So Dolly got a pass and slept on the couch Wednesday. It was the first time I had seen her really relax in her new home, she was happy and wasn’t attached to my heels for once.
Well last night I see something extra furry on our bed, and sure enough it’s big ol’ Dolly splayed out. She had deployed quickly, chosen my side of the bed of course, and decided the best place to be was right in the middle of where I sleep. Now, I’m not averse to animals in beds, per se; Tabby the cat has a habit of sleeping with me when the weather gets cold.
It only took me a couple of seconds to see into the future. I envisioned us in the king-sized bed, my wife comfortably on her side, Dolly laying on my side, and me with 6″ of bed, on my side, crammed right up against the edge, my limbs hanging off the side and Dolly snoring next to me and occasionally snorting doggy boogers against some part of my exposed flesh. I don’t know what it is about my personal space, but animals seem to have a tendency to invade it. So as much as I wanted to give Dolly every comfort she had in her old life, there are some lines which I must draw.
The way she made herself so comfortable so quickly made me aware that Mom must have allowed her free reign of all furniture. They did sleep on the couch together, so it’s not hard to believe she was allowed on the bed.
I sternly pushed, and pushed, and pushed Dolly off of the bed, told her No, and had her lie down in her bed at the foot of my bed on the floor. And yes, ten seconds later she was back on my bed. This time I moved toward her quickly, gave a stern No, and she got up quickly and jumped off of the bed. Yes, I am the Alpha. I’m just glad Dolly agreed.
She got into her bed and sat, then she gave me such a “sorry” look I felt bad. She’s such a sweet dog, combined with knowing her situation makes it difficult to do anything that makes her unhappy, even acutely. But discipline and boundaries are best, and she slept in her still-has-the-tag-on-it too-small bed, with her head hanging off the side on another doggy throw pillow, and slept there all night. I gave her lots of praise and love while she was there, positive reinforcement.
This morning she again jumped up our bed, and decided that once I started to push her she would sit down and slow all progress of me displacing her. A few more pushes, a couple of ‘No’s, and she was back on the floor for the remainder of the morning.
I think this one is going to be an extended battle.