article by aishwarya srivastava

Why Do Dogs Press Against You When They Sleep?

If you are a dog parent, then chances are that you have witnessed your dog sleep against you. Depending on the situation or your preferences, this habit of your fur baby can be either adorable or clingy and irritating. Whatever might be your choice of adjective, but you have at least wondered why does my dog sleep against me or why does my dog lay on me during bedtime

As it turns out, this behavior is quite common among our furry friends. If you make an effort to understand why dogs exhibit this behavior, it can offer fascinating insights into their psychology and the special bond they share with their human companions. Plunge into this short article to understand the probable causes behind this habit of our canine companions.


Reasons Dogs Press Against You When They Sleep

Here are some of the potential reasons why your dog press against you when they sleep:

1. Seeking Comfort and Security:

One of the primary reasons dogs press against their owners during sleep is the natural instinct for closeness and comfort. Dogs are social animals, and seeking physical contact provides them with a sense of trust, affection, and security. Moreover, during sleep, their overall alertness goes down, and they consider you their pack leader and know you would protect them so they choose to press against you as this enhances their sense of security.

2. Temperature Regulation:

Temperature plays a significant role in a dog's sleeping activity. Dogs are warm-blooded animals just like us, but the key difference is that their average normal temperature is higher than ours. Usually in the range of 101 degrees Fahrenheit to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, with an upper level of normal close to 103 degrees Fahrenheit. So, pressing against you helps them regulate their body heat, especially on colder nights. It's their way of enjoying a comfortable sleep environment while ensuring optimal body temperature.

3. Marking Territory:

You must know that dogs have scent glands in their paws. So, when they are pressing against you, they might be marking their territory. This behavior allows them to leave their scent, which signifies ownership and strengthens their sense of belonging. So, when your dog chooses to sleep on you, it's a clear indication of their affection and loyalty.

4. Desire to Protect You:

By choosing to press against you, your dog might be exercising its pack mentality. Dogs, by instinct, huddle up and form a group when they sleep or rest. This is not just for their safety but also for the protection of the pack. They consider you part of the pack and usually prefer to rest wherever you choose. By pressing against you, they might assert their belongingness and desire to protect their own pack.

5. Seeking Attention and Affection:

Dogs are known to be very social creatures, and they share a deep bond with humans. They enjoy the companionship of humans and thrive on positive reinforcement. They consider their human partner as a pack leader who loves them and provides them with all their needs, so they tend to satisfy our commands and make us feel loved. So when your dog is sleeping against you, they may seek attention, affection, and physical contact. 

6. Separation Anxiety:

Some dogs suffer from constant separation anxiety. They always have this fear that you might leave them. This makes them choose a spot close to you so that they are alerted as soon as you make a move. So they find comfort in being close to you, even during sleep. Your presence provides them with a sense of security and reassurance, alleviating any feelings of loneliness or separation anxiety they might experience. 

7. Bonding and Social Connection:

For your dog, the simple act of pressing against you during sleep is a bond-building exercise. As pack animals, their instinct tells them physical contact signifies companionship and a strong emotional connection. This reinforces the sense of belonging within the family unit or the pack, which in turn provides them a source of affection and emotional support.


What to Do if You Need Your Space?

While most of us enjoy the closeness we have with our furry friends, there might arise some reasons for which we need to establish some boundaries. Take the case of someone who is allergic or maybe someone suffering from sleeping issues due to dog-related issues or simply you don’t like the idea of sharing your bed with your dog. Whatever may be the reason, remember this habit won’t change overnight, and it will take some patience and perseverance. 

Here are some of the things you can do to change their sleeping habits:

1. Stop Rewarding Or Encouraging:

We usually scratch or rub our dogs when they come and sleep beside us. But if you need to establish some boundaries or tell them that certain behavior is not wanted, you should stop rewarding your dog with pats and scratches. As these things are like positive enforcement, which will convey the wrong message to the dog. They will continue being clingy or sleep against you.

2. Provide Them With Training:

If you are sure that you don’t want your dog to sleep pressed against you or too close to you, then there’s nothing like nipping it in the bud. Start training them from a young age and use positive reinforcement to establish what you want from them and what are your comfort zones. Likewise, if your dog starts doing it at a later stage in life, try to address it as soon as possible because if they get used to the habit of sleeping against you for a prolonged period, it will be a long habit modification process.

3. Provide A Dedicated Spot:

If you don’t like the idea of sharing the bed with your dog, then it is best to get a comfortable dog bed or a kennel for your furry friend. Train them when they are young, and eventually, they will get used to it. Make sure that the bed is comfortable, and you can throw in a blanket for encouragement. Even if you have an adult dog, it is possible to train them to use the dedicated spot with patience and practice. You shouldn’t give in to their whims and reward them with treats or pats when they stay put in the bed or the kennel for some time. Good kennel training goes a long way, and you will find it helpful in many situations.

4. Address The Anxiety Issue:

If you believe your dog is going through some kind of stress or anxiety, then it is best to address the root cause rather than simply discouraging them. If we don’t address the cause, things can get even more stressful for our dog. Sometimes separation anxiety can become a serious issue so it is advisable to get professional help for making the coexistence enjoyable for both you and your canine.

5. Put The Dog Bed Next To You:

If you are ok with letting your dog sleep in the same room but don’t want your dog to press against you or want to have ample space for yourself. Then you can place a dog bed close to your bed. This will not cut them off totally from you, yet they will be emotionally satisfied from being around you. You should provide them with ample treats and praise and try to make the bed cozy with things like blankets to encourage them to use it.


The act of dogs pressing against you when they sleep is driven by various factors such as seeking comfort, temperature regulation, bonding, marking territory, and seeking attention. Understanding and recognizing the reason that is fueling your dog’s behavior can deepen the bond you share with your furry friend. Remember, when your dog sleeps on you or sleeps so close to you, it's a display of trust, affection, and a desire for connection. Unless you believe it is a matter of concern, seek professional help. Otherwise, cherish the opportunity to strengthen your relationship and provide them with the love and companionship they seek. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Do dogs pressing against you indicate dominance?

Dogs pressing against you or leaning on you do not necessarily mean dominance. In most cases, they are just doing it out of affection, attention, or for security.

Do dogs sleep with the alpha human?

Domestic dogs often see their human as the leader of the pack. This means that they have a deep respect for their humans, which goes beyond love and affection. If your dog considers you to be its alpha, it will see you as its leader and will want to sleep with you to feel close to you.

Why do dogs put their head between your legs?

Dogs usually put their head between their owner’s legs when they are scared and are in search of a safe place. You, being the pack leader, become a favorable choice. Sometimes, they can do this out of excitement, also.

Is it okay to let dogs press against you while sleeping?

Whether to allow your dog to press against you is completely your decision. For some people, pets help to achieve sound sleep, and for others, they can cause a problem. But one thing to keep in mind is that humans are less conscious during sleep and can end up hurting the dog during rolling over or a change of position. 

Do dogs press against you for warmth?

Dogs love human warmth and heat, mostly during the winter seasons. Other than that, they may just press against you to feel your warmth and enjoy the special bonding with you.

Can dogs feel lonely and press against you for companionship during sleep?

Being pack animals, dogs don't like spending too much time alone. As they get the utmost relaxation around their favorite companion, i.e., you, they love to sleep or rest pressing against you.


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