If your dog has been sleeping on your side of the bed, 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 them.
So, why does my dog sleep on my side of the bed? Possible reasons why your dog sleeps on your side of the bed are that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded, it is being possessive, or that your dog feels safer when it sleeps there.
There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about them.
Reasons why your dog sleeps on your side of the bed
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
Encouraging the behavior
It could be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it sleeps on your side of 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 and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.
Another possible cause is that your dog is being possessive and it does not want you to take what it believes is its spot on the bed. This would be more likely if your dog growls at you when you try to sleep where you want to. In this case, it would be best to avoid letting your dog sleep with you until it stops being possessive.
It likes the smell
Another possible cause is that your dog likes the smell on your side of the bed. This would be more likely if your dog sleeps there when you are not around. In this case, it could be the case that the smell is calming it down due to separation anxiety.
It makes it feel safer
Another possible cause is that it makes your dog feel safer. This would be more likely if your dog leans on you when you are also in the bed and your dog does not try to get you to move away.
It is being protective
The reason why your dog sleeps in your spot could be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when there are other people or animals around and if it can get overly protective around them.
Many people jump to the conclusion that their dogs do it because they are trying to be dominant. However, the alpha/beta dynamic has been disproven in studies showing that wolves take turns in taking the lead.
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 it first started doing it
If your dog did not always sleep on your side of the bed, it would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be the case that it learned that the behavior is rewarded or that something caused it to start feeling anxious.
When it sleeps on your side of the bed
If your dog tends to sleep on your side of the bed at a certain time, it would also help to consider what is different when it does it. If your dog does it when you are not home, it would be more likely that your dog does it because it smells your scent. Whereas, if your dog does it at night, when you are sleeping on the bed, it would be more likely to be due to protectiveness, comfort, possessiveness or encouraging the behavior.
What to do about it
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it sleeps where you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.
Give it another place to sleep
Another option would be to give your dog another place to sleep. This would be especially worthwhile if your dog becomes aggressive at night.
Train your dog to sleep where you want
Another option would be to train your dog to sleep where you want with the use of positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage your dog to do what you want by rewarding it whenever it shows signs of behaving that way. To use it to get your dog to sleep in a certain spot, you could get your dog to go near that spot and reward your dog, with a treat, whenever it lies down in that spot.
Why does my dog sleep on my spot on the bed?
If your dog has been sleeping on your spot on the bed, while you are in bed, it might be the case that your dog has started to be possessive which would be more likely if it makes you move. It might also be being protective, it might feel safer by sleeping where you sleep or it might be doing it because the behavior is rewarded. If it does it when you are not around, the case could be separation anxiety and the scent on your spot calms your dog down.
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