In this article we take a look at dog sleeping behaviours, why they exhibit certain traits and if they actually like their dog bed. In summary:
- Some dogs like to sleep alone, others prefer company
- Dogs need a routine and established boundaries
- They can often exhibit ‘strange’ behaviours - pawing at their bed for example
- They like to feel secure, comfortable and protected when they sleep
- Choosing the right bed is key
That’s the short version. To discover more about your dog’s sleeping behaviours, carry on reading, below.
- Do dogs like dog beds?
- Why do dogs like to sleep with you?
- How do dogs know dog beds are for them?
- Why does my dog lay on the floor instead of their bed?
- Dog sleeping behaviours
- Digging or pawing at their bed
- Do they sleep with their eyes open?
- Movements in their sleep
- Weeing in their bed
- Helping your dog to like their bed
Do dogs like dog beds & do they prefer their own bed?
Some dogs love to sleep on the bed – unfortunately, not always their bed. Given the chance, many dogs would quite happily hop up on our human beds and sleep near us. It’s just their pack behaviour and the fact that they like to be close to someone. When it comes to their bed however, this is all down to how they have been trained and what they are used to. Some dogs have no issue sleeping on a dog bed as long as it’s comfortable, positioned in the right place and they feel safe and secure. In fact, they will often choose their bed over any other surface.
Why does your dog like to sleep with you?
A dog likes to feel secure, comfortable and warm when they sleep. They also like to be close to people or other dogs. Some dogs will be perfectly happy to sleep alone however, there are those that have to be as close as possibly to you. They may sleep with their back to you for warmth and protection, or they might sleep at your feet. Chances are they will quite happily choose you and your bed over your own. The choice is of course yours but that doesn’t mean they won’t sleep in their own bed if you follow the right steps.
How do dogs know dog beds are for them?
It may not be obvious when you first introduce a bed to your dog that it is for them. We have seen many examples where a dog will hop straight on though and claim it. In some cases however, they may need a little encouragement to start using it. The trick is to choose the right bed. One that is big enough for them to feel comfortable. If they like to feel secure and protected, they may benefit from one with sides so they feel more enclosed. Choosing the right dog bed is key.
Why does my dog lay on the floor instead of their bed?
Ever wondered why the dog prefers the floor to the luxury, comfortable bed you just invested in? Well, there are a number of reasons for this. If it is hot for example, the floor will be cooler than their bed. Alternatively, if you have underfloor heating, they may like the warmth of the floor. Sometimes dogs just like to lay out on a flat, hard surface and have a good stretch.
Dog sleeping behaviours
There are many quirky dog behaviours that your dog may exhibit around sleep. These include:
Digging or pawing at their bed
Why do dogs scratch their beds? Well, it is an inherent thing that dogs do instinctively for two reasons. One is to make a comfortable nest to settle in and two, they do it to excrete a scent from their paw glands to mark their territory. You may even find them digging at rugs, mats or even the bare floor. It’s perfectly normal behaviour.
Why do dogs sleep with their eyes open?
Ever wondered why your dog is sleeping with their eyes open? There are a few theories about this. One is that they are only partly asleep when they are just dozing slightly. Another theory is that they need to stay alert to what is going on around them, a dog sleeping behaviour that has evolved from their ancestors. They could also have an eye condition which can affect certain breeds – it means they always sleep with their eyes open because they can’t fully close them.
Movements in their sleep
Other strange behaviours could involve your dog twitching, moving or even crying in their sleep. Fast, rapid breathing may also be a behaviour exhibited by your dog when sleeping. Twitching is often related to dream cycles as your dog processes information and experiences. A younger dog may twitch more than adult dog as they sleep more and have more processing to do. These dreams may cause other motions such as rapid breathing, crying, grunting, moving their paws or grunting. It is not cause for alarm – just the stages of sleep.
Weeing in their bed
A good question and a cause of frustration for many owners but why do dogs wee in their bed? It can be a sign of incontinence or a sudden stress or anxiety. Often bed wetting is related to stress, incontinence, a urinary tract infection or arthritis. It is not a normal behaviour. A dog with a full bladder may do an excited wee if you suddenly bend down and start stroking and playing with them but it is not a behaviour that is normal.
Helping your dog to like their bed
How can you encourage a dog to sleep in their own bed? To help establish a normal sleeping routine for your dog, having a designated and recognised place to sleep is key. This starts with a well-positioned and well-chosen dog bed. A comfortable orthopaedic dog bed is a great starting place. Then you need to help them realise that this is their place to sleep. Some dogs will hop on straight away and curl up, some may need a little encouragement. If they won’t sleep away from you, try and position the bed close to your bed but help them to understand that this is the place that they should be sleeping. It may not happen overnight but perseverance, and a good dog bed is key.