There are many myths about whether it is bad for our German Shepherd to sleep with us, while some doctors suggest that it can encourage allergies or illness, others argue that as long as we have the necessary hygiene it can be positive.
Sadly, in the field of “sleep science”, it’s not a subject that has that much research.
We have a lot of pseudo theories about ‘dominance’ that are very successful in reality TV, but research in this area is relatively forgotten.
Some Scientist Give Their Approval
A new study even suggests that dogs are the best sleeping partners for women, even more so than cats or other people.
However, it is preferable that our German Shepherd sleeps in the same room, but in their own bed.
Doing it this way they don’t interrupt sleep when moving around and give security to the people who sleep with them, according to another Mayo Clinic study.
Sleeping As a Cultural Phenomenon
Sleeping is a more cultural phenomenon than it seems and it changes a lot between regions and times.
In the same way that Western societies have relatively recently separated the resting places by age (children and adults), it is only relatively recently that the spaces between humans and animals have been completely separated.
In fact, there are many cultures in which these coexistence practices are maintained in a natural way.
Researchers say that humans continue to show a strong attachment to their pets and are often considered important family members.
This is not random: your German Shepherd is a source of support, affection, comfort, security, and stability that can give you important health benefits.
Not Always As Good As It Sounds
Research suggests that there are some possible problems in sharing our beds with animals.
Health risks: These include some immune responses, allergies, asthma, or hypersensitivity pneumonitis; bites and scratches can also occur through which infectious diseases associated with pets can be contracted.
Those most susceptible to this type of problem are young children, pregnant women, and immunodeficient patients.
However, the overall health risks are very low; almost negligible if our German Shepherd receives medical care and maintains proper hygiene.
Sleep problems: In general, the main problems related to sleep quality involve companions (kicking, snoring, etc.) and children.
Our pets also play an important role. For example, a Mayo Clinic study found that fifty-three percent of pet owners who slept with their dogs had sleep problems.
However, it is difficult to know the real impact of these interruptions because they are very short interruptions that by themselves explain little.
Interruptions can be related to temperature mismatches between humans and pets, as well as differences in sleeping and waking cycles.
Behavioral problems in animals: It has been found that dogs allowed to sleep with their owners may experience increased aggression and problems related to separation.
It can be a major source of conflict and stress in relationships, so beware of this!
Why Does My German Shepherd Want to Sleep beside Me?
There are many reasons why your German Shepherd sleeps next to you, in your room, or on your pillow.
However, all of them are reduced to the attachment that dogs can feel for their guardians.
Yes, this relationship that we consider exclusive to humans also occurs with animals, especially with those that have experienced a process of domestication such as dogs.
Studies carried out with more than 50 dogs and their owners, the famous Ainsworth Test for children, show that most of them when seen without their reference figure, present behaviors typical of the attachment that a child can feel with its parents.
Now that we know that your German Shepherd wants to sleep beside you, mainly because it feels attached to you, let’s see in more detail what most motivates this habit or behavior.
It is a social animal
The first thing you must know to understand why your dog sleeps with you is that it is a social animal, which in the wild would sleep in a group.
The dog is not a solitary animal, so it is in its nature this “curious” habit.
In fact, if you live with more than one dog and the relationship between them is good, surely you have observed that they never sleep alone.
Most of them either sleep with their humans or sleep together in the same bed or in the same room.
It Wants To Protect You
As we said in the previous section, the German Shepherd is an animal that watches over its own, worries, and communicates with you through its own language.
In this way, apart from the rest of the reasons, sleeping together fulfills an important function: to protect each other.
Sleep is one of the moments when we are most exposed and therefore most vulnerable.
For this reason, many dogs prefer to sleep near or next to their humans in order to protect them if something should happen.
This is a natural behavior of the species. If you suspect that your dog likes to sleep with you because of this but you don’t want it to continue sleeping in your same bed, place its bed next to yours.
Remember An Adequate Rest, For Both
We must consider if sleeping together really provides an adequate rest to our German Shepherd and to ourselves, since depending on the conditions and dimensions of the bed it may not be the most recommended.
Thus, if this is your case, you can always place the animal’s bed next to yours so that your German Shepherd sleeps in the same room, feeling safe and protected.
However, if the dog suffers from separation anxiety or hyper-attachment, sleeping with your dog is not good because it reinforces this behavior which is not positive for it.
In these cases it is necessary to go to a dog trainer or ethologist to treat the basic problem, since stopping sleeping together is not the only solution.
In The End, It All Depends On You!
In general, it seems that science agrees with common sense.
Sleeping with animals can have some problems but always related to previous problems on a sanitary and behavioral level.
And, on the other hand, if our German Shepherd is healthy, has proper hygiene and a “good education” not only are there no problems but can have very positive effects!