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“Tossing turning trying to for-get” – come on sing it with me “now I am the one sleeping all a-lo-oh-wone-one.” I can’t hear you! What? You are not familiar with the 1978 hit made famous by the effervescent Barbara Mandrell – really? Normally I would never encourage you to leave this blog mid post, but I feel compelled to expand your musical horizons. I have asked my good friend (never met her) Barbara to serenade us for this post – experience it here.

Over the past 23 years Dave and I have pretty much slept together every night, except for when we have traveled for work, when he falls asleep on the couch, that one time I had Shingles and we weren’t sure if he had chicken pox, and when we have a new litter of puppies. Even when one of us wasn’t home there was usually some sort of four-legged creature to share the bed with. For some strange reason there still was barely enough room for the human.

(NOTE: every breeder caretaker for Canine Companions handles their litters a little different. The Canine Companion breeder caretaker guidelines allow for our own style and set up. That said what you are about to read and will read in the weeks to come is largely about how we do it. Since I hope I am speaking to a future breeder caretaker out there, take what I say with a grain of salt, you will find your own way and style.)

One of us typically spends the first few nights with the new litter. That means we are sleeping with the litter – literally. My personal preference is that we are with the pups, all if not most of the time, until they are all in the one pound club. Then we start to rely more on the baby monitor and will leave them in the sole care of Mama Bean overnight.

Sleeping set up for pups and humans

We also like to focus 100% on Sabina while she focuses 100% on the litter. That means that we prey on the kindness of some other well-intentioned puppy raisers for a sleep over for our current pup-in-training. Cate is living the good life under the watchful eye of her Auntie Bonnie and her favorite partner in crime pup-in-training Cami (not from the same litter). Which means that one of us is sleeping alone.

Cool your jets, appalled puppy raisers. I am not admitting  to or advocate that pups-in-training sleep in the bed. I engage in a little cuddle time now and then when I am reading a book or getting settled before they spend the rest of the night in their crate. Puppies-in-training are not permitted, of their own accord, to get on the people furniture. However, many of these pups will be allowed by their graduate to get on the bed with them.

I think it is important for a pup to know how to behave on the bed so we practice jumping up on the bed, then going into an immediate down until welcomed up closer and when they do move that they do it slowly and preferably in a commando crawl. The most important part of all this is that I can command my dog into any position I want, despite me laying down. The need to know I am always in charge even when I don’t look like it. With Cate on a sleep over, no cuddle time for me. Not worried in the least about her she is living the good life at the Yamada Inn and Barkery.

With Cate at her Auntie Bonnie’s, and Dave and Sabina on the night shift it was just me, all alone, in the big girl bed with that crazy song running through my head… and Dave said he had a long night. At least he had the sweet serenade of puppies, I just had Barbara.

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