If your dog won’t sleep with you (including suddenly), this post will show you likely reasons why and how you can get your dog to sleep with you again.
So, why won’t my dog sleep with me? Possible reasons your dog won’t sleep with you are that it is used to sleeping somewhere else, it finds a different room more comfortable, it thinks you don’t want it to, your bed is not comfortable or that it’s being protective.
There are actually a number of reasons why your dog might not be doing it and it could be a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason.
Why your dog won’t sleep with you
Each of the different reasons why your dog won’t sleep with you will likely come with a number of clues.
Below are a number of possible causes and what you can do about it.
It finds a different room more comfortable
The cause might be that it finds the room you sleep in to be uncomfortable for it. If you try to get it to sleep on your bed it might be that it is too hot for it, the room might be too hot or it might find the floor to be cooler. This would be more likely if your dog does sleep with you on certain nights such as when it is colder.
It may also be the case that your dog actually prefers to sleep on hard surfaces such as hardwood floors. Dogs are actually very comfortable sleeping on hard floors and it may be why your dog is choosing to sleep there instead of in a comfy bed. In this case, if you want your dog to sleep on your bed with you, it may actually be better to use a hard mattress cover.
It’s used to sleeping somewhere else
The cause could be that it has become accustomed to sleeping in a different location and it feels more secure when it sleeps there. This would be more likely if there is a particular spot that it has always chosen to sleep in.
It thinks you don’t want it to
Another cause could be that it thinks that you want it to sleep somewhere else. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things that it wants when it does not sleep with you. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it sleeps in a different room then it might be doing it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it lays down where you want it to sleep and to train it to sleep there using the tips mentioned below.
It’s being protective
The reason why your dog does it might be because it wants to know when people are entering and leaving the house by sleeping by an entrance. This would be more likely if your dog becomes overly protective in your home by doing things such as barking when someone is at the door or there are potential dangers.
If your dog has started doing it suddenly, it may be a sign of a health issue. This would be more likely if your dog has been showing other signs of being ill or injured in some way such as not wanting to go up stairs anymore or starting to limp. If it does seem like your dog may be doing it due to medical reasons, it would be best to take your dog for a checkup with your local veterinarian.
There may also be external factors causing the behavior such as a new environment for your dog, moving homes, a change in the temperature or some other big life change for your dog.
Not enough room
If it is cramped where you sleep, it might be the case that your dog feels like there is not enough space and that your dog wants its own space.
Things to consider
If your dog always wouldn’t sleep with you
If your dog did sleep with you in the past but it suddenly stopped then it would help to consider what else happened when it stopped doing it since there might have been an event that caused it to stop.
If it did sleep with you in the past then it might have stopped due to things such as your room being too hot, not having enough space or it might have chosen to sleep in a more protective position. It would help to consider what else changed when it stopped sleeping with you.
Whereas, if it has always chosen to sleep somewhere else then it would be more likely to be due to things such as those mentioned above.
If your dog sleeps with you sometimes
It would also help to consider whether or not it always doesn’t sleep with you. If it does sleep with you sometimes then the timing might have something to do with it.
For example, if it does not sleep with you on hot nights then it might choose to sleep somewhere else because it is cooler there.
The age of your dog
If you have a new puppy, it might be the case that your puppy has not yet learned where it likes sleeping the most. This would be more likely if your puppy has been sleeping in lots of different places and does sleep near you sometimes. Also, it may be the case that your puppy wants to sleep someone where it is easier for your puppy to go potty which would be more likely if your puppy has been having sleepless nights due to needing to pee a lot.
If you have an older dog, it may be the case that your dog has a prefered sleeping spot or that your dog has started doing it due to finding a spot that it prefers.
A new partner or family member
If someone else started sleeping with you, it may have something to do with that. Alternatively, if your dog has started sleeping with someone else in the family, it may be the case that they have been encouraging your dog to do so such as by spending more time with the dog, training the dog to sleep with them, feeding the dog more etc.
How to get your dog to sleep with you
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to sleep with you.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging your dog to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.
To use it to get it to sleep with you, teach it the down command then tell it to go down in the spot you want it to sleep in then reward it for staying there. I have written about how you can train it to learn the down command in this post.
Redirect its focus
One option would be to redirect it to sleep where you want it to when it looks like it is about to lay in its bed. To do this you could train your dog to where you want it to using positive reinforcement training and to tell it to go there whenever it looks like it is about to lay somewhere else. By doing so you should be able to get it into the habit of sleeping where you want it to.
Avoid negative reinforcement
Negative reinforcement training is where you encourage your dog to do things you don’t want it to by rewarding it when it behaves that way. Instead of giving your dog things it wants when it sleeps somewhere else, try to reward it when it sleeps where you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not choose to sleep where you want.
Put a dog bed in your bedroom
If you find that your dog will not sleep in your own bed, it might be the case that your dog will sleep in your bedroom if you put a dog bed down. When doing so, it would help to encourage your dog to go there by rewarding your dog whenever it does do so.
Put a crate down
When done right a crate training can give your dog a safe space that it can go to and get a sense of security. If there is room in your bedroom, it may help to try putting a crate down in there and to train your dog to go in there (you can watch Youtube videos for this).
Leave the bedroom door open
It may be the case that your dog does not want to sleep in your room because it feels trapped in there. Leaving the door open may help with this.
Why did my dog stop sleeping with me?
It could be the case that your dog decided that it wanted to sleep somewhere else such as the living room due to wanting to sleep on a harder surface, wanting to sleep somewhere cooler, with more space etc. However, as mentioned above, it may be due to a recent event such as if you were annoyed with your dog. Another possible cause is that your dog no longer wants to go up stairs due to getting an injury.
Why won’t my dog lay with me?
If your dog won’t lay with you at all, even during the day, it might be the case that your dog thinks that you do not want it to lay with you. This would be more likely if your dog seems to have also been avoiding you etc. In this case, it would help to encourage your dog to to do so by giving it rewards whenever it shows signs of laying with you. It may also be the case that your dog has a favorite spot and just wants to sleep there or that your dog much prefers sleeping on hard floor which is not uncommon in dogs. It is also not uncommon for arthritic dogs to not want to jump up on couches or go up stairs due to pain.
Why won’t my dog sleep on my bed?
It may be the case that your dog does not want to sleep on your bed due to it being too hot, your dog does not find the bed comfortable, your dog has a prefered spot or that your dog thinks that you do not want it to sleep with you.