Why do dogs sleep with their bum facing you?

Dogs are territorial by nature and want to do their best to protect what and who they care about. Your dog may present their rear end to you while sleeping because you make them feel safe. They trust you and want to protect you, even while they rest. 

Something as trivial as the position in which your companion puts themself while they snooze could tell you a lot about their feelings toward you. There is no need to worry. Once you know what to look for, you will understand each other so much better.

Why Do Dogs Sleep With Their Bum Facing You?

There are many reasons your dog might sleep with its backside facing you, with the most prominent of theories linking to trust. Your dog feels safe in its surroundings and respects and trusts you to keep them safe while they sleep.

Dogs, being very protective animals, need this trust to feel secure in letting their guard down. Sleeping is one of the most vulnerable times for any animal. Your dog is showing you they do not see you as a threat. As their owner, this show of respect is your pup’s way of letting you know they appreciate your companionship.

What If My Dog Still Seems To Be On Guard?

Just like how they may look for your protection, your dog may show you they will protect you, even while they sleep, by assuming this position. If someone or something were to attack while they were sleeping, your pet would be the first to encounter the attacker. With a simple change in their stance, they go from being protected to protecting you.

While facing away from you, a dog’s most viable form of protection, their mouth, is protecting your back. You could also see this as a shared responsibility situation. Your pooch may ask you to watch their back and offer their services in return.

Another take on this would be the fact that while they are protecting you with their most effective weapon, they also see no reason to use it on you. Facing away from you shows they do not see any reason to harm you and see no reason you would harm them.

Are There Any Other Reasons For This Behavior?

Interpreting the way dogs sleep is still being speculated, leaving room for many theories. It could be something as simple as making themselves easier to pet. Leaving their entire back, or side, depending on position, exposed to you might seem like the easiest way to non-verbally ask for affection.

One more plausible answer to this question, though discussed less, is your dog may be marking you with their scent. It is very common to see dogs sniffing each other’s behinds, and this is how they greet each other. Dogs may find our greetings less socially acceptable than theirs, and sleeping in this way could be a way of teaching us how to greet each other properly.

What Does it Mean if My Dog Does Not Sleep This Way?

In short, there are many reasons your dog may choose not to sleep, as described above, with most of them being completely harmless. If it is summer, or just warmer, it could be something as simple as the heat. It might also be the surface you are sitting on or laying on. Whether it be too small or too uncomfortable for your pup, they may choose the floor or their bed overlaying next to you.

One day you may get endless cuddles from your dog, and the next, they might choose to stray away from you. Your pets have emotions and physical needs as well, and they act on their intuition. Some breeds need to stretch their bodies out more than others, which may be difficult to do when laying next to you. 

Just like humans, dogs need variety in their life as well. A change in sleeping location does not mean they will not return to their normal ways. A day away from your side may have them coming back for even more pets and affection the next.

Should I Be Letting My Dog Sleep With Me?

Yes and no, to be frank. The pros and cons of letting your canine sleep with you, unless it is negatively affecting the health of one or both of you, do not weigh heavily enough in one direction to give a strict yes or no answer.

On the positive side of things, you may experience a stronger bond with your pet through co-sleeping. It may also reduce feelings of anxiety while sleeping because of their heightened senses and tendency to alert their owners of danger. The extra security caused by their presence leaving you feeling at ease to sleep through the night.

What Are The Downsides To Co-Sleeping?

Allergy aggravation and disease spread would be two of the riskiest downsides to letting your dog sleep in your bed. However, the chances of the latter are very low, and the former would most likely already factor into the decision anyhow.

However, co-sleeping may also cause things like lowered quality of sleep for both pet and owner. Studies have shown dogs who sleep in their owner’s beds may disturb their sleep because of a difference in sleep cycles and restless movements.

One last possibility, though it lends itself to a “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” type situation, is your dog developing separation anxiety. Sometimes, it may be the extra time and a co-dependent type relationship created by letting your pet sleep with you that causes this behavior. Yet, a dog already suffering from separation anxiety may cause you to let them co-sleep to ease some of their worries.

When Should I Stop Co-Sleeping?

Some dogs may experience an increase in aggression if co-sleeping is negatively affecting their sleeping habits. If this occurs, your pet will need a designated space to sleep, and co-sleeping could resume with the help of some anti-aggression training.

Another reason to halt sharing your bed with your pet would be an increase in allergic reactions from either party. Co-sleeping should pause until further notice if you or your pup are carrying any disease with interspecies transmission possibilities. You should prioritize the health of both you and your companion over the extra bonding time co-sleeping brings.

If your dog also seems more confused or lethargic over time, it may not be getting proper rest. There may be a noticeable change in their ability to do daily tasks, as well as a rise in naps throughout the day. A short period of sleeping alone may solve this problem, but a professional should address the problem if it occurs.

How Can Poor Sleep Affect My Dog?

Just like you, your dog requires decent rest to go about their day. You may be grumpy after a disruptive night of sleep, which your pup can experience as well. They may also seem more distracted or forgetful throughout the day.

Lack of sleep can affect the brain development of your dog. This can carry over into their learning capacity, slowing down training because of an inability to follow commands. This may even cause your dog to revert to their behavior from before said training, caused by a lapse in memory.

You may notice your dog waking up more often during the night, as well as whining and crying more often. You might also see a rise in the rate at which your pet gets sick. Poor sleep can cause a weakening of the immune system, making them more susceptible to infection.

What Are Some More Serious Causes of Poor Sleep?

Much like humans, canines can experience sleep disorders as well. These can cause unnecessary stress for your dog, changing their behavior in the same ways listed above. Physical malformations cause some of these disorders, while chemical imbalances attribute to others.

Sleep apnea is the most common physical cause of poor sleep; however, it is a rare occurrence in dogs. Some breeds are more susceptible than others, but any dog with an abnormal amount of internal fat or respiratory defects can suffer from it. You may notice louder or more frequent snoring, as well as sudden, short disruptions in your dog’s sleep.

Narcolepsy, most commonly a chemical imbalance, with other causes occasionally, can also affect dogs. A narcoleptic dog will fall asleep suddenly, regardless of what they are doing. This may be during feeding times, after a burst of excited energy, and other things of the sort. They will also seem to be in a deep sleep but will awaken abruptly if stimulated.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder your pet may develop in tandem with other complications. These underlying causes your veterinarian can diagnose and treat accordingly. Insomnia can have many causes, such as pain, stress, and itchiness.

What Ways Can I Help My Dog Sleep Better?

Increased mental and physical stimulation is the simplest way to help ensure your dog can get a better night’s rest. Dogs are very active animals and require proper exercise each day. A long walk followed by a more mentally engaging game could help them burn off the extra energy, causing their inability to fall asleep. 

If your dog is napping throughout the day, it can make it harder to sleep during bedtime. Keeping them entertained and active during the day will leave them with less energy when it is time to settle down, allowing them to rest easier at proper times.

Misplaced energy is not the only cause of a lack of sleep, as stated in the section before this. If you suspect it may be something more serious, contact a professional. Your vet can prescribe treatment for any underlying causes of restlessness.

To Recap:

  • Your dog is not trying to disrespect you by showing you their backside while they sleep.
  • It is perfectly normal whether your dog partakes in the above behavior or does not.
  • Co-sleeping should be a well-considered decision between anyone involved.
  • You should prioritize proper sleep for the sake of your dog’s health.

Every animal has different sleeping patterns, your treasured pet included. Each difference in their habits tells you important information about your dog. Pay attention to the signs they are sending you and help them strive to get the best rest possible.