Picture the following scenario – you return home from work and find your dog blissfully asleep on your clothes. Apparently, you had left your laundry strewn all over the bedroom floor, so the incident doesn’t strike you as odd. But it keeps happening and your pooch seems to be getting more enchanted by your clothes with each passing day.
As a concerned pet owner, it’s natural to wonder whether this behavior is intrinsic or an early warning sign of an underlying medical condition. Indeed, like any dog owner in your situation, you’re bound to ask yourself, why does my dog sleep on my clothes?
Now, there are numerous reasons why your dog could choose to sleep on your clothes. The behavior could be fueled by the dog’s desire for the warmth and comfort that your clothes offer, especially during winter months. Your dog could also choose to sleep on your clothes as a sign that he loves your smell. Technically, your clothes should smell like you, right? In extreme cases, a dog sleeping on your laundry might be indicative of an underlying medical condition, such as separation anxiety.
As a responsible dog owner, the onus is on you to establish the reasons why your pooch sleeps on your clothes and not his regular bed. That way, you can adopt the right remedy to stop or redirect the behavior.
Read on as we uncover all the possible reasons your canine friend might find comfort in sleeping on your laundry, as well as what you can do about it.
Reasons Why Your Dog Sleeps On Your Clothes
One of the frequently asked questions among many pet parents is, ‘why does my dog sleep on my laundry?’ As we’ve just indicated, there are numerous reasons why your dog might find a comfortable bed in your clothes.
So, what does it mean when your dog sleeps on your clothes?
The following are some of the reasons behind the behavior;
1. Comfort and security
One of the reasons your dog sleeps on your clothes is that doing so comes with a sense of comfort and security.
An average dog spends most of his time frolicking in the backyard, bumping into stuff, and lying on hard floors. This hyperactive lifestyle could leave your dog nursing sore muscles and joints. Even if not, the mere sight of soft, plush clothes will surely pique his interest.
In this case, your clothes offer the dog a comfortable place where he can safely sleep or unwind after hours of running around.
If it happens to be during wintertime or other colder months, your clothes will offer more than just a sense of comfort and security. The clothes may also supplement the dog’s coat in providing him an extra layer of warmth.
2. Your clothes smell like you
Dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell, which is more than 40 times better than humans’. In fact, dogs see the world primarily through their sense of smell. If you can remember the first time you brought your pooch home, you’ll recall that he went around investigating everyone and everything using his nose.
Once your dog picks and stores your scent, he will always find happiness in being close to everything that smells like you. And that includes your clothes, particularly dirty clothes.
So, you may have often wondered, why does my dog always sleep on my dirty clothes? Well, your dirty clothes carry the heaviest scents of you, which the dog may find attractive.
But even clean laundry isn’t spared, as your dog could sleep on it to demonstrate that he loves the scent of your laundry detergent or softener.
Indeed, it’s not unusual to find a dog owner wondering, ‘why does my dog like to sleep on my clean clothes?’ The most probable reason is that the dog might have developed a strong liking for your laundry products.
At times, you may also catch your canine companion peeing on your laundry, especially clean ones. Besides scent-marking your clothes, peeing on clean laundry could be a sign that your pooch finds the smell repulsive. Once you replace your laundry detergent, your furry, little friend will become attracted to your clothes, whether they’re clean or dirty.
3. A need to cover his own smell
Dogs have been domesticated by humans for thousands of years. However, these animals have retained most of their instinctive behaviors.
The domestic dog’s wild cousins, such as wolves and jackals, usually scout an area in a den or cave where they can remain hidden from plain sight. It’s all part of their defense mechanism.
Although the domestic dog has little danger to worry about, they’re naturally wired to hide from potential predators. And your clothes might just offer the perfect solution for that.
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4. Loneliness and boredom
Like humans, dogs also suffer from loneliness and boredom from time to time. A bored dog can resort to all manner of undesirable behaviors, including sleeping on your clothes.
Depending on his energy levels and exercise needs, boredom can set in in a matter of hours. And it only gets worse if your dog spends much of his time idling in the house.
When your pooch becomes bored, he will want to venture into areas he normally stays away from, including the bedroom. And once he is in there, it will only be a matter of time before he turns your closet upside down. In the process of playing with your laundry, the dog may also fall asleep on it.
One way to tell that your dog sleeps on your clothes due to loneliness and boredom is to check for bite, chew, or pull marks. Usually, a bored dog tends to chew on anything he can get his teeth on.
5. Maybe you’re encouraging the behavior
What did you do the first time you found your dog sleeping on your clothes?
Did you leave him there? Did you draw him away using a treat? Or perhaps you scolded him!
Unknown to you, any of these reactions could have inadvertently encouraged the dog to keep sleeping on your laundry.
If you lure a dog away from your clothes and then offer him a treat for his apparent ‘obedience,’ you’ll find him doing sleeping on your clothes the following day. That’s because the dog associates the behavior with some treats.
It might also be tempting to yell at or scold the dog. However, experts discourage this, as it may produce the exact opposite effects of what you’re trying to achieve.
6. Medical condition
Although quite rare, certain medical conditions might cause your dog to sleep on your laundry.
Separation anxiety is the most common disorder associated with aberrant behavior in pets. The condition is common among pets that endure long hours of loneliness. As such, the animal develops a powerful liking for anything that reminds him of his owner.
So, if you spend a great deal of your time away and leave your dog unattended, you may find him sleeping on your laundry whenever you get back. It’s the dog’s way of letting you know that he doesn’t appreciate the idea of you being away for so long.
Some of the tell-tale signs of separation anxiety in dogs include;
- Restlessness, especially when you’re about to leave for work
- Overly excited greetings when you get back home
- Incessant vocalization, including barking and howling
- Sudden, unexplained destructive behavior, such as chewing and digging
- Changes in bladder or bowel movements, such as peeing or pooing outside of his litter box.
If you’re a dog owner and always wonder, ‘why does my dog sleep on my clothes when I’m gone?’, it could be a sign that the animal has already developed separation anxiety.
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Other possible reasons why your dog might be sleeping on your clothes include;
- Attention-seeking behavior
- A problem with the dog’s bed/sleeping area
- An expectant dog looking for a perfect nesting spot
How to Stop Your Dog From Sleeping On Your Clothes
To stop or prevent your dog from sleeping on your clothes, you’ll need to begin easy by finding out the reasons behind this aberrant behavior. The solution you adopt will depend on the cause of the problem.
It’s also important to investigate other factors, such as when the dog first developed the habit, the specific times he likes to sleep on your laundry, and other things that happen alongside the behavior.
For instance, if your dog suddenly started sleeping on your laundry when you moved homes, it could mean that the animal is still struggling to acclimatize to his new sleeping area.
Also, if your pooch only sleeps on your clothes whenever you’re around, that could be indicative of attention-seeking behavior.
And if other characteristic behaviors like pacing and escaping accompany the problem, the chances are that your canine friend is suffering from separation anxiety.
By and large, the following are some of the useful tips you can implement to make your dog stop sleeping on your laundry;
1. Leave your scent behind
As you shall find, your dog will mostly sleep on your clothes when you’re away. So, one effective method to remedy the problem is to leave your scent home. And there are various ways to go about that, such as sleeping with your dog’s toys.
Sleeping with your dog’s toy allows your scent to accumulate on the toy. The smell of you lingering on in the toy will prevent the dog from venturing into your closet looking for a scented reminder of you even when you’re gone.
In addition to sleeping with a dog’s toy, you could also exercise with it. And while you’re at it, allow some sweat to drip on the toy – your pooch will love it that way.
2. Offer the dog enough stimulation
Dogs require adequate physical and mental stimulation. Not only might that stop your dog from sleeping on your clothes, but it’s also helpful for their overall wellbeing. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to stimulate your dog.
For instance, you might consider going on an early-morning run together or playing the game of fetch and other canine-friendly sports. And if you leave a traveler’s lifestyle where you’re only available haphazardly, always make provisions for your dog’s stimulation in your absence.
The best way to go about that is to offer your dog enough toys.
You might also want to leave lights as well as music and the television on to create the illusion that someone is home. And if it comes down to it, hire a professional pet sitter to keep the dog stimulated while you’re gone.
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3. Ignore the dog
Another tip you can implement if you find your dog sleeping on your laundry is to ignore him totally. Pretend as if you didn’t notice him and go about your chores.
This strategy will mostly work if the dog was simply seeking your attention.
However, if the problem lies with the dog’s sleeping area, ignoring him may not work. Your only solution here would be to check out the dog’s bed and sleeping area to ensure that nothing is out of whack.
4. Keep your clothes out of reach
Your dog will only sleep on your clothes if he can get his hands (or paws) on them.
So, what if you keep your laundry out of his reach?
To do that, ensure that your bedroom and closet are always out of bounds for your canine friend. Keep your dirty clothing in tightly-covered laundry baskets and stash the baskets away in a locked room.
If your dog is exhibiting an unusual attraction to your clean clothes, you might consider changing your laundry products.
5. Visit the vet
If you’ve tried all the above strategies but nothing seems to work, maybe it’s time to visit your vet. The vet will conduct a thorough medical examination and establish whether the dog is suffering from any underlying disease or not.
Before taking your pooch for a check-up, try to record other symptoms that could help with the diagnosis.
If the vet gives your dog a clean bill of health but the problem persists, maybe it’s time to re-housetrain the dog. The housetraining would typically focus on the ‘Leave It’ command.
So, Why Does My Dog Sleep On My Clothes And Not His Bed?
Evidently, there are numerous reasons why your dog might choose to sleep on your laundry and not his bed, ranging from boredom and the need for comfort to attention-seeking behavior and medical conditions.
Fortunately, there are equally various ways to stop or redirect the behavior. As a parting shot, always remember to be patient with your dog even when the behavior seems to be getting out of hand. And if it comes down to it, seek professional help.
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