Wondering why your dog likes to sleep between your legs? If so, you’re not alone.
It may seem somewhat unusual to us humans… but there are actually many reasons why a dog may choose to sleep in this position.
In this guide, you’ll discover the main reasons (and a few may even surprise you, too!)
Why Does My Dog Sleep Between My Legs?
1. Seeking Comfort and Security
Dogs are pack animals by nature, so they love to find security with their families.
When your dog sleeps between your legs, it’s often because they feel safe and comfortable in that position.
It may also relate to the specific breed of your dog as well.
Some dogs just seem to prefer this type of sleeping position because they’re more clingy by nature, and they’ve been bred to have traits that make them seek close human contact.
For example, lapdog breeds and working breeds that were often in close contact with humans may display this behavior more.
However, it’s perfectly normal for any dog to seek security from their owner from time to time.
2. Seeking Warmth and Body Heat
Another key reason why your dog sleeps between your legs is that they simply want to share your body heat!
Dogs have a natural instinct to seek warmth and body heat from other animals, and your body temperature will feel cozy and reassuring to them (especially if they’re feeling cold).
So when they sleep between your legs, it could simply be because they want to share warmth and body heat with you.
3. Separation Anxiety and Abandonment Fears
A third reason relates to separation anxiety or abandonment fears.
If you notice your dog likes to sleep between your legs, it may be because they’re feeling anxious about being left alone, so they seek comfort and security from their owner.
It’s actually a good sign if they like to sleep between your legs, as it means they trust you and feel safe with you.
However, if they’re doing this often throughout the day, it could mean they’re experiencing separation anxiety (and may need some help).
Furthermore, if your dog has abandonment issues (especially if they’re a rescue) then they may seek to never leave your side and always stay as close as possible.
4. A Sign of Trust and Affection
Another reason why your dog likes to sleep between your legs is that they trust you.
They may choose this position as a sign of affection, as it shows they don’t feel threatened by you and want to show their loyalty towards you.
When dogs do this, it’s often an opportunity for dog owners to show the dog some affection too.
Taking the time to pet your dog when they’re in this position is a great idea, as it shows you care about them!
5. Something Has Scared them
If your dog suddenly starts to sleep between your legs when they didn’t use to, it may be a sign that something has scared them recently.
It’s important to take note of any changes in behavior because this could help you figure out what has caused the change.
Some common signs of anxiety include:
– Barking (often at nothing)
– Change in eyes and ears
– Posture Changes
– Hiding away
– Staying close to you
One possible reason for this behavior is when they’ve heard a loud noise.
If you’ve recently installed a new washing machine, dishwasher, or any other type of noisy electrical appliance in your home, then it could be the cause for this change.
Equally, many dogs are scared of thunder and fireworks. When they’re afraid, they’ll seek comfort and security by staying close to you, and possibly sleeping between your legs.
Your dog may also be seeking security if their home environment has changed.
If you have recently moved house, for example, then your dog may not feel comfortable in the new surroundings yet… so they choose to sleep in this position until they feel more at ease with the change in location.
Strangers in the Home
Another reason why your dog may choose to sleep between your legs is that they’re nervous about being around strangers.
New people in the home can often scare dogs, and sometimes they’ll go so far as to hide away because of it.
If you notice your dog seeks comfort from you because of any changes in the home environment, try to make them feel more at ease by showing them affection and giving them plenty of cuddles whenever possible.
Furthermore, if you’ve recently had a new baby or someone’s just moved into the home, it could be that your dog doesn’t feel comfortable yet.
6. Protective Behavior
Sleeping between your legs may also be because they’re trying to protect you against something or someone.
Your dog may become protective over you when you show them affection and treat them well. They will see themselves as your protector and their behavior towards other people may change accordingly.
It can also occur if you have other dogs or pets in the house, as your dog may compete with them and “protect” you from them to secure all the attention for themselves.
Depending on the breed, temperament, and overall personality of your pooch, they could be more concerned about protecting you from any potential dangers they perceive as well.
Therefore, sleeping close may be a part of this desire to protect.
7. Positive Reinforcement
In some cases, you may have unknowingly reinforced the behavior.
For example, if you always give them lots of attention when they sleep between your legs, then they’ll keep doing it again in the future to get more affection and attention from you.
If you want your dog to stop this behavior… it’s wise to reduce the positive payoffs they receive by doing it.
Simply put, you’ll need to “ignore” the behavior rather than giving them affection, cuddles, and attention each time they do it.
8. Competing for Attention
If you have other dogs in the home, then it could be that your dog is competing for attention and chooses to sleep between your legs because they want more affection than the other dogs.
This behavior can be common with dogs who are still puppies, as they will often try to compete for their owner’s time and attention against older dogs (and it often works!)
If you want to stop this behavior, then it’s important to give your dog plenty of affection and attention when they’re not sleeping between your legs… and scale it back when they’re between your legs.
9. Showing Affection
Your dog may choose to sleep between your legs because they’re trying to show affection to their favorite person.
Many dogs will sleep in this position when their owners are not giving them enough attention or when they’re feeling insecure and want to feel physical contact with you.
What’s more, it can simply feel like a comfortable position to sleep in for your dog as well so it makes sense that it’s one of the most common sleeping positions for dogs who like you.
10. Staying Close to the Pack
Dogs are instinctively social animals who enjoy being around their pack leader (and that’s you).
They may seek comfort and security from you because they don’t want to sleep away from everyone else or sleep alone.
This way, they can feel safe knowing you’re always nearby, and it’s part of the pack bonding process to sleep close together, as it not only provides a sense of comfort but also a sense of protection as well.
Why Does My Dog Sleep Between Your Legs At Night?
If the behavior mostly happens at night, it could be a combination of wanting to be close to you and wanting to stay warm. In fact, they may be feeling cold at night, so they want to stay nice and close.
When we humans go to sleep at night, we usually get under the nice and warm duvet because we want to be warm and comfortable.
Dogs don’t have this luxury, so sometimes they’ll choose to sleep between your legs so they can feel close and secure against you… as well as keep warm throughout the night.
Of course, all the other reasons listed in this guide may apply, too.
Why Does My Dog Like to Sleep Under the Covers?
Again, this may be because they want to feel close and secure against you.
Being under the covers feels like a much safer and secure place to be.
If your dog sleeps under the covers, it can often be because you’ve encouraged this behavior… whether it’s through giving them attention, cuddles, or simply allowing them to do it in the first place.
Then they realize how warm, cozy, and secure it feels… and it just becomes a behavior they do without even thinking about it.
Why Does My Dog Sleep By My Hip?
Your dog may also choose to sleep next to you because they need some reassurance.
They may still feel nervous around certain things in the home, but when they sleep by your side it makes them feel much better and protected.
Dogs will often gravitate towards their owners when they are feeling stressed or anxious about something.
So, there you have it…
These are the most likely reasons why dogs sleep between your legs and if they do it, then chances are they’re trying to tell you something.
When we know what a dog is doing, we can work out how to respond and react accordingly, so this is why it’s important to understand their actions and behavior.
In most cases, none of the reasons will be anything to worry about… and you may even find they do it because they love being close to you!
For some dogs, it soon becomes their favorite sleep position due to the wide range of benefits and reassurances it provides.
So from your dog’s point of view, it makes perfect sense to sleep here.
But if it’s becoming overly clingy or attached and causing problems in your life, then talking to a dog behaviorist may help.