Ask AKC with Lisa Peterson
July 2007

Dear Lisa: My wife and I are having a disagreement about whether to let our new Boston Terrier puppy sleep on the bed with us at night. Is this a good practice or will it create problems for us or the dog down the road? – Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Dear Sleeping Dogs: You will find trainers and behaviorists on both sides of the bed about this issue. Some say absolutely not and others offer great ways to make it work for human and canine. Any young puppy should sleep in a crate until housebroken and mature enough to jump up and off the bed without risk of injury. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of letting the pup on the pillow.

  • It feels good to have your best buddy by your side. This can be an incredibly comforting and emotional experience. The ultimate bonding experience.
  • Great alarm system. No one will sneak up on you while sleeping. The close proximity of the dog to you is the ultimate protection.
  • They provide added warmth. Have you ever heard the expression “a three dog night?” That refers to a night that is so cold you need three dogs to keep you warm.
  • Dog can easily alert you when he needs to go outside in the morning for his first walk of the day.
  • Ultimate comfort for your dog.
  • Ticks and other nasty bugs, like fleas, have an easier time jumping from the dog to you. In my region where Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses are rampant, the risk is high.
  • Dogs snore. They can wake you up at night and disrupt your sleep. A recent survey reported that as many at 21 percent of dogs snore at night keeping their owners awake.
  • Dirt. They can shed hair and leave other nastiness lodged in their paws from walks outside on your bed.
  • Allergies. If you suffer from them and dog dander adds to your discomfort, then the worst place for your dog is on your pillow.
  • Dogs can become overprotective of one partner. If this behavior is allowed to escalate the pup may growl or even bite the partner attempting to enter the bed or asking the dog to move over.

I would suggest that it be as an “invitation only” instance and not an “automatic” right for dogs on the bed. This way you can decide when and where the dog can come on the bed and that puts you in charge. Whatever you decide, just make sure you are consistent with the rules.
The AKC offers more tips on sleeping with dogs and invites you to enter the National Sleep Foundation’s “My Pet Loves Sleep Contest.”

Dear Lisa: My Bulldog will soon be having her first litter. What should be included in a puppy kit for the new owners? – Novice Breeder Needs

Dear Novice: A great way to insure a new puppy’s continued success with their new family is to provide an abundance of resources for each new owner. As a longtime breeder myself, compiling a bundle of resources and items, commonly known as the “puppy kit” is one of the fun administrative jobs of being a responsible breeder.

The best place to start when assembling the kit is to ask yourself, “What would I have wanted when I first got my 8-week-old puppy?” There are some my favorites to include:

  • Paperwork
    • AKC Registration papers
    • Vaccination history
    • Worming history
    • Pedigree & photos of sire and dam
    • AKC/CAR Microchip enrollment information
    • Training, housebreaking, sleeping, etc. tips
  • Feeding
    • Several days of current food to help in the transition to new home and food
    • Coupons or literature from food manufacturers
    • Feeding schedule for puppy including growth increase amounts
    • List of recommended treats
  • Gear
    • New puppy collar
    • New leash
    • New toy
    • Old toy which brings the scent of his mother and littermates home with him
  • Additional materials
    • Parent Club information and newsletter
    • Book list – or a copy of your favorite recommended book
    • Magazine articles
    • Websites
    • Recommendations for area vets, groomers, and training classes

When each new puppy owner comes to pick up their cute new bundle of energetic joy, spend at least an hour with them and go over each item in the kit. Also, include all your contact information so that the new owner can reach you during those first weeks of puppy hood.

Lisa Peterson, a long-time owner/breeder/handler of Norwegian Elkhounds, is the AKC Director of Club Communications. If you have a question, send it to Lisa at and she may select it to be answered here in Ask AKC.

© 2007 The American Kennel Club, Inc.