5 Reasons Why Do Dogs Sleep With Their Bum Facing You?

Why Do Dogs Sleep With Their Bum Facing You? Photo of a dog sleeping with his bum facing the owner.

It’s annoying to sleep with a dog butt right in your face, right? If you’re wondering why do dogs sleep with their bum facing you, why your dog insists on doing this, and how to get it to stop, the information you need is below for you!

The most common reason dogs turn their bums towards their owners is that they trust you! Their back end is often the most at-risk part while they sleep; sleeping with their bum facing you means that they trust you not to attack them and watch over them while they sleep.

In some cases, dogs will sleep with their bum towards you specifically to mark you with their scent, too. Others will sleep that way to avoid eye contact with you. In rare cases, dogs may sleep with their bum towards you to let you know they are having a health concern with their bum.

Why do dogs sleep with their head at your feet and bum facing you?

As introduced above, there are several reasons why your dog has this rather disgusting habit every night. Understanding why might not make it any less disgusting, but it can help you understand what to do about it!

  1. Trust
  2. Affection
  3. Avoiding eye contact
  4. Scent marking
  5. Alerting you to a problem

1. Trust

Your dog has total trust in you, so they’re sleeping with their vulnerable rear end facing you to show that trust to you. They are also showing you that they trust you to have their case a predator were to come in and try to attack their bum. It sounds weird to us, but it’s how their brains think!

2. Affection

Dogs will sleep this way to show affection for you. Again, it’s strange for us but normal for them. Dogs will shove their bums in your face to show their utmost respect for you and their affection for you. This is your dog’s rather unsettling way of showing just how much they care for you and your bond.

3. Avoiding eye contact

When you have a dog just settling in, they won’t necessarily enjoy being with you right away. They will sleep facing away from you so that they don’t have to make eye contact. Once they settle in, this should subside.

This also happens if a dog knows that they are in trouble for disobeying your command. Or if they’ve done something they know they are not supposed to do, instead of sleeping facing you, they’ll face away out of guilt. Don’t let this sway your punishment, though! It’s what they want!

4. Scent marking

Dog have scent glands on their bums, so sleeping this way allows them to mark you with their scent while you both sleep. Not a pleasant thought, we know, but it is essential to understand as far as their lizard brain.

5. Alerting you to a problem

Lastly, a dog may adopt this sleeping habit if they have a problem with their bum. It could be a bump or a rash. It could be a parasite or something itchy. While gross, it is well-intentioned. Take a look to see if you notice anything out of the ordinary. If you need to, bring your dog to the vet to double-check that everything is okay!

Is it bad to have my dog’s bum facing me while sleeping?

It’s not a question you want to ask, but it is important! The answer is: yes, it can be. It depends on your dog’s bum hygiene (We know, ew).

If your dog’s bum isn’t clean, they could smear bacteria and fecal matter onto your pillow or blankets. Since those blankets and pillow and naturally by your face…you get it. We’ll leave it there!

Similarly, dogs can toot (aka fart) in their sleep just like humans can. Since their butt is near your head, this will be especially…fragrant. While it may not happen often, it only has to happen once for you to have the world’s grossest wake-up call!

The other thing is that it can be bad for your mental and emotional health. You are sleeping with a dog bum directly next to your head; regardless of whether they have good hygiene or etiquette, it’s just got a severe ick potential to it that needs to be addressed!

How to stop this behavior

Now that you’re thoroughly grossed out, it’s time that you got on top of the problem by redirecting the behavior. Even if you are somehow still calm and collected about the potential complications, this behavior is probably not your favorite, right?

Firstly, get a feel for why your dog is sleeping this way. Is it something simple to fic, such as a health issue? Is your dog still shy and getting used to eye contact with you? Is nighttime the only time he has to show affection and/or mark you with his scent?

Addressing any potential issue behind the behavior should help your dog resume their normal sleeping position.

If it is just part of how he sleeps, you can correct the behavior! Start by teaching him a command to turn around. You can do this outside of the bed first to teach it. Give him the command in bed next time he lies down with his butt towards you when you’re ready. 

When he understands you correctly and turns around to face you, give him a treat. Before long, he’ll start to understand what you mean and that it wins him treats and affection from you. Just keep it consistent, or your dog will get confused. 

Even when you’ve got him used to sleeping facing you, it’s a good idea to help your dog understand why this is better. For example, give him cuddles and pets and help him to see how much better it is sleeping this way. After all, if your dog is sleeping this way to show affection, show him some affection in return when he faces you! 

This is also the case if your dog does what he does for protection. You’ll have to help him see that sleeping facing you will keep him safe and secure.

If you can’t train your dog to sleep the other way or feel uncertain about it, you can always train your dog to sleep on their own bed rather than yours. This is not a bad thing at all, and your dog will be okay with this once they get used to it.

Can you train your dog’s sleeping position?

It surprises many people to learn that they can successfully train their dog’s sleeping position! Dogs are intelligent and mostly obedient creatures, eager to please you. If you train them to sleep facing you with their head instead of their bum, they will.

That being said, keep in mind that dogs will shift and move in their sleep, just like humans do. You may wake up in the morning with a dog butt in your face, even if your dog didn’t do it knowingly. 

If it’s something that bothers you so much that you can’t sleep for fear of this happening, the best thing to do is train your dog to sleep on their bed on the floor next to you. This way, you won’t have to worry about anything like that, and your dog can sleep with his butt facing you if he wants since he’s so far away!

In conclusion

Most of the time, dogs sleep with their bum facing you because they trust you to protect their at-risk bum in case of an emergency. It’s their way of showing trust and also affection.

Sometimes, this behavior results from scent marking or even letting you know they have a bum-related health issue. You can retrain this behavior as you like by following the steps outlined above!

No one’s idea of a good time involves a dog bum in the face, so don’t worry if you are secretly relieved to learn about the solutions above. Know someone who is dealing with the ick factor right now?

Consider sharing this with them to help them see that a cure is not only possible but relatively simple!

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Sara Santos

Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have. You can also find me on my personal blog here.