Does this happen often?
You leave the bed for just a minute and return.
But you find that your doggo is sleeping in your spot!
They say let sleeping dogs lie.
But where will you sleep now?
Read on to find out:
- Common questions people ask about this topic.
- Advantages and disadvantages to this behavior.
- 9 reasons why dogs just love to sleep in your spot.
- 3 tips on what to do when your dog sleeps in your spot.
- And a lot more…
Why does my dog sleep in my spot?
Your dog sleeps in your spot for affection, comfort, or attention. You may have even encouraged this behavior before. They also do it to bond with you. Your spot has your scent which is comforting when they are scared or anxious.
9 reasons why your dog sleeps in your spot
#1: It’s how they express love and affection
Sleeping in your spot might be your dog’s way of saying “I love you”.
Your dog’s brain works in unique ways.
Research shows that dogs react to the scent of a loved one, even without their presence.
Scientists used brain scans in the experiment to measure the dogs’ reactions to scents.
They compared reactions to 5 scent samples from:
- A stranger.
- The dog itself.
- An unfamiliar dog.
- A person living with the dog.
- A dog that lived in the same house.
The brain scans showed more activity in the reward area of the brain. This happened when smelling the scent of the person living with them.
The scent carriers weren’t present during the experiment.
Doggos manifest their attachment through their sense of smell.
The experiment shows that dogs always recognize their owner’s smell, even if the person isn’t there.
#2: Your scent is comforting
Your dog loves your scent. For them, it means comfort and security.
It means cuddles, warm food, and playtime.
You may have come home from work and seen your dog sleeping in your spot.
On the couch, on your bed, on your favorite chair, it doesn’t matter.
Your pooch finds comfort in your scent and wants to be near you in any way possible.
Even if that means hogging your spot!
Check out also: 13 Surprising Reasons Why Dogs Sleep On Your Stomach
#3: Your spot is warm
Your dog loves warm spaces. From birth, pups form puppy piles for warmth.
As adults, they may burrow under their blankets in cold weather.
Or sleep in your spot as soon as you’re gone.
Because your spot isn’t just warm. It also smells like you!
Nothing makes your dog happier than feeling warm while surrounded by your scent.
#4: It’s their way of bonding
Puppies usually sleep pressed close to the momma dog.
This helps form the bond needed between the momma dog and the puppies.
As adults, doggos sleep on their fur parent’s spot to strengthen their bond.
So if you return to bed and find your pooch snoring in your spot, be happy.
They just want a little bonding time.
It’s important to form a strong bond with your dog.
A pup that initiates bonding wants to have a stronger relationship with you.
How do you know that your doggo wants to bond?
Well, your dog will “tell” you.
Watch out for these signs in your doggo:
- Glances frequently at you.
- Gives you their toys for playtime.
- Holds eye contact during training.
- Always checks on you, even when off-leash.
- Greets you with a wiggle butt and wagging tail.
- Wants to be near you. (Like sleeping in your spot!)
#5: They want your attention
Sleeping in your spot might just be your dog’s way of saying,
“Gib me snuggles!”
It might happen after a long day of your absence. Remember that your dog will miss you when you’re gone.
And you know what?
A bit of snuggle time usually helps you and your doggo.
A study on attachment between dogs and dog parents showed 2 things:
- The relationship helps you get over a bad day.
- The dog-owner relationship is more secure compared to romantic relationships.
But your dog might want your attention because of the next reasons.
#6: They might be scared
Thunder! Fireworks! The vacuum! *Gasp!*
Dogs can have fears and phobias like humans, too
How do I know if my dog is fearful?
The most common signs of a fearful dog are:
- Hunched posture.
- Nose or lip licking.
- Trembling or shaking.
- Tail behind their knees.
- Hiding in closed spaces.
- Looking for people they love.
- Refusal to make eye contact.
- Stiff posture or no movement.
- Uncontrollable peeing or pooping.
- Wide eyes showing the whites of the eye.
It’s heartbreaking to see your pooch trembling in fear.
But it is important to know how to look for the signs.
Because most owners do not know how to spot a fearful dog.
A fearful dog will react to their triggers which can be any of the following:
- Unfamiliar dogs and people.
- Events (like thunderstorms or vacuum day).
Sleeping in your spot might mean that they are hiding from the source.
You might have noticed your dog burrowing under your blankets. Pawing or digging through to make holes.
This is known as the burrowing instinct.
The ancestors of our domesticated pooches made their own beds by scratching at the ground.
And even moving around rocks and leaves to make safer nests.
The modern dog’s ancestors passed on the behavior.
And now it’s one of the reasons why your doggo just loves to sleep under blankets.
It creates a feeling of safety for your dog. This is why it can happen with scared or anxious dogs.
Your scent brings them comfort and security.
Have you noticed your doggo snoring on a pile of your laundry?
Don’t let them move out of the way just yet!
There’s a very special reason why this happens.
It’s established that:
- Your scent is a happiness trigger for your dog.
- Dogs remember your scent even if you are not with them.
This means that it can also be very useful in times of fear.
This is why some dog parents leave recently worn clothes for their dogs.
The scent of their loved ones soothes fearful dogs.
And brings them comfort and security even without their owners.
#7: Your dog has separation anxiety
If in the bathroom, do you hear whining and scratching from your dog outside?
Do you find yourself unable to move without four little paws padding behind?
If so, your dog may have separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is another reason why your dog sleeps in your spot.
This is a panic response your dog will have to being alone. It happens in about 20% of dogs in the US.
Simply put, it’s this reaction in your dog:
“Where’s momma or papa?”
“Are they coming back?”
“They left me aloooone!”
“They’re not coming back.”
Your dog panics when you’re not around.
And they settle for the next best thing: your spot which has your scent.
Separation anxiety happens in dogs:
- Left alone for long periods of time.
- With abandonment issues.
- Who had multiple owners over a period of time.
- With a history of neglect.
Dogs can have mild to severe separation anxiety.
It can start when your dog:
- Panics when you get ready to leave the house.
- Can’t be in a closed room without you.
- Follows you everywhere.
Uncorrected, these habits can lead to destructive behaviors in your dog such as:
- Refusing to eat.
- Excessive barking or whining.
- Pooping or peeing in the house.
- Injuring themselves trying to escape the house.
- Destroying household items (pillows, doors, windows, furniture, etc.).
You might also want to know: Why does my dog take my clothes when I leave?
#8: You encouraged the behavior before
“Ooh! My hooman pets me when I sleep on their spot.
I’ll do it all the time!”
Your dog has realized that they get positive behavior from you if they sleep in your spot all the time.
Dogs cannot speak to us but they do read their owner’s:
- Voice tone.
If you’ve ever wondered, “Why does my dog sleep in my spot?” remember that your habits can also encourage their behavior.
This includes doing these while your dog sleeps in your spot:
- Offering a treat after.
- Speaking in high-pitched baby talk.
Alternating your responses to the behavior (anger or happiness) can also confuse your dog.
“Wat da hek does my hooman want?”
If this is a behavior that you want to correct, keep on reading until the end.
#9: Your spot is more comfortable than their spot
Sometimes, the reason is simple. You just have a more comfortable spot.
Don’t you just hate it when you sleep on an uncomfortable bed? You’re tossing and turning all night.
I remember the last time I had to sleep in a hotel. As soon as I got in bed, my body sunk inside as if I was in a boat. Oh, how I missed the bed at home!
But back to your pooch.
They might feel the same way about their sleeping place.
There 2 two possible ways why your pooch thinks this way:
- Their bed is thin and lets in the cold.
- It’s lumpy and uncomfortable.
Dogs are light sleepers. They have 3 sleep or wake cycles during the night.
Some dogs are even more reactive than others. They wake up at the slightest movement or noise.
It’s only natural they want to be more comfortable.
“Hooman has big warm bed. Me thinks I’ll sleep on it.”
Continue reading: 7 Reasons Why Your Dog Suddenly Sleeps On The Floor +5 Tips
3 tips on what to do if your dog likes sleeping in your spot
#1: Correct their behavior
If you don’t like your dog to sleep in your spot, here are a few ways to correct this behavior:
Teach them where their bed is
Lead your dog to their bed. Touch it, pat it, or point at it and say, Bed.
Give them a treat to allow for a positive association with the word and the bed itself.
Do this a few more times.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
Once you find your doggo sleeping in your spot, tell them Off or Down.
Whichever word you use, make sure to be consistent with it. So that your dog learns faster. And is not confused about what you want them to do.
Lead them to their bed when they obey. Let them “Sit” on the bed. Give them a treat.
Repeat this a few times until it becomes automatic for your dog.
Teach them the Go to bed command
Connect the two previous training methods into the Go to bed command.
Make sure that your dog has a positive association with their bed.
Make sure that your doggo also knows what to do when on their bed.
When it’s bedtime, do the following:
- Have your dog on a leash.
- Lead them to their bed while saying “Go to bed”.
- Have them sit on their bed.
- Give them a treat.
- Do 1-4 for a few times. Until your dog is the one leading the way to their bed.
- Take off the leash when this happens.
- Start at a common area (kitchen or living room).
- Point in the direction of your dog’s bed and say “Go to bed”.
- Give treats and repeat until it becomes automatic.
Note: These training methods use positive reinforcement. Using force or punishment if your dog doesn’t follow commands results in negative associations. Your dog can come to fear the bed.
#2: Check if your dog is scared or anxious
It’s important to check if your dog is fearful.
To be able to tell, watch out for these signs:
|Signs of mild fear||Signs of severe fear|
|Hiding||Trying actively to escape|
|Little activity||Constant licking and biting of their body|
|Other passive escape behaviors||Diarrhea|
|Chasing their tails in circles|
If the signs are present, take your dog to the vet.
An examination will help determine whether a medical condition is the cause of the behavior.
Let your dog have the prescribed medicine if the diagnosis is anxiety.
Look into animal behaviorists or trainers who specialize in counter-conditioning and desensitization.
Practice calm behaviors when your dog displays the signs.
Don’t let your dog get stressed.
Avoid public places or congested areas if your dog hasn’t been given the proper medication and behavioral correction.
#3: Upgrade their sleeping arrangements
A nice warm and cozy bed is important for your pooch. They want to feel safe and secure while sleeping.
This is a vulnerable time for them.
Make it as comfortable as possible for your beloved doggo.
Every dog’s needs will vary but here are a few ways to upgrade their beds:
- Put a favorite toy in their bed.
- Buy thick beds to prevent the cold from seeping in.
- Get a shirt that you used and place it in your dog’s bed.
- Invest in some doggy blankets for those warm snuggles.
All these upgrades make sure that your dog feels safe and warm in their bed.
Your used shirt gives the comfort of your scent to your doggo.
Some dogs even take clothes out of the laundry machine.
If your dog has done this, don’t worry.
Your doggo doesn’t have a grudge against your socks or t-shirts.
They simply miss you.
The clothes with your scent are their substitute for their beloved hooman.
People also ask:
Why does my dog sleep in my spot on the bed?
Your dog sleeps in your spot on the bed because they want comfort or attention.
Your scent comforts your dog. It makes them happy to sleep where you sleep.
It can be for attention with some dogs.
This can come in the form of:
- Snuggling against you.
- Gently headbutting you.
The 2 actions above may be a sign that your dog wants some pets, scratches, or belly rubs.
They can also be scared or anxious.
Sleeping surrounded by your warmth and scent gives them comfort.
For them, the best place in the world is beside you.
Why does my dog sleep in my spot when I leave?
Your dog sleeps in your spot when you leave for comfort and warmth.
The spot is saturated with your scent and warmed up by you. Big happiness triggers for doggos.
Most people jump to the conclusion that dogs do this to show dominance. This theory has been disproved by more recent studies.
The dominance theory is based on Robert Schenkel’s study of a pack of wolves.
He concluded that the main wolf pair or the Alpha Male and Female ruled over the pack because they:
- Hunted for food.
- Controlled pack members with physical pressure.
This was an extremely limited study as:
- The pack was the breeding pair’s family and offspring.
- The Alpha Male and Female were actually the “breeding pair”.
- The wolf pack did not live in the wild and is not an example of natural behavior.
40 years later, Wolf Behavior Expert, David Mech’s 13-year study had different results.
He studied the wolves in their natural habitat.
He had several findings that contradicted Schenkel’s study.
There is an alpha male and female but not as Schenkel described.
They were the parents and the oldest wolves in the pack. They were the only ones able to breed.
The parent’s goal was to take care of their offspring until they got old enough.
The oldest wolves (the alpha pair) hunted because they had more experience.
A dictatorial hierarchy was not present.
The alpha pair ate with the pack. They even saved extra food for the young wolf cubs.
The male wolves eventually grew up and left to start packs of their own.
Being the “Alpha pair” meant that they just had the right to be the parents of their pack.
The whole dynamic of the pack was more of a family than a hierarchy.
How does this disprove the dominance theory?
It disproves the dominance theory because it shows that the basis does not even happen in the wild wolf pack.
Remember that wild wolves and domesticated dogs are different.
Dogs grew up with humans.
They have thousands of years of human exposure.
They have different food from wolves. They even have different “normal” days.
Training dogs that grew up with humans has never needed “pack rules” (which don’t even exist).