It’s weird if your dog wants to sleep with you all of a sudden (I speak from experience 🙂).
So, it’s understandable that you wonder why your dog does it.
In this article you’ll discover:
- 9 reasons why dogs want to sleep with you all of a sudden.
- A very personal story about my dog who suddenly ‘demanded’ to sleep with me and my boyfriend.
- How separation anxiety can cause your dog to suddenly change his sleeping place to your warm bed.
- And more…
Table of contents
- Why does my dog want to sleep with me all the sudden?
Why does my dog want to sleep with me all the sudden?
Your dog would want to sleep with you all of a sudden for a variety of reasons. These could be directly connected to the personality of your dog, their health, external factors, or to your dog’s instinct. Or, you could have encouraged your dog to do so without being aware of it.
This list of reasons could open your eyes to why your dog has suddenly started sleeping with you. Keep reading to learn more about each possible reason.
#1: Dogs test our patience and boundaries
You shouldn’t forget that a dog is not just a pet but an individual with their own preferences and opinion (just like any other family member really).
If your dog likes the comfort of the bedroom and the feeling of laying on the blankets, they might want to claim the bedroom as their territory.
This doesn’t mean they’ll have anything against you being there. They’d be perfectly happy sharing the bed with you as long as their allowed to enter the bedroom.
Lissa (my long-haired Chihuahua mix), for example, is very opinionated.
At first, she used to sleep in the living room. She was fine with that when I and my boyfriend were working at an office.
She seemed to have gotten used to being alone for hours at a time each workday. Then, during lockdown things changed…
We started working from home and suddenly we were with Lissa almost 24/7. During the day we’d chill together in the bedroom and in other rooms, so she got the idea that the bedroom wasn’t a forbidden territory anymore.
Next time we tried to leave her in the living room, she started barking excessively for an hour and something… This happened several nights in a row.
What can I say? Lissa is not a quitter 🙂
#2: Dogs like to nest
Yep – dogs do nesting. But what exactly is nesting?
Well, have you noticed your dog having a going-to-bed routine?
They stand in their dog bed, on a blanket, or on a pillow, and start scratching at it and making circles. They might even pull the end of the pillow, blanket, or sheet in their mouth.
It looks as if they’re fixing their bed. Then, when they finish their ‘ritual’, they curl up in a circle and fall asleep.
Nesting is an instinctive behavior and has to do with a mother dog preparing to give birth to her litter.
Wild dogs don’t have beds so what they do is find a den and make it more comfortable.
They scratch to ‘adjust’ the shape of the sleeping place. Then, they walk over it in circles to chase away any critters and claim the territory.
Now that you’ve understood where the behavior comes from, let’s go back to domesticated dogs…
Maybe your dog has suddenly started sleeping with you because they’ve recently discovered that the bed is a perfect spot to do some nesting.
With the sheets, blankets, and pillows, it’s only natural that a domesticated dog would want to set their sleeping spot there. Especially if your dog has no dog bed or a blanket.
With the only two alternatives being your bed and the floor, guess which one they’re more likely to choose.
You might also be curious to know: 7 surprising reasons why your dog chooses to sleep on the floor
#3: Either you or your dog is ill
Now that isn’t comforting probability but you should be aware of it nevertheless.
Dogs are very sensitive creatures and might sense if something with your health is off.
Plus, since your dog could perceive you as the ‘pack leader’ at home, they’re bound to get worried for you if they notice you have lower energy or an indication of deteriorating health.
If your dog is the one experiencing some health issues at the moment, they might want to be closer to you as it’s comforting for them.
After all, besides being their beloved owner and friend, you’re also the food, shelter, and protection provider. Hence, your dog knows you two take care of each other and will stick with you.
#4: To feel warmer during the night
As pack animals, dogs in the wild move in packs, hunt in packs and sleep in packs.
Nowadays, this instinct has still remained in domesticated dogs.
Part of why dogs sleep next to each other, is to keep themselves warm.
If your apartment is rather cold and your dog has started sleeping with you in the winter months, that could be the reason.
#5: To protect you
Your dog, be it small or big, will always perceive themselves as your most loyal protector.
But how can they protect you if they’re not by your side and you’re out of their sight?
Sleeping with you ensures that they can do something as soon as they hear or see anything alarming.
This is also a way to keep track of what you’re doing. If you wake up, they’ll wake up too.
That’s why a lot of smaller dogs sleep between people’s legs.
As soon as the owner moves, the dog becomes alert and their protection mode is switched ON.
#6: Due to separation anxiety
Dogs are very intelligent animals that have complex emotions.
Just because we haven’t figured out how to recognize each emotion or the signs dogs give us, doesn’t mean everything with the dog is fine.
Your dog could be sleeping g with you due to a health issue of theirs.
As important as the physiological health of your dog is also their psychological one. The same applies to humans.
Even though your dog could be in a top health condition, they might be experiencing psychological discomfort when you’re away.
This is the case when your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. Your dog then will do anything in their power to be as close to you as possible at all times.
That doesn’t refer only to moments when you’re outside the house and missing for a longer period of time. It could also apply to days when you’re at home but you’ve closed your dog in another room.
When you’re away, your dog could start whining, barking, nibbling at the wall, the TV, or internet cables. Dogs with separation anxiety usually try to escape and go find you.
As long as you’re home and they can see you, plus be next to you, they feel fine.
So, if your dog is exhibiting separation anxiety behavior, it could be the main reason why they’ve started sleeping with you.
Bear in mind that the intensity of separation anxiety can change over time. If not treated, this mental state can worsen.
That would explain how your dog chose to sleep with you out of the blue.
#7: You’ve encouraged your dog to sleep next to you
Maybe you think that your dog started sleeping with you spontaneously.
But what if I tell you that you might have encouraged the behavior without even realizing it?
Humans and dogs both like to give and receive affection. Chances are, that’s part of the reason why you have a dog in the first place.
And since you are a dog person, it’s understandable that your heart starts to melt as soon as you see these big loving eyes…
Maybe your dog caught you in a moment when you were emotional and wanted to cheer you up.
They’ve jumped on the bed and started licking your face. Then you were drawn in the present moment and instead of dwelling in sad thoughts, you started petting your dog and cuddling with them.
Or, your dog could have felt like playing. Then they jumped on the bed, you had nothing against it and indulged in tug of war.
Then, it’s understandable that your dog would want to get on the bed more often. If cuddles, petting, and playing on demand is what they’ve received, why wouldn’t they?
They might as well try their chances of receiving all of these wonderful things more often.
To sum it up – if you’ve rewarded your dog for being with you on the bed, they’re likely to repeat the activity.
#8: A change in the household
Your dog could have been affected by a recent change in the household. Sleeping with you could be their way of dealing with it.
Such a chan get could be:
- The loss of a family member.
- Moving into a new house.
- Changing your work schedule.
- Getting another pet.
- Introducing a new baby in the family.
Don’t underestimate the stress your dog can undergo during such a change. Be as supportive and as understanding as you can.
#9: Your dog could have been frightened
Certain events such as noisy fireworks can get a dog quite stressed.
And with the hearing ability dogs have, how could they not perceive such a situation as scary?
Usually, when dogs experience loud unknown noises nearby, they try to look for shelter.
They could go to the room that’s the most distant from the terrace or the window where the fireworks could be seen and heard.
And some dogs are more sensitive than others. So, they might take such an experience to the heart.