Why Does My Dog Sleep on My Pillow with Me? – Dog Training Me

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Dogs could sleep in several places in the house, but they often choose to be on your pillow with you! This is common among dog owners who allow their dogs to enter their bedroom.

No matter how comfortable their bed is with all their water, treats, and toys, there’s something about your pillow which they cannot resist.

So, you may be asking yourself, why does my dog sleep on my pillow with me?

Discover the possible reasons why your dog enjoys your pillow more than their own, and how to get your dog off your pillow. 

We also share why dog pillows are unnecessary solutions to this behavioral issue.

Does a Dog Need a Pillow?

While our dogs spend most of the day lounging, laying, and sleeping in the house, a pillow is still unnecessary. 

Dogs do not need to sleep on pillows during the day or night. This means they are not sleeping on our pillows because they are looking for neck and back support. 

Instead, dogs sleep on our pillows to mark their spot, stay close to you, protect you, or because they are anxious.

Dogs do not experience neck pain when they sleep without a pillow the way we do. Their spines do not have to be aligned for them to stay comfortable. 

Dogs often sleep on their side to feel relaxed because they have small shoulder blades that support their body.

But if they feel comfortable using pillows or cushions to rest their heads on, then that’s also okay.  

Or maybe they are just looking for a soft and cozy spot to get comfy on.

It depends on what your dog likes the most. But we highly recommend prioritizing a dog bed over a pillow because it is built for both their needs and comfort.

Amazon Basics Octagon Pet Bed, 20 Inch, Brown & Ivory

Although it’s for small to medium breeds only, this bed has a headrest for those who love snuggling on pillows. 

Why Does My Dog Sleep on My Pillow with Me?

You already know that dogs do not need pillows to stay comfortable. But why do they like sleeping on our pillows with us?

Comfort

The most obvious reason our dogs like sleeping on pillows is because they want comfort. Pillows are soft, snuggly, and warm. They also smell like us!

If your dog sleeps on your pillow at night, it’s because they feel secure when they are close to you. 

Sometimes, there is no explanation needed. They just like the feeling of sleeping on the cloud-like, fluffy pillow.

Your body heat, scent, and the pillow’s softness make your pillow the best spot in the house for them to sleep.

They also enjoy the bond you share when you sleep beside each other. Remember that dogs are social creatures. They sleep with their fellow pack members even in the wild.

Newborn pups sleep close to their mother for safety and a stronger relationship, so they bring this behavior with them as they grow older.

Marking Their Spot

This is a rare cause, but your dog might be marking their spot on your pillow because they are asserting themselves as dominant. 

Dogs like taking cues from the pack leader. But if they don’t see you as one, then they think they can take the lead and show dog dominance.

Your dog thinks it’s okay to mark their territory because there is no one to obey, honor, and protect but them.

Even if they are not aggressive, they might be thinking they are the alpha so they can just pick their spot. 

They also like to spread their scent all over the house to assert dominance over other pets and humans.

They Idolize You

It could also be the opposite. Dogs might see you as the pack leader and want to imitate you! They like taking cues from you, so they also lay their head the way you do on your pillow. 

It’s also likely that they want to spread their scent on you because they want other dogs to know that you are part of their family. 

Either way, your dog may need some training if they are sleeping on your pillow with you!

Protection

Our dogs also enjoy sleeping with us because they want us to feel secure and protected.

Sleeping on your pillow lets them watch over you throughout the night so they can check if you’re physically and emotionally okay.

Sweet, right?

Our dogs are very protective in nature. Some are even bred to be guard dogs who check on your breathing from time to time. 

Anxiety

Dogs can be clingy!

Your dog sleeping on top of your pillow all the time can be a sign of separation anxiety. They like to smell your scent on the pillow to comfort themselves, especially when you’re away.

One way to see if this is the reason is by investigating whether they like sleeping there while you are away. And do they start getting anxious once you’re about to leave?

Separation anxiety also shows itself through signs like destructive behavior and excessive barking

Attention

The last possible reason for your dog’s enjoyment in sleeping on your pillow with you is their craving for attention.

Some dogs lay on your pillow because it rewards them with attention. 

The behavior is reinforced when you give them consistent belly rubs and hugs whenever they jump up on your bed and lay on your pillow.

Even if you dislike their behavior, it still feels like a reward to them because you move them, pick them up, or give them treats just to jump down. 

Dogs sleeping on pillow

How to Find Out Why Your Dog Sleeps on Your Pillow

To help you know which among the possible reasons is true for your dog, try answering these questions. 

When Did They First Sleep on Your Pillow?

If your dog suddenly starts this behavior out of nowhere, think about what was happening when they first started doing it.

For example, did you reward them with affection the first time they did it voluntarily?

They may also have started sleeping on your pillow when they felt scared from the noise outside your house. Signs of fear in dogs include:

  • pacing
  • panting
  • shaking
  • inability to settle
  • trying to hide
  • drooling.

It is also possible that they first started doing this when you left them alone for the first time. In this case, your dog may be experiencing separation anxiety.

What Happens When They Don’t Sleep on Your Pillow?

Try considering the timing of when they sleep on your pillow. They might be experiencing separation anxiety if they sleep on your pillow when you’re not around.

If your dog only sleeps on your pillow when it’s afternoon, it could be because they prefer the temperature in your room during that time.

Your dog might also be sleeping on your pillow every night if they fear the dark or if they don’t like sleeping alone. 

However, if they do it at random times, it could just be because they love the comfort and warmth of your pillow.

Should I Let My Dog Sleep on My Pillow?

There are many factors to consider when answering this question.

If you want to let your dog sleep with you, it’s best to keep them on the bed beside your feet or torso. 

We don’t recommend them sleeping on your pillow next to your face, especially if you have allergies.

Here are some conditions where you shouldn’t sleep with your dog:

  • if they are new members of the house
  • if your dog doesn’t have complete vaccinations
  • if your dog isn’t potty trained
  • if your dog has parasites
  • if your dog bites and scratches
  • if your dog moves a lot and snores
  • if your dog is too big
  • if you are a light sleeper
  • if you have severe allergies
  • if you have an open wound
  • if your partner is not okay with it.

If your dog is well-behaved and healthy just like you, then you can train them to sleep with you in bed!

How to Get Your Dog off Your Pillow

If you want to stop your dog from sleeping on your pillow, you should always make sure that your dog has a comfortable place to sleep. 

However, if your dog’s love for your pillow is a sign of a much bigger problem, consider the following solutions.

Ignore Attention Seeking Behavior

If your dog jumps on your pillow to get some sort of attention, ignore them right away.

Don’t carry them down the bed, give them cuddles, or even talk to them. 

As previously mentioned, your dog might have learned that they get rewards every time they jump up on your pillow and sleep with them. 

Ignore the behavior and keep rewarding them every time they sleep somewhere appropriate.

Train Your Dog

Training your dog using positive reinforcement is one of the best long-term solutions when trying to make your dog sleep in their own bed.

Encourage your dog to behave a certain way by rewarding them for good behavior and ignoring the bad behavior.

You can also train your dog with some commands like “stop” each time they try to jump on your bed.

Make sure to be consistent in rewarding them, so they learn the right behavior!

Reduce Anxiety

It also helps to reduce their anxiety every time you’re not at home with them. Try taking your dog on a walk and letting them pee and poop before you leave them alone.

You also want to give them as much love as possible because they will miss you! 

A few minutes of playtime or massage will cheer them up. Physical touch can ease anxiety and aggression in dogs. 

Thundershirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket

This adorable dog shirt is available in seven sizes, which work by swaddling your dog and applying gentle yet continuous pressure to reduce their fear. 

If none of these tips work to alleviate your dog’s anxiety, seek professional help. They can help make plans on changing your dog’s underlying emotional response to you leaving.

FAQ Dog Sleep Behaviors

Why Does My Dog Chew My Pillow?

If your dog tends to suck or chew on your pillow, one possible reason is that they were weaned too early from their mother.

Doing this at a later age is how they nurse with a mother-like item. 

Your pup might also be teething and find comfort from your pillow! Puppies start teething at 3 to 5 weeks of age and have their complete set of adult teeth between the ages of 4-6 months.

There are many possible reasons why your dog chews on your pillow and other fabrics. 

Another favorite item in their house they might usually munch on is your carpet. Stop your dog from chewing on the carpet and other fabrics with our tips!

Why Does My Dog Sleep on Top of Me?

If your dog doesn’t sleep with you on your pillow, they may be doing it on top of your body!

They do this for similar reasons. They may have separation anxiety or they’re seeking attention. Your dog might also be showing affection or protection.

There are a lot of reasons why dogs sleep on top of you, and that usually depends on their sleeping positions or what happened when they first started doing it.

Find out more about why your dog wants to sleep on top of you.

Are There Benefits to Letting My Dog Sleep on My Pillow with Me?

Yes.

But we recommend not letting them stay on your pillow, but rather on the lower part of your bed.

Some benefits include comfort, safety, and higher-quality sleep. Having your dog sleep with you in bed helps you calm down when you’re stressed or anxious. 

They also provide safety and warmth to you while you’re sleeping. They are warm and cozy so you can hug them during cold nights.

But there are also disadvantages here. Find out whether you should sleep with your dog in bed now!

Weigh the Pros and Cons!

There are many possible reasons why dogs sleep on top of our pillow. If you can’t decide whether to encourage the behavior or not, try understanding the root cause.

If your dog sleeps on your pillow with you out of fear and anxiety, you need to help them overcome it through training and mental stimulation. 

But if your dog simply does it for comfort and is being harmless, then you can tolerate the behavior.

Just make sure you don’t let your furry friend sleep in bed with your kid! It is important to teach your children how to interact the right way with dogs first!



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