“I noticed that my dog sleeps on me. Should I be bothered?”
This was a question posed by a dog owner. The truth is that, just like humans, dogs have different sleeping positions, and each can reveal a lot about how they are feeling at that moment.
Dog sleeping positions give little indicators about their physical and mental wellbeing, so this must be paid attention to. Your dog may insist on sleeping with or on you at night for a variety of reasons, including protection, proximity, and warmth.
Going back to the history of dogs, they are known for being pack animals. Their predecessors used to hunt together and then sleep together at night to stay warm and safe.
Should you let your dog sleep on you? Is it true that if your dog isn’t interested in lying by your side all night, he doesn’t love you or you do not belong to his “pack”?
To understand why your dog sleeps on you, there are some things you should know.
This article will delve deeper into some common sleeping behaviors, which should better explain why dogs prefer to sleep in the same bed as their owners.
Sleep is essential for the body’s healing and regeneration. When your dog is napping, their behavior may reveal useful information about the quality of sleep they enjoy. Pay attention to these signals to ensure that your dog gets the best possible rest. The deepest stage of sleep is the most restorative.
Circling And Digging
It is common for dogs to circle or even dig around their sleeping place before falling asleep. This behavior is common in wolves, known to be the dog’s ancestors. They might also dig a burrow to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Dogs naturally circle a few times before lying down, but doing so excessively or having difficulty settling in could be a sign of pain, arthritis, or neurological problems. Consult a vet if you notice any of these symptoms.
If a dog is bored or simply needs to relax during the day, it may doze off. This is not a restful slumber, and your dog may simply wait for something more exciting to happen. Perhaps it’s time to engage in new activities such as taking a stroll or playing fetch.
Signs Of Distress
Dogs can have nightmares just like people. If your dog seems anxious when sleeping, or whimpers more than usual, try to gently calm him down. After soothing, he or she may wake up or simply relax and continue with a more pleasant dream. If this continues, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to be safe.
If you notice unusual motions of your dog’s body, this could be the symptom of a seizure that has to be treated immediately. Try shouting their name or waking them up. While this could simply be a vivid dream when they eventually wake up, you should pay attention to your dog’s normal sleeping habits, watching out for anything unusual.
Dog Sleeps on Me: The Root of The Behavior
According to a survey, over half of the pet owners say dogs co-sleep in their beds. Some breeds like Retrievers, English Bulldogs, and Collies enjoy cuddles and snuggles more than others.
If you notice what happens when a dog gives birth, you should be aware that newborn puppies tend to snuggle close to each other. That’s because sleeping with family, curled up against their littermates, is in their nature. It’s when they feel the safest and most at ease.
You might wonder: “why does my dog not sleep on me?”
Don’t worry if your dog isn’t the type to jump on your bed and snuggle with you all night. It’s most likely because they are having trouble settling down, but it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Maybe your bed is not comfortable enough, but the reason is hardly ever related to you.
It’s no surprise that even after growing up your dog attempts to recreate that sense of warmth and closeness with you. It’s one of the best displays of affection.
Other Reasons Your Dog Sleeps on You
- It’s more relaxing
Your dog may prefer to sleep with you because it’s comfier, especially if he prefers to sleep on your bed rather than on its own. If it rests its head on you without acting strangely, it is a sign that being with you makes him or her feel extremely relaxed.
- It’s a form of defense
Your dog may be trying to protect you, especially if you are around other people or animals. It’s also more likely he or she does this while facing the main door. Sleeping by your side is their way of showing their willingness to protect you.
- It yearns for attention
Your dog might be trying to gain your undivided attention. This is more likely to occur if you have not paid attention to it in a while. It suggests they enjoy working with you and consider you to be one of the “pack”.
- It appears to be safer
The majority of dog breeds were created to work alongside their owners and to feel more confident in a group setting. Sleeping or resting on top of you may make your dog feel like it is part of a group, hence safer and less vulnerable.
- It has some separation phobia
Your dog may be experiencing separation phobia and might want to know when you will be leaving. This is more likely if it shows signs of anxiety when you’re ready to leave and lies or sleeps on you during the day only before you go home.
- It’s expecting something
It is also possible that your dog is waiting for something from you. If you tend to feed your dog or take it on a stroll at a specific time, they may sleep by your side until you give them what they are waiting for.
Encouraging the Behavior
Allowing your dog to sleep in your room if they aren’t already is a good first approach. With a delightful treat or two, gradually entice them onto the bed. You can also place your dog’s favorite toys on top of your bed and see how they quickly jump on.
However, remember that your dog has boundaries and personal spaces, such as a cool surface, or a favorite sleeping spot. So, if you discover your dog still refuses to sleep in your bed after much effort, don’t push it.
What to Do About My Dog Sleeping on Me?
“My dog sleeps on me, but I want to stop it. What should I do?”
Read below to learn what to do if you want your dog to stop the habit of sleeping on you.
Positive Reinforcement Training
Positive reinforcement training is where you train your dog to act in a specific way by rewarding it when it exhibits such behaviors. You could lead your dog to rest or sleep in a specific area by doing the following:
- Choose a pleasant sleeping location that will enhance your dog’s sleep quality
- Give your dog a treat for staying and sleeping there
- Repeat this habit a few times a day until your dog sees that there are rewards attached to staying and sleeping on that spot.
Reduce Its Separation Phobia
Try to alleviate its anxiety by giving your dog exercises, allowing it to pee, and feeding it before you leave so that it won’t have to suffer from waiting until you return.
To answer the question “I notice my dog sleeps on me. Should I be bothered?”, we believe that by now, you should have all the knowledge on how to handle your dog’s sleeping behaviors.
For warmth and comfort, newborn puppies cuddle together with their siblings and mother. This is an inherent mentality of the pack whenever they are around each other. Dog owners automatically keep this role as they mature into rowdy teenagers and cultured adults.
Having dogs in bed or laying at the foot of your bed every night is not an unusual habit, though others may prefer to sleep somewhere else. The sleeping habits of a dog are highly personal and might change over time for many reasons. While there are a few tried-and-true methods for getting your dog to lie in the bed with you, remember to always respect their boundaries.