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9 Amazing Reasons Why Your Dog Sleeps With Its Back To You

Why Does My Dog Sleep With Its Back To Me

When it comes to us, humans, turning your back on someone is rude.

It could mean that you’re ignoring, abandoning, or giving up on them.

But wait, does it also apply to dogs?

Your pup gives you their back in bed like they hate the sight of you.

And they’re distant too, like they can’t take the smell of your breath.

“No way! Is that possible?”

Read on to find out:

  • What makes your dog lie facing away from you.
  • If canines could really get mad at humans or not.
  • Whether this behavior has a positive or negative meaning.
  • 3 tips on what you should do if they keep on acting this way.
  • And many more…

Why does my dog sleep with its back to me?

Your dog sleeps with their back to you because they’re relaxed and trust you, positioning themselves to protect you from danger, upset, or uncomfortable with cuddles and face-to-face interaction. It could also be that it’s comfortable, their personality, or a way of asking you for something.   

9 amazing reasons why your dog sleeps with its back to you

#1: It’s a sign of trust

“You got my back, right?”

Sometimes, a relaxed dog will do this beside a human or another pooch they feel secure with.

What? Why?

Think about it.

If their belly is a vulnerable part…

The same also goes for their back.

At that moment, it’s defenseless because they’re sleeping sideways.

Their eyes and mouth are too far to reach someone who might attack them from behind. So it’ll be hard for them to protect themselves.

So, don’t be sad. It’s not that they don’t want to see your face…

They just find you trustworthy. And it’s to the extent that they can show you their unguarded side with much confidence.

To them, you’re the ‘safest person’ they know in the whole world. So, congrats!

#2: They’re a ‘chill’ doggy

Your Dog Sleeps With Its Back To You Because They're A Chill Dog

“Show me your sleeping habits,

and I’ll tell you who you are.”

A napping dog.

Ahh… What a sight to behold.

Their cuteness doubles, or even grows tenfold, while they’re snoozing peacefully. And it makes you want to hug them so badly.


Did you know that you can also take a look at their personality through that?

Yup! That’s right, so no need for any tests or whatsoever.

So if your Fido is often a ‘side sleeper,’ it only means that…

They’re calm, relaxed, and carefree.

And those who usually lie like this have a strong bond with their parents. As they don’t seem guarded at all based on their body language.

So, breathe a sigh of relief.

Your dog feels assured with their surroundings. And that’s only a good thing.

#3: They’re in defense mode

“Don’t worry, hooman.

I got everything under control.”

If you’ve got their back, they’ve got yours too.

Your dog might also sleep facing away from you so they can alert you if something happens.

This position helps them to see the entrance better. And it may also allow them to react quickly to incoming danger.

They might have sensed something that made their guarding instincts kick in.

Or, knowing most dogs, they can be naturally protective of their territory and family.

That’s why some of them may even sleep by the door or foot of the bed. As it puts them in peace because they can hear and see better in those spots.

So, pat your pooch for being an excellent watchdog.

#4: They respect your personal space

Have you ever had a relationship…

Where you don’t need to say or do anything to make the other person know you love them?

The feeling’s mutual and you just trust each other so much.

So even without showing affection all the time, you still both know that you care.

Why did I ask?

Because this is also possible in the doggy world.

Yes! Ever heard of Fidos who are conscious and have a respect for personal space?

If not yet, well, you might just have a pooch like them.

That’s why they don’t feel any urge to snuggle you while you’re sleeping. Or smother you with kisses.

So it’s not that they don’t love you. You two only have a really secure relationship.

And it’s wonderful as it seems like they respect you as much as you respect them. Which is purely out of love, and not fear.

You may also check out: 13 Real Reasons Why Your Dog Is Not Affectionate + 3 Tips

#5: They’re showing affection

“Hmm, hooman.

This is me expressing my love.

Can’t you feel it?”

Yes, your pooch might also be trying to cuddle with you in a non-confronting way.

This is more likely if they rest their back on you. And try to get close as much as they can.

Some dogs like to sleep ‘back-to-back’ with the people or other Fidos they’re comfortable with.

And your closeness could be translated as ‘having each other’s backs’ in a literal way.

So, try to understand them. And acknowledge their feelings by giving them back some love.

#6: It’s just comfortable

What’s your favorite sleeping position?

I myself am a fan of the fetus one. For me, it’s a very comfortable one. But I do switch. I turn a lot!

Just like you and me, your pooch could have a comfiest position. Such as sleeping with their back to you.

If they always lay sideways without facing you, they must sleep better by doing that.

Or, if it changes, they might only be adapting to the situation or place they’re in.

Sleeping positions affect our quality of sleep.

And the same applies to dogs.

So, relax. Your furry friend doesn’t mean to offend you.

Fun fact: A study was made to observe canines’ sleeping behavior. And it reveals that 84% of them lay down sideways – making it the most common position in dogs.

#7: It isn’t awkward

“Okay, let’s try once more,” your pooch says then bravely turns to you.

But then, you get too close to them.

“Oh, shoot. This is awkward! I won’t do this again.”

And they panic, giving you their back instead.

Some dogs may not be a fan of snuggling and hugging. But it doesn’t mean they love their humans any less.

They’re the complete opposite of clingy. And that’s just how they are.

But, they do show their love in subtle ways.

Staying in a very close position might be uncomfortable for them. And they think it’ll be more polite if they stay distant and turn the other away instead.

This might be more common in breeds who are independent and aloof in nature such as:

  • Akitas.
  • Basenjis.
  • Shar-Peis.
  • Chow Chows.
  • Afghan Hounds.

#8: A silent treatment… or something else

It’s not what you think… So, bear with me.

Your dog has always been up for cuddles.

And they usually sleep while facing you and give you lots of kisses. Ok, sloppy licks, to be precise. But you love these signs of affection.

But right now, they’re only giving you their back.

What’s happening?

Hmm. You might have done something that upset them like hiding their toys or not playing with them when they want to.

Wait, do dogs get mad?

Well, PetMD says they can feel anger.

But, they can’t stay mad at a person as they can’t put a reason to their emotions.

A study also says that dogs have the same mental capacities as a 2-year-old kid.

And from that, it can be concluded that they can feel the basic emotions of a child. Which are fear, joy, disgust, love, and anger.

However, it could be that they aren’t mad at us but only disappointed because they can’t get what they want at the moment. 

So if they get sulky or bark, it’ll only last for a few minutes as they can’t hold grudges.

Fun fact: Canines don’t feel guilt, pride, or shame. So what might look like a ‘guilty face’ is only a scared expression because they know they might get scolded.

#9: They’re waiting for…

A massage?

A belly rub? Or…

A back scratch?

Well, all of these are possible. And it depends on how you’ve been trained by your pooch.

Oh! I mean, how you conditioned your dog.

They might have learned to turn their back whenever they want to be scratched, massaged, or petted from behind.

It might be itchy and of course, they can’t use a scratcher. So you’re the only option left.

My dog, Lissa, is a sucker for back massages. So she’d lay down with her back on me, I’d massage her. And when I’d stop, she’d look at me with piercing eyes. 

Almost as if to say, “Hey! I’m not done enjoying myself. Proceed!” And when I’d continue scratching her, she’d lay her head down.

But, let’s be real, your dog doesn’t do it only because of that.

It could also be their way of getting your attention and affection.

Yup! You just have to read between the lines.

Because knowing that dogs who sleep like this are mostly calm, they might also ask a favor in a non-obvious way.

So next time they do this, try petting them. They might love it!

3 tips on what to do if your dog sleeps with its back to you

#1: Don’t take it personally

You can now put your mind at ease.

Because there’s nothing that needs to be changed in you or your Fido, so don’t worry!

Unlike in humans, dogs turning their back on you usually means a good thing.

As said earlier, they could be relaxed, comfortable, or showing you trust and affection.

Don’t force them to face you if they want to sleep with their back on you.

And be grateful for having such a chill and calm pooch.

You must have done a great job making them feel loved. And also gave them enough space to figure things out on their own and not depend on you much.

Note: If they happen to show any unusual behaviors while sleeping, then you should be alarmed. Observe them and have them checked by a vet if the sign still persists.

#2: Give back the love in other ways

Just because they seem independent, doesn’t mean they don’t need affection at all.

In fact, they love it. But, they are content with enough attention they can get. So they might find it uncomfortable if it’s too much.

So how can you show them love in a way that’s comfortable for them?

Give them a task

You might have an intelligent working dog who can get bored pretty fast.

So, continue giving them toys to keep them busy.

Particularly, a food puzzle one would challenge them most. And it’s like hitting two birds in one stone as they can get to eat and have fun at the same time.

Or, have a short training every day to get their minds working. Teaching them a few commands and tricks will do. And make sure to prepare some treats as a reward.

Also, you can do more exciting mental exercises to keep them more calm.

How? Watch this short video:

Spend time with them

They may not like cuddling time. But going out for walks and playing with them are still a must.

You should know them by now. So if they have any activities they love, do them frequently. They’ll appreciate it. Whether it’s a simple sniffing game or fetch.

Try out some of these activities that you haven’t done yet:

  • Tug of war.
  • Hide & seek.
  • Finding the treats.

#3: Pay more attention to their body language

They might show love in very subtle ways, unlike any other dogs. So keep an eye on it.

If they lean their back on you, keep still. And gently pat them in an area they like. And if they don’t want to be petted, kindly respect it.

Although they might not be a fan of snuggling, physical contact still works wonders as it makes them feel connected with their favorite human.
And don’t underestimate the power of oxytocin or ‘love hormones’ that dogs and humans can get by not only touching but also just by being right next to each other.i