Pet Parenting Concerns: Why Does My Dog Sleep Between My Legs
You’re working from home. You are sitting at your work desk with your computer on it. All of a sudden, you feel some warmth at your feet. You look down to see your dog sleeping between your legs – and ask yourself: What could be the reason? Luckily you type ‘why does my dog sleep’ between my legs on a search engine, and voila, here you are!
First things first, if your dog is using your legs as a sleeping pillow, let us say our thoughts out loud: Awww. Sleeping between the legs of a human is a common trait among dogs of almost all breeds.
There are plenty of reasons for your dog’s insistence to sleep on your legs. Here, we’ll explore some of them.
Reasons For Your Dog’s New Sleeping Habit
Being a pet parent is the sweetest experience. Every day brings a new revelation about your pet. Dogs are packed with some cute traits, and sleeping between the legs of their owners/humans is one of them. Here are some of the reasons for your dog’s choice of your legs as their sleeping pillow.
Comfort and ‘Motherly’ Warmth
Those who have seen a nursing bitch may have seen how the momma dog lets all its puppies curl up against it. Many pups sleep over each other to have a sense of warmth and comfort. Such behavior is natural for a dog. It tries to get the same warmth and comfort that it would get when sleeping against its momma. For your dog, you are its parent. You must feel good about the fact that your dog is opening up to you.
Dogs may want to sleep that way – on your legs and in the cavity-like comfy place – because they trust you. They know that you are their ‘safe’ space and that they won’t be harmed if they are around you. But they can leave this habit if you get them trained.
A Scared Dog
Extreme weather conditions or loud noises may disturb a dog that may want to be close to its humans – masters, and protectors – to feel safe. If your dog never had the habit of sleeping on your feet and has started doing so recently, there are chances that it has been scared by something. Thunderstorms, fireworks, and other loud noises are the usual suspects. However, it is always better to actively look for triggers that may have frightened your dog.
Your Dog Loves to Cuddle
Many dogs – especially small dogs – love cuddling with their humans. And this could be a reason for your dog’s closeness with you. Also, dogs love to live in a burrow – they are den animals. The space between your legs gives them the feeling of a den, so they love to sleep there as they feel safe.
Just like children, dogs love to sleep with their parents. They also seek validation from you and would want toexpress their love. By sleeping with you, they are letting you know that they consider you as family. Isn’t it sweet?
Have you ever seen dogs in the wild? They move in packs. This gives them protection and a sense of belonging. A dog will rarely leave their companions all alone. These are the same instincts that a domesticated dog holds within itself. Just because it is out in the woods doesn’t mean that it doesn’t feel the need to protect you and be with you.
When they are sleeping near your legs, they will be alerted whenever you get up. This way, they will follow you around to ensure that you’re safe.
Dogs are vulnerable to suffering from anxiety. Dogs that appear too clingy have anxiety issues – at least in most cases. Every dog has different triggers. So, it may be difficult to point out what might be causing this anxiety. It is important to get the dog checked by a vet who would be in a better position to determine the reason for your dog’s anxiety. A vet will also tell you what steps you should take to help the dog overcome its issues.
Looking for Emotional Support
Dogs who are in need of some emotional support also tend to sleep someplace safe and secure, and this is why they choose you. Unwell, tired, and injured dogs are in constant need of your emotional support. Be there for your dog if they are sad or depressed, and extend the support that they need. However, if they show symptoms like lethargy and lack of interest, you must take them to the vet. Depression and prolonged anxiety among dogs can turn serious.
Things to Consider When Your Dog is Using You as a Sleeping Mattress
As sweet as it sounds, letting a dog sleep between or on your legs can be a little discomforting. What if you are in a meeting and have to grab the file from another desk? What will you do now; disturb a sleeping dog? You can try some tips to make the dog leave this sleeping habit.
Playing with the ‘brain’ of the dog is the best way to let it shun away from any unwanted habit. This habit is ‘cute’ and could be permanent if you leave it as is. Use assertive commands to explain to the dog that your legs are not a sleeping place.
Arrange a Sleeping Cot
Get a comfy and warm sleeping bed for your dog so that it can leave you. Dogs need to have an alternative to breaking away from their habits.
Deal with External Factors
If your dog’s newly formed sleeping habit is because of some external factors, you should try to get rid of them. This step will not only help your dog overcome its fears but also allow you to figure out the triggers that may be anxiety-inducing for your dog, helping you to ensure that your dog avoids interacting with them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: My dog will always sleep between my legs, even when I am sitting on a chair. Is it comfortable for it?
Ans: Animals won’t put themselves in any kind of uncomfortable position. Dogs who sleep between their humans’ legs are as comfortable as they can get. You don’t have to worry about their sleeping position as long as they don’t show any signs of pain or wincing.
Q: Why has my dog started to sleep between my legs all of a sudden?
Ans: Has there been any change in your surroundings? Dogs can get stressed easily and are not too open to change. Any slight change in your environment may scare the dog. And, in order to feel ‘safe,’ the dog may end up sleeping close to you. Most of the time, sudden changes in a dog’s behavior are because of external factors. So, first, you should figure out the possible change that acted as a trigger for your dog.
Q: Why does my dog sit between my legs when I go to the washroom?
Ans: We know that you’re all for lovely gestures by a dog, but it is following you to the bathroom and then waiting for you to get done is a bit too much. But don’t freak out just yet. Dogs do this because they look at you as their family. They want to keep an eye on you and protect you. Dogs who are the only pet in the house tend to do this more often because, for them, your protection and safety are of prime importance.
Q: Should I yell at my dog when it is sleeping between my legs?
Ans: No. Yelling and loud noises make your dog nervous. The best way to train a dog is through positive messages and commands. Whenever the dog is trying to sit down on your feet, you should say a firm ‘No’ so that they understand what not to do.