Karen B. London
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When The Dog Is Ready For Bed
Does he try to tell you so?
A yawn means "ready for bed"

Our old dog would let us know when he wanted to go to bed. Around 10 pm, if we had not headed upstairs for bedtime, he had a routine he went through. We interpreted his actions as an attempt to communicate his desire that we all turn in for the night.

The first step was to walk over to either my husband or to me and yawn conspicuously. Next, he would walk to the bottom of the stairs, turn towards us, yawn again, and enjoy a big stretch. He typically yawned and stretched at the bottom of the stairs a few times. He next tried putting his front paws on the steps and turning his head towards us with the hint of a whine in his yawn.

We have always gone to bed on our schedule, not according to the dog’s whims, but we enjoyed his all-too-obvious attempts to get us to go to bed. He never chose to go to bed without us. Perhaps he wanted to remain in our company, or perhaps he was afraid of missing out on something fun if he left the party early.

Does your dog let you know that he is ready to go to bed?


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by clara gilbert | July 1 2011 |

One of my dachshunds has a regular routine of getting into bed then out to get his favorite toy then back in bed it never fails,he wants to lie down 2 seconds, then get the toy. He seems a bit put out if we want to laugh while he is clearly ready for everyone to sleep.

Submitted by Janie K. | July 1 2011 |

Our old dogs get so excited when we say "bed time"! They're ready and willing - they play hard! :o)


Submitted by Ashley | July 2 2011 |

This is so cute! I love how dogs communicate with us! My dog will usually just put himself to bed or jump up next to me on the couch and proceed to go to sleep!

Submitted by Anonymous | July 5 2011 |

How sweet …I love this story..My Little 5 years old Lilly stared to curl in a corner around 9 pm and close her eyes..and when we talk to her she looks at us with the ralph eyes closes, that is when we all decide to go to bed, she has her Little bed by our bed but most of the time she sleeps between us. We love it, since she is the ones who makes everybody goes to bed.

Submitted by Anonymous | July 5 2011 |

Absolutely. My dog sticks with me almost 24/7, but he goes to bed bed on his own schedule...hours before I turn in. He asks to go outside, and then heads straight to bed. His bedtime varies according to the time of year--in winter, it can be as early as 7 pm. In summer, maybe 9 or 9:30.

On weekends, he has a routine similar to the one you describe. Mid morning, after we've both breakfasted and I've showered, he climbs up on my bed and woofs very intently--calling me back to bed for a snuggle and a nap. He can be a pretty bossy guy, but he has some good ideas.

Submitted by Michael and Robin | July 6 2011 |

Our Nelly looks at us expectantly in the foyer leading to the bedroom. Sometimes she makes a little whimper. Upon our "suggestion" "Go to bed!" she wags almost uncontrollably and trots off to our bed, where she manages to take up most of it, even though she's a petite lady.

Submitted by Deb | July 6 2011 |

Your dogs too cute. What a personality! My lab was crate trained but we never really used it for bed time. He still has his crate but the door is always open for him to use anytime he feels the need for a little shut-eye. We call it his bedroom. Still he's always happy to curl up by my feet at night when ever I decide it's time to hit the hay.

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