Can’t wait to hop into your bed after a long day? Neither can your dog. Many dogs love to cozy up next to their owners by sleeping between their legs or burrowing under the covers. But why do dogs do this? And should you be concerned if your pooch exhibits this behavior every night?
The short answer is no—but there are a few signs to watch out for.
Why Your Dog Sleeps on Your Legs
A dog who sleeps on its owner’s legs is a fairly common and innocent behavior. However, this harmless mannerism can be a result of deeper psychological issues. Let’s take a look at the four main reasons why your dog sleeps on your legs.
1. You’re Part of the Pack
The most common reason your dog loves to cuddle with you at night is that you’re a part of her pack. Dogs are pack animals, meaning they live together for survival and will sleep in groups.
Wolves are historically pack animals and will always assign a pack leader, or alpha. Since dogs descended from wolves, they harbored the same pack mentality. In other words, your canine sees you as the leader of the pack. Consider your dog’s sleeping habits as a way of saying, “I love you, and I want to protect you.”
2. You’re Warm & Cozy
If your dog is constantly sleeping between your legs during the winter months, then chances are they're not warm enough. So what better way to warm up than next to his leader in a cozy bed?
Your dog is smart and realizes that your body gives off plenty of heat to keep them warm and comfy. But creating a warm space for your dog to go to during frigid weather is important.
3. Your Dog Feels Safe
If your dog is the anxious type during fireworks or severe weather, then seeking comfort by your side will bring them the safety and security they needs.
Many dogs like to be in a confined and contained area when they get anxious—which is why your dog considers sleeping on your legs to be a safe and protected space.
4. Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
Dogs who get anxious and stressed when left alone have separation anxiety. This condition typically develops when your dog is very young and is common in pups who have been abandoned or surrendered to a shelter.
If your dog has separation anxiety, then you know how hard it is for them to be away from you. Your dog will sleep with you at night because they don't want to be left alone. If they don't, then they will become fearful of abandonment.
Separation anxiety can result in destructive behaviors. If your dog is exhibiting signs of separation anxiety, make sure you talk with your vet to rule out any other underlying medical issues.
Giving Your Dog Their Own Sleeping Space
Providing your dog with a safe and comfortable sleeping space to go to is important. If you’re trying to wean your dog away from sleeping on your legs, then train them to lie down in their own bed.
To do this, don’t reward your dog with pets and affection when they jump on your bed. Instead, redirect their behavior by commanding them to get down. Once your dog is in their bed, give them some well-deserved treats, love, and affection.
Keep Your Dog Comfortable With The Absorber®
Does your wet dog sprint to your bed after a bath? Depending on your canine, bath time can either be relaxing or stressful. Regardless of your dog’s views on the tub, you can keep your dog dry, comfortable, and happy with The Absorber®—an ultra-absorbent towel that takes the dread out of drying. Never let your dog shake their suds off on your sheets again, and dry them the easy way with The Absorber® by Dog Lover’s Towel.