If your dog has been sleeping between your legs, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why your dog might sleep between your legs and what you should do about it.
So, why does my dog sleep between my legs? The most likely reason why your dog sleeps between your legs is that your dog finds it comfortable and because your dog feels safer being very close to you. To curb the behavior, it is important to avoid giving your dog rewards when going between your legs and to reward your dog whenever it goes to a different spot.
There are actually a number of nuances that you can consider when trying to figure out why your dog does it. You might also find that it will be a combination of the reasons mentioned below.
Why does my dog sleep between my legs?
Each of the different reasons that your dog sleeps between your legs will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your dog might be doing it and what would make them more likely.
It is being protective
It could also be the case that your dog has been sleeping between your legs because your dog is being protective. This would be more likely if it does it more when other people are around and if it gets overly protective when other people or dogs are around.
Related: Why does my dog growl at nothing?
Most dog breeds were bred to be around their owners most of the time. The reason that your dog sleeps between your legs could be that it makes it feel more secure. This is because being between your legs will mean that it will know when you leave and it makes it feel less vulnerable when it is sleeping.
Related: Why does my dog lay down to eat?
It could be the case that your dog has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and being left alone causes it to become anxious.
This would be more likely if your dog gets anxious when you are about to leave by doing things such as pacing or crying.
It would also be more likely if your dog tends to follow you around the house. However, that could also be caused by things such as wanting you to feed it.
If your dog is not anxious when you are not around, it would be less likely that the cause is separation anxiety.
The reason that your dog has been sleeping between your legs could be that it is fearful of something. This would be more likely if it does it in situations where it might become fearful such as when someone is around that it does not like, there are fireworks or loud noises outside.
You have inadvertently trained it to do so
It might be the case that you have inadvertently trained it to go between your legs. This would be more likely to be the reason if you tend to give it things that it wants when it does it such as belly rubs.
If you do not want your dog to sleep between your legs then it would help to train it to sleep somewhere else and to avoid rewarding it when it does try to sleep between your legs.
It’s being affectionate
It could just be the case that your dog does it because it is being affectionate. It might be that going between your legs is a sign that it considers you a part of its tribe and that it trusts you.
Dogs naturally want to be around each other since they are pack animals. With that being the case, your dog will have a natural instinct to be around you as much as possible because your dog considers you as a part of its pack.
Another possible cause is that your dog is actually being jealous. This would be more likely if you also own other pets and if your dog tends to do it more when there are other pets around you. It would also be more likely if your dog can often become aggressive towards your other pets when they come near you.
In this case, it would help to curb the behavior by giving your dog a time out whenever it does something that you do not like such as being aggressive towards the other pets. Eventually, your dog should get the message that being aggressive towards the other pets results in it having to time-out.
Things to consider
Below, I will mention some particularly helpful things to consider when trying to figure out why your dog does it. Once you have a better idea of the cause it will be easier to take the appropriate action.
When it started sleeping between your legs
It would help to consider the timing of when it started doing it since there could have been an event that triggered it.
Things that might have happened could include:
- You moved homes
- You rewarded it for going between your legs one time
- You got another pet
If it has always slept between your legs then it would make it more likely that it does it because it makes it feel more comfortable or secure.
If your dog always sleeps between your legs
If your dog does not always sleep between your legs then it would help to consider what is different when it does it.
If you notice that it tends to sleep between your legs before you leave for work then it would make it more likely that it does it due to separation anxiety.
Whereas, if you notice that it does it when a certain person is around then it might do it due to being protective or fearful.
How to get your dog to stop sleeping between your legs
There are a number of things that you can do about your dog sleeping between your legs. The best option for your dog will largely depend on the cause of it doing it.
Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do about it.
Train it to lay down somewhere else
One option you have is to train your dog to lay somewhere else so you can tell it to lay there whenever it tries to lay between your legs.
I have written about how you can train your dog to learn the “down” command here. Whenever it tries to go between your legs you could tell it to go down at a certain location and to reward it for doing so.
You could also use positive reinforcement training to get it to learn not to go between your legs. Positive reinforcement training is where you reward your dog for doing things that you want it to do.
To use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop going between your legs you would:
- Reward it before it goes between your legs
- Stop rewarding it when it goes between your legs
- Get it out from under your legs and avoid giving it attention until it doesn’t try to get between your legs
- Reward it for behaving the way that you want it to
Give it a comfortable place to sleep
It is also important to make sure that your dog has another place to sleep. Ideally, the location would be cool, dry and not too bright. Once your dog has another place to sleep, it is important to reward your dog whenever it goes there so that your dog learns that it gets rewarded for sleeping there instead of between your legs.
Reduce its separation anxiety
It could be the case that you have a “Velcro dog” this is where your dog does not want to be without you.
It would help to train it to get used to being left without you by leaving it for longer and longer periods. It would be important to start out by leaving it for a very short period so that it does not get anxious and then to reward it for not being anxious each time you do it.
It’s important that you leave it for a period where it will not start to get anxious so that you can reward it for not being anxious. You might find that you will have to start by not even leaving the room and by simply making it seem like you are preparing to leave.
Should You Allow Your Dog To Sleep Between Your Legs?
If the behavior has not been bothering you and your dog has been behaving normally otherwise, it would likely be fine for you to simply allow your dog to continue doing it.
However, if the behavior has been causing problems for you, then it would be worthwhile for you to try to stop the behavior. It would be best to start by giving your dog an alternative place to sleep and to reward your dog whenever it tries to sleep there. Otherwise, it would help to follow the other tips mentioned above.