Our dogs are true professionals when it comes to relaxing and resting.
Dogs know how to take a nap, whether it’s in the middle of the room or in a cosy corner where you’d never think to look for them.
At night, they seem to pick strange places to sleep – wrapping themselves around our legs or even crawling beneath the covers to snuggle up with us.
So why does your dog sleep between your legs?
Dogs like to sleep between their owner’s legs for a variety of reasons. It could be because they feel safe and protected, or it could simply be because they enjoy the warmth.
But in some cases, this sleeping position can be a sign that your dog is anxious or insecure. If you’re concerned about your dog’s health, be sure to take them to the vet for a check-up.
Many dog owners are familiar with the sight of their pup curled up between their legs while they sleep.
But why do dogs like to sleep in this position, and should you be worried if your dog sleeps this way often? Read our guide to find out.
Why Your Dog Sleeps Between Your Legs
There are a few reasons why your dog might sleep between your legs, and most of them are pretty sweet.
Showing You Love
Sleeping between your legs is one of the greatest methods to demonstrate how much they appreciate your time and attention. It may also be a simple method to say thanks for providing them love, meals, and care.
It won’t do any good to try to stop them from relaxing between your legs if they aren’t causing any issues or discomfort. It’s just a way for them to be close to you, and we have to remember that dogs are pack animals.
You are part of the Pack
To your dog, you are part of their pack – their family. When seeking leisure time, dogs frequently choose to snuggle their pack more than anything else.
If your dog feels like you are part of their pack, sleeping between your legs might be a method for them to show that they feel at home with you.
A Sign of Anxiousness, Separation Anxiety, or Insecurity
Sleeping between your legs can also be a sign that your dog is anxious or insecure.
If you notice this behaviour often, it might be a good idea to speak with your vet about potential underlying health issues such as separation anxiety.
Warmth and Comfort
One of the reasons your dog sleeps between your legs is for warmth and comfort. It’s possible that human legs are soothing and warm, making you an immediate heating pad for them to unwind on.
It’s not only about you and your pet. It’s also mutually beneficial. When they’re in touch with each other, your dog gives off body heat as well, it’s warm for you both.
They do this more frequently during the winter, suggesting that they aren’t sufficiently warm and that sleeping between your legs is the fastest method to warm up.
Pups and tiny breeds, in particular, can’t maintain a comfortable body temperature as easily as bigger dogs.
They are Being Protective
Pups that want to be a part of their pack will often allocate themselves in the same spot as one of their people. If they snuggle between you and your partner, it might suggest they feel vulnerable or insecure without somebody always watching over them.
It is not just your dog’s way of showing affection – it’s also a protective gesture. When sleeping between you and your partner, they feel like they’re always being watched over, providing them with security and comfort.
If you are concerned about your dog’s health or this sleeping behaviour seems excessive, be sure to speak with your vet about what might be causing the anxiety or insecurity.
But in most cases, there’s nothing to worry about – your dog just loves you and wants to be close!
Your Dog is Scared of Something
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. If your dog is sleeping between your legs as a result of stress or fear, it may be a sign that something is causing them distress.
It’s possible that they’re scared of being alone or that they have anxiety about something specific, like loud noises or unfamiliar environments.
If you think this might be the case, speak with your vet or a professional dog trainer to see if there’s anything you can do to help your pup feel more comfortable and secure.
Your Dog Trusts You
Ultimately, the reason why your dog sleeps between your legs comes down to trust. They trust you to protect them and make them feel safe.
This is a sign of a strong bond between you and your furry friend, and it’s something to be cherished!
As well as providing you with companionship, your dog can also act as emotional support.
Studies have shown that spending time with dogs, whether they sleep between your legs or not, can help relieve stress, complex emotions and anxiety in humans.
So even if this behaviour isn’t always ideal for you (particularly if you’re trying to sleep!), it’s worth remembering that your dog is just trying to show how much they care.
Jealousy May Be A Problem
If you have other pets at home, it’s possible that your dog sleeping between your legs to assert dominance or show off their affection.
Dogs can experience jealousy as humans do, so if they feel left out or ignored by other pets in the household, this could be their way of showing that they’re unhappy about it.
Accidentally Trained Them to Do It
If you’re wondering why your dog sleeping between your legs, it might be because you accidentally trained them to do so!
When you allow them to sleep with their head on their feet or legs and cuddle up close, they learn that this is a comfortable sleeping position.
And if they’re feeling anxious or insecure, they may go back to a place where they feel safe.
Smaller dog breeds are more likely to sleep between their owner’s legs than larger breeds.
This is because they often feel safer and more protected in this position. However, all dogs are different and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.
Smaller dog breeds seem to suffer from separation anxiety more often than larger breeds, so if your dog is a smaller breed and they’re sleeping between your legs, it’s possible that they’re seeking comfort.
Some of the most common small dog breeds to sleep between their owner’s legs include poodles, chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, cavalier spaniels, and bichon frises.
Should You Allow Your Dog To Sleep Between Your Legs?
If you’re wondering whether it’s normal for your dog to sleep between your legs, the answer is yes.
This position provides them with warmth and comfort, so it’s natural for them to seek it out from time to time.
However, if this behaviour seems excessive or causes problems for you – such as not being able to sleep at night – it’s worth speaking to your vet about possible causes.
Is It Safe For Your Dog?
While this position is common for many dogs, it may not be ideal for them. If they are sleeping with their head on their feet or legs, it can make it difficult for them to breathe properly and regulate their temperature.
The best thing to do is to watch your dog and make sure that they are comfortable and not experiencing any discomfort.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to allow your dog this sleeping position is up to you. If it works for both you and your furry friend, there’s no harm in letting them snuggle up between your legs!
Concerns Around Sleep Quality
There are a few things to consider if your dog is sleeping between your legs.
First, it’s important to make sure that they’re comfortable and not in any pain. If you’re concerned about their breathing or temperature regulation, it’s best to move them.
Second, you might want to think about your own sleep quality.
If your dog is keeping you up at night or preventing you from getting a good night’s rest, it might be time to re-evaluate the situation.
Finally, consider whether this behaviour is causing any problems in your relationship as a pet owner with your dog.
If they’re being too clingy or territorial, it might be best to speak to a professional to figure out the best way to manage the situation.
How To Get Your Dog to Stop Sleeping Between Your Legs
If your dog is sleeping between your legs and you want them to stop, there are several things you can try.
Stop Reinforcing The Behavior
One of the most important things to do is to not reinforce this behaviour with affection or attention.
If your dog is sleeping between your legs and you pet them, speak to them, or give them treats, they will learn that this behaviour gets results, dogs love attention.
So if you want your dog to stop sleeping between your legs, it’s best not to give them any rewards for doing so.
Create A Comfortable Space Elsewhere
If your dog is sleeping between your legs because they’re looking for a comfortable space, try creating a cosy spot elsewhere in the house for them.
This could be a dog bed with blankets and toys or simply a spot on the couch where they can curl up. By giving them a comfy place to relax, you’ll encourage them to use it instead of your legs.
Introduce Some Distractions
If your dog is sleeping between your legs because they’re feeling anxious or insecure, try introducing some distractions.
This could be anything from playing with their favourite toy to going on a walk or playing a game of fetch. The idea is to give your dog something else to focus on so that they don’t feel the need to seek comfort by sleeping between your legs.
Dogs sleep between their owner’s legs for a variety of reasons, including love, comfort, insecurity, and protection.
If your dog is sleeping between your legs and you’re concerned about their health, be sure to speak with your vet to rule out any underlying issues.
In most cases, however, there’s nothing to worry about – your dog is just expressing their love for you!
For over a decade, Adrienne has been a freelance content writer and blogger who’s passion lies in anything related to dogs. Growing up, dogs were a very important part of family life in the Hardwick household. Now, Adrienne is the proud parent to two Swedish Vallhunds called Moose and Pumpkin.