For as long as I could remember I’ve let my dog sleep with me on the bed and she’d always cuddle up against me or even lay on top of me to sleep. Some time ago, I’ve wondered why does my dog likes to lay on top of me in the bed.
Well after thinking about this for a while, as a curious pet parent, I’ve come to realize that she’s most likely doing this to have the feeling of security, cause it’s comfortable, and well I just let her fall asleep on top of me.
Besides wanting to feel comfortable and safe, what are some of the other reasons that a dog will want to sleep or lay on top of you? It could be that your dog does this because it’s being protective of you, maybe they are trying to get your attention at first for a little belly rub, is your new dog or puppy is having separation anxiety, or perhaps they just want to show you some love and affection. Let’s go over some of the reasons your dog sleeps on top of you.
Wanting A Sense Of Comfort and Security
I’m sure you could just picture a bunch of newborn puppies at birth. If they’re not feeding or exploring their new environment, you will usually find them sleeping, curled up next to or even on top of each other.
It would be a good thing to remember that dogs by nature are pack animals and because of this, their basic instinct is feeling the need to be near each other for warmth on a cold night and for security.
For us as pet owners, by having your furry friend sleep on top of you, we are the ones that provide the body heat, sense of comfort, and security they naturally want.
Being Protective Of Their Owner
All breeds of dogs have a natural protective instinct and can sense a lot of what’s going on around them that we as humans will never know of. Because of their sense of smell, you will find them sleeping together to protect themselves from predators.
By providing for, telling them what to do, and loving your dog, they will naturally notice you as the pack leader and will do what it takes to protect you from any danger. And at the same time, they will feel safer themselves by being close to you.
They’re Just Showing You Some Attention
There might be a time when your home with your dog, but you’ve been really busy and not really paying attention to them all day and you finally find a little bit of time to have a short rest, or maybe you’re just laying down on the sofa watching a show on the tv. All of a sudden, your dog decides to join you to seek some extra attention.
Dogs are by nature very social animals and are always searching for attention from their human owners and will do anything to get this from them. Once they get your attention, you start giving them some petting and belly rubs. Next thing you know they are fast asleep right on top of you.
It’s A Sign Of Affection
From time to time, your dog will snuggle up against you and invade your personal space to bond and grow closer, showing you just how much they love and appreciate you.
Cuddling with their owners is just a sign of affection that they will naturally display towards you. Just like how new parents will bond with their children. It’s one of the many ways dogs can show affection towards their owners.
Puppies Or Rescue Dogs Having Separation Anxiety
While it’s not always the case, you may notice puppies or even older dogs from a rescue shelter that are being anxious with signs of separation anxiety, especially for the first few weeks when you first bring them to their new home.
We will hear them whimper and cry when leaving them alone in their crate or in their bed on the floor next to you. Eventually, you may feel bad for your puppy and bring them on to the bed letting them sleep with and crawl upon you.
You Are Encouraging Them To Sleep On You
Without really thinking about it you could be encouraging this behavior by just petting them while they sleep on top of you. The positive reinforcement you are giving them will just encourage them to continue with this sleeping habit.
If you don’t mind them sleeping on top of you it will let the bond between the both of you just grow that much stronger. Just be sure that this is a behavior you want to encourage and let them do this only when you want them to.
What Can You Do To Discourage Your Dog From Sleeping On You?
The first thing you should consider is finding them a comfortable place to sleep. The best thing you could do is get them a crate with a nice warm dog bed to put in it. Place it in a cool dark area that’s quiet, where they can feel safe and give them their own personal space.
To help with any separation anxiety your puppy may have, you can leave a used towel or some clothing with your scent on it in their crate or bed, so they can smell you near them.
This will give them a sense of comfort and security just like how a security blanket would. Start off by doing this while you’re at home where you can come and go for short periods of time so they get used to this.
If you have tried different ways of discouraging them from laying on top of you and none of them are working the way you want it to, another thing you could do is look into a training program for you and your dog. You can usually find dog trainers in your neighborhood or if you don’t have the free time in-person classes would take, you can look into an online training class for you and your dog.
Another thing to consider is not encouraging your dog to sleep on top of you in the first place. You can do this by using positive reinforcement training, rewarding your dog by praising them, or with other rewards when it does lay in or sleeps in its own bed or crate. Rewarding them positively is an effective way of encouraging behavior that you like.
While it’s normal behavior for dogs to sleep on each other, it’s really up to you if you want to encourage your fur baby to sleep on top of you. As long as you and your dog feel comfortable sleeping together and both of you are getting restful sleep, there’s no reason to discourage this as it could be a pleasant experience for you and your dog.
Your dog’s sleeping habits could also change from person to person or the time of day. You may notice your dog acting differently with another person in your family or during a specific time of day.
However, if you feel that your dog is sleeping on you to exert some form of dominance and is being demanded with their actions, you should highly consider having them sleep in their crate or on the floor in their own bed.