Why Does My Dog Sleep So Close To Me?
Did you spend heaps of money on comfy bedding for your doggo, only for them to sleep next to you on the sheets every night? We know the feeling. Having to deal with dog hair, muddy paws and a lack of personal space all while their perfectly adequate dog bed lies there empty, mocking you. Has the thought ‘why does my dog sleep so close to me?’ crossed your mind often? Perhaps we can help you figure it out.
Possible reasons for a doggo bed-mate
Your doggo, no matter how adorable and well behaved now, has genetics derived from wolves. Wolves live in packs, and those pack instincts live on in your very home. Straight from birth, your doggo is used to being a part of a large pack they are meant to protect and keep warm. Puppies usually sleep altogether, with the strongest of those sleeping on the outskirts. They are prepared at all times to move in case of danger and to protect the weakest among them.
They want to bond with their human
A simple answer could be that your furry friend is trying to strengthen their bond with you. By staying by your side they are letting you know they feel safe with you.
Speaking of safety, they want to protect you. They are a part of your pack, and since you provide for them, they wish to protect you in your most vulnerable time. If you find that your doggo gets close even on warmer nights, they are most likely showing you they have your back at all times, literally. Despite there being no active threat, your dog is prepared to protect you.
Your dog simply might be lonely (yes we know that may sound odd). Dogs can feel a similar range of emotions to us humans, loneliness being one of them. If that is the case, you will find they might whimper when being left alone for long periods, which is a sign of separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is something you should pay attention to if you suspect your furry pal might be suffering from it. Longer-term, separatation anxiety can cause some unwanted health issues.
How do I know if my dog has separation anxiety?
Common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs manifest as the following:
- Hyper-awareness of your presence in the home, following you around at all times
- Stomach upsets and digestive issues
- Urinated or defecating in the house when left alone
- Chewing, digging and being destructive
- Excessive panting
- Constant barking
If you notice these more severe anxiety symptoms in your dog (which are amplified when you are away from them) get in touch with a veterinarian. They will be able to best advise you on medication and therapy options to help calm your pooch.
Warm and toasty
If you have ruled out separation anxiety and your dog just seems to favour your bed over theirs, it could also be as simple as them being cold. If you find that while sleeping in their bed they shiver or whimper, they might be asking for extra warmth. If you want to make their space cosier, add a blanket or try a sweater (they will surely thank you for it). Make sure to read our blog all about how to keep dogs warm in the winter for more ideas.
Lots of smells around
Your bed smells like you. That scent is comforting to your doggo and they might want to be near your scent more often. If they are rubbing on your sheets and blankets they might just be trying out the latest perfume Eau De You.
The opposite could also be true, they could want to make your bed smell exactly like them. If that's the case, you might want to wash your bed sheets more often!
Your doggo loves to stretch out wide and take up as much space as possible, and your bed allows for that luxury. Where their bed might be a little small and constricting, no matter how big your doggo, your bed is the perfect space. Try getting them a bed that is bigger than deemed necessary and see if that encourages them to move to their own space.
Overall, wanting to sleep next to you is pretty normal
If your doggo gets in your bed every night for a cuddle, know that they are coming from a good place. Most pet owners admit to having slept in the same bed as their dog at some point, in fact many of us dog-lovers prefer it!
Not happy with a pooch in your bed? Let's see what we can do
Persuade with treats
Try placing your doggo in their bed throughout the day and give them a high-reward treat, such as beef jerky for dogs. This pattern will show your dog that being in their own bed will earn them treats, which will hopefully translate to them wanting to spend more time there! Right before bedtime, reward them again. Over time, the routine will become natural.
Create a routine
As well as rewarding your doggo with treats, creating an overall routine will help settle any anxieties your doggo might be having. Creating a routine of feeding, walking and taking your furry friend to the toilet before bedtime is a good start. You can also use the simple verbal phrase such as ‘bed time!’ to signal that is time for them to hop into their bed.
Make your dog’s sleeping space more inviting by adding lots of blankets and cosy toys. If they still want to be near you, try placing their dog bed in your bedroom. That way you can still be near eachother, but you have regained your personal space!
Your doggo wanting to sleep with you is a perfectly normal response and you should take it as a huge compliment. Your canine companion trusts you and wants to be a part of your pack. Unless there is a reason for you to want your doggo sleeping away from your bed, it is perfectly okay to continue your sleeping arrangement if you are both happy with it!