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.

Strategies:

  • 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.

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