Dogs get into some of most hilarious sleeping positions. From sleeping on their side to sleeping on their side, these pooches do tend to sleep in a variety of positions just like humans do. Many even love cuddling up to their fur parents, while some love sleeping on their owners’ heads.
While these sleeping patterns and behaviors may seem cute and normal, these actually provide us with how our dogs are actually doing and whether or not they are physically, mentally, and emotionally fine.
If you happen to have your dog sleep on your head, this can feel a bit uncomfortable and even suffocating at times. Trust us, this is the last thing they want to do to you. After all, you are a beloved fur parent.
Should you find your dog sleeping with this position every so often, let this article get to the bottom of things before it’s too late. There are actually a number of reasons why they may be doing this and we’re here to tell you why.
Reasons Why Your Dog Loves Sleeping on Your Head
- Safety and Security
One of the main reasons why your dog may be sleeping on your head is that they may feel safer. Dogs are normally pack animals and they consider you as part of the pack.
Sticking together closely and sleeping on your head is an indication that they feel secure around you. At the same time, your pooch may have this pack mentality that sticking closely together will make you and them feel safer, more secure, and more comfortable as well.
- Provides You with a Sense of Protection
This reason is closely tied to the first and it’s easy to see why. As your doggie views you as part of the group, it may be sleeping on your head due to its overprotective behavior, especially as they see the head being one of the most vulnerable parts of the body.
This behavior is typically observed in guard dogs and wild dogs, the latter of which tends to turn to dogpiling to keep other dogs in the pack safe and warm from possible predators. This overprotective behavior may come out when there are other dogs or people in your space, often being seen as threats or attackers.
- They Have Separation Anxiety
Your dog certainly hates you leaving, which is why you’ll often find them whimpering or even barking when you go out. Sleeping on your head is yet another sign that your precious pup may be suffering from stress and separation anxiety.
This particular action is often seen as a way for your dog to further savor their time with you, and even serve as a measure to prevent you from leaving them again.
- No Space or Room of One’s Own
Another reason that your dog loves to sleep on your head may be their lack of space or room to call their own. If your pup does not have a suitable bed where they feel comfortable to sleep or move around in, chances are they are going to seek a place where they do. As such, your pillow and your head, by extension, can seem more suitable options for them.
- Inadvertently Trained to Do So
You may have also participated in letting your dog sleep on your head, albeit unintentionally. You may have even rewarded them for it, such as showing encouragement by scratching them, patting them, giving them treats, or even failing to say “no.”
The more this sleeping pattern or behavior is rewarded and the more your pooch gets used to sleeping on your head, even without your say, the harder it may be to stop or wean them off from this at all.
Getting to the Root of It
Now that you know the different reasons why your dog may be sleeping on your head, you now have a better grasp of why they are showing this type of sleeping pattern or behavior. If this is still quite unclear to you, getting to the root of this behavior is imperative, especially if sleeping on your head is slowly becoming a problem.
As you might already know, dogs are pack animals just like wolves. As a matter of fact, many of the dog breeds we have today have come directly from the line of wolves. Although many wolf traits have been weeded out through evolution and domestication, there’s no denying that dogs still have that strong survivalist instinct within them.
Part of the pack traits that you may still see in your dog includes sleeping together or cuddling against each other to help protect one another. Usually seeking approval from the alphas of the pack, dogs are only allowed to cuddle with others upon their permission. Sleeping on your head or with you is one manifestation of this pack habit.
With your pooch considering you as part of the pack, this is one way not only of giving you comfort and showing you love, but also a way for them to provide you with protection even if there is no imminent threat or harm in the way.
More than their survivalist mindset, dogs are also naturally affectionate. This means that they are also capable of showing love and sleeping on your head and being close to their fur parents is one way to show this. Not only is this a great way to foster bonds and connections, but this also provides them with a pleasant experience knowing they have a person they love with them at their side.
Negative Impacts of Letting Your Dog Sleep on Your Head
If you are fond of letting your dog sleep on your head, and if you’re comfortable, then, by all means, it’s generally fine to let them sleep on it. However, if your dog errs on the larger side, this may pose a problem for you, your level of sleep, and your overall comfort.
If your dog happens to put too much weight on your head, as well as your neck, this can make it harder for you to breathe. At the same time, they might be putting your head under too much pressure. This can cause you injury in the long run, particularly if you have a larger dog breed with you.
That’s not all there is to it about letting your dog sleep on your head. By allowing this sleeping behavior and pattern to continue, their territorial side and behavior may arise as well. Apart from seeing themselves as the boss or alpha of your head, they may also start exhibiting territorial behavior against other people and other dogs you may come across. There are times when your own hands may seem like their enemy, especially when it comes anywhere near your head.
If their territorial behavior is getting the best of them and starts affecting you, especially if they have started growling, barking, or snarling, stopping this in their tracks is the best way to go.
Breaking Your Dog’s Habit from Sleeping on Your Head
If you no longer feel comfortable with your dog sleeping on your head or you are simply not one to condone this behavior from your pet, taking the necessary actions to stop or change this is essential on your part. This way, you can instill in them good behaviors and establish some boundaries both for you and them.
Remember that it takes time for dogs to get used to new routines, especially when you have inadvertently encouraged them to sleep on your head in the past. Because of this, having patience and compassion is key, alongside consistency and discipline, of course. After all, we know all too well the struggle of seeing your pup not lay in bed with you at night.
As a start, you can gently slide or move your dog away from your head. The key here is to do it gently and softly so that your pet would not feel rejected. To add to this, you may want to move them towards a better position where you can cuddle or snuggle them as a way to make them feel loved and reassured. Do this a couple of times until they have learned to understand that sleeping on your head is not allowed.
Showing love and affection is a big deal for your doggie, which is why giving them extra time and attention can work wonders during this training process. Aside from getting some much-needed one-on-one time with you, they can also feel reassured and safe at the same time.
Be patient with this weaning process, especially if they have come to sleep with or on you this way for quite some time. Going about this strictly and sternly might only deter them from doing any progress.
At the same, you can start by saying the word “no” to further reinforce and emphasize the idea that sleeping on your head is no longer acceptable. Be careful not to yell or use negative reinforcement. Instead, you can redirect them to other spaces in the bed, may it be beside you or at your foot.
Even better, you can give your pup a comfortable space to sleep. To make them feel right at home, you can start placing their dog bed inside your room or even a common area, such as the living room, where they can get affection and love from others in the space. A crate works well, too.
What You Need to Consider
Changing your dog’s behavior will not come easy, especially when they have been accustomed to sleeping on your head for a long time. To help your pooch overcome this behavior, be sure to think back on when your dog even started sleeping on your head in the first place, and by extension, the age they started doing this.
By looking back on this particular aspect, you can try to gauge what motivated your dog to start sleeping on your head. This can be a traumatic event in the past that triggered their stress and anxiety, among other causes out there.
Apart from this, you may also want to pay attention to the frequency that your dog sleeps or naps on your head. This may also point you to where or how this behavior started.
For example, if your dog only sleeps on your head during the colder months, this may be an indication that they are simply trying to warm themselves up by snuggling with you. If, however, they exhibit this behavior before getting up from bed and preparing for the day ahead, this may indicate that they are anxious about you leaving them.
The Bottom Line
There’s no denying that your dog loves you and being with you at all times – even during sleep. However, sleeping on your head is a whole other matter. By following the aforementioned suggestions and actions in this article, as well as observing their actions and sleeping habits, you can slowly break the habit of your dog sleeping on your head.