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Why Does My Dog Sleep Under the Covers and Between My Legs?

Renee Whitmore
Last Updated on
by Renee Whitmore

You might be wondering, why does my dog sleep between my legs? Well, perhaps it is just protective, or it feels safe between your legs. Whatever the reason, it is typical for a dog to sleep between its master’s legs.

Usually, it is a sign of trust and affection, but it can also signify something is wrong. Although it might seem like innocent behaviour, it is imperative to understand the reasons.

We have compiled an insight into some of these reasons to help you find the answers to the question: Why does my dog sleep between my legs?

Dog Sleeping Under Covers & Between Legs
Dog Sleeping Under Covers & Between Legs

Why Does My Dog Sleep Between My Legs?

Here are some of the most common reasons behind this behaviour:

1. You are Part of the Pack:

Technically, dogs are pack animals. They tend to stay close to others and work as a team. Besides, they also view you as the leader — hence lying down and sleeping between your legs makes them feel safe.

There are several ways to get them to stop sleeping under the covers or between your legs. Some of these methods include:

  • Reward them every time they do what you want
  • Stop rewarding them when they sit or sleep between your legs
  • Avoid giving them attention and get them out from under your legs until they stop
  • Get a good place for them to rest

2. Showing You Love:

A dog is man’s best friend, and sleeping between your legs is one of the best ways to show how much they care and appreciate your company. It might also be a simple way to thank you for giving them affection, food, or care.

If the dog is not causing any problems or discomfort, it won’t hurt to allow them to enjoy the comfort of relaxing between your legs. Even so, if you decide to cut this behavior, you can always train them to stop.

3. They are Being Protective:

This is yet another reason why your dog sleeps between your legs. Sometimes, its intentions might be to protect their master. They need to be close to one of their family members to care for and provide protection.

If your dog appears overprotective for some reason, it might be because there are other animals or people nearby. They want to ensure you are free from danger.

4. Warmth and Comfort:

One of the main reasons your dog sleeps between your legs is for warmth and comfort. Perhaps they feel like a baby in their mother’s warm embrace. It might also be because human legs are soft and warm, making you an instant heating pad where they can relax.

What’s more, it is also a warm mutual benefit. Your dog also lends their body heat when in contact with each other. They tend to do this more in cold seasons, which means they are not warm enough and sleeping between your legs is the fastest and easiest way to heat up.

Note that puppies or small breeds such as chihuahuas can’t regulate their body heat properly, especially during the night or cold seasons.

Dog sleeping

5. Your Dog is Scared:

An unfamiliar environment, people, thunder, or loud and sudden noises can scare your dog. In such an event, they won’t leave your side because that’s where they feel safe. Here are some of the behaviors of a scared dog:

  • Whining
  • Hiding
  • Barking
  • Pacing
  • Growling
  • Trembling
  • Hiding or running away

Besides, they will also assume a submissive posture such as ear pinned back, head down, or tail tucked between the legs.

6. Emotional Support:

Like humans, dogs need emotional support when they feel insecure, injured, tired, unwell, or anxious. They prefer sleeping between your legs for emotional support. According to a psychology professor, Coren, who wrote the book The Intelligence of Dogs, dogs can get depressed or sad.

They have similar brain structures and produce emotions like humans. What’s more, Coren also believes that dogs can feel emotions such as fear, joy, love, anger, or disgust. However, they are not capable of more complex emotions such as shame and guilt.

What’s more, when they are sad or depressed, they can experience appetite loss, difficulty sleeping, lethargy, or lack of interest in social interaction.

7. Separation Anxiety:

Unless your dog is not a velcro, they can get separation anxiety. They will even sleep between your legs when it’s sleeping time. When you leave without them, they tend to show signs of anxiety such as whining, growling, pacing, or restlessness. They sleep between your legs to ensure you don’t leave their side.

The best way to reduce separation anxiety is to leave it for short periods and reward it when you get back. Repeat the process and increase the duration of time you leave them alone until they get used to it.

8. They Trust You:

This is perhaps one of the most enduring things about dogs. They will relax or sleep between your legs because they trust you. Technically, they see you as their master or one of their toys. Besides, a study by Claudia Fugazza of Eotvos Lorand University reveals that even puppies trust humans as if they were their mothers.

One of the best ways to stop them from sleeping under the covers and between your legs is to enroll them in a dog training program. You can also place them where they can rest and be calm. Also, ensure the dog has pillows or blankets to keep warm in the cold seasons.

9. You Accidentally Trained Them to Sleep Between Your Legs:

Are you wondering, “why does my dog sleep under the covers and between my legs

?” Well, You might have accidentally trained your dogs that way when they feel afraid, for warmth, or want to relax. Note that they will most probably do it again when you reward your dog with affection after doing something.

If they fall asleep or sit between your legs and you scratch their belly or cuddle them, they will repeat the behavior over and over. Technically, what you will be doing is telling them that you love them and it’s okay to sit or sleep between your legs.

Conclusion

Dogs have a habit of sleeping between their owner’s legs. Although it might seem like a normal behavior, it is imperative to understand why in order to encourage or discourage the habit.

Ensure you put the above factors into consideration the next time your dog sleeps between your legs, and there is no doubt that you will experience exceptional results.

Now that you finally know the answer to “why does my dog sleep between my legs?”, follow our blog to know why your dog sleeps on you and not your husband.

About Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore is an American college professor and freelance writer from North Carolina. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in English Education. When she is not driving her teenage son to wrestling practice or learning the ins and outs of Fortnite from her younger son, she is working on her first book to be published soon.
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