biggest problem most problematic quirk that we have found with Sargent is he needs to sleep with someone at all times. Not in the same room, but actually physically next to you. We originally tried setting up the crate at the end of our bed, so he could still be with us and see us while he is sleeping. This is the set up we’ve used for all of our past fosters because we allow Nola to sleep in our bed with us and want her to have her own space. But, after hours of crying and whining we felt bad and gave up.
Our temporary solution was to have the Mr. sleep with him downstairs in the finished basement on the couch. But, due to a lot of ‘what else can we do?’ and ‘I have to get up early, let’s just do what works’ our temporary solution turned into two weeks of all of us sleeping separately. When this past weekend rolled around and the Mr. didn’t have to work at all, we decided now was the time for a better fix for the sleeping arrangements.
Our first plan was to try a tie down. We would buy Sarge a big comfy bed, put it right next to our bed, but hook him up to a tie down so he couldn’t go anywhere. Obviously we would do some training with him during the day, putting him there for short periods of time, and give him yummy treats like bully sticks and kongs while he is on his bed. But, after we bought all the supplies at Home Depot we got cold feet. Sarge is just so old, we want to make him happy and can’t stand hearing him in distress.
So we brainstormed some more. We knew that Sarge likes to be near us, and he likes to be on furniture, so what could we do to accomplish these two things? Then it came to me: an ottoman. We should try and put a big ottoman right next to the bed. He would be up off the floor and be close enough to us that it would ALMOST be like sleeping in the actual bed. We went to ‘The Pit’ (the place where they sell all the mismatched furniture at a discount) at Bob’s Discount Furniture and picked up a big brown leather ottoman for $90. It’s a bit expensive, especially with their policy of no returns, if it doesn’t work, but we figured it would cost us at least that much for another dog bed anyway. I decided on one that has storage underneath for blankets and pillows. (Hey, if we have to add another piece of furniture to our tiny bedroom at least make it functional, right?)
We brought it home and set it up. We put his ‘baby’ (the penguin we gave to him the first night with us, that he sleeps with), a pillow and blanket on it to make it extra comfy. We asked him to jump up and gave him cookies while he was on it.
During the afternoon I folded laundry on the bed while he snoozed on his ottoman. We gave him lots of praise and lots of cookies when he was laying there and told him ‘no’ when he would try to go on the bed.
He seemed to be getting it, but the real test was later that night. He climbed right up when we were all ready for bed (which was at 8pm just in case it took a while for him to settle). We kept the light on and watched TV for a bit while he settled in. A couple hours later he was snoozing away and we shut off the lights. He did really well! He got up a few times, and tried to walk around to my side and get up, but we said ‘no’ and he went back to his ottoman. It’s been 4 more nights since that first night and he’s slept all the way through!
We’re still keeping our fingers crossed, but it seems as though Sarge has conquered the Ottoman Empire and we all get to sleep as a family again!