If your dog often sleeps by your head, you might be wondering why he does so despite providing a lot of space for him by the side of the bed.
You shouldn't worry too much because this post will do justice to that and other related issues bothering your mind.
So, why does my dog sleep by my head? Because he feels safer, he is protecting you, he is suffering from separation anxiety, he is a new puppy, he is aiming for your pillow, and he is in search of warm temperature. He also exhibits this character because you have helped him develop it unknowingly.
There are many other underlying factors responsible for your dog's behavior but you can still train him to dump the habit. So, let's dive into action as we uncover all the reasons behind his action, and how you can stop him from sleeping by your head.
8 Reasons Why your Dog is Sleeping by your Head?
1. He feels safer
Your dog prefers sleeping by your head to sleeping on any other side of the bed because he feels safer.
Being a pack animal, it is natural that your dog loves sleeping by your head, especially at night, as he feels more comfortable and highly secured.
2. He is protecting you
Dogs are not just friends or ordinary companions; they equally serve as a source of protection to their owners. If your dog is sleeping by your head, it could be one of his ways of watching over you and the entire family.
3. You have helped him develop the attitude unknowingly
You are expected to have a dog that sleeps by your head at all times if you have rewarded him for doing so in the past.
The more you pay attention to your dog by giving him toys or treats whenever he wants to sleep on your head, the more he gets used to it because he takes your action for a reward even though your intention was to stop him.
Just like a human being, dogs love to repeat what they are being praised for, which is why your dog won't stop lying by your head.
4. He is suffering from separation anxiety
Another reason why your dog sometimes sleeps by your head is that he is experiencing some separation anxiety.
What it means is that your dog feels like you are about leaving the house so he sleeps by your head as a way of savaging the little moment he has to spend with you before you finally depart.
He also does this in order to wake up as soon as you rise from sleep as he is very anxious and restless. This feeling is often seen in dogs whose owner loves traveling from time to time.
5. He has no unique bed of his own
A dog without a suitable bed or sleeping position is liable to sleep beside his owner's head and your dog isn't exempted.
You should try everything possible to provide a quality bed for your dog as it will go a long way to prevent him from sharing the bed with you.
6. He is a young puppy in a new environment
It is expected that your new puppy feels lonely during his first weeks in your house and he will do everything possible to get used to his new environment.
This is why he won't stop sleeping by your head in order to have a feel of your breath until he is conversant with his new owner and his environment.
As much as it is advisable to help your young puppy have a better understanding of his new environment and his new family, it is unhealthy to let him sleep around your head as he could pee on your face.
7. Your dog is aiming for your pillow
Your dog will sleep by your head if his mission is to lay his head on your pillow. This is mostly seen in dogs whose pillows are not as soft as their owner’s own.
You might need to wash your pillowcase more often if you're permitting your dog to share a pillow with you.
8. The weather is too cold for him
Your dog will always love to sleep by your head if he needs a warm area. Dogs are known for their burrowing ability as they don't love being in a cold environment.
This is why your dog often loves to sleep by your head or under your cover to get the much needed warm temperature.
However, you should ensure that this action isn't mounting much pressure on you while sleeping. I think you should redirect him to his sleeping position as soon as you are uncomfortable with his sleeping habit.
Is it good for your dog to sleep by your head?
The answer to this question depends on what you want from your dog. Some pet owners love to have their pooch by their side while sleeping even if it means lying by their head.
On the contrary, some pet parents never endorse or support this habit in their dog. So, they do everything possible to stop their dog from sleeping by their head.
However, I will advise you to stop your dog from portraying such behavior as it could be dangerous. This is because he will soon see himself as the boss over your head.
You should know that things are not normal once your dog begins to growl while sleeping by your head.
Top three things you should know about this habit in your dog
There are three things you must know about this habit in your dog if you must help him overcome it. These things will provide you with all the needed clues on how to stop the behavior. They include:
1. When did he begin the behavior?
You must endeavor to figure out the exact time or period he began this unhealthy attitude as it will help you determine the main cause of his behavior.
As much as this isn't an easy task, I believe you can achieve it if you have a close relationship with your pooch because you will be able to recall most of his activities and actions.
2. How often and when he does it more
Another thing you must know about this habit in your dog is how frequently he exhibits it. You should be able to discover whether your dog sleeps by your side too often.
You should equally know the time he loves showing this habit as this will boost your chances of determining the real reason behind his action.
3. How old is your dog?
You should also inquire to know your dog's age as this will help you know the type of preventive measures to take against him. You might need to seek the attention of a vet on the best way to stop your dog from exhibiting the behavior.
How to stop your dog from sleeping by your head?
You shouldn't permit your dog to sleep by your head as it is completely right. Therefore, you are advised to try some of the tips below to help him dump the attitude.
1. Provide a suitable bed for him and train him to sleep on it
As mentioned earlier, a lack of a suitable sleeping position can make your dog sleep by your head. Providing him with a good mattress and a lightweight blanket or cover is the first way to help him stop this attitude.
That's not all, you must also train him to sleep on the position you've provided for him. However, you have to be patient with him as it takes time to dump bad habits.
2. Provide lasting solutions to his separation anxiety
It is important you help your dog overcome separation anxiety because that will play a huge role in preventing him from sleeping by your head.
You can help him overcome anxiety by making some gestures as if you want to travel and see if he will be too anxious to follow you. These gestures include picking up your car key and moving towards the door in his presence while you monitor his reaction.
Reward him if he remains calm despite all the gestures. Repeat these procedures until he completely overcomes his anxiety.
3. Try not to reward him in any case
As discussed earlier, your dog sometimes misinterprets your correctional actions as a reward which makes him sleep by your head more often. You should learn to direct your dog to his bed as soon as you see him approaching your bed.
Your dog can make your sleep a very interesting one and he can equally make it a forgettable night for you. It all depends on his sleeping position while sharing the bed with you.
I'm certain sleeping by your head will slightly affect your sleep. It's, therefore, important you help him get rid of the unhealthy attitude as soon as possible.
Luckily, this is what you can achieve by giving him simple and constant instructions to sleep on his bed. The ball is now in your court, I wish you good luck.