If your Labrador always sleeps next to you this post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it.
So, why does my Labrador sleep next to me? Possible reasons are that it has separation anxiety, it is fearful of something, it’s being protective, it feels more secure around you or that you have inadvertently trained it to sleep next to you by rewarding it.
Your Labrador might be doing it for many different reasons and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are also a number of things you can consider when trying to figure out the main cause.
Why your Labrador sleeps next to you
Below are some common reasons why Labradors do it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason why yours has been doing it.
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 Labrador is anxious when it has to sleep in a different room and when you are leaving home.
Labradors were bred to work alongside their owners for hours daily. With that being the case, they will often, naturally, want to be around their owners a lot and this could be why yours always wants to sleep next to you. This would be more likely if it has seemingly been this way from an early age.
Even if it does do it naturally, it will still be possible to train your Labrador to sleep in other places. You can do so by following the tips in the sections below.
The cause might also 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 next to you in certain situations such as when there is thunder.
It’s 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.
You inadvertently rewarded it
It might be the case that you have encouraged your Labrador to sleep with you. If you tend to give it things such as extra toys, treats or attention, when it sleeps next to you, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. If you don’t want it to sleep there, it would help to reward it when it sleeps where you want instead.
How to get your Labrador to stop sleeping next to you
If you want your Labrador to stop doing it, below are a number of options that you have.
Train it to sleep somewhere else
To train your Labrador to sleep somewhere else you would train it to lay down in a certain spot and then gradually train it to stay there for longer and longer periods.
Avoid rewarding it for sleeping next to you
As mentioned above it could be the case that it sleeps next to you because it gets rewards.
Instead of rewarding it when it does it, try to use positive reinforcement training it get it to sleep somewhere else and to reward it whenever it sleeps there.
Train it to be less anxious when you are not around
If your Labrador does seem to have separation anxiety it would help to train it to be less anxious without you.
To do this you could do as follows:
- Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
- Reward your Labrador for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
- Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
- Reward your Labrador for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
- Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your Labrador
- Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer
It would also help to give it exercise, feed it and let it pee before leaving it so that it does not have to wait so long and so that it can fall asleep more easily.
Consider crate training
Crate training is where you train your Labrador to learn to be comfortable in a crate that is designed for dogs. When done correctly it can give it an area where it can go and feel secure. One option for you would be to train your Labrador to go to its crate when it would normally try to sleep next to you.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when trying to figure out why your Labrador always sleeps next to you.
When it started sleeping next to you
If your Labrador did not always sleep next to you, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If your Labrador started doing it suddenly it would make it more likely that it started doing it due to rewarding it when it does it or something causing it to be fearful. It would help to consider if anything else changed when it first started doing it.
What is different when it does not sleep next to you
It would also help to consider what is different when it does not do it.
If it doesn’t always do it then things such as something causing it to be fearful could be the reason.
When training your Labrador it is important to be consistent with the training. You will be unlikely to get dramatic results with just one training session but if you are consistent with the training, over the course of weeks and months, you will be able to get better results.