Why Does My Dog Sleep Between My Legs?

dog sleeping between owner legs on a couch

Dogs have many different sleeping positions, and they often enjoy resting with their human companions, whether it’s at the edge of the bed, in the same room, or snuggling close.

Sometimes, dogs may sleep between your legs for various reasons, either because they are protective, want to feel safe, or show affection. While this is typical behavior for most dogs, it’s essential to understand this behavior and what it could mean for your furry friend.

Sign of Affection

When your dog sleeps in this position, it’s your pet’s way of showing affection because they enjoy your company or show appreciation for food, treats, and other ways you care for them.

If you have a large dog, this position may be more challenging to accommodate than a small or medium pup. As long as you can get a good night’s sleep, allowing your dog to sleep between your legs is safe.

Your Dog Is Frightened

your dog experiences an unfamiliar situation, such as a houseguest, moving to a new home, or staying in an environment with loud and unexpected noises. In that case, this may cause your dog to seek a safe place with you. They may also respond this way if they have separation anxiety or feel threatened by a change in the home.

You’ll also notice other signs that your pup is scared, such as barking, whining, pacing, hiding, running away, growling, or displaying a submissive position by crawling into bed and moving close to a pet owner for comfort and reassurance.

dog sleeping on the bed

They’re Treating You Like One of the Pack

As pack animals, dogs prefer to sleep close together to protect and look out for one another. Your pup may see you as the pack’s leader and find security in sleeping close, either under the blanket or between your legs, where they feel safe. It’s a standard way for wild dogs to find warmth and comfort from the elements, especially outdoors.

Comfort and Warmth

During colder weather or a temperature change, your dog may want to sleep between your legs for warmth, especially if they are a puppy and want to experience heat and comfort. Senior dogs may also find comfort in sleeping close to their owner’s legs and feel safe and secure in this position.

Sign of Trust

Pets show their loyalty and how much they trust their pet parent when they sleep close, including between your legs. This sleeping position is common for dog owners and cat owners, as these pets enjoy bonding with their human companions as they rest. It’s a similar bond that puppies have with their mothers, including feelings of trust.

Separation Anxiety and Attachment

Many dogs feel very attached to their owners and experience separation anxiety when apart. They can quickly become restless, anxious, or worried when you return and secure a spot close to you as they sleep with you to ensure you remain with them.

You can train your pet to get acquainted with your routine and reduce separation anxiety by leaving your dog for short periods, then providing a reward or treat when you return.

How Can You Stop Your Dog From Sleeping in This Position?

puppy sleeping on owner lap'

Suppose you find that your puppy’s sleeping habits are difficult to accommodate due to their size or how you prefer to sleep. In that case, there are ways to train your dog to change their sleeping patterns by using positive reinforcement, rewards, and incentives to rest in their own space or on another part of the bed.

  • Avoid giving your dog attention when they try to sleep between your legs, so they look for another position, which is best for a good night’s rest.
  • Invest in a comfortable dog bed, and add a few treats or toys in the bed to help your pet adjust to their new space.
  • When your dog automatically moves to another part of the bed or into its own space, rewarding them will improve its sleeping patterns.
  • Don’t give your dog any treats if they refuse to change where they sleep.

Final Thoughts

Dogs enjoy close bonds with their human companions, which means they get attached to their owners to find a sense of closeness at every opportunity, especially during sleep.

Extenuating circumstances may cause your pet’s sleeping behavior, such as when they are rescued from a shelter after living in a stressful environment, they will require lots of care and patience, including how their attachment, or lack thereof, unfolds.

While every dog has their sleeping style, it’s normal for your pet to rest close to its owners, though it’s a habit that can be changed with consistent training and attention.

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