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article by aishwarya srivastava

Why Does My Dog Choose to Sleep on My Head?

You're in bed, probably asleep, and it's late at night. Suddenly you feel a heavy bump on your chest, or you might even receive a smelly dart to the face as you notice your dog sleeping on your head.

Why the dog? Dogs may lie to their human companions for a variety of positive and unpleasant reasons. We'll delve into the specifics of why your dog sleeps on top of you in this post, along with some advice on how to train your dog to fall asleep on its own. 

 

4 Key Reasons Why Your Dog Sleeps on Your Head

Your dog may sleep on your head for a variety of reasons. Some explanations could be as follows.

1. Social Status

Dogs live in organized packs with a distinct hierarchy; as a result, there is a rank system and an alpha dog who is in command. 

In a pack, social status is determined by several intricate, interconnected elements, but the key outcome of this arrangement is that dogs are continuously competing for positions and seeking to rise the ladder. 

A dog has more options for grazing and mating as they get closer to the top, improving their likelihood of successfully passing on their genes.

What does sleeping on your head have to do with any of this, then? According to your dog, sleeping close to the alpha male, who is most likely you, will elevate their status among the other canines in your "pack." 

Other pack members may be warned to back off if a dog sleeps on top of you or your head because it is obvious that your dog is close to the top.

2. Separation Anxiety

Sleeping close to or on top of your head is frequently caused by separation anxiety. If your dog is very close to you, they may become anxious if they are even a short distance away from you.

Dogs with separation anxiety will occasionally follow their owners around their residence and will bark and whimper if left alone in a room.

If you think your dog may be experiencing separation anxiety, you should take action to assist them in getting over it so they may have regular, fulfilling lives as dogs. 

Although it is difficult to understand how the whole concept of this separation and anxiety works, the overall idea is to gradually increase the period you and your dog spends apart over time. 

An excellent method to teach your dog that your departure is good is to reward them when they behave when you leave.

3. Being Protective Towards You

Your dog may also be attempting to protect you if they sleep close to your head. Part of the reason why dogs evolved into pack animals was due to the obvious truth that there is power in numbers. The dogpile is an illustration of how wild dogs defend themselves from predators and keep each other warm.

It can be challenging to determine whether your dog is resting on your head because of fear, but one indicative clue is if the behavior occurs more frequently while other people are present. 

When companions are around, dogs who are prone to overprotection may display behaviors because they see them as potential dangers.

4. You Accidentally Trained Your Dog To

The majority of dogs are quick learners and rapidly pick up on our routines. Treats are the most popular kind of reinforcement, but your dog may unintentionally acquire some habits if you use toys or attention instead.

Think about the situation that follows. Your dog jumps onto the mattress, creeps across to you, and lays down. 

This habit eventually gets developed, leaving you puzzled as to what transpired.

 

Tips for Preventing Your Dog from Sleeping on Top of You

Following are some effective methods to prevent your dog from sleeping on your head during the night:

1. Train Your Dog in Crates

The most efficient method for keeping your dog away from you at night is crate training. Your dog will keep away from you if it is content to sleep in its crate or on a dog bed. Therefore, how do you successfully train a dog to use a crate? (Especially if the dog is elderly and has a horrible tendency to nap on your face.) 

Apply techniques for positive reinforcement.

You'll need to build your dog a cozy, appealing sleeping space or crate to accomplish this.

  • To allow them to relax without being disturbed, make sure that their cage or dog bed is not near a footpath. You should set it so they can maintain an eye on the family.
  • If your dog enters, approaches, or lies down on their bed, praise them with dog treats.
  • Use a command to get your dog to lie down, and when they do, reward them with a goodie.
  • Every time they unwind or rest in their box or on their bed, reward them with a goodie. Make it a welcoming environment for your dog.

Dogs who have separation anxiety benefit from crate training because it makes their box feel safe. That's two for one.

2. Avoid Promoting the Behavior

It's quite simple to give it to your dog when it's late at night and return to a rough night of sleep. But doing so just helps the behavior. To teach your dog that sleeping on top of your head is not acceptable behavior, you must be assertive but also fair.

Gently move them away from you, place them down at your feet, or even better, take your dog to his or her dog's bed to deter them without harming their feelings. Do not yell, but rather firmly state "No" or "Off." They understand it's not appropriate behavior in this way.

Don't allow them to lie on top of you if you're on the couch as well. Otherwise, it provides conflicting messages. Choose a location where they can cuddle up and sleep close by. Then, act consistently.

 

Helpful Strategies To Prevent Your Dog from Sleeping on Top of You

Helpful Strategies To Prevent Your Dog from Sleeping on Top of You

There are a few ways to stop your dog from laying on top of you if you don't want your puppy to do so: 

1. Set up a cozy sleeping area for your puppy.

Your puppy is less likely to sleep on your head if they have a dog bed to sleep in. Check that the bed is cozy and peaceful, and arrange it there so your pup can unwind. This will enable the two of you to sleep soundly.

Also, consider using positive reinforcement techniques to train them, such as praising them for doing their best when they sleep in their beds as opposed to on your head.

If all else fails, it would be a good idea to position their bed next to yours so that they can still be close by while providing you both with some much-needed space.

2. Make sure your puppy gets lots of exercise throughout the day.

A dog that is worn out is less likely to desire to spend the night on its owner's head. Make sure to regularly walk and play with your puppy so they may get some exercise.

3. Refrain from talking to your puppy when it is sleeping on your head.

Your dog will learn that lying on your head is appropriate behavior if you laugh, grin, or show any other type of affection. Therefore, refrain from rewarding the action if you don't want them to do it!

4. Address puppy separation anxiety

Addressing your puppy's separation anxiety issues is one approach to prevent it from wanting to fall asleep next to you or on your head. By giving kids a ton of toys and daytime playing, you can try to achieve this. They will be kept busy and less prone to sleep on their heads at night, thanks to this.

Using positive reinforcement techniques, such as praising your puppy when they sleep on their bed rather than on your head, is another option for training your dog.

When your puppy cries out for attention at night, try to ignore them. Try to ignore your puppy if it is complaining, pawing, or otherwise attempting to attract your attention late at night. 

Even though it could be challenging, it's crucial to resist giving in since, else, they'll realize that this is a good approach to attract your attention.

5. At night, create an obstacle between you and your puppy.

Put an obstacle between you and your puppy at night if you're having trouble ignoring them. This could be as simple as locking the door to the bedroom or using a baby gate.

With consistent training and a respectable nighttime routine, your dog will ultimately learn that lying on your head is not a good thing and recover a little privacy on your bed.

6. Get up and take a walk if your pet won't stop bugging you.

If everything else fails and your puppy still wants to sleep on your head, get up and walk about. When they realize that their activities are futile in garnering your attention, they will give up and go back to sleep.

7. Consult a doctor if you're having problems training your puppy.

If you're having difficulties training your puppy to avoid sleeping on your head, seek the advice of a professional dog trainer. You can get help from a dog trainer in figuring out the root of the problem and developing a plan for handling behavioral issues.

 

Takeaway

Whether you like it or not, you should make sure your dog has a comfortable place to sleep that isn't directly on top of you. For dogs who struggle with separation anxiety they must learn that getting space is acceptable. And as a result, you'll both sleep better.


Frequently Asked Questions 

Why does my dog sleep on top of my chest?

Your dog may lie on top of your chest to feel safe, secure, and close to you.

Why does my dog keep putting his head on my neck?

A dog’s head resting on your neck might indicate their love and confidence for you. 

Why does my dog never sleep on my partner, just on me?

Dogs may have unique tastes and feel more at ease around certain people than others.

What if I can't breathe because my dog is sleeping on my head?

Move your dog to a more comfortable area if its current resting position makes it difficult for you to breathe.

What should I do if my dog licks my face after sleeping on my head?

If your dog is lying on your head and licking your face, gently correct them or shift them to a different spot.

What if I sleep with my dog on top of me and get allergies?

Avoiding close touch with your dog's fur and dander if you have allergies will help to lessen allergic reactions.

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