If your dog has been sleeping under the covers, 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.

Possible reasons why your dog sleeps under the covers are that it feels safer, it finds it more comfortable, you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior or that it is being fearful.

Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should be a lot easier to figure out what to do about it.

Why your dog sleeps under the covers

Below are common reasons why dogs do it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.

It feels safer

The reason why it does it could be that it feels safer there. By sleeping under the covers, 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 in the bed when you are also there and if it tends to follow you around the house.

It finds it comfortable

The cause 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 could be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it sleeps under the covers, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

Instead, it would help to try to reward it when it sleeps where you want it to, to avoid rewarding it when it does not and to try to redirect its focus when it is about to go under the covers.

Separation anxiety

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 covers 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.

Fear

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 trying to figure out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

What else happened when it first started doing it

If it did not always sleep under the covers, 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 the covers.

What is different when it does not do it

If it does not always sleep under the covers, 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 it

Below are some things you can do in order to get it to stop sleeping under the covers.

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 go under the covers.

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.

Get help

If it has been doing it excessively or it has been being very anxious, it would help to get the help of a vet or a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to see what you should do to correct it.

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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.