Around 10 o’clock every night, like clockwork, my dog moseys over to the bedroom door and looks back at me as if to say, “It’s bedtime, dad.” His bed is in the next room over, and from what he’s expressed to me, he won’t sleep soundly unless I fluff his pillow and wrap him in blankets.
So, I do just that: I follow him to bed and tuck him in tightly. His auburn eyes and wettish nose poke out from underneath the covers as he looks up at me, struggling to stay awake. “Good night, sweet boy,” I whisper, patting him on the head one last time before switching off the light. He lets out a loud yawn as I close the door, and I can hear his faint snores through the wall while I lie in bed.
Sure, you can call my dog spoiled, but if you don’t tuck your pooch into bed, you’re a supremely sick bastard and missing out, big time. Not only will your dog love being coddled by blankets — studies show that the snugness of sheets can promote feelings of safety and reduce anxiety in canines — but you’ll benefit as well: Interacting with pups can provoke the release of all sorts of feel-good chemicals from your brain, which are especially useful if you want a good night’s sleep, too.
You may not even have a choice in the matter, as some dogs order their owners to tuck them in and refuse to go to bed otherwise. “When Lily’s ready for bed, she’ll pat on the dog bed closest to the couch and yap to demand my attention,” says Rhoda, mother to Lily, a 12-year-old Chihuahua. “She’ll run over to the bed, but she won’t jump in. She barks at me to lift her into bed.”
That’s when the magic happens: “I have a doggy weighted blanket that I put over her,” Rhoda says. “She loves it.”
Other dogs may learn to tuck themselves in, sometimes into their human’s bed, with only a little help from their owners. “He jumps up, does a few spins and then begins to dig on the blankets to burrow and make his bed,” says Kristyn, mother to Leo, a two-and-a-half-year-old yellow Lab. “After jumping off the bed a few times — just to be a character — and being called back onto the bed, he finally nuzzles into his spot and takes a big exhale. That’s the moment my husband and I know he’s settled in for the night.”
Don’t be surprised if your canine friend discovers the greatness of pillows, either. “As we all fall asleep, he lies there, getting under the covers and all tucked in like a human, with his head on the pillow,” Kristyn continues. “Our number-one rule when we were talking about getting a dog was to not have him be on the couches or bed, which lasted all of five minutes. He’s a huge cuddlebug, so it’s impossible to say no to having him on the bed with us.”
If you want to make sure your dog is tucked in and as cozy as possible, here are a trio of tips:
- Dogs love music (particularly Bob Marley and Harry Styles), so you might turn on some tunes to get them relaxed and ready for bed.
- There are all sorts of dog-specific blankets out there, which are often water-proof, easy to clean and ultra cozy for the pup in your life.
- Consider giving your dog some pre-bed butt scratches, which can promote relaxation and calmness.
Welp, it looks like it’s 10 o’clock, which means I’ve got business to attend to. “Who’s the sweetest sleepy boy??”