Why Do Dogs Sleep with Their Bum Facing You? Unlocking This Strange Canine Behavior
It’s easy to think of your dog as a little person and to interpret their behavior through a human lens. This is only natural—we want to relate to our dogs, and the languages we speak are all uniquely human. However, as dog owners, one of the best things we can do is to learn about dog body language and behavior. Learning more about what your dog is thinking and feeling depending on how they’re behaving will help you develop a stronger bond with your pet, and let you in on their inner world.
Here, we’re exploring one behavior in particular, and discussing what it means, whether you need to be concerned about it, and if the behavior is normal. That’s right, we’re talking about your dog’s unique sleeping positions!
Why Does My Dog Sleep with His Butt Towards Me?
Let’s cut to the chase: why do dogs put their bum towards you when sleeping? Why do dogs put their bum towards you in general, like when you’re just lounging on the sofa together? Is your dog ignoring you, showing a sign of dominance, or trying to tell you something?
The good news is that you don’t need to overthink it. The most likely reason your dog is showing you their behind and sleeping with their bum facing you is that your dog feels comfortable! Once you have developed a close relationship with a dog and shown them that you’re trustworthy, they’ll become more relaxed around you as a sign of trust.
If your dog feels comfortable enough to turn their back to you and fall asleep, it’s a good indication you have a happy pup on your hands.
1. Simple Comfort
The easiest and most common explanation for the question “why do dogs always put their bum towards you?” is that they feel comfortable! A relaxed dog will lay on their stomach, side, or even their back, and will often stretch into different positions throughout the night. If your dogs sleep with their bum facing you, it’s probably a position of convenience and comfort.
2. Avoiding Ventral Contact
Humans really enjoy chest-to-chest or belly-to-belly contact (also called ventral contact) like hugs. Dogs don’t communicate with ventral contact and don’t feel as comfortable touching chest-to-chest or belly-to-belly. This isn’t because your dog doesn’t like you, ventral contact just isn’t comfortable for dogs.
3. Avoiding Eye Contact
Eye contact is similarly uncomfortable for dogs. When communicating with each other, prolonged eye contact can be a sign of aggression, fear, or as a sign of dominance. Dogs are far more physical with one another and prefer to show their love by pressing their bodies together, giving kisses, and just spending time together—not gazing into each others’ eyes.
If you’ve always wondered “why do dogs sleep facing away from you?” it could in part be because they don’t value eye contact or being face-to-face the way humans do.
4. Feeling Protective
Most of the time, your dog will choose to put their bum toward you purely out of comfort or circumstance. However, some dogs may begin to exhibit guarding behaviors in bed, which can look like your dog facing away from you to watch for “intruders.” Guarding doesn’t just look like your dog sleeping with their bum towards you. Guarding behaviors will also include stiff body language, watchfulness, tension, growing, barking, hackle raising, and so on.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie: How To Help Your Dog Feel Safe At Night
Help your dog feel safe and calm in your bedroom! The more your dog trusts you and feels comfortable, the better they’ll sleep, whether their bum is towards you or not.
Give Your Dog Their Own Bed
Many people like to have their dogs sleep with them, but it’s also a good idea to give your pup a designated spot in your room. A dog bed, crate, or just a blanket on the floor can give your dog a place to go on their own and show them that your room is a place where they can enjoy being by themselves or with you.
Be Consistent with Rules
If you decide to let your dog on the bed, your dog should always be allowed on the bed. On the other hand, if you don’t want them on the bed, you shouldn’t start asking them up occasionally while expecting them to stay off the rest of the time. Consistency is key and a form of positive reinforcement—following your own rules will help show your dog that you are a reliable, trustworthy person.
Avoid Touching Your Dog Unexpectedly While They Sleep
Do dogs like being stroked when asleep? Well, sometimes. In general, it’s considered best to allow your dog to sleep in peace without touching or moving them. This said, many dogs really enjoy falling asleep to gentle pets, and even like to be woken up with a stroke.
The best advice we can give is to avoid touching dogs you don’t know when they’re asleep, and to respect your dog’s boundaries if they have chosen to sleep away from you.
FAQ—Dog Sleeping Habits
Why do dogs press against you when they sleep?
Dogs often snuggle with each other, press together to show affection, and like to feel secure as they sleep. When dogs feel safe they can fully relax, and pressing their bodies against their humans can help create a sense of calm and security.
Do dogs like being hugged?
No. The vast majority of dogs do not like being hugged. Your dog might put up with it, but if you look closely, they are probably showing you subtle signs of discomfort. Unless your dog enthusiastically initiates a “hug” it’s not a good idea to hug a dog.
Is it okay for my dogs to sleep in my bed?
Yes! As long as having a dog sleep in your bed works for you, it is perfectly fine! Some people believe that allowing dogs to sleep in the bed can create unwanted dominance since they are “marking you with their scent.” While it is true that dogs have scent glands that release a stinky fluid, these glands are released when the dog goes to the bathroom, and not when they’re sleeping on your bed. If your dog is expressing its anal glands randomly, it’s best to chat with a vet.
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