Many dogs sleep next to their owners to demonstrate their trust and strengthen the bond of your relationship. This affectionate practice is welcomed by several owners, who are happy to let their dogs sleep alongside them.
Still, your bed isn’t the only place your dog might choose to sleep, and sometimes there are underlying causes of these behaviours.
For example, a common reason why dogs like to sleep next to their owners is that they fear separation anxiety. Understanding the difference between these reasons can help you decide whether sharing your bed is the right thing for your pup.
One of the most common ways dogs show loyalty and affection towards their owners is by sleeping close to them. This behaviour is normal and can be seen in almost all dog breeds, but the reasons they do it can vary. Here are some of the most common.
Canine Pack Instincts
Dogs have an innate pack instinct, which is why they often sleep next to their humans. This instinct results from thousands of years of evolution and has been passed down through generations. It’s a way for dogs to show their loyalty and bond with their owners, as well as provide them with a sense of security.
The pack instinct also explains why dogs often sleep in tight spaces, such as on the bed or in a corner; it makes them feel safe and protected from potential predators or dangers. This behaviour is prevalent in puppies who are still learning to trust humans and rely on them for protection.
When a puppy is born, it sleeps alongside its littermates. This behaviour carries over into adulthood, where they look for a safe spot to sleep close to their human family members. Sleeping next to you makes your dog feel the same security it experienced with its littermates at birth.
To Protect You
Dogs have been loyal and protective companions to humans for centuries, with an instinctive need to protect us from harm, whether it’s physical or emotional. One of the ways dogs show their loyalty and protection is by sleeping next to humans; they are instinctively aware that if something threatens their owner, they will be able to alert them quickly and possibly even fight off the threat.
This protective instinct is rooted in evolution, with dogs evolving from wolves who worked together to hunt and protect their pack. This could be why we often see dogs barking at strangers or putting themselves between us and potential threats – it is a natural behaviour ingrained in them and passed down through generations of domesticated dogs.
Research has shown that dogs can display jealousy when their owners pay attention to other animals or people.
Jealousy is a powerful emotion that can lead to various behaviours in dogs, including sleeping next to their humans. If a dog becomes jealous of another pet or person, they will often seek out their human for comfort and security – this is their way of re-establishing their place in the pack and showing loyalty to their human.
This behaviour is most commonly seen in dogs raised in single-dog households with a strong bond with their owners. In these cases, the jealous behaviour may indicate the dog’s possessive nature and desire for more attention from its owner.
Dogs are social animals, and they have evolved to form strong bonds with their owners. When a dog is separated from its owner, it can experience feelings of anxiety and loneliness, resulting in the dog wanting to sleep next to its owner to seek comfort and security. By sleeping next to their owners, dogs can get the reassurance they need that they are safe and secure even when apart.
Separation anxiety is a widespread problem and can be a source of great distress for both the dog and the owner. It is caused by a fear of being left alone and can manifest itself in various ways, such as:
- Excessive barking or howling.
- Urinating or defecating in the house.
- Chewing, digging, or engaging in other destructive behaviours.
- Escaping (or trying to escape).
It is important to understand the causes of this issue so that owners can take steps to help their pets cope with their anxiety.
How Can I Reduce My Dog’s Need To Sleep So Close To Me?
There are positive and negative reasons your dog might sleep close by, so it’s not necessarily a “bad” thing. Still, many owners question whether or not they should let their pup sleep alongside them.
Maybe it’s summer, and rising temperatures make snuggling up next to your pup a little bit too warm, or perhaps you’re concerned that your dog’s need to sleep next to you stems from an underlying anxiety. Either way, there are some steps you can take to make your dog comfortable in their own space.
Reward Them For Sleeping In A Different Area
Training a dog using a rewards-based system is an effective way to teach your pup life skills and good behaviours, such as sleeping through the night or responding to your commands.
Rewarding your dog with treats when they sleep in their own bed will help them to associate this behaviour with something positive. You can also praise and pet them when they sleep in their bed, which will help reinforce the desired behaviour.
Additionally, providing a comfortable and inviting sleeping space for your dog will make it more likely that they will choose to use it. This means finding the right area and bedding options for your pup. For example, a calming dog bed is a great way to allow your dog independence while providing them with an environment that feels safe and comforting.
With patience and consistency, you can help your pup learn to enjoy sleeping in their own bed!
Treat Separation Anxiety
If you suspect that your pup is suffering from separation anxiety, it is vital to seek professional help. Still, there are also some simple steps you can take at home to help ease their distress:
- Provide them with a special treat (like an interactive toy) that they can only play with when you’re not home.
- Keep it low-key when you arrive at and leave the house. Try to limit the amount of attention you give your dog when you come back.
- Give them some comforting items while you’re away – such as clothes that smell like you.
- Talk to your vet about natural supplements, such as Zylkene.
By understanding the signs of separation anxiety and implementing strategies such as providing a safe space for your dog, providing them with toys or treats to keep them occupied, and creating a calming environment for your pet, you can help reduce their stress levels when they are left alone.