Sleeping between the owner’s legs is one of the most popular habits among puppies and older dogs. If you share a bed with a dog, this may be one of his favorite places.
While many owners don’t care where the dog sleeps as long as they share the bed with their beloved pooch, others who may not be so comfortable with the idea may begin to question the reasons why their pets choose this spot, even for large beds with enormous amounts of space.
Why is my dog sleeping between my legs?
Dogs sleep between their legs to show their affection to their owners or to gain security from fear, anxiety, and cold weather. Puppies trained to sleep in this position also grow up between the owner’s legs by default.
Seven Reasons Why your Dog Sleeps Between your Legs
There can be several reasons why a dog sleeps between the legs. Shall we take a closer look at a few of them?
1. Competing For Your Attention
Has a new pet come into the house? If so, that could be why an old dog is sleeping between your legs. If the habit has popped up all of a sudden after a new pet, it could be the old dog’s way of protecting his territory.
Like humans, dogs can be especially jealous when they realize they are not the center of attention. After a new pet moves in, focusing on making him comfortable can make the old dog feel neglected in many ways.
For example, the old pup may decide to lie between your legs at bedtime to prove who is boss and to make sure he gets some attention from you as well.
A dog may settle between the owner’s feet when he is scared. This can be due to internal or external factors. For example, if you have always slept with the lights on, the decision to suddenly turn off the lights may cause the dog to become anxious.
He may respond by moving between your legs to protect himself from the uncertainty in the dark. Sometimes a dog may fall asleep in another part of your bed, but move to the space between your legs after waking from a nightmare.
The trembling sounds of thunder and lightning, for example, can frighten dogs so much that they will move to the owner’s lap for safety and reassurance.
Cold weather can be just as brutal for dogs as it is for humans. We all love to snuggle up to someone or something warm to raise our body temperature in extremely low temperatures, and dogs love to do the same.
When temperatures drop in the winter or other cold periods of the year, the space between your legs can be one of the warmest places on a bed for dogs.
This position not only allows for contact with the owner’s body, but also with other warm bedding he or she may be sleeping with. This can be lifesaving for dogs as it prevents hypothermia, which is one of the most serious medical conditions that can affect their lives.
4. Part of Their Training
Whether you intend to adopt a homeless puppy or obtain a puppy from another provider, keep in mind that the puppy may have been trained to behave in certain ways. If the new puppy you just brought home has been trained to sleep between its owner’s legs, it’s only a matter of time before it solidifies that spot in your bed.
If you love the idea of a puppy sleeping between your legs, there should be no problems. However, if you absolutely loathe the idea of sharing a bed with a puppy or prefer a place in your bed other than between your legs, you have a decision to make.
You may need to inquire about the puppy’s sleeping habits to make sure it meets your preferences before proceeding with the adoption process.
5. Your dog Trusts you
Dogs really are man’s best friend, and any dog owner can attest to the special bond that can develop between man and pooch. Sleeping between your legs can be a sign of the strong bond the dog has formed with you.
Remember: dogs avoid contact with people they perceive as shady. Your puppy can only feel comfortable between your legs if he has absolute trust in you.
Remember that trust is a two-way street with dogs: they can only build genuine trust with an owner who trusts them in return.
6. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a common condition that occurs in dogs that have been trained to always be in the company of their owner. For dogs suffering from this condition, it is natural to always stay as close to the owner as possible.
Therefore, such dogs may decide that sleeping between your legs provides maximum closeness while ensuring as much physical contact as possible.
If you share the bed with a partner, the dog may choose to lie between the legs of the one with whom he feels more comfortable.
However, in the absence of the preferred partner, the dog may choose to lie between the legs of the other partner.
7. Natural Burrowing
Burrowing is one of the earliest characteristics of dogs, as the first generation of dogs were not domesticated. They survived by burrowing in the woods to find food and other essentials in the wild.
This instinctive trait has been passed down from generation to generation, so it’s not surprising that some dogs love to burrow in sheets, blankets, and other types of bedding. Burrowing can give such dogs a sense of comfort and security, and what better way to do that than to lie down between their owner’s legs?
Burying under blankets also allows dogs to snuggle up to their favorite owners, whether it’s shivering outside or the room temperature is chilly.
Have your dog recently Started to Sleep Between your Legs?
One of the keys to figuring out why your dog is sleeping between your legs is when the habit started. Has your pup been laying between your legs from day one, or did the habit occur after a major change like a move?
As mentioned above, a common reason could also be the introduction of a new pet in the house, or perhaps you accidentally gave a treat after your dog slept between your legs once.
If the little guy has slept between your legs from day one, it may be a sign that he finds this spot more comfortable, even if there is plenty of room in other areas of the bed. If you are comfortable in this case, it may not be a bad idea to allow the dog to stay there at night.
However, if the pooch suddenly moves into the space between your legs after a change of apartment or house, it could be a sign that the little guy isn’t exactly comfortable in the new environment. You may need to find ways to familiarize him with the new place.
Also, if a dog has quickly moved to the space between your legs in bed after a new dog or cat has been added to the family, this could be a sign that he is being deprived of attention. If you make an effort to give him some attention, you can reduce signs of jealousy.
Is it Bad if my Dog sleeps Between my Legs?
Many pet owners enjoy seeing their beloved dogs sleeping soundly between their legs. However, others are not so comfortable with this development as it can be unbearable in certain scenarios.
Here are a few negative aspects of having a dog between your legs at bedtime:
1. Excessive Heat During Summer
Dogs’ body heat can rise during the summer or other high-temperature periods of the year. The last thing you need in a heat wave is a dog trapped between your legs, as this can restrict the circulation of minimal amounts of air in your bedroom.
The dog’s body temperature can also heat up your bed and make it difficult to sleep.
While a cool breeze from an air conditioner or fan can be convenient, access to these devices is not always guaranteed. So a dog sleeping between your legs during a heat wave can be terrible in many ways.
2. Accidental Kicks In The Middle Of The Night
Have you been diagnosed with restless legs syndrome or another condition that makes it impossible for you to lie still all night? If so, the last thing you want is a dog lying between your legs.
Having a dog in such close proximity can lead to accidental kicks in the middle of the night. These kicks can startle and wake up even the most soundly sleeping dogs, causing howls and other sounds of pain.
Dogs can have trouble falling asleep after waking up during the night, which can also keep you from going to bed.
3. Restricted Movements
If you are a combination sleeper who switches between different positions throughout the night, a dog sleeping between your legs can be detrimental to a good night’s rest in many ways. First, it can limit your ability to move effortlessly from the supine to the side or prone position without physical contact with your four-legged friend.
Going to bed knowing that your dog is stuck between your legs can also mean that the subconscious part of your brain is trying to keep you in a fixed position throughout the night. This can lead to poor quality sleep and low energy levels in the morning.
How do you Stop your Dog from Sleeping Between your Legs?
If you hate the idea of a dog slumbering between your legs, you need to take some drastic measures. Here are a few ways you can get your dog to stop sleeping between your legs.
1. Kick It Out Of Your Bedroom
It may seem dramatic, but kicking your lovable dog out of the bedroom can solve a lot of problems. Banishing your dog to another area of the house will prevent him from crawling into your bed and lying between your legs.
Although this solution sounds good, it may not be easy to implement if you love the idea of sharing the bedroom with your furry friend.
Therefore, you may have to resort to one of the alternative solutions listed below:
2. Train It To Get Comfortable Sleeping Alone
As mentioned earlier, separation anxiety may be the reason why your dog curls up in the space between your legs at night. Treating the dog appropriately can remedy this and ensure that he can sleep comfortably on his own.
Remember that separation anxiety may have been caused by the loss of an important person in the dog’s life in the past. The fear of losing you too can trigger a wave of emotions that can affect his ability to relax when you are not around.
The little guy may need to go through a counter-conditioning program to treat mild to severe forms of separation anxiety. Therefore, it may be helpful to teach him that he is comfortable sleeping alone.
3. Train It To Sleep In Another Part of the Bed
There may be several places on your bed where you can put your dog at night. If the idea of your dog sleeping anywhere other than your bed sounds absurd, you can teach him to lie down on a dog bed that is placed at the foot of the bed or on the side.
4. Move to The Sofa
While some furry friends may follow you to the sofa to continue laying on your lap, others will stay on the bed. Sometimes moving to the sofa can be a signal for the pup to retreat, especially if this happens every time he curls up in bed between your legs.
Dogs can be intelligent animals that watch your reactions to determine how to behave in certain situations. The dog may be hesitant to move to the sofa to lie on your lap if you move away every time he snuggles up to you in bed.
5. Lock Him In A Crate
Do you hate the feeling of a dog laying between your legs in bed? Why not just lock him in a crate and put him in the bedroom? Dogs who are used to sharing your bed may resist, but if you’re determined, it’s not impossible.
A good tip may be to re-train the dog to sleep in his crate or on a dog bed instead of on your bed or lap.
You now know that a dog may sleep between your legs to snuggle up to you for comfort or a sense of security when scared. After introducing a new pet to the home, even an old dog may stake his claim on the owner by quickly taking up the space between your legs at bedtime.
If you love the idea of your dog lying on your lap at night, there should be no need to worry. However, if the opposite is true, you can always retrain the dog to get comfortable in a different sleeping spot.