Whether on the sofa, in bed or even on the towel that you spread on the floor to sunbathe, it is not uncommon for you to end up with your dog sleeping on top of you. Surely it has happened to you and you have wondered why this is happening and how you can react to it.
In this article, we are going to explain where the dog’s taste for being in close contact with you comes from if it is appropriate for you to allow it or if, on the contrary, it is better that you avoid this behavior.
The Way Dogs Sleep
Dogs are social animals. Their ancestors lived in herds in which everyone collaborated to achieve the survival and perpetuation of their genes. In this cooperation, the moment of rest was included. All the members of the pack slept together. In this way, they protected themselves from the weather and potential dangers.
They slept in a fetal position, curled up, glued to each other and upwind to better maintain body temperature. In contrast, today’s dogs do not sleep in danger, but the instinct to get together to sleep is still very much alive in them. And we are their herd.
This is the basis of their determination to sleep as close to you as they can, even if that includes crushing you. It also explains their bewilderment when we do not allow it or close the room door. If you have more than one dog at home, you can see that it is not uncommon for them to rest together. It is a comfort if you do not allow them to accompany you.
Why Does My Dog Sleep On Top Of Me?
That need for close contact when sleeping that leads the dog to get on top of us, as we have seen, has a simple explanation. Resting with us offers them a number of important benefits. We highlight the following:
Contact during rest allows for reinforcement of the bond established between caregiver and dog. For them, thanks to the domestication process, we are their reference figure, hence the importance of maintaining this attachment.
Like their ancestors, the dog instinctively knows to sleep together. Thus, they seek your protection, but, at the same time, they are protecting you in a moment of maximum vulnerability such as rest. In other words, you are a safe place for them.
Although they will sleep on you all year round, it is likely that in the warmer months they will end up lying on the ground to cool off. But the rest of the year they will stick to your side or on you to keep warm. This close contact is the best way to preserve body heat.
Dogs are not stupid and there is no doubt that our favorite bed or sofa is going to be a good place. Especially if their bed is not very soft, is cold or they have any joint discomfort.
In general, dogs are affectionate and sticking to us is a way of showing us this affection. In addition, it is a reciprocal feeling that, with our closeness, feels reciprocated.
What to do About Your Dog Laying on Top of You?
The truth is that a dog will be interested in sleeping on you if they trust you. Therefore, that desire is usually synonymous with the fact that you have created a good bond with them. It is news to congratulate that reaffirms your role as a caregiver. The dog is showing us that they are so comfortable with us that they relax to the point of falling asleep.
In reality, humans function in a similar way. We need to be in a calm and relaxed environment to fall asleep and we will not do it in the presence of strangers. Therefore, there is no harm in allowing your dog to sleep with you.
Of course, if you decide to disallow it, it has to be always. There is no point in allowing on one day and disallowing on another.
Dog education is based on consistency. Think about what you want and make the decision. Do not change it and make sure that all members of the household respect the agreement.
By the way, the fact that the dog sleeps on you does not mean that they want to dominate you. A different case is when they growl at you or prevent you from accessing the bed. That is an education problem to deal with.
What to Do If I Don’t Want the Dog to Sleep On Me?
The dog’s resting place is a personal choice. If you’ve read this far, you know why they want to sleep on you. But, if you don’t feel like having them sleep on you for whatever reason, they will have to accept your decision. They will not be less happy about it as long as you tend to their needs.
Of course, it would be recommended that you allow them to sleep in a bed next to you.
How to Keep My Dog Off the Bed?
What If My Dog Doesn’t Want to Sleep With Me?
Not all dogs have an interest in sleeping with their caregiver or don’t do it every day. Some may simply have trouble climbing onto beds or sofas due to age or health problems. Others fall asleep with the rest of the animals in the house, if any, and no longer make the intention to change their beds.
It is also possible that you adopted a dog that does not seek this close contact with you because they have suffered some trauma in their previous life. These dogs can take a long time to establish a bond of trust to the point of sleeping with us. You have to respect their times. The payoff is worth it.