Usually, when a person steals your spot, it’s for one of 3 reasons.
They don’t know it’s yours, they’re being disrespectful, or it’s a playful joke.
But why does your pooch do it?
Oh no! Are they trying to dominate you and take over your world?
Read on to find out:
- What makes your spot so inviting for them to sleep in.
- When you should start to be alarmed by this kind of behavior.
- 3 helpful tips on how to handle this ‘stealing’ problem in your pooch.
- And many more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog sleep in my spot?
Your dog sleeps on your spot because they love the warmth and scent you left, feel safe in it, want your attention, find it comfortable, feel lonely, or have separation issues. It could also be that they’re being clingy, warming it for you, guarding it as their resource, or encouraged to do so.
People also ask:
11 intriguing reasons why your dog sleeps in your spot
#1: It’s pre-warmed
Right after you get up from the couch…
Your pooch immediately rushes to the place you vacate.
Are they ‘stealing’ your place?
Well, it could look like that. But nope.
Your furry friend might only be cold or loves your spot because of the warmth you left behind.
They’re not being an ‘alpha’ or looking lowly at you. So, relax.
This concept was debunked a long time ago. And it’s said that the 1940’s dominance theory cannot be applied anymore to Fidos and even to wild wolves.
David Mech, a known scientist, conducted a study about it. He found that there’s no hierarchy even in the wild. And wolves could only be aggressive for food.
Don’t forget to also have a look at: Why Is My Dog Suddenly Sleeping On The Floor? 7 Real Reasons
#2: It’s saturated with your scent
I know what heaven smells like…
Your pooch might only be doing it because your scent still lingers there.
Your sweat, dander, and every tiny particle on you must have been stuck there. To you it might seem gross.
But for your four-legged friend, your spot might as well be a piece of paradise. And just smelling it makes them feel happy and secure.
Because it’s a familiar odor, and it’s yours in the first place – the person they adore the most.
So in their mind, they might also think, “Hmm. My parent was here. This must be a safe spot to sleep in then.”
You might also like: Why does my dog lick my bed?
#3: They’re protecting it
“Don’t worry, hooman.
I got you.”
Did you ever come back to the living room…
And find your pooch laying exactly on your spot?
Then when you’re near, they quickly get off the couch and proudly stare at you.
Like, “Hey, I did a great job, right? Please say I’m a good boy/girl now. Please?”
If that’s similar to your situation, pet them and say thank you.
They might also exhibit their protective instincts in cases like this.
Dogs are very observant. So your Fido might know that it’s ‘your place.’ And that you’ll be back again soon.
So you may think of it like they’re just warming it up for you. Keeping it comfy and toasty until you come back.
#4: They feel lonely or ill
As mentioned earlier, dogs could find comfort in their human’s scent.
And when you’re gone, they might sleep on things that remind them of you.
Whether it’s your clothes, bed, or couch.
It has everything they need at the moment – a familiar scent and a soft place to ease their loneliness and pain.
#5: Separation anxiety
It could also be a more serious problem than simply missing you.
Do they also bark whenever you leave the house? Or worse, destroy things?
If so, your pooch might have separation anxiety. And they do it to soothe their nerves while waiting for your return.
Or, after living with you for a long time, they know you’re going to work based on your routine.
So when you get up from your bed, they’ll climb up and whine, telling you, “No, please don’t leave me alone again.”
This could be due to being so attached to you. And they might have developed it when they’re young.
#6: They feel unsafe
You’re sleeping on your bed peacefully.
But a few minutes later, your dog comes rushing into your room, heading towards you.
Then lie down beside you, panting and licking their lips.
If this is what it looks like…
They might be afraid of something.
Do they also have flattened ears and raised hackles?
They feel anxious, so they run to you, seeking reassurance.
So, make your pooch comfy as much as you can. And tell them everything will be alright. 🙂
#7: It’s comfortable there
“It’s so cozy here.
Now I know why you love sleeping in this spot so much.”
Do they keep on coming back for it whether you’re in there or not?
It could be for a simple reason.
And that’s because they might have liked it too.
It’s warm and comfy. And most dogs, especially pups, would love to curl up in places like these.
#8: They’re being playful
“Uh-oh. I got your place now.
Come try to make me get off.”
Dogs are clever. So your pooch must know how to make you notice them – by ‘stealing’ your spot.
Your Fido makes sure that you have to interact with them first if you want to sleep again. And they probably want some belly rubs and cuddles.
They must have got it all figured out as it worked on you before.
Note: Your pooch might also be testing boundaries to see whether you’ll like the behavior or not. So if you don’t like it, I would say train them starting now.
#9: It’s a ‘puppy issue’
How old is your pooch?
If they’re still young or newly adopted, don’t worry. It’s considered normal.
They could be adjusting to their new home. So it’s a natural instinct to depend on you – the only person they can trust at the moment.
They might follow you anywhere you go and even squeeze their body close to you.
And if they always sleep in your spot, they must like your scent and warmth on it.
#10: You allowed them to
When they’re young, did you always bring them anywhere you go?
And did you often let them sleep close to you?
If yes, you might have encouraged them to stay by your side all the time.
So, as a result, you now have a dependent pooch. Who can’t sleep when they’re not on your spot or right next to you.
Aside from affection, giving them snacks or petting them could have also reinforced the behavior.
#11: They’re a velcro dog
Are you two inseparable like bicycle wheels?
If so, you might only be dealing with a super clingy one.
Velcro dogs want to be close to their humans as much as possible. So they just love you so much.
They’ll follow and watch you all the time – observing your every move.
And they might sleep very close to you even when there’s still so much space.
Why could it be?
Read further: 13 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Obsessed With You + 9 Tips
#BONUS: Possession agression
Does your pooch growl and snap at you whenever you try to move them?
If so, they might be guarding that spot as it’s ‘more privileged’.
Territorial dogs will protect resources such as their toys, food, or areas where they usually stay. This could be either a natural instinct or acquired during their puppyhood.
Also, this is dangerous as they could attack and bite anyone who goes near them.
But, there are still ways to correct this. And those will be tackled shortly…
Warning: If this behavior persists, seek a behaviorist or certified dog trainer asap to help you.
3 tips on what to do if your dog sleeps in your spot
#1: Set up a safe zone
Your pooch often seeks comfort and security when they sleep in your spot.
You may not be present at the time. They’re naturally timid or just want a time-out.
So in this case, just set up a safe zone for them. This shouldn’t be grand. It could be a dog bed, crate, or room.
“What do I need to consider?”
First is its location. Ensure it’s somewhere quiet, preferably in a corner. And away from busy areas.
“Next, what should I put there?”
Their favorite toys, treats, and a blanket. Your dog also loves your scent. So, leave an old shirt of yours inside too.
Lastly, wrap it up with some soothing music or white noise in the background.
Dogs have great sense of hearing. So if their stressors are noises from the outside, try to make them less audible.
“Do dogs actually have music preferences?”
Anxious Fidos might benefit from classical pieces based on a study.
But, do it in moderation.
The same research shows they might get bored with the same songs if repeated for 7 days.
Yes, dogs may also need variation in their Spotify playlist.
So you can spice it up with some heavy metal or rock, which are also proven effective.
#2: Positive reinforcement
If you’re not a fan of constantly cleaning up their fur on your bed or couch…
Or, if they become aggressive on your spot, it would be best to make them sleep somewhere else.
But no need to push your pooch away or kick them out of the room at once.
Just prevent it from happening, and do it in other ways that won’t hurt your Fido and their feelings.
They don’t know if what they’re doing is problematic if it’s encouraged.
Manage your place
Prevention is important.
Particularly in aggressive dogs. Because think about it, they can’t guard an object if they don’t have it in the first place.
So, keep your bed off-limits in the meantime.
You may refrain them from getting in your room. And make them stay in their safe zone instead.
“Off” and “up” commands
- When they’re on the bed, say “off!” firmly and throw a treat they love on the floor.
- If they get off, say verbal praises. Or, if you have a clicker, click once.
- Now when they’re on the ground, say “up!” and pat the bed.
- If they come up, praise them or click. Then reward them.
Keep repeating this and slowly remove the treats as you go on.
Note: Before trying this with an aggressive dog, make sure they do obedience training first like “sit” or “stay.” Because it’ll be harder to correct them if they don’t know even the basic commands. As this will help in controlling them along the way.
If cues don’t seem to work, you may try this instead.
You’ll need a target. It can be your fist or a target stick. Even a DIY might do like in the video below:
A clicker is also needed. If you don’t have one, you may try a retractable pen or make a ‘clucking’ sound in your mouth.
- Grab your pooch’s attention by extending your hand with the ‘target.’
- If they look or go near it, click. Then give them a treat.
- Repeat it and make them go close to it.
- If they touch it, slowly lure them to move and get off of the bed.
- Once they’re on the floor, say “touch” and make them nudge the target.
- If there’s a contact, click and treat.
Note: Ensure that the ‘treats’ you prepared for training are more valuable than your spot in bed/couch. So they should be something that they love but rarely get (e.g. cooked chicken, cheese. etc.).
#3: Make them sleep in their bed
This is the final stage – teaching them to sleep on their own.
First, you can lure them with some treats or toys to go in there. Then, once they do, reward them.
Next time, add a cue like “go to bed.” Then continue praising them if they obey you.
The first few nights will be hard because they would still want to get out of the crate or jump over you.
If they’re still climbing up on your bed, try to install a dog playpen around their cushion.
You may also do this if they’re in a crate. Open its door to make them feel at ease. Then, surround it with barriers to prevent your pooch from coming to you.
Play with them for a bit using their favorite toy. Make them so focused on it and leave some treats. Then slowly retreat.
Should I put their bed in my room?
It would be nice, but it’s still your choice.
Research says that keeping them near you at night can improve your quality of sleep. But, provided they’re off of your bed.
#BONUS: Allow them to do so
A survey in 2020 asked 1,000 Americans whether they sleep with their dog or not. And 74% of them said yes.
So, it’s still a matter of preference.
If you don’t mind waking up with their furry tail on your head. Or getting dog hair all over you…
You can just let them be.
But before doing so, make sure your dog is:
- Cleaned after going out.
- Checked by a vet regularly.
- Not aggressive – no snarling and showing off teeth.
- Behave and obey you whenever you kindly ask them to move.
If all of these apply to your pooch, you don’t have to worry much.