and I mean that literally...
Sleeping with a Great Dane requires more skill than one might expect.
Things to watch out for:
- pads: Unlike some dogs the pads on their feet are extremely
scratchy around the edges. Should they brush across you with a little too
much pressure they can easily draw blood.
- claws: Obviously you should never trim claws just before going
to bed. The sharp pointy edges that result can easily cut you. If you're
into making you're dog look fancy you can always use a dremmel
to round them off but personally I prefer a nice long walk over asphalt.
It's much more pleasant for both parties and I don't plan on entering my
kids in a show any time soon anyway.
- tail: Although not a problem for me I imagine that some
dogs must wag in their sleep. Dane owners know how dangerous that tail
can be. So, if you've got a wagger be sure to stay away from that end.
- mouth: Teeth aren't really a problem but drool can be. Some
danes just can't stop leaking. If you've got a drooler you need to watch
that they don't use your stomach, back, or random limbs as pillows
in the middle of the night.
- feet: Feet, possessing both claws and pads and backed by powerful
legs, are the most dangerous part of a sleeping dane. There's not really
much you can do about them either. Danes have a tendency to sleep on their
sides which means at any given time half of them in dangerous to a sleeping
you. Common problems include running in dreams, streching, twitching,
kicking, and rolling over. Unlike lovers it is much better when they sleep
with their backs towards you and their legs towards the edge of the bed.
This can, gradually, become common practice through positive reinforcement
every time they lay down with their back to you. Laying with their feet
towards you will result in less bed space and more scratches. For those
who don't already know, a dane can easily take up 3/4 of a queen sized
bed without trying. Another problem with feet is that sometimes they reach
towards your face while you sleep. While normally fine, this becomes a
problem when they start to twitch or move as the pads can leave you with
red marks or scratches where they're hard to hide.
- knees: frequently a Dane with begin their relaxation in a
Sphynx-like position, which is fine until they roll over and either spear
you with their feet or ram a knee into your side. Once you have them trained
to sleep with their backs towards you you can anticipate the knee and
not get hurt.
- cover theft: Far more skilled than any annoying lover
or small child, with a simple shift a dane can steal half of the covers
or pin you under them before you have a chance to stop them. The best way
to avoid this is to let them sleep under the covers. If they are adverse
to sleeping under the covers I recommend commanding them to lay down while
you lay down beside them and pull the covers over both of you. Do not let the dog leave. After about half an hour off cooing
and petting you will have a dog that will never let you go to bed without
letting them under the covers too. The downside to this is that you will
be woken to lift the covers for them whenever they decide to come to bed
and by allowing them onto the same side of the sheets and you you open
yourself up to scratches from various sources.
- snoring: Not really a danger, this can be rather annoying.
Not all danes do it of course but if yours does you're just SOL.
- foot of the bed: Unless you happen to have a small dane (or
you are vertically challenged yourself) making them slep at the foot
of the bed really isn't effective. Yes, it avoids many of the problems,
or at least only puts your feet in danger, but you wind up squished against
the headboard, and your dog is the only one who gets any of the benefits
of sleeping with you.
- sleep wherever you find space: Sooner or later you are bound
to try this, probably because you don't want to wake the sleeping cutie(s),
but trust me, it's not worth it. All it does is give you a kink in your
back, if you even get to sleep at all.
- be the boss: You are the alpha dog, the pack leader, and
any other human better be higher in pack hierarchy than them too or you're
going to have some problems. So, act like it. If they're already asleep
on the bed, tell them to get off, get comfy, then invite them back. Kicking
them off and not inviting them back is bad dog etiquette, unless you're
actually upset with them.
You're probably wondering why any sane person would ever let a Great
Dane sleep on the bed with them, never mind under the covers. The answers
are not terribly logical. Sleeping with a dane is like sleeping
with an enormous teddy bear that breathes and loves you back. They are
wonderful in the winter when you're piling on the sheets (A danes body temp
is around 105 degrees Fahrenheit and will keep you nice and toasty. Sleeping
with pack members is a way of building and strengthening trust, friendship,
and camaraderie among dogs and people. When you don't have a human to
snuggle with danes make excellent substitutes, same for when your human
doesn't want to be snuggled with. Danes don't mind an arm and a leg
wrapped around them every now and then. And many other snuggly, teddy
bear type reasons.