You’re probably lazing on your couch and can’t help but notice your dog’s bum right in your face! He could be warm and cuddly, but sleeping with his bum facing you might come off cold. Don’t fret; there are many reasons why dogs sleep with their bum facing you.
Read on to find out:
- If the behavior is normal
- Why he sleeps with his bum facing you
- If it’s bad for a dog to sleep with his bum facing you
- How to stop the behavior
Why Do Dogs Sleep With Their Bum Facing You?
Dogs sleep with their bums facing you due to many reasons. It could be they trust you enough to sleep in this position, are asking for affection, or alerting you about a problem. They might also be nudging you to pet their behind or transferring their scent to you.
Is the Behavior Normal?
You might be wondering if this behavior is normal or one that needs training to stop. The truth is, it’s normal (at least for most dog breeds). Dogs sleep with their bums facing you due to many reasons.
Reasons Why Dogs Sleep With Their Bums Facing You
Here are the reasons why your dog sleeps with its bum facing you.
1. Show Trust
Dogs display trust in many ways, and one of them is lying with their bums facing you. A dog’s instinct is to respond to potential danger, positioning his body to react quickly.
However, when he turns his back on you, he trusts you enough to lie in this vulnerable position. In addition, he may lie on the side or the back while at it, indicating that he trusts you enough to let his guard down.
2. To Avoid Eye Contact
Unlike humans who use eye contact to communicate respect, affection, and comfort, dogs perceive this behavior differently. Dogs perceive it as a sign of dominance and may avoid it as much as possible. Your dog finds you the dominant individual in your relationship, making them uncomfortable or irritable.
As a result, he leaves his bum facing you instead of his face.
It could also be that your dog isn’t well socialized and finds comfort facing away from you. This is especially the case with shelter dogs who are still familiarizing themselves with the owner and their new surroundings.
If this is the case, it’s essential to make your dog feel comfortable using positive reinforcement. For example, encourage him to stare into your eyes and offer treats every time he does it to help him understand that eye contact isn’t a sign of dominance.
3. Seek Affection
Like babies, dogs want attention, and one way they nudge you to show affection is by turning their bums towards you. This behavior is called the hip nudge, and dogs use it when a pet owner shows them passive attention.
A dog’s bum is one of the most sensitive parts of the body because it has numerous nerve endings. Rubbing this part of the body makes him feel loved and appreciated, which causes him to wag his tail or lean in. He may also crouch down to allow you to rub his body.
4. Scent Marking
Another reason why dogs sleep with their bum facing you is to leave their scent on you. This behavior is known as scent-marking, and dogs use it to mark their territories when mating and to protect their loved ones.
Dogs have the most sensitive scent glands, and some of them are located on the tail and bum region. These glands produce chemical signals called pheromones which are unique to each dog.
When they sleep on their bums, it could be they are marking you with their scent as a signal to other dogs who are part of the household.
5. To Avoid Ventral Contact
Like humans, dogs don’t like ventral contact, such as face-to-face or chest-to-chest. A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that dog brains aren’t wired to look at human faces; instead, they light up at the sight of another dog. As a result, they sleep with their bums facing you to avoid looking at your face.
6. To Protect You
Dogs being man’s best friend, are very protective of their owners even while resting. They perceive you as the pack leader and develop a protective instinct for you and other family members. They adopt a posture that makes it easy to respond to threats.
With the bum facing you and the front facing away, your dog is well-prepared to jump to any threats to protect you.
7. To Feel Safe
Dogs feel safe with their owners and don’t worry about their sleeping positions. They may sleep with their bums facing you because they have a sense of security around you. They perceive you as a pack member and can expose their vulnerability without fear.
8. To Indicate a Problem
Dogs also adopt this sleeping position when they have a problem in their bums. You might notice rashes, bumps, and a foul smell around the bum area, a telltale sign of a flea infestation.
The fleas hide in the coat around the bum and latch on the skin to feed on a dog’s blood and lay eggs. They cause irritation and itching around the anus, often accompanied by excessive licking. If that’s the case, it’s best to visit a vet.
Is It Bad for a Dog to Sleep With His Bum Facing Me?
Now that you understand why dogs sleep with their bum facing you, it’s safe to say it’s not bad at all. However, you want to check your dog’s bum hygiene before allowing him to lie in this position.
If he isn’t the cleanest animal in the house, he’s likely to spread fecal matter or bacteria onto your blankets or pillow. If you must sleep with him on your bed, ensure he’s clean.
How to Stop the Behavior?
This posture might not sit well with some dog owners prompting them to look for ways to stop it. Here’s how.
Identify Underlying Issues
Start by addressing potential issues encouraging the behavior. For example, if he’s a shy rescue dog and avoids eye contact, train him to look at you without fear.
Avoid Encouraging the Behavior
You also need to avoid encouraging the behavior. For example, if you’ve been petting his bum every time he turns away from you, you encourage this behavior, and he’s less likely to stop. If you don’t like it, use positive reinforcement every time he sleeps in a different position.
Correct the Behavior
It could be your dog is used to sleeping with his bum facing you and needs correction. Begin by commanding him to turn around every time he lies in this posture. If he does it correctly, give him a treat.
Be consistent so that he learns how to sleep quickly.
Train Your Dog to Sleep on His Bed
If he doesn’t learn how to sleep facing you, train him to sleep on his bed. Start by teaching him in another room other than your bedroom to ease the transition. It would help if you also created a familiar environment to make it easy for him to sleep here.
To create a familiar scent, you can add his favorite toy to make the bed inviting and rub your hands on it. Since you don’t want to develop strife when training him to sleep in his bed, it’s best to establish familiar commands.
Simple commands like ‘bed,’ ‘go to bed,’ or ‘down’ should be effective when used consistently. Be sure to practice the training in different parts of the house to get him used to sleeping on his bed. It’s also an excellent time to train him to keep off your bed.
Be sure to invest in a comfortable dog bed, too, as it determines the outcome of your bed training. Factor in its size, materials, design, and how accommodating it will be for your pooch when he’s stretching out. Dogs sleep for 12-14 hours a day so having a good bed plays a critical role in the quality of their sleep.
Now that you understand why dogs sleep with their bum facing you, it’s easy to take the appropriate action. It’s their way of showing affection, trust, and protection to their loved ones.
There’s no need for bed training if you like it, but if you loathe it, try to train him to sleep in other positions. Alternatively, buy a bed for him and teach him to sleep on it.