We found a new place to board A.J. It’s a kennel without kennels. They call it “cage-free boarding.” It’s a place where dozens of dogs who get to spend all day and all night together. At night the dogs go into a big room lined with beds that they all share. Due to our “no dogs on the furniture” rule, A.J. has never had to share his bed. He has several dog beds and blankets, and they’re all his.

Because of this, when we were looking at boarding A.J. where he was going to be sharing a bed with a lot of dogs, we were (okay, I was) a little concerned he’d have trouble. Without my even asking, Greg repeatedly told me he didn’t care if A.J. slept on our bed. So I finally decided – to prepare him to share – A.J. could start sleeping on our bed with us.

The first night I got myself settled into bed, then called to A.J. and patted the bed. He hopped right up without any hesitation and settled in like it was something he did every night. Of course, since Greg was still downstairs watching TV A.J. stretched himself out all across Greg’s side of the bed.

When Greg came upstairs, he nudged at A.J., who moved a little bit, and eventually Greg managed to scrunch in at the very edge of the bed. The next morning Greg said “I had this image of the dog curled up at the foot of the bed.” He’s still learning how dogs really work.

The next night we did the same thing, with the same result. A.J. waited until I called him up onto the bed, then hopped right up. The next night was again the same. The next night…I left for a business trip. While I was gone A.J. continued to sleep on our bed.

I was away for a week. The night I got back, at bedtime A.J. and I walked into the bedroom. He went right over to the bed, jumped up, curled up right in front of my pillow and looked at me, his stumpy little tail thumping away. He was telling me “Look, I get to sleep here now!”

After laughing and telling him he was a good boy, I then had to tell him “Off” so I could actually pull down the covers and get into bed. Then I gave him a treat and called him back up onto the bed. He promptly laid down in Greg’s spot. After that I got smart and started putting pillows over Greg’s side of the bed to reserve his spot.

At some point during the night A.J., being the restless dog he is, would get up and go back to his own bed. Then one very early morning he went over and woke up Greg. Greg patted the bed and told him to come on up. A.J. walked over to my side of the bed and woke me up. I patted the bed and told him “OK,” and he jumped right up and fell asleep. He did the same thing the next day. I guess he’s decided he needs to check with both of us.

A.J. continues to wait to be asked each night before jumping onto the bed. If I don’t call him up he very dejectedly walks over to his own bed and lies down.  As soon as I call to him he immediately jumps up and snuggles up next to me.

He’s such a good boy.