Dogs can sleep in the weirdest places and positions. But why does my dog sleep between my legs? Your dog is probably being protective, scared, anxious, affectionate, or just looking for some warmth. Knowing the reason behind it will give you an idea if there’s something you need to do. You also have to assess when your dog started doing it as an external stimulus might be causing it.
In this post, I will discuss this dog behavior and what you need to do about it.
Reasons why your dog sleeps between your legs
The following are some of the reasons why your dog prefers to sleep between your legs:
Dogs with a strong bond with their owners will often want to be beside them all the time. This includes sleeping between your legs. Your dog makes you feel loved by sleeping beside you. Also, this position will alert them whenever their owners are standing up.
If sleeping between your legs only happens randomly, it shouldn’t be a cause of concern. However, if your pooch is whining and crying when you don’t let them do so, that’s the time you have to correct the behavior.
Sometimes, the spot between your legs is the most comfortable sleeping area. This is primarily due to the body heat your legs emit. You’ll likely observe this behavior during the cold season when your dog will seek all the warmth it can get.
Aside from that, your dog probably likes using your legs as a pillow. The overall position of slumbering between your legs might be very cozy for your pooch.
3. Being protective
Another potential explanation here is that your dog is being protective. This happens when there are strangers around as well as other pets. Your dog stays near you to let other people know that you are its human.
Moreover, dogs can get jealous, which can lead to protective behavior. Canines are like children who will become suddenly clingy when someone steals the attention of their loved ones.
You should watch out as this protective behavior can lead to resource guarding if not corrected right away.
4. Separation anxiety
Dogs suffering from separation anxiety will stick to their owners’ side with the fear that the person will leave them again. This is a behavioral problem that you should address properly. Take note that anxious dogs often become destructive and noisy as a way to vent out their frustration.
After a long day at work, your dog will squeeze itself into your side. This includes sleeping between your legs even if the pooch has its own bed.
A loud thunder, firecrackers, and construction sounds can scare a dog. This is the reason why your pooch is sleeping and burrowing between your legs. It’s best to comfort the dog and bring it to a room with the least noise.
Remember that dogs have a stronger sense of hearing than humans. While some sounds may appear tolerable to us, it will be louder and more disorienting for canines.
6. Rewarded behavior
Lastly, you might be enforcing the behavior. Whenever your dog lies down between your legs, you’re probably petting it or giving it affection. Over time, your dog considers this as a form of reward. Your pet will keep doing this until it sleeps between your legs.
How to stop the behavior
If your dog’s habit of sleeping between your legs is becoming annoying, you should correct it as soon as possible. The following tips will help a lot:
Give your dog its own bed
If your pet doesn’t have established sleeping quarters, I suggest setting up one. This will divert your dog’s sleeping habits into a safe and cozy spot. Make sure that you give the pooch a bolstered bed to mimic the surrounding effect of your legs.
Also, it’s important to place the bed in a quiet spot with minimal foot traffic. This way, your nervous dog won’t get spooked easily.
Train the dog out of it
Another important step here is training your dog not to sleep between your legs. If your pooch flops between your legs, command it to sit on the floor. Give a reward every time your dog follows the command. It will also help if you’ll train your dog to go to its bed instead.
This will teach your dog that using its bed is a rewarded behavior and sleeping between your legs gets him nothing.
Don’t enforce the behavior
While petting your dog is very tempting whenever it gets between your legs, try not to do so. Giving in to your dog will just enforce the behavior and make it harder to correct. Instead, ignore the dog and see how it will react. If the dog continues to lie down, command it to sit on the floor or go to its bed.
Deal with the stimuli causing it
You should also consider the possibility that there are changes or stimuli in the environment that’s pushing your dog to sleep between your legs. For example, if you brought a new pet home, you may notice your resident doggo being clingier than usual. This can also happen if you moved to a new home and the pooch isn’t comfortable yet.
If separation anxiety is the reason, it’s important to train and desensitize your dog. This will also save your household items from aggressive chewing.
What does it mean when a dog sits by your feet?
Sitting down by your feet is often a sign of affection and submissive behavior. This means that your dog recognizes you as the master.
It’s also possible that your dog is standing by so it can easily follow you around. Aside from that, it could be that your dog just wants to be near you. Most of the time, this behavior is harmless and a good thing.
Why does my dog sleep on top of me?
Like a baby, your dog loves laying on top of you for comfort. Your body heat and presence are comforting for a canine, especially nervous ones. It provides a sense of security to the dog. Also, some canines will do this to express their affection to their owners.
However, if your pooch is standing on your chest, it’s a sign of dominance. You shouldn’t tolerate this behavior if you want your pooch to respect you as the leader of the pack.
Why does my dog sleep between my legs? It can be due to fear, anxiety, affection, or enforced behavior. Sometimes, your dog will do this whenever it feels threatened by another pet or person. As long as the behavior isn’t being invasive, I don’t think it should be a cause of concern. Nonetheless, you can always train your dog out of it.