Do you notice your dogs hopping on the bed to sleep on you? And if they do, do you allow it and snuggle with them? When your dog sleeps on you, it can mean a lot of things.
One, this may be comfortable for them, this may be its way to get your attention, it might not feel well, it may have developed separation anxiety, this may be a way to show its dominance, it might be sensing danger or this is its way to show you that they love you.
This article will try to help you figure out why your dogs do this, and if this behavior is a good thing or something that you have to be worried about. So, let’s jump right in!
Why do dogs want to sleep with you?
It is truly an enjoyable feeling if your dog gets to sleep on you. This is a time where you can feel how much they want to spend time with you. But do you know why they act as very clingy and snuggly pets?
The root of their cuddly behavior can be traced back to their ancestry. Before, dogs in the wild are considered pack animals.
Dogs hunt together in the day, and at night, they sleep together to make sure that their pack is warm and safe. Surprisingly, dogs carried this behavior in their genes, and look at them now!
Also, puppies tend to huddle together with their mom as soon as they are born. If you observe female dogs when they give birth, she always stays close to her newborn pups and snuggles with them. This engraves a feeling of warmth and security to the puppies. The pups carry this sense of protection up to their adult dog years.
What does it mean if your dog sleeps on you?
Some dogs tend to climb on your bed and lay on top of you to sleep. Do you know why they do this? Here are some explanations to that:
Dogs wish for comfort
Dogs want to get the most comfortable spot for them to sleep on. And, for some dogs, that spot could be right on top of you! They prefer sleeping on you if they find you more comfortable and warmer compared to their dog beds. Your beloved dogs can snuggle up on top of you or just lay their heads on you and silently go to sleep.
Their sleeping behavior is reinforced
Sometimes, your dog would always want to sleep on you because you unconsciously give them rewards when they do so. You might be giving them head pats or belly rubs every time they climb on you to sleep.
For your furry companion, that feels very nice and rewarding. Hence, they get the impression that they will get those friendly pats and rubs every time they climb unto you. The more they sleep on you, the more rewards they get.
Your dog sleeps with you because she wants to protect you
If your dogs like to sleep on you, it would probably mean that they are protective of you. They want to make sure that their beloved master is safe even when they are asleep. And the best way for them to do this is to make sure that they can feel you even if they are sleeping!
How can you tell if your protection is the reason for your dogs to sleep on you? Observe if your dog is defensive of you when you are with other people or animals.
If your pet is very protective of you during these instances, it will not be surprising if they try to protect you even if they are sleeping.
Dogs want your attention
If your dog sleeps on you, it might want to get your attention. Your pet dog might crave its master’s attention, especially if you have been very busy during the day and you have forgotten to spend some quality time with them.
Dogs are showing their love and affection
Staying with you to sleep might be their most simple expression of their affection for their master. This is more evident if you tend to respond to their small snuggle with a belly rub or a head pat as they feel rewarded for showing their affection.
Dogs want to feel safe
As previously stated, wild dogs remain in packs since they want to protect each other. Currently, domesticated dogs still prefer to stay in groups for safety. And since you are their master, they feel a lot safer and less vulnerable if they are always with you even when they sleep.
Dogs can also have separation anxiety
Separation anxiety can cause some habits to develop in your pet. For instance, it can manifest signs of stress or fear every time it knows that you are leaving or if you simply get out of their vision. So, your pet might lay on you to sleep so that they will be alerted if you get up and leave them.
Contrary to seeing dogs sleep on you, some dogs just don’t develop the habit. Do not worry; they are not mad at you! If your dog is not hopping on you to cuddle during sleep, it would be due to several reasons.
They might feel uncomfortable or overheated when they sleep on you. Also, your dog might think that you and your bed are uncomfortable for being too soft, not being very sturdy, or just too small for both of you together.
Do not feel bad if your dog is not the type that automatically sleeps on you. Some woofer breeds are more inclined to cuddly nights more than others. Retrievers, collies, and even English bulldogs are breeds that prefer cuddles at night.
How can you encourage your dog to keep sleeping next to you?
Cuddling with your dog every time they sleep can bring you some psychological benefits. According to a Psychology Today article, it is psychologically comforting to have a dog with you in bed. A companion like them can give humans the feeling of security and can lessen lonely nights.
The best way to encourage your dogs to sleep on you is to reinforce the behavior positively. Positive reinforcement training pertains to engraving a behavior in your dog by rewarding them every time they behave a certain way.
Here are some steps you can follow if you want your dog to keep sleeping with you
- Make sure that your bed is comfortable, sturdy, and large enough for both of you.
- Give them a treat every time they stand on the bed.
- Try making them lie down on the bed and give them a treat again.
- Repeat the process multiple times a day for several weeks until your pet automatically hops on the bed even without getting rewarded.
In contrast, some might want to discourage this behavior in their pet dogs. You might want to avoid your dog from sleeping on you, especially if you get allergies or rashes from prolonged contact with their fur.
Also, this can significantly help increase your productivity if you are too shy to push them away and get to work!
You can gently move them out when they sleep on you and keep doing it. In addition, making a warm, comfortable bed for them is an excellent way to discourage them from sleeping on you. Also, try reducing their separation anxiety with simple exercises or consult an expert for complex instances.
Some considerations to look out for when it comes to letting your dog sleep with you
You might encounter a time when your dog stops sleeping on top of you even after consistently snuggling with you for months.
Usually, they might have developed a liking for another sleeping spot. As dogs grow up, their preferences tend to change as well.
However, take note if you notice a difference in your pet’s body language and behavior. Sometimes, they might be suffering from pain, discomfort, or lack of appetite. If you notice this, it would be best to consult a vet right away.
On the other hand, if they suddenly start sleeping on top of you when they usually don’t do that, lookout for signs of separation anxiety. Your dog might be seeking extra attention and safety with your presence.
What does it mean if your dog sleeps on you? – Summary
The sleeping preferences of dogs differ, and it depends on many factors. Newborn puppies sleep together with their mother for comfort and warmth. They instinctively sleep together, and they carry this mentality as they grow.
When your dogs realize that you are their master or the “leader of the pack,” it is not surprising to see them behave as if you can give them the best protection, attention, and warmth that they need. Hence, they tend to sleep on you from time to time!
While dogs have different sleeping habits, it is essential to respect their boundaries. Similarly, you should determine if this is okay for both you and your furry friend.
Make some adjustments with it as necessary. Remember, sleeping with your pups should be your preference and not theirs!