If your dog has been sleeping where you sleep at night, you might be wondering why and what to do about it. This post will show you common causes and what to do about them.
So, why does my dog sleep with me every night? Possible reasons why your dog sleeps with you every night are that it feels safer around you, it is being protective, it has some separation anxiety, you have encouraged the behavior or that it does it due to being fearful of something.
Since your dog might be doing it for many different reasons, it would help to consider what would cause each of them to be more likely. Once you have a good idea of the most likely cause, it should be easier to deal with it.
Why your dog sleeps with you every night
Below are common reasons why your dog might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It feels safer
The cause might be that it feels safer when it is around you. Dogs were bred to work alongside their owners and the other members of their pack for hours on a daily basis and they would sleep together. So, sleeping near you at night could make it feel like it is around other pack members and cause it to feel more secure. This would be more likely to be the reason if it also tends to follow you around during the day.
It is being protective
It could be the case that it does it because it is being protective. This would be more likely if it tends to be overly protective when you are around other people and pets. It would also be more likely if it sleeps in a position that people have to go past in order to get to you.
It could be the case that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and it becomes anxious when it is left alone. This would be more likely to be the reason if your dog is anxious when it has to sleep in a different room and when you are leaving home.
Rewarding the behavior
It could be the case that you have encouraged it to sleep with you by giving it rewards when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, when it sleeps near you at night, it will likely do it more in order to get rewarded more. If you do not want it to sleep there, it would help to avoid rewarding it for sleeping with you and to reward it for sleeping somewhere else.
The reason why it has been doing it might be that something has been causing it to be fearful. Things that might make it fearful could be noises that it does not like, someone being around that it does not like or it could be an object that it does not like the look of. It would be more likely that it does it due to being frightened if it only sleeps there in certain situations such as when there is thunder.
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 your dog first started sleeping with you each night
If it did not always sleep with you, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that event caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as the area it normally slept in becoming unavailable to it or things causing it to become scared at night such as noises.
If your dog always sleeps with you at night
It would also help to consider if it does it on every night or just some of them. If it does it sometimes, it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it only does it when there is rain or thunder outside, it could be the case that it does it due to being frightened.
How to get your dog to sleep somewhere else
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to sleep elsewhere at night.
Positive reinforcement training
One option would be to use positive reinforcement training to get your dog to sleep somewhere else at night. Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage it to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way. You can watch the video below for some tips on how to do it.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards when it sleeps with you. Instead, it would help to reward it when it shows signs of sleeping where you want it to, to avoid letting it come into your room at night and to avoid rewarding it when it does come into your room at night.
Deal with its separation anxiety
Since it might be sleeping there due to having some separation anxiety, it would help to try to reduce how anxious it becomes when you leave it alone. Ways to do so would be to let it pee before bed, feed it in the early evening and give it lots of exercise so that it can sleep more easily. If it does get anxious at night, I have written more about what to do about it here.