If your dog sleeps touching you, this post will show you common causes and what you can do about them.

So, why does my dog sleep touching me? Possible reasons why your dog sleeps touching you are that it is being protective, it makes it feel safer, it is being affectionate, it has some separation anxiety or that you have encouraged it to do it by rewarding it.

Since there are many reasons why your dog might sleep touching you, it would help to consider what might be making each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the most likely cause, it should be easier to decide on what to do about it.

Why your dog sleeps touching you

Below are common reasons why dogs do it and what would make them more likely to be the reason why your dog has been doing it.

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 and if it faces the main door while it sleeps with you.

It wants attention

The cause could also be that it is trying to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it and if it does it more when you have not given it much attention in a while.

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 top of you could be helping it to feel safer since it will make it feel like it is in a group and less vulnerable.

Encouraging the behavior

It could be the case that you have encouraged it to do it by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you give it things such as back or belly rubs, when it sleeps and touches you, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to get it off you and to reward it when it lays down the way you want it to.

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 or back before going to sleep.

It is more comfortable

The cause could be that it finds sleeping and touching you as being more comfortable. This would be more likely if it chooses to sleep there instead of in its bed, if it rests its head on you and if it does not seem to show any abnormal behavior.

It has some separation anxiety

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 while touching you, during the day, only before you have left home and not after you have arrived home.

It is waiting for something

The cause could also be that it is waiting to get something from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at around the same time that you would normally give it something such as food or a walk.

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 your dog first started sleeping touching you

If your dog did not always touch you when sleeping, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.

For example, if it also started showing signs of separation anxiety and you started leaving it alone for longer time periods, it could be the case that it has been doing it due to separation anxiety.

What is different when your dog does not sleep touching you

If it tends to do it more at a certain time, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing.

For example, if it does it more before you have fed it or given it exercise, it would be more likely that it wants to be woken up when you give it those things.

What to do about your dog laying touching you

If you want to get your dog to stop laying on top of you, below are some options that you have.

Positive reinforcement training

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 rewards when it sleeps while touching you. Instead, it would help to train it to sleep where you want it to and to reward it when it goes to that spot.

Give it a comfortable place to lay down

It would also help to encourage it to sleep or lay where you want it to by making the area comfortable. It should be cool, not too bright at night, quiet and there should be space for it to lie down.

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.

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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.