Like humans, dogs usually get into a position that helps them feel the coziest. This gives them the chance to be comfortable and get a good night’s sleep. What many fur parents would notice is that their pooch can sometimes get into weird positions that don’t seem to be comfortable.
One of these instances is when dogs sleep with their heads on their owner’s necks. This may look uncomfortable, but for canines, this can actually mean something helpful. What you need to need to understand is that aside from comfort and rest, dogs go into particular sleeping positions for various reasons.
The trick is to find out what your dog’s sleeping position means. If you are wondering what it means when your dog sleeps with head on neck of its owner, here’s what you need to know.
Significance of Dog Sleeping Positions
When dogs choose a position for sleeping, it is what helps them cope with what they are feeling physically and emotionally – other than it being comfy and snug, of course. So, pet owners should look out for changes in their canine’s form while resting.
Wondering how exactly this works? Take side sleeping in dogs, for example. Most dogs take this form with their legs going outward from their bodies. This is an indicator that your pooch is feeling calm, relaxed, and safe as they rest. It also shows that there are comfortable with the environment they are in.
Another example is the sphinx pose, which is characterized by the dog resting its head on its paws. This is indicative of the pup taking a rest, but also shows that it is prepared to get up and play at any given time. This position is usually taken by canines who are alert and protective.
Given these examples, different types of sleeping positions can provide insights into the dog’s disposition, personality, and feelings.
Dog Sleeping on My Neck: Is it Bad?
Owners of dogs who love sleeping on people’s necks might be curious what it means. There are several reasons why this happens. Before digging into this, you might be wondering if it means something bad. You will be glad to know that what it is trying to do is generally positive.
One of the most common reasons why dogs try to sleep on their owners’ necks is to cuddle. They want to be closer to you, which is why they go nearer to your face. It also helps them build body heat, which is understandable if the weather is cold.
However, you should always look out for signs of distress or aggression as these can also be reasons for your pooch’s sleeping position reference.
In fact, you should exercise observance if your dog preferred a different form in the past, but has suddenly taken a liking to sleep on your neck.
Reasons Why Dogs Sleep on Owner’s Necks
So, what are the reasons why your pooch sleeps on your neck? As mentioned, there may be positive and negative reasons for it. Here are some of them.
Cold weather is one of the most popular reasons why dogs snuggle up their owner’s neck. Remember, the crook of your neck can be warm and if you are used to hugging your dog during chilly days or nights, they will remember this.
If you notice your pooch taking on this habit during cold seasons, then this is probably why they do it. You can confirm this by observing if they try to go on your bed at night and cuddles closer to your body.
Should you find this behavior during cold weather, you might probably want to look for other ways to help your canine warm their body by getting additional blankets, turning up the heat, and other similar solutions.
If you feel like the temperature is alright and that your environment is safe and comfy, yet your dog insists on sleeping on your neck, you should consider that your canine is exercising clingy behavior.
This is normal for most dogs who love their owners. They take action to get near their human while sleeping to show their affection. It is commonly observed in dogs that you have had since they were puppies, as well as those that have been adopted.
Sleeping on the neck also goes with tail-wagging and hand-licking, all of which are signs of affection. What you should watch out for is if they do it excessively. In this case, it can be a sign of possessiveness, which can develop into harmful behaviors.
They are Feeling Anxious and Stressed
Your pooch will also try to sleep on your neck if they are feeling anxious or stressed. As their human, they trust and love you, and would therefore look to you for comfort. Stress and anxiety in dogs are characterized by growling, whining, tucked ears and tails, yawning, and panting.
If you think this is the case, then you have to reassess the situation you and your dog are in. Is your dog facing unfamiliar experiences? Are there new people and animals around? Are there loud noises like fireworks or thunder?
If the answer is yes, then it is better to remove your dog in such situations. Those who do not have this option should find out how to calm down stressed and anxious dogs. Anxiety wraps are great for comforting your pooch. Moreover, being there for them can help them feel more comfortable.
They Think You are Feeling Anxious or Stressed
Say, you assessed your situation and found that your dog is not stressed or anxious. You might want to consider that your dog, you are the one that needs comforting, which is why it takes action to comfort you by sleeping on your neck.
What you need to understand is that your pooch can sense your own stress and anxiety. Loyal and loving dogs who are familiar with your body language will be able to tell if you are dealing with some issues.
In fact, one study found that dogs can be affected by your stress and anxiety levels more directly. When tested, owners who have high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, also have dogs that have high levels of cortisol.
So, whether your dog is exhibiting signs of being stressed or not, you might want to evaluate your state of mind and mental health as it can have a direct effect on them.
Alert and Protective Behavior
Another reason why dogs prefer to sleep on top of your neck is they are being protective of you and are looking out for any possible threats. This usually happens if there is another animal or a person in the vicinity that it thinks intends to harm you.
By staying closer to you, especially your head, your pooch is getting into a position that allows it to pounce in case any threat gets nearer. While this is not necessarily sleeping, owners must know what to look for because this can be a sign of over-aggression or being territorial.
To know whether your canine’s behavior is of the protective sort, you should look out for growling or barking while looking at any unfamiliar animal or person. If this is the case, you might want to find a way to remove your pooch in that situation.
As mentioned, sleeping on your neck can be indicative of territorial behavior. One sign of this is protectiveness but to an excessive level.
How do you know if your dog is being territorial or overprotective? The main sign is if it tends to guard you around other people or animals in an aggressive manner. This includes biting, attacking, barking, or growling at anything that comes near, even your own hand.
It is important to curb such behavior as while it is intended to protect you, it can cause harm, especially as it is extremely close to your neck and face.
What You Can Do About It
Given the fact that some of the reasons that your dog sleeps with head on neck are good or bad, you need to know what you can do about it. Here are some of the best steps to take.
Consult a Vet
If you notice something wrong with your dog’s sleeping habits, then you are probably concerned about their health. After all, some of the reasons why they choose to sleep on your neck involve their health.
So, the first thing you should consider doing is to consult a veterinarian. These animal doctors are trained to look for signs that your dog is distressed, feeling physical pain, or suffering from medical conditions.
By having any possible health concerns checked, you can act accordingly and promptly, and your pooch will thank you for it.
Address Environmental Factors
Another thing you should remember is that there are environmental reasons that your dog is acting this way. It may be because it is uncomfortable in the space it is in due to cold or hot weather, lack of cozy blankets, and lack of the right dog bed.
Many environmental factors can lead to this behavior and you want to make sure that you address them to eliminate any possibility that your dog is uncomfortable.
Give Your Dog Some Cuddles
If they continue to do it even without any signs of illness or discomfort, then they are probably cuddling up to you and just wanting to be close to you. This is a good thing because you know your dog loves and trusts you.
The most obvious thing to do is to give them some cuddles to show how much you love and care for them. This way, they don’t have to feel like they are always vying for your attention.
Just be mindful if it is getting excessive as it can lead to over-dependence and submission, which can be detrimental to their confidence and self-reliance.
Look After Yourself
Lastly, you might want to take a look at how you are doing to see if your pooch is synchronizing with your stress and anxiety. This is a good way to remind yourself to take care of yourself, especially as it has a direct effect on your fur baby.
Aside from your stress hormones, you want to make sure that you are eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and are free from any illnesses. Your dog can feel such bodily distresses, too, and can reflect similar signs on their own.
The Bottom Line
Your dog’s sleeping habits can mean a lot of things and you want to know how exactly it affects them. If your dog sleeps with head on neck, you can take the necessary action and create a happier, healthier, and more loving environment for your beloved pooch.