We’re sure most dog owners have been there before. It’s late in the evening and you’re getting ready to cuddle up with your pup to watch a movie before you drift off to sleep.
You invite your pooch to come and lay comfortably next to you, but as soon as it does, it turns its furry bum facing you and lies down on the bed with its head positioned away from you.
Every time this happens, pet parents might be wondering, why does my dog lay its bum facing me? Doesn’t Fido want to cuddle with me?
Does my dog hate me because it shoves its butt in my face all the time?
While this common behavior is certainly strange to us humans, and could be a sign of trouble if it was your partner in question, it’s completely normal canine body language.
There are a lot of different reasons for this peculiar dog behavior that pet owners might have never even thought about.
If you want to make your doggy stop giving you the cold shoulder, or you’re just curious as to why it prefers to lay that way, read on to find out the 10 reasons dogs sleep with their bum facing you.
Why Do Dogs Sleep With Their Back To You?
Although there are different reasons as to why your dog keeps butting up to you while choosing a sleeping position, rest assured that most of them are completely natural for your pooch.
Most of the time, the reason why your pup likes to face away from you is that it trusts you and feels safe around you, but there are other reasons for this peculiar sleeping pattern.
Let’s go over the reasons why dogs sleep with their bum facing you.
1. For Security.
Just like how we humans are social beings who thrive alongside other people in companionship and solidarity, dogs are also natural pack animals.
When they establish a strong bond with their human family, it’s common for them to want to follow along anywhere, and even sleep in the same bed.
They have an engraved instinct to stick with their pack in order to strengthen interpersonal bonds and improve their security circle, which, in turn, improves the pack’s chances of survival.
Your furry friend probably looks to you as the leader of its pack. Since you’re the alpha, it makes sense as to why your dog wants to be near you to ensure mutual protection.
One of the reasons why your dog chooses to turn its back to you while sleeping is to position itself toward its surroundings so that it can protect you in case of any trouble.
Because the dog’s butt is turned to you and its front is facing the environment, your dog feels like it is better prepared to jump at any sign of disturbance in order to protect its loved ones.
2. Out Of Trust.
Another reason why your dog feels the need to sleep with its bum facing you is that it’s a sign of trust and passivity.
A dog’s natural instinct is to screen its surroundings and position itself towards any perceived sign of potential danger in order to be able to react quickly and accordingly.
By turning its back toward you, your pooch is indicating with its body language that it’s not worrying that you might harm it, but quite the opposite… it trusts you so much that it’s sure you literally have its back.
While you watch your dog’s vulnerable back, it, in turn, watches over your front.
Another way to tell if your dog trusts you is if it naps on its side or on its back, which indicates that your dog is relaxed enough to let its guard down around you, and trusts that you will protect it while it sleeps.
When not sleeping or napping, a dog shows trust in a number of different ways. If your pup is relaxed around you, obeys commands, wags its tail, and slowly blinks when maintaining eye contact, these are sure-fire signs that your dog feels secure around you and finds you trustworthy.
Always keep in mind that dogs are excellent at reading people’s emotional states. If you’re in a bad mood after a long day at work, your pup will certainly pick up on it and might tend to be less trusting toward you, but if you’re in a great mood, your pup will be also.
You should nurture your dog’s trust in you by not exhibiting any behavior that might negatively impact your bond. You should also spend lots of time bonding with your pooch.
3. For Comfort.
We humans sometimes tend to find deep meaning in certain behaviors when there is usually a much less complicated explanation.
Sometimes, the reason why your pooch turns its bum facing you while sleeping is simply that it finds that sleeping position to be most comfortable.
Just like how you need to be comfortable to be able to have a good night’s rest, your doggy also needs to find a comfy position to lay in.
Sometimes, all your puppy needs is to be close to you while doing its own thing.
You can determine if your dog is comfortable by observing exactly how it behaves while it sleeps.
If it’s laying on its side with its bum facing you and legs extended, breathing slowly and evenly, that’s a good sign your doggy is sleeping comfortably.
This sleeping position is common for dogs when they’re comfortable in their environment and with the temperature of their environment.
Another good indication that your dog is in deep sleep is if it twitches and lets out soft moans. This means that it’s in a stage of sleep called the REM phase (Rapid Eye Movement), where the majority of deep sleep and dreaming occur.
If your pooch is dreaming, it’s best not to disturb it, even if its bum is in your face. You can always move away from it a bit and let it snooze on.
Fun fact: On average, humans spend 20 to 25% of the night in REM sleep, while for dogs, REM sleep accounts for about 10% of sleep on average.
4. Scent Marking.
Another reason why most dog breeds might sleep with their bum facing you is that they want to mark you with their scent.
All dog breeds have scent glands, or anal sacs, located on both sides of their anus, which secrete unique pheromones. These pheromones are unique to every individual dog, and are only perceivable as a calling card by other dogs.
Your dog might just be using those scent glands to mark you with its unique odor.
Dogs will often mark their owners with their own scent to signal to other animals that they are part of their pack.
Dogs will also sniff each other’s butts as an expression of greeting or recognition.
However disgusting it might seem, it’s a completely natural behavior that you shouldn’t give much concern to. It’s just another way for your dog to show how much it loves you.
If, however, your puppy has a habit of peeing or pooping inside the house and you want this behavior to stop, check out our article on how to potty train your dog.
5. To Avoid Ventral Contact.
The word ventral is an anatomical term meaning the front or underside, with its antonym being dorsal, which refers to the backside or posterior.
Contrary to how humans are hard-wired to interact with each other face-to-face, most dogs usually don’t like ventral contact.
This is partly due to instinct, and it correlates to the security aspect of why dogs sleep with their bum facing you.
If it’s laying next to you, your pooch is usually more likely to turn away from you in order to protect you better.
When sleeping some distance away from you in a dog bed, your pup is typically more likely to turn facing you in order to be able to close the gap between you quickly if any trouble arises.
6. To Avoid Eye Contact.
If your dog is more of a reserved or easily frightened type, it may sleep with its bum facing you just to avoid eye contact.
You shouldn’t take this the wrong way because dogs and humans look at eye contact through different lenses.
It’s a scientific fact that when our dogs look us in the eyes, our bodies release the hormone, oxytocin, which gives us that happy feeling of love and bonding.
But, when we stare at our dog’s eyes, they might not understand the reason behind it without visual or verbal confirmation.
Although it’s true that dogs will sometimes maintain eye contact with someone they love, most of the time, they will avoid maintaining eye contact because it shows a sign of dominance.
If your pooch avoids meeting your eye, it can be a simple indication of passivity, and it finds you to be the dominant one in your relationship.
This can also be the instance if you’ve only just recently adopted your pup and it’s still in the socialization stage, getting used to you and its environment.
If that’s the case, give your new puppy some time to acclimate to its surroundings, and then take the time to teach it a “look at me” cue.
Rather than just staring into your dog’s eyes, vocalize your affection while maintaining eye contact.
Use some tasty dog treats and positive reinforcement while teaching it to stare into your eyes in order to ensure that your puppy understands that eye contact with you is not a sign of aggression or dominance.
Practice this to nurture and reinforce your bond, while at the same time training your pup to be more focused.
Remember that you should only maintain eye contact with a dog that knows and trusts you. A dog that is not familiar with you is more likely to interpret this gesture as a threat or a challenge.
7. Asking For Affection.
Another reason why your pup turns its bum facing you might be that it’s asking for some love.
There is a common behavior that dogs often exhibit called the hip nudge… they come up to you and gently lean their rear toward you because they want you to pet their bum-bum.
It’s no secret that dogs love receiving rubs all over their body, but one of the most enjoyable parts you can caress on a dog’s body is its cute butt.
This is mostly because their rear is flushed with tons of sensitive nerve endings and because it’s a hard part for them to reach on their own.
You’ll often notice your doggy leaning in and wagging its tail when you give it a good scratch on its rear, which is a good indication of enjoyment.
However, not all dogs favor the posterior pat. I own a seven-year-old Chipin (a mix between the Chihuahua and the Miniature Pinscher) named Jordan, and even though he used to like it when he was a puppy, he’s not a fan of having his bum scratched anymore.
Although he likes getting his ears rubbed, he’ll just grunt and move away if anyone tries to pat him on the behind or on the underside of his belly.
8. Because Of Flea Infestation/Anal Gland Infection.
You should keep in mind that if your doggy is frequently asking you to scratch its bum, there might be something wrong with it.
Observe your dog’s behavior over time. If there’s a funky smell coming from its anus, or if it’s frequently biting, licking, or dragging its bum across the ground, these might be indications of an anal gland infection or a flea infestation.
If that’s the case, you should take your dog for a visit to the vet.
Impacted or clogged dog anal glands are one of the most unpleasant canine health issues to deal with, and it can possibly lead to serious bacterial infections and even canine anal gland cancer if left unchecked.
While most dogs are fine, as much as 15% of dogs have impacted anal glands that become inflamed and painful, which leads to blocked sacs necessitating emptying by a veterinarian.
If the problem persists or keeps reoccurring, it can cause severe soft tissue trauma.
As far as fleas are concerned, these external parasites can hide in the fur around the dog’s butt and latch onto the skin, feeding off of your pup’s blood supply, and laying eggs in its fur.
This can cause irritation of the skin around the anus and impact your dog’s health severely if not treated.
Fleas can impact your health as well, which is why it’s important to get the problem under control as soon as possible before it spreads throughout the yard and the house.
9. You’re Encouraging Its Behavior.
Dogs both react to and learn from positive reinforcement. If you’ve been petting your dog’s bum and sweet-talking to it every time it turns away from you while sleeping, you might just inadvertently be encouraging that particular behavior.
With repetition of this behavior over time, your pup will want to keep its bum facing you because when it does, it always gets a good bum massage.
If you don’t mind that your dog turns its bum facing you when it sleeps, it certainly won’t mind either… your pooch will probably take any chance it can get at a good rub once in a while.
However, if you don’t like the fact that your dog sleeps like that, and you want to change its behavior, you shouldn’t do it by punishing your dog for how it sleeps or try to reposition it by yourself.
You should instead use positive reinforcement every time it takes up different sleeping positions. If your dog settles near your feet or turns its belly towards you, that’s when you should pet it in order to encourage more of that type of behavior.
10. Your Dog Needs Some Space.
Sometimes, your pup just needs some downtime. Think about it… if you had an active day and someone kept touching you while you were sleeping, you’d probably get annoyed, too.
Even if you just keep staring at it while it tries to sleep facing you, if it senses that you’re staring at it, your pooch will most likely turn its bum facing you just to not be disturbed.
When your dog is sleeping, try to respect its bliss and let it be. Try to minimize the amount of movement around your dog’s immediate space to allow it to sleep peacefully.
Should You Sleep In The Same Bed With Your Dog
Sleeping together with your dog in the same bed is a demonstration of love that can help strengthen your bond. About 50% of dog owners let their furry friends hop into bed with them. But, is it really a good idea?
It can be a positive habit for both you and your dog if you make some general considerations.
It is very important to maintain proper hygiene of the dog, especially when it comes in from the outside. If you don’t, it may not be the only visitor to your bed.
Dirt, bugs, and parasites might also be present, so regular brushing and bathing are a must. It’s best to use doggy wet wipes to clean your pup’s paws after going outside, and once before bedtime.
We also shouldn’t neglect proper preventative medicine. Deworming and vaccination schedules should be arranged by your dog’s veterinarian to avoid the presence of parasites.
Apart from hygiene, we must consider whether sleeping together provides adequate rest to the dog and ourselves.
If you want your dog to sleep in its own bed, remember to carefully choose the right kind of dog bed that’s best suited to your puppy’s needs.
It needs to be the right size, comfortable enough, and placed well.
Additional cushions and a blanket will also ensure that it sleeps soundly without having to be in your bed every night.
However, if proper hygiene is maintained, sleeping with your dog has scientifically-backed evidence to support it.
As we mentioned before, cuddling with your pup releases a good enzyme hormone called oxytocin, which causes a sense of calm, relaxation, and security.
People who sleep with their dogs report a decrease in depression, anxiety, loneliness, and insomnia.
In addition to turning their bum toward you, dogs will often take up other sleeping positions that are strange to humans like sleeping on your head, or sleeping between your legs.
Why Does Your Dog Sleep On Your Clothes
There are numerous reasons as to why your pooch might choose to sleep on your clothes.
This behavior could be fueled by your dog’s desire for the warmth and comfort that your clothes provide, especially during the winter months.
Your pup could also choose to sleep on your clothes as a sign that he loves your smell, but in some cases, it can indicate a condition of separation anxiety.
Though most of the time, your dog just likes to take your place because they feel comfortable and safe there, there can be instances when dogs will do this to establish dominance in the household, which is a behavior that should not be encouraged.
The main reasons why dogs sleep with their bum facing you are that they feel comfortable, safe, and secure with you. You could say it’s your puppy’s love language.
You should really try to look at it from the dog’s point of view and take it as a compliment. It’s an unambiguous sign that your dog loves you, trusts you, and feels safe enough in your presence to let its guard down.
Now that you know why your pooch chooses to cuddle up next to you with its bum facing you, maybe you’ll give it some slack and learn to let your pup sleep the way it wants to.
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