If your dog keeps sleeping on your bed you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common causes and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog sleep on my bed? Possible reasons why your dog sleeps on your bed are that it makes it feel safer, you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior, it has some separation anxiety or that it is being protective.
There are a number of reasons why your dog might have been sleeping on your bed and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become easier to figure out what to do about it.
Why does my dog sleep on my bed?
Below are some common causes and what would make them more likely.
It feels safer
The cause could be that it makes it feel safer. Dogs were bred to work alongside their owners and the other members of their pack for hours on a daily basis and they would sleep together. So, sleeping on your bed could make it feel like it is around other pack members and cause it to feel more secure. This would be more likely to be the reason if it does it more when you are in the bed and if it sleeps where you are during the day as well.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that you have been encouraging the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys, or treats when it sleeps in the bed, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it sleeps where you want it to, to give it positive reinforcement training to get it to sleep where you want and to redirect its focus when it is about to sleep in your bed.
It could be a sign that it has some separation anxiety. This is because it will be able to smell your scent on the bed and it could make it feel less anxious. This would be more likely if it sleeps on your bed when you are away and if it starts to become anxious when you are leaving.
It is being protective
The cause could be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it tends to do it when you are in the bed and if it also sleeps in protective spots during the day.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started sleeping on your bed
It would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as learning that it gets rewards when it does it or because you started giving it extra access to your bedroom.
What is different when it does it
If it tends to do it more at certain times, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing. For example, if it tends to sleep there when you are also in the bed, it would be more likely that it is being protective or that it does it to feel safer.
What to do about your dog sleeping in your bed
Below are some things you can do about your dog sleeping in your bed.
Train it to sleep somewhere else
One option would be to use positive reinforcement training to get your dog to lay somewhere else. Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage it to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.
Give it another place to sleep
It would also help to give it another place to sleep. The area should be cool, quiet and there should be space for it to lay down. Another option would be to give it a crate to sleep in so that it can go there to feel secure.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have been encouraging the behavior. Instead, it would help to reward it when it sleeps where you want it to, to try to redirect its focus when it is about to sleep in your spot and to train it to sleep elsewhere.
Reduce its separation anxiety
It would also help to try to reduce how anxious it becomes without you. Things you can do are to make sure to feed it, give it exercise and let it pee before leaving so that it does not have to wait too long. I have written more about why your dog might be anxious at night and what to do about it here.
Why is my dog suddenly sleeping on my bed?
If your dog has suddenly started sleeping on your bed, it would be more likely to be due to things such as other spots becoming unavailable, your dog started having more access to your room, your dog learned that it is ok to sleep on your bed, your dog has started getting anxious without you, your dog is trying to hide from other animals or because your dog learned that the behavior is rewarded.
It would help to consider what else happened recently that might have affected your dog and the timing of when your dog tends to do it.
Why does my dog sleep on my bed when I am gone?
If your dog sleeps on your bed when you are gone, it could be because your dog feels safer in your bedroom, your dog has some separation anxiety, or because your dog knows that it can get away with sleeping on your bed when you are not around. It would help to consider if your dog starts to show signs of being anxious when you are leaving home.
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