Not all dogs like to snuggle. But those that do will often curl up in a ball right next to their humans and sometimes even on top of them. If your dog sleeps in this position, you might be wondering if it’s normal dog behavior or something that needs to be addressed. The truth is, it could be either, and it’s a good idea to take a closer look to determine whether your pup has behavioral issues or simply loves cozying up.
Here are some of the most common reasons why your dog lays or even sleeps so close to you:
They consider you a pack member.
It is perfectly normal for a dog to sleep huddled together with its litter. They burrow into their mother’s side as puppies and grow up sleeping in a pile with their brothers and sisters. Because this is their nature, they may prefer to sleep so close to you as they seek the same warmth, security, and comfort that they would from their pack mates. In essence, they think of you as a pack member.
They’re rewarded with positivity.
You might not know it but it’s very likely that you actually encourage your dog to lie close to you. When your pet dog nestles itself at your side, you’re more likely to give them lots of positive attention. Your tendency is to pet them, scratch their belly, stroke their fur, and maybe even offer some treats. All those actions let them know that good things come when they stay close. So, you’ve actually conditioned them to do this.
They feel more secure.
Having a dog bed gives your pup a place of their own to relax and even decompress when necessary. However, they might prefer the warmth and security of lying close to you. When your dog lays beside or on top of you, they know you’re around and can fall into a deep sleep because they don’t have to worry about you disappearing. If they have a possessive or protective nature, this could also be a way to guard you.
They suffer from separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is probably the only reason why you should be seriously concerned about your dog lying so close to you. This is a common problem both in puppies and adult dogs, and it ranges greatly in severity. In some cases, dogs with separation anxiety are so nervous about being away from you that it leads to severe stress and destructive behaviors. In such cases, specialized dog training is essential so they become happier and more confident.
They’re simply being affectionate.
In most cases, dogs lie on top or sleep snuggled into your side because they want affection and want to show you the same. Smaller dogs might even lie on your lap as they fall asleep. For as long as they don’t show any signs of aggression or anxiety when they aren’t able to do this, you can rest assured that all you have is a sweet dog that loves your company.
If you’re a new dog owner with a pup that prefers sleeping in bed with you or even on top of you, take it as a sign that they’re settling in well and feel safer in your presence. Chances are there are no behavioral issues to worry about. Nevertheless, you should continue to pay attention to their overall conduct to make sure you don’t reinforce any unwanted behaviors.