In this post, you’ll find out:
- The reason why your dog sleeps between your legs.
- How to tackle your dog’s resource guarding aggression.
- The seven ways to effectively stop your canine from sleeping between your legs.
- When to forbid or allow your canine to sleep near or across your legs.
Why Does My Pooch Rest Between My Legs?
Sudden and loud sounds like thunder and fireworks scare dogs, so they run to you. Your dog rests between your legs because it may be terrified and needs emotional support. In some cases, a dog sleeps between your legs because it’s acting on pack instinct and sees you as a pack member.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why Does My Dog Like Sleeping Between My Legs?
Your fido likes sleeping between your legs for security, safety, and trust. Your dog sleeps between your legs because it knows that it’s out of harm’s way. Dog’s naturally inclined to people they trust to keep them secure.
Why Does My Fido Rest Between My Legs At Night?
Your thighs and legs are soft, fleshy, and warm, making it a perfect sleeping place for your dog. Your pet naps between your legs at night because it feels cozy and warm. Additionally, it sleeps there because you allow it.
Why Does My Fido Sleep Near, Behind, Or Across My Legs?
Because of separation anxiety, your fido sleeps near, behind, or across your legs. Even when you’re sleeping, they won’t let you off their sight. This may also be an instance of resource guarding—your fido isn’t willing to share you with other canines.
9 Reasons Why Your Fido Sleeps Between Your Legs
1. There’s Warmth Between Your Legs
It makes perfect sense for your dog to sleep between your legs because it’s warm and cozy there, and the fido is next to their favourite person. Probably, they feel like a baby swaddled in their parent’s arms.
Dogs feel very comfortable lying between your legs since they’re soft, fleshy and warm, making you a heating pad for them—this is a mutual sharing of body warmth since dogs aren’t the only ones benefitting from it.
Dogs, specifically small breeds like Chihuahuas, love sleeping between their owner’s legs during wintertime. They like cuddling during these cold months, probably because they aren’t warm enough.
These dogs have less body fat and hair, so they get cold quickly, and the easiest way to get cozy is to sleep between your legs.
Your pet will curl between your legs to seek warmth if their bed is uncomfortable and cold.
This is a holdover habit from when it was a pup.
Puppies in a litter sleep on top of one another in a ‘dog pile’ when they’re born. They do this majorly because of warmth since they can’t regulate their body warmth well.
Fun fact: you receive as much warmth from your fido as they do from you. A canine’s average temperature is 38.3 to 39℃ (101 to 102.5℉). It can even reach 40℃ (104℉) when the dog is stressed or excited.
On the other hand, your average body temperature is 36.4 to 37.5℃ (97.6 to 99.6℉). A fido’s body temperature is hotter than a human’s. Dogs are instant ‘heaters’.
Because of their warmth, the term three dog night was coined?
Some nights were so cold in the pre-central heating days that three dogs needed to stay warm. A dog provided additional heat in bed during chilly nights, two dogs were required for colder nights, and when the temperature was below freezing, you would need three dogs to keep you warm.
2. Your Fido Seeks Security And Safety
Your dog finds the area between your legs to be a safe and secure place since they’re next to you and feel protected.
Keep in mind that some breeds are bred to work beside humans—they feel more secure next to their owners.
To survive, even canines in the wild nap together for warmth and security.
Dogs stay with their packs in the wild because of many threats and predators; therefore, it’s essential to stick together.
So, I guess now you’re wondering, why legs and feet?
One of the reasons may be to get an alert when you move, and lying between your legs is the perfect way to sense when you’re getting up.
Dogs usually want to be aware of everything that happens to the owner, even when you’re going to the bathroom or heading to the kitchen to drink water.
Different pet owners had a lot to say during a forum. One said that her rescue dog enjoys lying in bed with her—her dog follows her when she wakes up since it doesn’t want to sleep alone on the bed. The dog feels secure being with the owner.
Some pet owners think lying between your legs is reassuring for fidos, especially for small dog breeds and puppies.
3. The Dog Is Following A Pack Instinct
When they’re born, puppies move toward a heat source—they gravitate to their littermates or mother.
Adult dogs in the wild often sleep together since they’re acting on a pack instinct required for survival. Pets also have these pack instincts. That’s why they feel like sleeping on you or next to you.
All these explain why a man’s best friend likes sleeping between your legs. It’s like they see you as a pack member.
4. Your Pet Sees You As A Valuable Thing
At times, dogs behave like kids competing for their parent’s attention. This usually happens when you have a new pet, new baby or any other addition at home.
According to the dog, the new member is competing for your attention since they want it all to themselves.
Alternatively, you can look at it as resource guarding, which is the use of aggressive, threatening, or avoidant behaviours by your dog to maintain control of items like food or any other thing in the presence of another animal or a person.
Two thousand two hundred seven pet owners represented 3589 fidos in a study about resource guarding. As per the survey, mixed breeds and neutered males were more likely to exhibit resource guarding aggression (RG).
Additionally, dogs with high impulsivity and fearfulness levels exhibited RG aggression.
A dog may consider several things as of high value. For example, their crate or bed and certain toys. Even the owner! Especially your chest, legs, or laps.
Your dog might lunge, snarl or growl if they’re sleeping between your legs and another dog approaches you. Dogs display these reactions since they see you as a high-value possession they can’t relinquish.
A dog behaviour expert, Patricia McConnell, states that resource guarding among canines is trickier because it’s hard to control a fido’s behaviour.
5. The Dog Requires Emotional Support
Man isn’t the only being that needs emotional support. Dogs also need this support when they are:
- Feeling insecure.
For years, there has been a debate on whether dogs get sad or depressed. However, Stanley Coren, a psychology professor and author of Intelligence of Dogs (1994), has his insights.
For starters, humans and dogs have similar brain structures processing emotions. Dogs also undergo the same chemical transformations when they are emotional.
However, Stanley believes dogs and humans don’t have similar emotional ranges. While it’s true dogs can experience rudimentary emotions like fear, love, joy, disgust or anger, they are not capable of processing complicated emotions like shame or guilt.
In contrast, dog owners behave like humans when depressed or sad.
When dogs are sad, they experience:
- Loss of appetite.
- Sleeping difficulties or sleeping too much. They become less social.
Your furry friend needs you at such times. Dogs are very social, and they enjoy being around people.
In such circumstances, your dog will likely sleep between your legs to feel loved.
6. Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety Or Is A Velcro
There’s a slight difference between dogs with separation anxiety and velcro dogs.
However, both will follow you around when you’re in their vicinity.
Velcro dogs are known to follow their owners everywhere—bathroom included. However, velcros have no problem being left alone in the house.
For dogs with separation anxiety, it’s a whole different ball game. Such dogs will be like your second shadow. These kinds of canines are likely to sleep between your legs when it’s bedtime. They dislike being left alone in the house.
Dogs with separation anxiety display signs such as:
- Whining or crying.
Things get out of hand when these dogs are left alone. They:
- Howl, whine or bark.
- Wreck furniture.
- Break free if inside a crate.
- Poop or pee in inappropriate places.
- Engage in activities that can result in self-harm.
When you return, they’ll be overly excited, and they’ll follow you everywhere.
7. Your Dog Trusts You
Your dog could be sleeping between your legs since they trust you. Dogs trust their owners and regard them as one of their own. This is among the things that make dogs adorable.
On top of that, puppies are also very trusting of humans.
A study was conducted with 48 puppies as subjects. The puppies were two months old and living with their moms before adoption.
The puppies were made familiar with either of these implements:
- Puppies were paired with either a human or their mother.
- A plastic container produces noises from a hidden speaker.
- A bench fan gusting ribbons.
The results established that:
Out of every ten puppies, eight took emotional signals from either humans or their mothers. It was as if the puppies were first requesting permission to scrutinise the implements.
Furthermore, the odds of the puppies investigating the contraptions increased if the mother was calm around the implement. A similar observation was made with puppies paired with humans.
8. Your Fido Sleeps Between Your Legs Because You Are Okay With It
Letting your canine buddy nap between your legs has countless benefits. And nobody can fault you for wanting to make your bond stronger.
There are instances when allowing your dog to sleep between your legs isn’t okay despite the advantages.
For example, if your dog is huge, they’re going to squash you with their heft.
Your dog can be one of the less heavy breeds. However, you might still be uncomfortable when your dog sleeps between your legs for too long.
If your dog is fond of sleeping between your legs, it might be because you permit it knowingly or unknowingly.
At times you can do something unintentionally that worsens the situation. For example, when your fido positions themselves between your legs, you rub their belly or scratch their ears.
Doing this makes your dog think that sleeping between your legs is okay and that it’s the best way to get your attention.
9. Your Canine Feels Safe With You
Things like gunshots, thunder, fireworks, sudden and loud noises and unfamiliar people may scare your dog. It will come running to you to seek refuge and never leave your side since it feels safe near you.
Your dog might go to the extent of hiding between your legs if you allow it.
Signs Of Fear
Dogs exhibit the following behaviours when scared:
- Running away.
- Lip licking.
Your dog may also assume these submissive postures:
- Ears pinned back.
- Head down.
- Tail shoved between the legs.
Things That Scare Your Dog
Besides loud noises, fidos are also terrified of:
- Vacuum cleaners.
- Strange dogs.
- Car rides.
The most insignificant things scare dogs like small children, and even Great Dane Presley is scared easily. He’s even nicknamed the real-life Scooby-Doo. Although he’s a giant, he scares easily that even a tiny dog can frighten him.
Even the rustling sound of plastic bags terrifies Presley!
7 Pointers On How To Prevent Your Fido From Napping Between Your Legs
1. Teach Your Dog To Lay Down In A Specific Area
If you aren’t comfortable with your dog sleeping between your legs, train your dog to sleep in a specific place. Do this often until they get used to it.
If you are okay with your dog napping on your bed but not between your legs, you can designate an area on your bed for them. The ideal place would be at the foot.
Or you could set up a sleeping area for them in the corner of your room.
You can give your dog additional covers during cold nights—ideally the ones you’ve been using to cover yourself.
Reward your fido with praise and attention every time they sleep on their bed willingly.
Remember that when you are training your dog, consistency is critical.
2. Get Your Fido A Comfortable Bed
A comfortable sleeping place for your furry friend is the solution if you don’t want them napping between your legs.
A comfortable bed means one that’s soft, clean and dry. Your dog should always feel safe whenever they lie on their bed.
Keep your dog’s bed away from doorways and drafts during winter.
Ensure that your dog fits in their bed. One strange thing about dogs is that the bigger ones prefer smaller beds while smaller dogs prefer bigger beds.
You can also train your dog using commands to get them to stay in their sleeping areas. For instance, you can say “stay” or “bed” while pointing to their bed.’
3. Tips On Solving Resource Guarding
It’s very easy for resource guarding to progress into aggression. Such incidents are preventable.
Here’s a clever proposition from Patricia McConnell:
If you have two dogs, teach them to get fed once the other dog is fed. For this technique, your dogs have to sit first.
Call for one of your dogs, give them a treat, and then give the other dog a treat immediately.
If you have more than two dogs, offer them treats individually. When you give the last dog a treat, start with the first dog again. Block off any dog that pounces on you when it’s their turn.
You can also wait till they are calm, then give them a treat and move to the dog that’s next in line.
4. Decrease Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety
It’s tough to deal with a dog that has separation anxiety.
However, it’s your responsibility to help your dog deal with your absence as a dog owner. In the long run, this is beneficial.
You have to make your dog comfortable being left alone in the house. The best way to go about this is to do it a little at a time.
First, do what you’d typically do when leaving—grab your jacket, scarf, keys and put on your shoes. Then sit on the sofa as if you aren’t leaving. Do this for a few days, then progress to standing at the door.
If you do this and your dog follows you, return to the sofa. Repeat these steps till your dog gets accustomed to them.
Once they are used to it, try going out of the door and staying outside for a few minutes, then back inside and sit on the sofa. Do this often and lengthen the time you stand outside every time.
If your dog behaves well, reward them.
5. Don’t Encourage The Behavior
If you allow your dog to sleep on your legs, they will keep on doing it.
If you don’t want your dog to sleep between your legs, tell them no before they even try. Training them on the “down” command can come in handy during such circumstances.
Ask your dog to lie on the floor or take them to their bed and command them to stay by saying “stay” or “down”.
You can let your dog nap between your legs occasionally. However, ensure it’s on your terms.
You fido should learn to obey and respect your commands.
6. Help Your Dog Become Confident
Your dog could be resting between your legs because they are afraid.
Fear comes about as a result of:
- Negative experiences.
- Inadequate socialisation.
Even though early socialisation is beneficial for dogs, it’s never too late to start.
Through socialisation, dogs become exposed to experiences, animals, and people. This helps dogs handle how they react to situations better.
Training your dog also helps. Signing up your dog for obedience classes can help cultivate their confidence.
Give them a refresher even if they know the basic commands.
Remember always to use positive reinforcements during training as it yields excellent results.
7. Don’t Allow Your Dog To Sleep In Your Bedroom
Another option would be to forbid your dog from sleeping in your bedroom.
Doing this will prevent you from waking up to dead weight between or across your legs during the night.
This isn’t punishing your dog, especially if you are a light sleeper. For light sleepers sleeping with a fidgety dog can be quite a challenge.
Some people have no problem sharing their beds with their dogs.
Moreover, dogs can sleep uninterrupted in their beds. That’s a win-win situation as everyone gets a good night’s sleep.