies are 5 months. My husband has taken to Chloe (girl), and I have taken to ChiChi (boy). We love them to sleep with us but they only feel safe near our crotch between our legs. As my husband and I are both overweight, this does not allow us to sleep comfortably and causes back issues by morning. We have tried to get them to sleep near us and they either cry or jump back to where they feel safe. I'm looking for a solution that involves them sleeping with us and us not being in pain to do it.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 months ago.
Hi Chris,


My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.


In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.


Is there a reason why you are set on them sleeping in bed with you?
Are they sleeping on top of your body or just near you on the bed?
Is the back issues due to you not feeling like you can change position because the dogs are in the way?
Have you done any obedience training with the dogs?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I like them sleeping with me. It's a comfort thing for me plus my house is old and can get cold at night. My dogs are indoor dogs. The puppies are literally "between my legs". The reason it becomes uncomfortable is because I like to sleep with my body in a semi-v shape, with my legs straight. Due to me being 150 lbs overweight, my legs tend to bow out a bit. When the puppies sleep there, it bows my legs out even further and puts pressure on my back. I can handle 1 puppy but not 2, my husband can't even handle 1 for same reason. As I said in my opening statement, we have tried to get them to sleep "beside" us but the only place they feel "safe" is between our legs. No we have not done any obedience training because we currently cannot afford it. I have purchased books and attempted some things on my own with only moderate success.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 months ago.
Chris,

Thanks for the additional information. It does help. I'm sure you probably are aware of this but just in case, a pillow between your legs can help alleviate back pain. I have to use one myself due to back pain. Additionally, a pillow placed in the area may also keep the dog from trying to sleep there.

I suspect the dogs feel this is the safest area for them. It is fairly easy to move a leg or an arm or roll your upper body and possible pin a small dog. If there is an open space in that area, the dog probably feels that is safer. You may not even be aware of moving around during the night but the dog would be.

The best solution would be to train them to lay down in a place and stay there. The safest place would likely be at the foot of the bed if there is enough room that they would not be kicked. I understand you can not afford obedience training so let me give you a site that is great at teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html .
Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below. http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm

Having them sleep next to you might not be the best idea just in case you do shift during the night. My personal recommendation would be to not allow them on the bed or furniture at all. Dogs that are allowed on furniture or beds start to believe that they are equal to the humans in the house or even higher since they have teeth and can bite. Your pups are still young and I would expect to see more problems develop if you do not get them trained now.

I am not saying that they can not come onto your lap for you to pet them or show them affection, just make them obey a command before allowing them up and once you are done petting them, make them get back down. You can provide them their own beds either on the floor or on a small platform. They even have heated beds available or you might put doggy sweaters on them. If you can not afford doggy clothes, often infant clothing fit chihuahuas quite well just by taking in a little underneath. I've made many outfits for my own chihuahua in this manner. This would help keep them warmer at night if they are not in bed with you.

So the options you have are to block the area at your crotch with a pillow, continually remove them from the area every time they try and go there, or train them in obedience so you can command them to sleep in a specific spot if you do not just have them sleep off the bed.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . You are also still able to come back and respond after rating if you need further help with this issue. .
If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may go here http://www.justanswer.com/pet/expert-jane-lefler/ and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.

Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Yes, Jane, your information was helpful. We already do the NILF approach and it is amazing how quickly they sit and are calm when they see a treat!! LOL As far a your recommendations for sleeping, I have mixed feelings. Each puppy has different needs when sleeping. ChiChi seems to adapt the best. He can sleep most anywhere as long as a piece of me is touching him. Like now, he's asleep on my chest but likes my hand under his chin. Once he gets comfy, he will stay without my hand. Chloe on the other hand is a true princess. I sleep with a nightlight, my husband sleeps in the dark. (We sleep in different rooms as I snore quite loudly and seperate is the only way we can both sleep). Somehow, Chloe is afraid of the dark, afraid of being up top with no barriers (like sleeping on our chest), and like ChiChi, wants our touch, so putting her in a bed in a chair nearby, just makes her jump back into bed, into her comfort zone. Hubby is unwilling to sleep with a nightlight or a pillow. I on the other hand, am willing to try to go back to having them sleep next to me in a bed and then work on moving that down to the foot of the bed. I have a clicker. Maybe if I work on training I can get Chloe to be ok to sleep in a bed even in the dark. Comments?
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 months ago.


I understand your situation. I snore and like to read, so I have a light on and sleep separate from my partner. He is like your husband in that he likes to sleep in total darkness. My dogs are not allowed on the furniture, even the little ones. The cats though are much like your chihuahuas. They would love to be between my legs as well for the heat generated, but with being moved over and over and over again, night after night, they finally learned I wouldn't allow it. I also use a pillow making it a little more difficult for them to try and worm their way in. So one now sleeps above my head and the other at my feet. So I can understand your situation completely.

As difficult as it might be, you might try putting harness on her and a short leash that you can loop under your foot to keep her at the foot of the bed while you are "training" her to stay in that position. Since ChiChi is fine as long as you are touching him, perhaps a foot against him would be enough to keep him down out of the way. You do have to be the boss though or I think you will find them both getting more demanding over the next 6 months as they become more mature.


Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16877
Experience: Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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