Dogs are a man’s (or woman’s) best friend, right? They love us unconditionally and look to us for love, fun, and walks. Similarly, we look to them for comfort, joy, and companionship. So, it’s only natural that we’d want to make sure our dogs live the best life possible.
We buy them the best toys, coolest collars, and yummiest foods, hoping we’re doing everything we can to keep our four-legged friends alive, well, and happy. We only wish they could talk to let us know if we’re doing a good job.
But did you know that simply paying attention to the way your dog sleeps can tell you almost everything you need to know about your furry friend? You can learn a lot about your dog’s personality and his health just by observing their sleeping habits.
Pay attention to the position your dog seems to sleep in most. That’s likely his favorite position and it can reveal a lot about your dog.
If your dog sleeps on his side…
A dog who sleeps on his side feels safe around you. Sleeping on his side means he’s leaving all of his most vital organs exposed to the world, which he feels safe enough to do with you there to watch over him. He feels a deep connection to you that goes beyond just friendship; he trusts you fully.
You might see a side-sleeper dog switch to a different position when he’s somewhere unfamiliar or uncomfortable. Just watch to make sure he’s not too freaked out to sleep.
If your dog sleeps on his back…
Just like sleeping on his side, sleeping on his back leaves a dog’s vital organs exposed. So, if he’s sleeping on his back with his stomach exposed, you can rest assured that your dog feels very comfortable around you.
The fur around a dog’s stomach is often much thinner and more sparse than on other parts of his body. So, it’s easier for heat to be released through the stomach. If a dog is sleeping on his back, he’s likely pretty hot. You should just watch to make sure he doesn’t look too hot or uncomfortable.
If your dog sleeps sprawled out on his stomach…
Sleeping sprawled out on his stomach is known as the “Superman pose.” If your dog sleeps on his stomach with his front legs reaching forward and his back legs pointed behind him, he’s in the Superman pose.
This is a common position for puppies because it allows them to jump up to their feet almost immediately to play. It’s also common for puppies who tend to plop down and fall asleep in the middle of playtime. However, older pups who still enjoy being in the middle of all the action will also favor this pose. It means they can get up at a moment’s notice.
If your dog sleeps curled up…
Dogs often sleep curled up when in the wild because it protects their vital organs from potential predators and allows them to get up pretty quickly if need be. A dog who sleeps in this position might not feel comfortable enough in his current surroundings to sleep in another position.
However, some dogs also sleep curled up simply to conserve heat. You might notice your dog sleeping like this in the colder winter months. But it’s important to watch your dog to make sure he’s not sleeping in a curled up position because he’s not comfortable with you.
If your dog sleeps back-to-back or snuggled up…
If your dog is sleeping with his back against you (or another pet), he’s just trying to show his love. He feels comfortable and affectionate and wants to share it with you. This position is a form of bonding.
You might consider using the opportunity to show love back to your dog. Give him a few good pats or maybe even take a nap with him!
Once you learn about your dog’s sleeping positions, you can also start to watch what they do while they’re sleeping. Certain sleep habits can reveal even more about your furry friend.
Twitching or Soft Barking
If your dog is twitching or letting out soft barks in his sleep, that means he’s probably in REM sleep. It may seem like your dog is having a dream he doesn’t like, but REM sleep actually means that he’s deep in that sleep.
REM sleep is the most restorative and beneficial for a dog’s health. So, it’s important to let your dog be if you see him twitching or gently barking. That sleep is getting him ready for his next big walk or game of fetch.
Excessive Circling or Digging
It’s completely normal for a dog to circle the area he’s about to sleep in a few times before he settles down. He might even dig at the spot a little bit. These habits come from dogs’ wolf ancestors who would often need to stomp down their sleeping spots to make them comfortable.
However, if your dog seems to circle or dig at his spot forever before finally settling down, there may be a serious underlying issue. He may have arthritis or even a neurological disorder. Watch to see if your dog is being excessive with these habits and consult your vet accordingly.
Just Barely Dozing
If your dog seems to only be lightly dozing off, he’s likely not very tired but just bored. If your dog’s eyes open or his ears perk up while he’s trying to sleep, then he’s probably waiting for something interesting or exciting to come along.
If he doesn’t eventually fall into a deeper sleep, then it may be time to give your dog some attention. Break him out of his boredom with a walk or a fun game. He’ll definitely be thankful that you know him so well!