Are you suddenly sharing your bed with a huge furry dog? Are you confused about the new sleeping situation and feeling in need of some support? Here’s what you need to know!
Since dogs are pack animals by nature, they’re used to being together all the time, including sleeping together. They share warmth, comfort, and safety when they sleep with their pack. Most dogs will prefer to sleep with their humans or nearby at the very least.
If your dog has suddenly started sleeping with you in your bed, assuming this is out of the ordinary. In that case, they could feel anxious, uncomfortable, or feel as though something is wrong with them or with you.
Understanding which of these is most likely, and how to get your bed back is about taking an in-depth approach to why they’re showing this behavior in the first place.
Why does my dog want to sleep with me all the time?
Some dogs simply hop into bed with you from the first moment that they arrive home as if they’ve always been there. But why? How do they know that they can or should do that? I mean, they didn’t even ask you!
It goes back to the idea that they are pack animals. Living in packs means that they do everything together, including sleeping together all piled up. This is their way of sharing warmth and comfort and offering protection.
Many dogs will also want to sleep next to their alpha to offer protection to that alpha. Since you are that alpha in your household, this is their response to it.
Why does my dog suddenly want to sleep with me?
Despite that natural pack behavior, not all dogs will want to sleep with their humans in bed. They will most likely be happy on the floor nearby or elsewhere where they’re able to protect their humans from threats.
So, a dog who is content on the floor suddenly jumping in the bed can be concerning and confusing. Some of the reasons for this new behavior, as introduced above, are:
- They are feeling anxious
- They are uncomfortable physically
- They feel that something is wrong with them
- They feel that something is wrong with you
They are feeling anxious
Whether it’s separation anxiety or just general anxiety while recovering from something that upset them, an anxious dog is going to be more likely to crawl into bed with you.
They’ll be seeking comfort and reassurance. You provide those things for them, so they’ll curl up with you in bed. Once the anxiety passes, they most likely will go back to sleeping in their usual location.
They are uncomfortable physically
This could be for several reasons. Maybe the seasons are changing, and they are suddenly cold on their bed and want your warmth. Or, there is something in their standard sleeping bed that’s changed. Like, a new cover or even a new bed. A dog who is no longer comfortable on their bed will seek out a new one — yours.
This is very common in older dogs that no longer find their bedding comfortable. If you think that their bed is the problem, take a careful look at it and see how your dog reacts to being directed to lie on it. Something as simple as getting them something else to sleep on could be all it takes!
They feel that something is wrong with them
If they are feeling sick or injured, they’ll sleep with you, too. They are scared and are looking for comfort and protection from “predators” while they recover. You may find that this happens if they have a cold or aren’t feeling their best. If you’re concerned and you notice other signs of illness or pain, a trip to the vet is a good idea!
They feel that something is wrong with you
Similarly, dogs will also sleep with you if they think something is wrong. Suppose you’re upset emotionally or physically sick, for example. They want to offer comfort and protection, and they do this by snuggling in with you while you rest and recover.
While it’s common to feel a jolt of alarm at that, remember that it could just mean that they are sensing that you are having a bad day and want to offer comfort. It doesn’t mean that you need to rush to the hospital!
Should I let my dog sleep with me?
You’ll be happy to know that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. It’s simply about making sure that you choose what is best for you and your situation. There are pros and cons to letting your dog sleep with you and not letting your dog sleep with you.
Pros and cons of letting your dog sleep with you
- They’re great security guards
- They offer great peace of mind
- Your dog will love it
- They can wake you up when moving
- They take up a lot of space in your bed
- They can worsen your allergies
Pros and cons of not letting your dog sleep with you
- You will be able to sleep better
- No allergy flare-ups
- Your dog will be able to move around as needed
- Your dog may whine or cry if they want to sleep with you
- Your dog may want to cuddle you other times of day
- You’ll have to designate a space for them to sleep
At the end of the day, your sleeping arrangements with or without your dog are all about balancing those in preference of which pros and cons matter most to you!
Signs your dog wants to sleep with you
Curious as to whether or not your dog is even interested in sleeping with you? You can look for some signs to determine whether your dog is trying to be your bedmate!
The first one you’ll notice is your dog hopping in your bed. Sounds obvious, but it is. Another one, similarly, is that they’ll try to quietly sneak in during the night and curl up without you even noticing. They might try to get down before you wake up, too.
Some dogs will whine and cry at their owners at bedtime, which is their way of asking permission to curl up. It may continue when you turn off the light, or they’ll settle into place on their own bed.
Another sign that your dog is trying to sleep with you is that they will be in your bed every moment you aren’t. It’s their way of telling you that they want to curl up with you, even if you aren’t allowing it yet.
How to make your dog sleep with you
If you love it when you have your dog sleeping right next to you, but you aren’t sure just how to teach him to do so, assuming he doesn’t do it naturally, here are some tips!
Start by encouraging your dog to get close to you when you are in bed. They may do that first by sitting next to you. Or, they may prefer to jump right up on the bed. This is the end goal, so that’s a good sign.
If your dog is confused, teach them a command to help them understand what to do. For example, “up” or “come to bed,” etc. This will help your dog understand his job, just like any of the other basic commands you teach them.
Either before you start or during the training process, you’ll want to ensure that there is enough space on your bed for your dog. This is especially important if you have a partner and/or a large dog. Otherwise, you may need to get a bigger bed or retrain your dog to sleep elsewhere!
Lastly, you’ll want to respect your dog’s wishes. If you train your dog to sleep on your bed and they just don’t want to do it, you’ll want to respect that decision. Your dog’s preferences are crucial to factor in, after all, and you want to make sure that they’re comfortable when sleeping, too.
Why does my dog want to cuddle with me all of a sudden?
If you notice that your dog suddenly wants to cuddle on the couch or anywhere else, it’s probably for the same reasons as above. The only difference to note would be that it’s just a different location where they feel that they can bond with you more than in bed.
You may notice your dog trying to cuddle with you more if you are in the process of getting them not to sleep with you. This is a common reaction since they still want their dedicated time to curl up with you.
If you’re feeling concerned about this change, you’ll want to check with your vet to see if there could be an underlying issue, such as mentioned above.
How to stop your dog from sleeping with you
If you are trying to get your bed back — there’s no shame in that — then you’ll need to follow a step-by-step process to help retrain your dog’s behavior in a way that they’ll understand. You’ll also want to do it in a way that is going to be sustainable and won’t hurt your dog’s emotional needs!
- Buy your dog a comfortable bed
- Place the bed logically to redirect your dog there (you can move it later if you want)
- Give your dog a command to direct him from your bed to their own
- Be consistent in this retraining process
- Withdraw affection when they are in bed with you
- Give your dog cuddle time elsewhere
This last point is essential, as mentioned above. Your dog will feel like they’re missing out, and it can make the process of retraining the behavior much harder. If you show them that they still get their cuddles elsewhere, they’ll relax much faster and easier!
Typically, dogs like to sleep in bed with their favorite humans. If you notice this as new behavior, though, reasons for it could include anxiety, physical discomfort, and acting on their assumption that something is wrong with themselves or with you.
While your dog suddenly wanting to sleep in bed with you can be confusing, there often is a very good reason for it. Understanding what’s going on will help you redirect the behavior without missing something vital to their health!
Know someone that is dealing with this sudden problem? Share this to help them get their bed back again!