A few months ago, all of a sudden, my dog didn’t want to sleep with me anymore after sleeping on my bed for a year. Wondering what’s going on, I began to look for the possible reasons for this behavior. If you have the same problem with me, here’s what I found.
Here’s Why Your Dog Won’t Sleep with You Anymore
There are several possible reasons why your dog won’t sleep with you anymore. Some of the most common are: they feel your bedroom is not comfortable anymore (too small, too hot, too loud), they feel stressed, they feel more independent, they are being protective, they feel unwanted or rejected, they are getting older and therefore have different preferences, they have a health issue.
As you can see from the list above, there are internal and external factors, which directly or indirectly affect your dog’s behavior. Let’s take a look at each of them in more detail. And later on, we will learn a couple of things you can do to encourage your dog to sleep with you again (if you want).
1. Your Bedroom is Not Cozy Anymore
The first cause could be that your dog feels that they can’t sleep comfortably in your bedroom anymore.
When it comes to a bedroom, the first thing you should inspect is the bed. It might be that your dog likes to splay out before, during, and after sleep. But, as they grow, your bed will become too small for them to do that.
Tip #1: As your dog grows, the bed must grow with them.
Another thing to check for is your room’s temperature. A dog’s normal temperature is higher than a human’s, ranging between 99.5 and 102.5F degrees. Compare that to the average human body temperature at around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If your bedroom or bed is too hot at night, they will have trouble sleeping and may choose to go somewhere cooler to sleep.
Tip #2: Make sure the air con is on and the bedsheets are not too thick.
Still, around the topic of the bedroom, another important thing to check is the noise. A dog’s hearing is more sensitive compared to a human’s hearing, and therefore even a little increase in noise levels is enough to disturb their sleep.
For example, you might not realize that there are critters wandering around your bedroom emitting a high-pitched sound.
Tip #3: Consider soundproofing your bedroom and call an exterminator to inspect your home for bugs and rodents on a regular basis.
2. Your Dog is Getting Older
Just like when teenagers turn into adults, your dog’s preference can change as they get older.
For example, they might have become more independent and feel the need to have their own space. Along with wanting their own private space, they might decide that they don’t like to cuddle anymore.
Tip #4: This change is not bad; in fact, it is healthier for a dog’s psyche if they don’t need to be around their owners all the time.
Another example is when they were still a puppy. Back then, when they were still small, your dog could have been okay sleeping on a soft surface. But now, old age has gotten to their bones and joints and has made them prefer to sleep on a hard surface.
Tip #5: You may want to consider an orthopedic dog bed for an older dog and put the bed in your bedroom if you wish, so your dog is still close by.
3. They Feel Stressed
Are you currently undergoing a big life change, such as having a child, moving jobs, or buying a house? If that’s the case, then it’s possible that your dog is stressed and needs to sleep somewhere else away from you to calm down.
Having a new partner or a new puppy is another big thing that could become the cause of your dog’s sudden change of behavior. They might start to feel stressed at the sight of the new “mate” in the bed and decide to go away from it.
Tip #6: Proper socialization and introduction are the keys here.
4. Your Dog is Being Protective
Certain dog breeds such as German Shepherds have a natural protective instinct towards their owners. So, it could actually be the case that, as your dog gains age and experience, their protective instinct kicks in, and thus, they decide that sleeping on your bed might not be the best place to protect you.
If this is the cause, your dog will choose to sleep where they think they can best guard you from intruders, such as in front of your bedroom or near the front door.
5. They are Simply Not In The Mood to Sleep with You
Just like humans, once in a while, your dog can be in a bad mood too. When this happens, them wanting and needing space to breathe is totally normal.
Just let them be for a couple of days and see if they eventually decide to sleep with you again. If they choose not to, don’t take it personally and respect their decisions. It doesn’t mean they don’t like you anymore.
6. Your Dog Feels Unwanted or Rejected
Your dog can mistakenly think that you don’t want them in your bed. If your dog not only stops sleeping with you but also avoids you during the day, then it’s very likely because of something you do. For example, you might shout or snap or simply be unkind to your dog.
But don’t be mistaken; it’s not always because of negative encounters, positive reinforcement can be the cause too. For example, it could be that you have accidentally rewarded your dog for not sleeping on your bed by giving them more attention when they sleep elsewhere.
Tip #7: Encourage and reward your dog for sleeping where you would like them to sleep.
7. They Have a Health Issue
Though I have placed it last on our list, a health issue is certainly not the least powerful cause in its effects. In fact, this is one cause that you need to worry most about. You want to make sure that your dog’s inability to sleep on your bed is not accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Licking at their paws or joints constantly
- Drooling a lot
Tip #8: Seek vet treatment right away at any signs of illness.
Should You Be Concerned with Your Dog’s Sudden Avoidance of Sleeping with You?
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself when figuring out whether you should be concerned or not.
- Do they look scared to you?
- Do they look like they are in pain?
- Are you undergoing a big life change?
- Has anything happened in the past few days?
- Is there any sign of illness?
If you’re worried, it is a good idea to talk to your vet to get a professional overview.
Should I Let My Dog Sleep with Me?
According to the recent mayo clinic study, around 40% of pet owners who shared a bed with their pets found it beneficial. They felt an increased sense of security and a significant decrease in stress levels when they slept with their pets.
However, twenty percent of those surveyed found that sleeping with pets did disturb their sleep. So if you’re a light sleeper or sensitive to noise, it may not be the best idea to let your dog sleep in the same bed as you.
Other disadvantages to having your dog in bed with you include:
- Triggering allergic reactions in those with allergies or asthma.
- Contaminating your bed with unwanted organisms such as fleas and ticks.
- Possibility of injuring your dog while sleeping.
- Giving you extra chores of washing the sheets multiple times a week.
As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to sharing a bed with your dog, and only you can decide if it’s worth it.
5 Tips Encourage Your Dog To Sleep On Your Bed Again
Below are a few things you can do that can help convince your dog to sleep with you again.
- Make your bedroom more comfortable (upgrade your mattress, soundproof the room, fix the broken ac, create ambiance with lighting, get rid of overhead lighting, etc.)
- Give your dog more attention and love when they enter the bedroom.
- Praise and reward them when they start to lay down on the bed.
- Avoid encouraging your dog when they sleep outside of the bedroom.
- Continue to repeat points 2 and 3 several times until they feel safe and secure sleeping next to you.
Dogs are creatures of habit, and once they have established a routine, they like to stick to it. So, if your dog has suddenly stopped sleeping with you, there could be any number of reasons why.
In this article, we outlined seven common ones that might apply in your case. If you can’t seem to solve the problem on your own, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional who can help you get to the root of the issue.
Some dogs may feel more comfortable about sleeping in between your legs for protection purposes, feeling either secure or scared when you’re not in view. It’s also possible that they’re simply showing his love and affection by being close enough to interact with you.
Dogs often sleep on you and not your husband because they feel more comfortable and familiar with you. Dogs also may feel safe sleeping next to their chosen owners, knowing that they will be protected at all times.