If your dog has been sleeping on your stomach you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog sleep on my stomach? Possible reasons why your dog sleeps on your stomach are that it is being protective, it feels safer around you, it has some separation anxiety, you might have encouraged the behavior by rewarding it or it might just be being affectionate.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make them more likely so that you can figure out the most probable cause. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it will become a lot easier to figure out what you should do about it.
Why your dog sleeps or lays on your stomach
Below are common reasons why you dog might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be a main reason.
It feels safer
Most dog breeds were bred to work alongside their owners and feel more secure when they are in a group. Sleeping or laying on your stomach could be helping it to feel safer since it will make it feel like it is in a group and less vulnerable.
It is being protective
The reason why it does it might be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it also becomes protective when you are around other people or animals. It would also be more likely if it tends to do it when there are other people around.
The cause might be that it has some separation anxiety and it wants to know when you are leaving. This would be more likely if it tends to show signs of being anxious when you are about to leave and if it tends to sleep or lay on your stomach only before you have left home and not after you have arrived home.
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 belly rubs, when it sleeps there, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
It is being affectionate
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.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the most likely reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started sleeping on your stomach
If your dog did not always sleep or lay on your stomach, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
Some things to consider would be:
- If you moved home
- If someone else moved away
- If its daily routine
- If you started working different hours
Each of the above would suggest that it started doing it due to anxiety or waiting to see when it will get what it wants.
If it started doing it suddenly, it could also be the case that it learned that it gets rewards for doing it.
What is different when your dog does not sleep on your stomach
If it does not always sleep there, it would also help to consider what else is different when it does not do it.
For example, if it only seems to do it before getting exercise or being fed, it might be the case that it wants to make sure it is woken up when it is time for those things.
What to do about your dog sleeping on your stomach
If you do not want your dog to sleep on your stomach, below are some things you can do to get it to stop.
Train it to lay down somewhere else
One option would be to train your dog to lay somewhere else 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
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that it gets things it wants when it sleeps or lays on your stomach. Instead, it would help to reward it when it sleeps where you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.
Take measures to reduce its separation anxiety
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.
Give it a comfortable place to lay down
It would also help to give it a comfortable area to sleep in so that it is more likely to choose to sleep there rather than on your stomach.