Dogs are cute, adorable, and fun pets to keep. They have a way of livening up an otherwise dull and boring home.
However, dogs are also creatures of mischief and bizarre habits. Some of the things that our canine friends do often leave us wowed and surprised at the same time.
If you have owned a dog long enough, you must have realized that your furry little friend has some really weird sleeping habits, one of which is sleeping on your head. And as a concerned pet owner, you may have wondered to yourself, why does my dog sleep on my head?
One of the possible reasons why your dog sleeps on your head is that it makes the dog feel safer. It could also be that your pooch is trying to be overprotective, especially if it is a guard dog. By sleeping on your head, the dog believes it’s protecting the most vulnerable part of your body.
But as you shall find, there are plenty of other reasons why your canine friend might choose to nap by your head.
This article shall explore those reasons further as it seeks to answer all the related questions with regards to dogs sleeping on the heads of their owners.
Why Does My Dog Sleep Wrapped Around My Head? Here Are Possible Reasons Why
Many pet parents often asked themselves, why does my dog want to sleep by my head?
As we’ve already highlighted, there are numerous reasons why your pooch may decide to sleep by your head.
This section shall explore some of those reasons.
1. The Dog Feels More Secure
Dogs are pack animals and they consider their owners as part of the pack. According to them, all the members of a pack should stick together for comfort and security.
So, sleeping by your head is one of the ways the dog feels secure around a member of its pack, which happens to be you.
2. Overprotective Behavior
This reason ties closely to the first one. Since your dog views you as a member of its pack, it may want to sleep next to you to protect you from danger.
This is most common among guard dogs, and usually happens when other people or pets are around.
Dogs understand that the head is the most vulnerable part. That’s why they choose to sleep next to your head as a way of keeping you safe from any harm that may befall you during sleep.
3. Separation Anxiety
Like humans, dogs also suffer from stress and anxiety disorders. One of the most common anxiety disorders in dogs is separation anxiety.
The condition occurs when you’re always gone but do not make provisions for your dog’s physical and mental stimulation. So, the dog ends up bored, lonely, and detached.
Some of the symptoms of separation anxiety include;
✔ A tendency to self-isolate;
✔ Irritable and aberrant behavior, such as excessive barking, growling, howling, and chewing;
✔ Poor eating habits;
✔ Bladder and bowel incontinence; and
✔ Gastrointestinal complications, such as constipation, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
Dogs that sleep by their owner’s heads as a result of separation anxiety usually do so when they sense that their owners are about to leave.
4. They Want Your Pillow
As ridiculous as it may sound, your dog sleeping next to your head might be as a result of its admiration for your pillow. Most pets love pillows, and your canine friend is no exception.
If you allow your dog to sleep next to you but don’t offer it a pillow, it will naturally want to go for yours. That’s especially true if the dog finds the pillow soft and attractive.
Plus, it might as well be that your dog is mimicking your sleeping habit – since you’re both sleeping on the same bed, why not everyone share the pillow? So, if you’ve always wondered, why does my dog sleep on my pillow? We hope you’ve got your answer right there.
5. It’s Too Cold
If your dog loves to sleep next to you during the coldest months of the year, the chances are that the animal is trying to keep warm.
The heat that radiates out of your body while you sleep goes a long way in keeping your furball warm. The dog might even want to burrow under your bedding so that it can enjoy more warmth.
However, some people prefer to sleep in beddings that cover their whole body, from the feet to the neck. When your dog cannot get under your blankets, the animal will sleep next to the only exposed part of your body – your head.
6. A New Puppy
Another common reason why your dog sleeps by your head is if it’s a new puppy.
Before adopting a puppy, the dog shares a lot of time with its mother and littermates. So, when you separate the dog from its family, it may feel a bit lonely and want to cuddle by your side every night.
It’s not a wise idea to let your puppy sleep on your bed, considering puppies cannot control their bowels and bladders well compared to adult dogs.
7. Marking Behavior
This happens when your dog believes he is the pack leader. Sleeping on or by your head is the animal’s way of asserting its dominance.
To establish that sleeping by your head is an expression of dominance, observe how your dog relates with you even during the day.
For instance, does the dog prefer to run ahead of you whenever you’re out on a walk, or does it demonstrate aggression towards you? If it does, the chances are that the animal may be asserting its dominance over you.
8. Bonding Session
We already mentioned that separation anxiety may cause your dog to want to sleep next to you.
However, a dog doesn’t have to be clingy to want to cuddle next to its owner. For some dogs, sleeping together is a way of strengthening the bond that exists between the dog and its owner.
All dogs love attention. And when they believe they aren’t getting their fair share of it, they may resort to some of the most mischievous behaviors, such as sleeping on your head.
10. You’ve Inadvertently Reinforced the Behavior
How you treat your dog when you discover it sleeping next to your head could make a difference between stopping the behavior and reinforcing it.
For instance, if you usually pick your dog up or lure it out of the bed using treats, you might be encouraging the behavior. The next time, your dog will want to snuggle by your bed just to get the pampering and rewards.
Shouting or hitting the dog won’t work either, as these have been shown to encourage bad behavior. Your best bet is to train your dog to stop sleeping by your bed.
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Sleeping By Your Head
There are several tips that you can implement to stop your canine friend from sleeping by your head at night.
Right off the bat, let’s emphasize that the first thing to do is establish the underlying cause. That will help you to adopt the right remedy.
Also, before addressing the problem, consider the following;
1. When did the dog start sleeping next to you?
It might be that a particular event caused the dog to start napping by your head.
Maybe the dog witnessed a traumatic fire incident in the past and recently, the sights of fireworks in the neighborhood awakened its memories. As such, your pooch may be scared and now wants to sleep by your side.
Another possible theory is that you inadvertently allowed your canine friend to sleep by your bed. Either you asked it to come and nap with you, or you used inappropriate techniques to try and have it stop sleeping on your bed.
And lastly, it could also happen that there is something amiss with the dog’s usual sleeping environment. Maybe the place has become unavailable, inaccessible, or just unpleasant to the dog.
2. When does the dog sleep by your head more?
This is also another fundamental question to settle. For instance, if the dog sleeps by your head only during winter, then it’s probably trying to catch some warmth.
Similarly, if the dog sleeps on your head around dawn, the chances are that your pooch is suffering from separation anxiety. Therefore, it doesn’t want you to wake up and go to work.
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3. What sleeping positions are involved?
Apart from the mere fact that your dog sleeps by your head, you should also observe its sleeping positions.
The following are some common sleeping positions and their possible interpretations.
✔ The dog sleeps by curling itself up into a ball such that its nose touches its tail – The dog is shy or in an unfamiliar place, hence trying to protect its vital organs. It might also imply that your furry friend is trying to conserve body heat.
✔ The dog sleeps on its back, revealing its belly and with its paws in the air – Your pooch feels safe and trusts you.
✔ The dog sleeps on its side – It also means the dog feels safe.
✔ The dog sleeps on its belly and lays its front paws in front and stretches the back paws out behind – The dog is having a quick nap.
So, having settled all these questions, it’s now time to stop your dog from sleeping on your head. Remember what we mentioned – the remedy must address the cause.
So, the following are some of the methods to stop your dog from sleeping on your head.
1. Keep the dog stimulated
If you’re a stay-at-home parent, ensure that you take your dog for regular walks, swim together, and basically keep it physically and mentally stimulated.
Any outdoor activity that will help the dog to safely get rid of its pent-up energy is acceptable.
And if you go to work, ensure you provide your dog with enough toys to keep it busy while you’re gone. You may also consider leaving the radio, television, or lights on. That way, the dog won’t feel bored and lonely. If you can, hire a professional dog trainer.
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2. Train the dog to stop sleeping by your head
This will require a bit of patience, but it’s one of the most effective methods of getting your furry friend to stop sleeping on your bed.
Begin by drawing the dog away from your bed onto the place where you’d rather have it sleep, and shout the word Sleep.
Then, walk away and see if the dog sleeps in the same position.
The following day, don’t wait for the dog to come to your bed. As soon as it’s bedtime, take your pooch to its sleeping area and shout Sleep.
If everything works out so far, reinforce the training with a reward each time the dog remains in its sleeping area.
And while you’re at it, ensure the dog’s sleeping environment is comfortable. The room shouldn’t be too bright at night, and there shouldn’t be too many toys to distract the dog.
Any other tip you’ll implement to stop your dog from sleeping on your head will depend on the cause of the behavior.
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Conclusion: Why Does My Dog Sleep Above My Head?
As we’ve seen, there are numerous possible reasons for the behavior. Fortunately, there are equally many ways to go about stopping your pooch from sleeping on your head.
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