If your dog has been curling up next to you a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about it. 

Possible reasons why your dog curls up next to you are that it feels safer, it finds it comfortable, it is being affectionate, it has learned that the behavior is rewarded or separation anxiety.

Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get it to stop.

Reasons why your dog curls up next to you

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

It makes it feel safer

The reason why it does it might be that it makes it feel safer. This would be more likely if it seems to have a timid personality and if it does it more in certain situations such as when there are noises outside. Also, dogs were bred to work alongside their owners and the other members of their pack for hours on a daily basis. So, being close to you could make it feel like it is around other pack members and cause it to feel more secure.

It finds it comfortable

The cause could just be that it finds it comfortable to curl up in a certain spot. This would be more likely if it also curls up in the same spot when you are not sitting there yourself. =

Affection

It could be the case that it is just being affectionate. This would be more likely if it tends to get you to rub its stomach before going to sleep and if it tends to actually lean itself against you when it curls up next to you.

Encouraging the behavior

The cause could also be that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats, or extra attention, when it curls up next to you, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. 

Separation anxiety

It might also be the case that it has some separation anxiety and it wants to be alerted when you leave home. This would be more likely if it tends to show signs of being anxious when you are leaving by doing things such as pacing or crying.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

What else happened when it first started doing it

If your dog did not always curl up next to you, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since an event might have caused it to start. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be because it learned that the behavior is rewarded or because something caused it to start being anxious.

What is different when it does not do it

If it does not always curl up next to you, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not do it. For example, if it does not do it after you have arrived home from work, it might be the case that it does due to separation anxiety. 

What to do about it

Below are some options you have if you do not want your dog to curl up next to you.

Train it to go elsewhere

The first option would be to train it to lay where you want it to with the use of positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage it to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.

To use it to get it to lay or sleep in a certain spot you could do something such as the following:

  • Make the location, you want it to sleep in, comfortable.
  • Get your dog to stand there and reward it
  • Encourage your dog to lay down by giving it a treat
  • Continue to repeat the process a few times daily until it realizes that laying there results in it getting rewards

Give it more places to lay down

It could also help to give it more places where it can lay down. By doing so, you should be able to help encourage it to lay elsewhere. It could also help to try crate training so that it has somewhere it can go where it can feel secure.

Limit reasons why it might be anxious or fearful

As mentioned above, it could be doing it because it has some separation anxiety. It would help to try to reduce how anxious it gets by giving it exercise, letting it pee and feeding it before leaving so that it does not have to wait so long.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.