April 7, 2023

Why Does My Dog Always Sleep On Top Of Me?

I'm sure you have noticed your dog always sleeping on top of you. Well, there are many reasons behind this hilarious habit of dogs. Find out why!

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So you wake up one morning and there's a floor of drool on your neck, and your furry friend is still sleeping soundly over you. You want to take a picture of the moment, but then again, having her sleep on top of you has just become another part of your morning routine.  Have you ever pondered why your dog always sleeps on top of people? Does he do it to annoy you, for warmth, or do dogs just love being on top? Here are the 6 common reasons why your dog always likes to sleep on top of its human owner. 

Common reasons why your dog loves to sleep on top of you

1. Your Dog Finds You Comfortable and Warm

Dogs are instinctively drawn to warmth and comfort. In the wild, they would seek out a den-like space to huddle up in. This would help them keep warm, conserve energy, and be protected from predators.  For small dogs, who have less hair to keep them warm, your body heat is an excellent source of warmth, so your dog will do everything he can to get near you and your bedding when night falls.

2. You Unintentionally Train Him To Do So 

After a stressful long day, you give your dog some sign of affection by rubbing their ears or giving them some cuddles. The familiarity of your touch helps ease their mind and reduces the day's excitement.  You might not even remember doing it, but you may have accidentally trained your dog that sleeping on top of you is perfectly acceptable behavior by petting him or talking softly whenever he does it.

3. Your Dog is Protective of You

Dogs are instinctively protective of their member of the pack — the animals and people they consider to be their family. A dog sleeping on top of you is a way of claiming you as their own and protecting you while you sleep. Dogs are den animals, which means they like to sleep in small, enclosed spaces. Dogs sometimes sleep under tables, behind couches, or in closets. Dogs that sleep above their owners want to protect them,  while the leader of the pack is vulnerable, so being able to see what's going on around them is important.

4. Your Dog Wants Attention

Dogs are very social creatures. They crave attention and interaction with their humans daily. A dog sleeping on top of her human means that he wants to be close to you and feel your comforting presence. This is a sign of great trust and affection, and it's one-way dogs show love for their owners. 

Some dogs who sleep on top of their owners like to be petted while they do so. Being petted makes them feel reassured and relaxed, and it helps them get the attention they crave from their owners. 

If you think that your dog is overly demanding and always seeking attention, the main reason for this need is that he is bored. This could be because they are not getting enough physical exercise or mental stimulation.  A quick solution to dogs’ boredom is mental stimulation toys that contain treats. These toys will soon become his favorite toys and keep him busy for hours when you are busy with your Zoom calls. 

5. Your Dog Is Affectionate

There are times that you are the only person your dog lays. They love to be near you. They want to know what you’ve been doing all day and ask for your attention by laying on top of you when you get home.

6. Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety

No one understands entirely why dogs develop separation anxiety or why some dogs suffer from it and others don't. But according to, Jen Jones, a professional dog trainer, thinks that separation anxiety is a common dog problem and happens when a dog has separated too soon or too abruptly from the people they are attached to.

For some dogs, sleeping on top of their owners is an attempt to ease separation anxiety. Your dog may feel abandoned and lonely when you leave him alone, so he seeks out a way to feel close to you. It's also possible that he associates the smell of your sheets with your presence, which can help ease her anxiety.

Constant contact is comforting. Some dogs simply enjoy being in close contact with their humans at all times, even while they're sleeping (or perhaps, especially while they're sleeping). 

There are other situations that can be common causes of some signs of separation anxiety, such as: 

  • Being left alone for the first time
  • Being left alone when accustomed to constant human companionship
  • A response to a traumatic experience
  • Change in routine or schedule
  • Change of ownership
  • Change to a family, such as a death of a family member or other pet dog, a birth, or someone moving out
  • Moving to a new house
  • It can also be genetic; dogs born to anxious parents are more likely to suffer from some signs of  anxiety disorders

The adorable meaning behind your dog’s sleeping positions

1. Side Sleeping Position

Your dog loves to sleep on its side. Dogs often sleep stretched out on their sides, with their legs extended. This sleeping position is especially prominent in young dogs, and senior dogs who may be suffering from stiff joints. When your dog sleeps on his side, he feels relaxed and safe.

2. Lion's Pose Position

Dogs who sleep with their heads resting on their paws are practicing the lion pose, a position shared with statues outside of the world’s most prominent buildings. Your dog can also fall asleep in this pose with its front legs tucked in and back legs to one side. This means that when your dog is sleeping in this position, they are resting but is not in a deep sleep.

3. Superman Position

The Superman position is seen when your dog is lying on his tummy with his back legs stretched behind him and front legs forward. This position is often seen among puppies and playful dogs. It means that your dog’s eyes are drooping, and he is already tired but ready to play if the opportunity arises.

4. Donut Position

The donut position is when your dog curls up into a tight ball with all its limbs tucked close to its body. Sometimes its nose will touch its hind legs, and it may even drape its tail over its body. When a dog curls up, all of its vital organs are protected and hidden. This position may mean that the animal is feeling safe and secure or that it hasn’t yet adjusted to its environment. This is an especially common position in stray dogs or in wild dogs.  The donut is also the most common sleeping position that canines adapt to ensure they remain warm during cold weather. The curled-up shape provides great insulation by locking in your pooch’s body heat and protecting it from external elements.

5. Cuddling Position

Dogs who sleep in the cuddler position tend to be the ones who prefer to sleep close to their owners. They often like to be tucked under the covers, snuggled against their sleeping partner, and sometimes even curled up in the fetal position.  If they’re cuddling with another dog, they’re likely to take turns being the big spoon and little spoon.

6. Burrowing Position

When your dog curls up under your sheets or on a pile of clothes, it means he seeks comfort and security. He needs lots of attention and affection before he can drift off to dreamland.

7. Back to Back Position

Sleeping back to back is the same as cuddling in humans. When a dog sleeps in this position, it shows affection and trust. This position is a sign of much love and comfort.

8. The "On a Cold Surface"

In this heat, your dog may try to find a cool surface to lie on. He might lie flat on the kitchen floor or spread out on his side on the pavement. This position is related to temperature. Dogs might sleep this way with their heads up, as if in an alert state, and their heads down, so their bellies are touching the ground.

9. Head and Neck Raised

 If your best friend likes to sleep in a position where their head and neck are raised, it could mean that they may have health problems — something commonly seen with chronic heart disease, for example, especially in those adult dogs. If your pooch is showing some symptoms like shortness of breath, you can quickly contact AskVet. AskVet connects pet owners to thousands of licensed veterinarians ready to provide the best online vet services through video chat appointments 24/7.

Interesting Facts about Your dog's Sleeping Patterns

Have you ever watched how your dog sleeps? While they slumber, their inherent dog nature comes out. You can assess how much quality of sleep your dog may be experiencing just by observing them. 

How dogs choose to rest after a day of play is a remnant behavior from their wild ancestors. Their wild ancestors, wolves, often circled or dug holes before resting to get rid of excess leaves, earth, and snow. A comfortable resting spot was crucial for wolves since they had to be at optimal strength in order to hunt prey. But did you also know that dog’s dream too?  They're possibly dreaming of what happened during the day - like a walk around the block or chasing a squirrel. Dogs, like humans, twitch while they sleep. Dogs dream and even move between different stages of sleep, but this is a natural process and should not concern dog owners. Your dog may also look as if he or she is running in their sleep when they go to sleep on their sides Aside from your fur baby’s action while sleeping; you may hear your dog making noises in his sleep; there's no reason to worry. It's normal for dogs and can indicate that he is reacting to something that's happening in his dream.

No need to worry if you discover your dog displays one of the above sleep patterns! Each dog is an individual, and sleeping habits are as variable as personalities. But there is a research study that some dogs also experience REM sleep disorder episodes or rapid eye movement, which may occur during night or day.  It may sound alarming, but as a fellow dog lover owner, I suggest you should just let sleeping dogs lie and never interrupt during the time your dog has some episodes. 

To read more about dog's behaviors, click here.

Here are some tips to keep your dog from sleeping on top of you

  • Crate training is all about positive reinforcement, so the bed needs to be comfortable, and your pup should love spending a long time on it; they will lay on it more readily if they like it. Place their crate in the corner of the room so that it is not in the way of foot traffic; this will keep them from associating it with punishment. At first, encourage your dog to go into the crate by rewarding them with a treat; then, once they have begun to associate the crate with treats and good things, start having them spend time there without giving treats. Your dog can learn that their crate is a safe place to rest while you are away or when they want some time alone. The following is the exact tutorial I watched to learn how to crate train my French bulldog when he was a puppy.
  • Stop rewarding your dog to sleep on top of you. Dogs are creatures of habit, and they're smart! If they get rewarded for doing something, they'll keep doing it. Next time your dog tries to sleep on top of you, stop him by moving him away calmly. This teaches your dog right from wrong and reinforces your limits. If you do this gently, your dog feels like he's still close to you. For example, put him down next to you or near your feet. But don't let him get on the couch or on your own bed if he jumps up there with you. You need to be consistent. Don't let him jump up on the couch if he can't do it when you're in bed!
  • Encourage your dog to lie on you only if you are comfortable with it and if it will bring you closer together. The myths that resonate with dominance theory, such as preventing the dog from sleeping on the bed or eating before other family members, do not relate to whether or not the dog will respond to its owner's commands. Your dog should obey a command like ‘off’ or ‘no’ when you say it.
  • Create a sweet spot for your dog to rest on his own bed. If your dog is getting on top of the bed or your lap because of stress or anxiety, you should consider getting a calming bed to provide extra comfort and help reduce anxiety. Indestructible beds might also be a good option if you have a heavy chewer dog since a regular bed probably won't last long underneath him.

Key Takeaway

Understanding why your dog may be sleeping on top of you can aid you in getting him to sleep somewhere else. In this article, we'll look at some of the reasons why dogs sleep on their owners—and what you can do to keep them off your face. We hope you find this helpful. Please subscribe to our email list to stay updated!