Do you have enough space to sleep?
Your side of the bed seems to be your dog’s new sleeping spot.
It may appear that your dog is clingy.
But, what if it’s more than that?
In this article, you’ll discover:
- What science has to say about this odd behavior.
- 13 odd reasons why your dog sleeps on your side of the bed.
- The reason why your dog sleeps there when you’re not around.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog sleep on my side of the bed?
Your dog sleeps on your side of the bed because of imitation, dependency, the instinct to protect you, nightmares, comfort, possessiveness, encouraged behavior, favoritism, safety, bonding, and attention. It could also be due to the warmth and smell of the bed.
13 reasons why your dog sleeps on your side of the bed
#1: Your dog mirrors you
Dogs are keen observers.
We might not notice it often but pooches are on watch. As they’re often studying every move their human makes.
What’s more amusing is that they’re able to imitate some of our actions.
So, this could explain why your dog started sleeping on your side of the bed.
They might watch how you sleep and they want to try it too.
A study proves how dogs can voluntarily imitate their people’s actions.
What the researchers did was letting the dogs open a door on their own. This was to see if they’ll use their paws or head.
After that, they let the dog’s parent open the door while the pooches are watching. Then dogs were given a treat if they imitated the way their humans opened the door.
The results of this study show that 85% of the dogs succeeded in imitating their humans.
What’s more interesting is dogs can copy other canines as well.
Dr. Stanley Coren says that it’s easier to train a puppy if you have a trained adult dog in the house.
The new puppy will observe and learn from how the older dog responds to commands.
This can be useful in training your pup not to sleep on your bed. Just let them pick up the actions from the older dog and then they’ll imitate it.
Trivia: Did you know that dogs can imitate an action they’ve only seen once? Research shows that dogs are able to remember and imitate a new action after 10 minutes of seeing it.
Just take a look at this Youtube video of how a Husky imitates a baby:
#2: Your dog depends on you
“It’s all on you, hooman.”
Your dog sleeping on your side of the bed is part of their survival instincts.
Research says that house dogs stay human-dependent for food and other needs.
After all you, as their fur parent, care for their basic needs. Plus something very important in the canine world. Which is play. 🙂
Your pooch is aware of those things. That’s why your four-legged friend would be on guard. They’ll try to warn other dogs to back off when they express interest in you.
Your dog wants nothing to come in between you and them. So they’ll bark and growl at strangers. Or at other dogs.
One way to ensure they’re guarding you is by sleeping near you. That’s how your dog would do it if they were in a dog pack. Not only that. They may also touch your back.
This gives them a sense of security. Plus, they know if you’re about to get out of bed. Then they can follow you and keep an eye on you.
If this behavior bothers you, you can take action to change it. Let’s talk about how.
Give your dog stimulating interactive toys that they can play with by themselves.
This is hitting two birds in one stone. Through this, your dog will be able to have a stimulated mind and play independently.
You can achieve this by giving them interactive toys such as:
- Interactive dog ball.
- Food maze dog bowl.
- Busy buddy tug-a-jug.
- Trixie activity flip board.
- Hide and seek plush toy for dogs.
Give them their own space
Make a special spot for your dog. May it be inside your room or anywhere convenient in the house.
This is to keep your dog from going on your bed for the things that they like.
Put things that’ll make your dog like the place. Such as placing comfy blankets and pillows or their favorite toys there.
Ignore the behavior
Avoid giving your dog attention when they come to your sleeping spot. Calling their name for example.
This only makes your dog think that what they did is right. Dogs will associate any human response as a reward to their behavior. Regardless if it’s negative attention you’re giving them.
Ignoring and rewarding your dog could be used at the same time. While you ignore the bad trait, you’ll reward the correct behavior.
It’ll help your pooch differentiate the good behavior from the bad. As a result, they’ll stop doing what they think is bad and unrewarding.
Provide a busy routine
Make your dog’s routine busy. What I mean here is providing more activities that’ll wear them out. Just enough that they won’t have the energy to go and jump on your bed.
#3: You let your dog sleep there
Some dog parents are guilty of treating pooches as a baby.
Think about it.
We’re giving them the attention they want.
Their requests such as playtime are granted right away.
We serve them their favorite food.
They’re also taken out if they want to go outside.
We even buy them toys and clothes.
Admit it or not… we spoil pooches. Although, we’re unaware of it sometimes.
As a result, dogs will act spoiled as well.
So, your pooch sleeps on your sleeping corner because they want to. And they think that they’re allowed to do so.
#4: Your dog is a protective breed
“Pawed guard on duty!”
Dogs being protective of their people is a natural behavior.
Especially if your pooch belongs to the guard dog breed.
Guard dogs are the ones that are alert and overly protective of their home and humans.
Such breeds are:
- Bull Terrier.
- Great Dane.
- Giant Schnauzer.
- German Shepherd.
- Bernese Mountain Dog.
They’ll make sure that their human and their home are safe from bad guys.
Sleeping on your side of the bed will make your canine feel at ease. They’re able to see and feel you if they’re in that certain spot.
It makes them watch over and protect you easily.
Your dog could also be guarding the doorway. And your side of the bed is facing the door.
They’ll be able to react asap if intruders are entering the door.
Give this read a try: 13 reasons why your dog sleeps by the front or bedroom door (at night)
#5: You’re their favorite
Do you want to be with your favorite person all the time?
I hear your pooch saying “Definitely!” over here.
But the real question is… Who’s your dog’s favorite human in the house?
Dogs may have favoritism too. Notably, if there’s a certain person who gives them more attention.
Study shows that dogs prefer the person who’s most familiar to them.
Usually, this is the human that they spent most of the time with. For example, if you’re the primary caretaker, your dog will most probably like you best.
It’s understandable. This might sound like an extreme example but…
Let’s say one of your parents was rarely home during your childhood. Who would you be more attached to? The one who stuck around of course. Provided they treated you well and cared for you.
I mean, you got to know them. While the other parent might be a very good person. But the lack of time spent together affected your bond.
You see, it’s not much different when it comes to human-dog relationships.
One way of telling who your dog’s favorite person is through their clinginess.
Meaning if your dog clings to you all the time, then….
Fido’s favorite human award goes to… YOU!
Nothing can stop them from being close to their dog parents. Not even sleep.
They’ll snooze wherever you do.
#6: Your pooch feels safe around you
Has your pooch gone through traumatic episodes in their life?
Abused and rescued dogs mostly suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, a.k.a PTSD.
Since they often come from an abusive family. Or they were strays. And experienced some unfortunate events.
So, now they have dog parents. They’ll be anxious if separated from the people who take good care of them.
They’ll feel safer and at ease if they stay with you all the time. That applies to sleeping on your side of the bed as well.
A study shows that dogs whose humans are present will interact with their surroundings in a secure way. As well as being able to display less distress when facing threatening events.
Signs of trauma in dogs are:
#7: Your dog asks for attention
“I’m hungry for your attention, Mom/Dad.”
Do you call out your dog when they’re on your side of the bed?
If so, your attention-starved pooch will think that what they did is a winning move.
The act of calling their name will make your dog satisfied.
Your pooch could be thinking something like:
“Oh! It works… I’ll do it often.”
They’ll take it as being rewarded for behaving like that.
Keep in mind that the effect of a rewarded behavior will make them repeat it.
#8: Your fur child adores your smell
“What’s that scent? I like it.”
People have different body scents.
You have your natural body scent. May it be your sweat, the scent of your body wash, or your fabric’s scent.
You probably know that dogs have a sensitive sense of smell. Certain scents are pleasant to their noses.
Some examples are:
Do you or your clothes smell like any of these?
If so, your dog will come closer to have a better sniff.
Your doggo might take the opportunity to smell that scent when you’re laying down.
They can enjoy your smell by sleeping on your side of the bed. What’s more, there they can still smell you even when you’re not around.
A study shows that the brain of a dog responds with pleasure when they smell their person. Also, their person’s scent often stays on their mind.
#9: Fido’s being territorial
“What’s yours is mine. And what’s mine is mine alone.”
There’s a possibility that your dog sleeps on your side of the bed due to their territorial nature.
But… What makes a dog territorial?
Your dog might be guarding or protecting something that’s valuable to them. Or something that they believe is theirs.
It could be two things in this case: One is their favorite human, which happens to be you. The other is your sleeping spot, which they may claim as their own.
Being territorial in dogs may start at a young age.
Dr. Lore I. Haug says that it may start when a pup reaches 8 to 10 months. The behavior may worsen as Fido starts to age 2-3 years.
Moreover, this behavior brings a danger if it escalates. Dogs will become aggressive and may hurt people or other canines.
For example, forcing them out of your sleeping spot. An aggressive territorial dog may growl or bark at you as a reaction.
In a worst-case scenario, they’ll bite when something they claim as their own is touched.
Being territorial can also be due to a dog’s breed. Check out this list of most known territorial breeds:
- Giant Schnauzer.
- German Shepherd.
- Doberman Pinscher.
- Rhodesian Ridgeback.
You’ll know if your dog is territorial if they:
- Air snaps.
- Stay in one place.
- Aggressively bark.
- Shows their teeth.
#10: Your pooch has nightmares
Have you seen your pooch whimpering and their paws moving while they’re asleep?
That movement during their sleep indicates that your dog is dreaming.
If dogs can dream, then they’re able to have nightmares too.
AKC explains that dogs can’t imagine scary monsters. But they’re able to recall a traumatic experience that they had before as a nightmare.
So, sleeping on your side of the bed might help them be less fearful with their nightmares.
It’s the same thing that happens to a kid. They’ll run to their parents and will sleep together with them after having a nightmare.
Some would even sleep on their parent’s side for a couple of nights. Because of the fear of having nightmares again.
#11: Your dog finds it comforting
Do you have a big, fluffy, and cozy bed?
Your bed may feel more comforting than your dog’s bed.
That’s why they love sleeping there.
Let me tell you about my friend’s Shih Tzu, Zia. She has her own soft dog bed. Despite that, she still slept in her furdad’s sleeping corner.
She did it every night.
So, my friend wondered why Zia doesn’t want to sleep in her bed.
I told him to spot the difference between his bed and Zia’s.
Then, he found out that Zia loves his stack of pillows.
He bought Zia soft pillows that would fit her dog bed. To make her sleep in her dog bed again.
Fortunately, my friend’s solution was a success. Zia enjoys her dog bed now. 🙂
#12: Your side is warmer
Is it wintertime? Or is it rainy where you live?
The cold weather could be making your dog sleep on your side of the bed.
Dr. Jennifer Coates says that dogs have different capacities of handling cold weather depending on their:
- Coat type.
- Coat color.
- Age and health.
So, your dog might find your side of the bed a good place to keep themselves warm.
Maybe your side of the bed is located on a warmer spot in the room.
You can also make your bed warm if you’ve been lying down there for a long time.
Plus, the warmth helps your dog’s body temperature regulate normally.
You’ll be able to tell that your dog is cold if they’re:
- Slowing down.
- In search of a warm spot.
#13: Fido wants to strengthen your bond
Do you have a new pup?
Or have you been losing quality time with Fido lately?
Your dog sleeps on your side of the bed because they want to strengthen your bond.
If you have a new pup they’ll often stick with you even during sleep. Since you two are just starting to build a bond.
While not spending enough time with you can make them even more clingy. They’ll seek the connection that they’ve been deprived of lately.
Dogs also do this with other dogs.
Have you ever seen them sleeping, touching each other’s backs?
It means comfort and trust in the doggy world. Your dog could be feeling that towards you too.
Sleeping on your side of the bed may be their own unique way to connect and display their furry love.
Study shows that having positive and peaceful interactions provides a better well being. This applies to both the dog and their dog parents.
Why does my dog sleep on my side of the bed when I’m not there?
Your dog sleeps on your side of the bed when you’re not there because of separation anxiety. It’s your dog’s way of coping with your absence.
Dogs who experience separation anxiety will do unusual things when they’re alone.
They might look for things that have your scent. One example of this is your sleeping corner, your bed. They’ll stay and sleep there to miss you less.
Keep an eye for other signs of separation anxiety, such as:
- Trying to escape.
- Nibbling your clothes.
- Hiding in the bathroom.