Dogs of practically every breed, age, and size like lying next to or on top of their owners, whether sleeping or relaxing on the couch. Although this is reasonably good behavior, many owners dislike it, especially if the dog in question is a large one.
Even if you don’t mind your dog laying so near to you, you may question why it does it in the first place. If you’re wondering about this, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we’ll look at the most common reasons dogs sleep or lay near their owners. The quick answer is that this behavior is genetically programmed and reinforced as puppies. Continue reading to learn more about this behavior and what you can do about it.
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Here's what we'll cover:
- Why does my dog sleep on top of me?
- It is more comfortable
- Your pup is feeling lonely
- It’s in the genes of dogs to sleep against you
- Dogs get cold sometimes
- You’ve encouraged the behavior
- To Keep You Safe
- Your pup wants attention
- Sleeping with your dog aids bonding
- It feels more secure
- Dog sleeping in bed separation anxiety
- It is showing affection
- Your sheets are comfortable
- Why does my dog sleep on me and not my husband?
- Reasons not to sleep with your pet
- Should I sleep with my dog?
Why does my dog sleep on top of me?
Many people adore their dogs and consider them actual members of the family. Dog owners enjoy spending time with their pets and playing games with them. Even the most sluggish dog will usually plop down next to their owner to watch whatever you are watching on television.
Never mind that your noisy furry bundle of energy is violating the laws of basic etiquette by invading another’s space. Some will be daring enough to climb right on top of their unsuspecting owner, refusing to budge an inch.
This behavior prompts a frequent dog owner question that has been asked since the dawn of time and repeated throughout the years. What is the purpose of my dog sleeping on top of me?
It is more comfortable
Your dog might sleep on you because it finds lying on top of you more comfortable. This is more likely if it chooses to sleep there rather than in its bed, if it rests its head on you, and if it does not exhibit any unusual behavior.
Your pup is feeling lonely
Here’s a straightforward answer to the issue, “Why is my dog sleeping in my bed?” and “Why is my dog lying on me?” Dogs are like ex-boyfriends in that they don’t like sleeping alone and, once allowed in your bed, they want to sleep there every night. When you tell them to sleep in their separate beds, they whimper.
It’s in the genes of dogs to sleep against you
Even though your pet is likely to be docile and loving to humans, they are descended from wolves. Many wolf-like characteristics were bred out of domesticated dogs, but others were not. Domestic dogs, like their wolf forefathers, are pack animals.
Wolves are pack animals in the wild. Thus they will seek warmth and protection by lying with their fellow pack members. This form of laying is essential for wolf survival. This is such a necessary behavior that it is only found in puppies.
Litters of wolf and domesticated dog puppies are born. The entire litter will sleep in tiny dog mounds for extra warmth and security as puppies. Trained puppies doing this behavior at an early age encourage the behavior as they grow older.
Given this, their behavior is purely hereditary. They are powerless to stop it because it has enabled them and their families to live for millennia.
Dogs get cold sometimes
Sometimes dog sleeps on owner because it’s cold! A lovely duvet and a human-shaped space heater make the huge bed appear cozier than the dog bed, providing their own body heat. Why shiver alone when you may warm your chilly nose on the warm feet of another human?
You’ve encouraged the behavior
You may have encouraged so to do it by rewarding them when it does it. When you give it things like back or belly rubs, it will likely sleep on you more often to earn more rewards. So instead, pull it off of you and reward it when it lies down the way you want it to.
To Keep You Safe
Sleeping in mounds promotes pack defense. Therefore your dog may be doing it to actively defend you. Your dog regards you as a member of its pack as the owner. As a result, your dog will most likely want to lie close to you to provide warmth and safety, just as you do for it.
Even when no active threat exists, dogs frequently adopt a protective or defensive posture. This could be the reason your dog sleeps so close to you. As a result, it is ready to defend you if an intruder attacks.
Once again, the cause of the behavior can be traced back to your dog’s wolf DNA. Wolves sleep close together to protect one another during the night.
Your pup wants attention
Your pup might lay on you as an attempt to get your attention. But, again, this is more likely if it happens during the day when you haven’t paid attention to it in a while and if you pay it extra attention when it happens.
Sleeping with your dog aids bonding
Another reason your dog might be sleeping next to you is to strengthen their bond. Dogs, as you may be aware, establish a strong bond with their owners. They want to enhance their relationships and will do anything to do so.
Dogs, for example, will sleep quite close to their owners to build their attachment with them. Dogs perceive sleeping in groups much like wolves do because it indicates trust and mutual support. Even if it does not believe there is a threat, your dog may sleep quite close to you to build the link.
It feels more secure
Most dog breeds were developed to help their owners work alongside them and to feel more confident in a group situation. Sleeping or resting on top of you may make it feel safer because it is in a group and so less exposed.
Dog sleeping in bed separation anxiety
A more serious reason for your dog sleeping so close to you is separation anxiety. While it is natural for dogs to miss their owners, separation anxiety is not, and it must be addressed for the dog’s long-term health.
Because the dog is sleeping so close to you, the dog will be alerted as soon as you leave, whether that couch or the entire house. So if you notice your dog clinging to you every time you leave the house, separation anxiety could be the cause.
It is showing affection
It may be just being affectionate. This is more likely if it likes to rub its stomach or back before sleeping.
Your sheets are comfortable
Most dog bed covers are designed for washability rather than luxury, yet many dogs appreciate high-quality linens. They recognize a high thread count when they see it, and when they see it on your bed, they know their butt is on that Egyptian cotton.
Why does my dog sleep on me and not my husband?
Some dogs will select a single person with whom they will form a close and trusted relationship. This suggests they are drawn to you since you are someone they are familiar with.
You may have formed such a bond with your dog because:
- You devote more time to them.
- You’ve spent more time with them playing, or they were your dog.
- You use a scent or cologne that draws your dog’s interest. Dogs have an acute sense of smell, and the chemicals in various fragrances react with your skin to produce a distinct odor.
- Your dog may simply prefer you to your significant other and the energy you exude.
- Body language can also attract or repel a dog depending on how they perceive your communication with them and others.
Reasons not to sleep with your pet
If having a dog sleep on your bed sounds appealing, you may be unaware of the drawbacks. Here are five reasons why you should not sleep with your dog.
You might get sick
Dogs are wonderful, but they can also be carriers of diseases. Allowing a dog to lie in your bed with you can harm your health, from the plague to fleas.
Pets can cause allergies
Another medical issue that might result from sleeping with dogs is an allergic reaction. Even if you are not sensitive to dog dander, your dog’s fur can accumulate allergens that cause your allergies.
Pets introducing different microorganisms into your home has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, more exposure to a wider range of bacteria and other microorganisms may enhance the human immune system. On the other hand, Pets can bring in hazardous bacteria, viruses, and parasites, placing the families with whom they live at risk for zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases, often known as zoonoses, are infectious diseases carried by animals to humans.
Allowing your pet to kiss or lick your face raises your chances of contracting a range of ailments.
Co-Sleeping complicates house training
It can be challenging to ignore their mournful eyes at bedtime when you have a new dog. However, this increases the likelihood of having a potty accident on the bed. Even house-trained elderly dogs might develop incontinence.
Your sleep will be interrupted
More than half of dog owners admit waking up at least once per night. Sometimes it comes in the form of a well-placed foot in the face. At times, the dog snores as loud as a buzzsaw.
Dogs are noisy and, sure, little stinky creatures. Sleeping with your dog will not suffice if you value uninterrupted eight hours of sleep per night.
Possibility of aggression
Bites from your pet can spread infection and cause injury, and dogs may bite harder when awakened.
According to one study, 6% of dogs who bit someone were asleep or relaxed soon before the bite. According to research on dog bites in Jamaica, dogs who slept in the master’s bedroom were twice as likely to bite someone as those who slept outside the bedroom. Still, no such link was discovered for dogs in San Francisco.
Children are more likely than adults to get bitten by a dog and require medical treatment. This could be because humans are less adept at detecting signs of fear or hostility or are more prone to approach a dog’s face. This is not to argue that children should never sleep with a dog. Still, parents should avoid allowing children to sleep with dogs that have previously demonstrated aggression or with large dogs that might cause greater damage with a bite.
Should I sleep with my dog?
Humans and dogs have been sleeping together for generations in some civilizations.
Sleeping with your dog can help to reduce anxiety and provide a sense of comfort and security.
However, the sleep cycles of dogs and humans differ, which can impact sleep quality.
Do you allow your dog to sleep in your bed at night? According to research, little less than half of all pet owners share their bed or bedroom with their pet. You’ve probably heard from at least one well-meaning person that your dog should sleep on the floor, in his kennel, or in his own bed. However, the current study indicates numerous advantages to co-sleeping with your dog, and there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Sleeping in the same bed or bedroom as our dogs is not new. In fact, some traditional civilizations saw co-sleeping with animals as advantageous. Aboriginal Australians, for example, frequently slept next to their dogs and/or dingoes for warmth and protection from evil spirits. Unfortunately, modern culture emphasizes the disadvantages of co-sleeping rather than the advantages.
There are certain health risks associated with sleeping with your dog. Human allergies, for example, can be exacerbated. There is also the risk of illness transmission from the dog to the human and from the human to the dog. However, such transfer is uncommon.
Sleep quality can also be altered. Previous research has found that owners who share a bed with their pet experience more sleep difficulties than persons whose pets do not sleep in their bed. One possible explanation for this disparity is that dogs are polyphasic sleepers, with three sleep/wake cycles per nocturnal hour. In contrast, humans are monophasic sleepers (one sleep period over a 24-hour cycle). Dogs are also more sensitive to sounds than people, which may cause them to sleep more lightly.
There are numerous urban legends involving dogs sleeping on their owners’ beds. For example, your dog may believe he is superior to you and will grow spoilt. While there may be a correlation between bed-sharing and behavioral issues, it is unclear if co-sleeping causes the problem or if the problem causes co-sleeping. A dog who sleeps in his owner’s bed, for example, may experience separation anxiety. But, did co-sleeping produce the dog’s excessive attachment, or did the dog’s excessive attachment drive the owner to let him into the bed?
Sometimes the difficulties are unrelated, and co-sleeping only accentuates pre-existing problem behavior. A dog with resource guarding concerns, for example, may snarl and bark to protect his sleeping space on your bed. The issue is your dog’s unnecessary defense of what he perceives to be his items and territory, not the co-sleeping.
Sleeping in your bed or bedroom will almost certainly do nothing except thrill your dog, comfort you, and strengthen the dog-owner bond for a well-adjusted, well-behaved dog. However, if your dog displays signs of aggression or any other problem behavior exacerbated by co-sleeping, give him his own resting place.
Despite the disadvantages of sleeping with a dog, the researchers note that many owners do so because the benefits exceed the negatives. Significant studies have indicated that owning a pet has many physical and mental health benefits and increased bonding. Co-sleeping, for example, can heighten the sensations of comfort and connection provided by your dog.
Sleeping with your dog can also help to reduce anxiety and create a sense of protection and security. Your light-sleeping canine will alert you to anything out of the ordinary, allowing you to sleep well. In addition, dogs make excellent bed warmers, keeping you warm on a cold night.
While society may not now see co-sleeping favorably, the study indicated that there is no reason for unnecessary fear due to the numerous benefits. I believe those who share our mattresses and bedrooms with our dogs understand that any disruption or discomfort is well worth a night of snuggles.
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