If your dog has been sleeping under pillows, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible reasons why it has been doing it and what you can do to stop it.
So, why does my dog sleep under pillows? Possible reasons why your dog sleeps under pillows are that it feels safer under the pillows, it finds it comfortable, you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior, separation anxiety or being fearful.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a better idea of the cause, it should become a lot easier to get it to stop.
Why your dog sleeps under pillows
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 feels safer
The reason why it does it could be that it feels safer there. By sleeping under the pillows, it will be able to protect itself from above and behind making it more likely that it will be able to see potential threats. This could be the reason why your dog does it even if there is no reason for it to be scared. This would be more likely to be the reason if it tends to have a more submissive personality. It would also be more likely that if it tends to sleep under the pillows when you are also there and if it tends to follow you around the house.
It finds it comfortable
The reason why it does it could also be that it just finds it more comfortable there. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when the room is cool, if it does not display unusual behaviors when it does it and if it sleeps there at random times.
Encouraging the behavior
It might be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged it to do it 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 hides under the pillows, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. This would be more likely if it shows some signs of excitement when it does it or when you go near it.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it sleeps where you want it to, to give it positive reinforcement training and to try to redirect its attention when it is about to go under the pillows.
The reason why it does it could also be that it has some separation anxiety. It is likely that there is a strong scent under the pillows and it could be the case that smelling your scent makes it feel safer. This would be more likely if it only sleeps there when you are gone and if it starts to show signs of being anxious when you are leaving.
It’s an inherited behavior
It could be the case that it does it because it is an inherited behavior. Dogs that were able to shield themselves from the elements will have been able to improve their chances of survival. It could be the case that those dogs were able to pass on those traits causing present-day dogs to share similar traits.
The reason why it does it could also be that something is causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely if it tends to do it at a certain time such as when there are noises outside. In this case, it would help to try to reduce its exposure to the thing that might be causing it to be fearful.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the most likely reason why your dog has been sleeping under pillows.
What else happened when your dog first started sleeping under pillows
If it did not always sleep under the pillows, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
For example, if it started doing it suddenly after you gave it a reward, when it did it one time, it will likely have learned that it gets rewards for going under pillows.
What is different when your dog does not sleep under pillows
If it does not always sleep under pillows, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not do it.
For example, if it only does it when you are in the room and it usually stays in the same room you are in, it could be due to things such as feeling safer around you.
What to do about your dog sleeping under pillows
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop sleeping or laying under pillows.
Train it to sleep somewhere else
One option would be to train it to sleep 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
Give it another place to sleep
If it does not currently have somewhere else to sleep, it would help to give it access to another spot to go to. One option would be to get a crate for it to use and to put a cover over it so that it can go to its crate when it wants to and feel safe there.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward it when it shows signs of sleeping where you want it to and to try to redirect its focus when it is about to lay down under pillows.
Reduce its separation anxiety
If it seems like it might be doing it due to separation anxiety, it would help to take measures to try to reduce how anxious it becomes. Things you could do would be to give it food, exercise and to let it pee before leaving, to make the room it stays in comfortable and to reduce noises that might bother it.
Minimize reasons why it might be fearful
As mentioned above, it might also be the case that something has been causing it to be fearful. If possible, it would help to try to minimize reasons that it might be fearful such as by letting it stay in a quieter room.
If your dog has been doing it constantly and it has been behaving in a very anxious way, it would likely be the best option to get help from a vet or a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to get expert guidance tailored towards your particular dog and to see why it has been doing it.
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