Why Does My Dog Have to be Touching Me When He Sleeps?

By Bethany Tate

Dogs often sleep close to their owners for security, protection, or as a sign of affection. 

Will your dog only fall asleep if they are touching you? Are you trying to figure out why your dog has to touch you when he sleeps so you can control the behavior?

In this article we’ll look at some of the reasons why your dog has to be touching you when he sleeps. 

Reasons why your dog has to be touching you when he sleeps

To protect you

One of the most common reasons dogs sleep touching their owners is to protect them. Dogs are pack animals by nature. Dogs in a pack sleep close together for mutual protection. You might notice that your dog sometimes sleeps extra closer to you when they sense that you are scared or distressed. 

For stress relief and comfort

Your dog’s pack instincts work both ways. Your dog might have to sleep touching you because they want your protection. If your dog has had a stressful day or there’s been a sudden major change to his life or daily routine, your dog will find comfort in touching you while he sleeps. 

This is especially true if your dog has grown up sleeping next to you since they were a puppy. If sleeping close together has been a habit then your dog might find comfort in it. Depending on the breed and size of your dog, sleeping close together might get uncomfortable for you as your dog gets bigger. 

In this case you’ll have to retrain your dog to sleep somewhere else. You can train them to sleep on the floor or perhaps crate train them. Ideally your dog’s new sleeping location would still be close to you in order to make the transition easier. 

Separation anxiety

Your dog may feel the need to touch you while sleeping because of separation anxiety. If your dog is alone by themselves for long periods of time during the day, the moments they spend sleeping next to you at night might seem that much more important to them. Separation anxiety is stressful for dogs, so being near you might help calm them. 

To keep warm

If you have a cold room and a short haired dog then your furry friend might just be cold. Dogs will instinctively huddle up with you to stay warm. Try throwing an extra blanket on your bed or turning on a heater at night. If your dog warms up he might not feel the need to touch you while sleeping. 

Final thoughts on why your dog needs to touch you while sleeping

There are multiple reasons why your dog might feel the need to touch you while sleeping. It could be an instinct to protect or be protected. It could be to relieve stress or separation anxiety. It might simply be that your dog is cold or wants to show you affection. 

Once you identify the reason why your dog wants to be touching you while you sleep, you can take the necessary steps to correct the unwanted behavior. If having your dog sleep next to you doesn’t bother you, then you can enjoy a quality and cozy night of rest with your pooch. 

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Bethany Tate
Writing and analyzing data are her superpowers. Dogs, nature, and trail running are her oxygen. Bethany passionately believes pets make the world a better place. Her world is made better by Nemo, her pet dachshund.