Dogs have plenty of strange behaviors, and a dog sleeping by its owner’s head is no exception.
You may feel special if a dog continuously sleeps by your head. However, you may also wonder if this behavior is indicative of any underlying health conditions that dog owners should look out for in their dogs.
In this article, we will go over all of the possible reasons why a dog may sleep by an owner’s head as we look to answer the question, “Why does my dog sleep by my head?”.
First, Watch This Sleepy Dog Fighting Off A Nap!
13 Reasons Why A Dog May Sleep By Your Head
There are a wide array of possibilities that explain why a dog may sleep by an owner’s head, as this is a common sleeping position for pooches. Most of the reasons that a dog sleeps by its owner’s head are completely harmless, but some may be cause for concern.
Continue reading to determine the probable cause of why your furry friend may be sleeping by your head.
- This helps them feel secure
- They’re being protective
- Your dog is frightened
- You accidentally trained them
- They’re trying to keep warm
- Overprotective behavior
- They’re marking their territory
- Your dog loves the smell of your hair
- Your dog has separation anxiety
- They’re feeling lonely
- You have a new puppy
- Your Dog May Have A Minor Health Issue
- Sleeping By Your Head Is The Only Comfortable Sleeping Space For Your Dog
This Helps Them Feel Secure
The first possible reason why a dog may sleep by an owner’s head is simply because doing this helps your furry to feel secure as they drift away into slumber.
Hearing the breathing of dog parents can help some dogs to fall asleep. This scenario will make for secure dogs that have the peace of mind that they need to begin sleeping.
Moreover, dogs are pack animals by nature, and your pooch likely views you as one of its pack members. Since you are considered one of the pack members, your pooch will likely want to sleep by you.
They’re Being Protective
Sleeping near an owner’s head is a common dog sleeping position for your canine companion to find itself in. Another reason that dogs may engage in this behavior is because they want to protect their owners.
Sleeping near the head of an owner is about the best way to ensure an owner’s safety. At least, this is how a dog may think.
Many dog owners have loving pooches that would do anything to keep them safe. When a dog lies near your head, your beloved pet is attempting to keep you safe even when both of you are in a deep sleep.
Your Dog Is Frightened
Furry friends may sleep by the heads of their owners if they are scared for some reason.
While it is never fun to realize that a dog is afraid, the positive of this reason is that it is easy for an owner to tell when a dog is scared, as they will likely be quivering or whimpering.
If your dog usually sleeps in its own dog bed rather than by your head, perhaps they are being prompted to do so because they are frightened by something. If you suspect that this may be the case, monitor your dog’s behavior and see if you can deduce what has got them scared.
You Accidentally Trained Them
Pet parents often wonder about the reasons why dogs sleep by their heads, but it turns out that owners may have themselves to blame.
Indeed, many people inadvertently train their dogs to get quality sleep by their heads. They do this by offering positive reinforcement to dogs who display these sleeping habits.
If a dog receives enough positive reinforcement, its dog training may soon lead it to believe that sleeping by its owner’s head is what is expected of it. In these instances, dogs may habitually sleep near the head of their owners, making it difficult to break them of their habit.
If you don’t want a dog to constantly sleep by your head, be cautious when offering positive reinforcement to your pup when it sleeps near your head. Try using dog treats and consistent commands to break the habit if your dog sleeps by your head.
They’re Trying to Keep Warm
Some dogs may sleep near the heads of their owners if they’re trying to use your body heat to keep warm. Dog breeds like Greyhounds, Beagles, Chihuahuas, and other short-haired breeds may be especially likely to do this.
Of course, if you have a German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, or other long-haired dog breed, this is not likely to be an issue. However, owners of short-haired dog breeds should be aware that their furry friends may be cuddling up to their heads for warmth.
If your dog scoots close to your head and shivers as it tries to go to sleep, be sure to assess the situation. Is the temperature of your house causing your dog to shiver, or are some external circumstances causing your dog to be fearful or anxious?
No matter the reason, if your dog is shivering, it is best to get to the root of what is causing the behavior. Try increasing the temperature of your house or providing a blanket to your dog in its dog bed and see if the shivering stops.
If the shivering persists for longer than a few hours, it may be worth checking in with a veterinarian.
There is an important distinction between a dog being protective of its owner and a dog being overprotective.
Guard dogs that exhibit protective behavior are willing to move and sleep elsewhere, whereas dogs that are overprotective are hesitant to change their sleeping position. Moreover, overprotective dogs may act hostile towards anyone who tries to interfere with them sleeping near their owner’s head.
If you suspect that you may have an overprotective dog, it is best to treat this behavior early on if possible. Overprotective dogs are potentially dangerous to those around them. This includes the potential to pose a danger to others in the house, other pets, their owners, and themselves.
Those who are not able to break their dog’s tendency to be overprotective may want to seek professional dog trainer help for their canine companion.
They’re Marking Their Territory
If a dog only seems to sleep by your head occasionally, it could be marking the area by your head with its scent. This behavior is most commonly seen in male dogs who share a house with other pets.
Scent marking is used to establish territorial boundaries and send messages to other pets. It can be accomplished by emitting an odor from scent glands, but it can also be done by simply rubbing their bodies on the area around your head.
Marking an area with scent is not a behavior that needs to be done regularly, so a dog may only sleep by your head to mark their scent once every week or two.
Your Dog Loves The Smell Of Your Hair
Some dogs may sleep by your head because they enjoy smelling your hair. This may seem like a bizarre reason for a dog to sleep by an owner’s head, but it is certainly a possibility.
Keep in mind that scent is the most important sense for a dog. Your pooch relies on its impeccable sense of smell to communicate to navigate the ins and outs of its daily life.
If your hair has an enticing scent, your dog may be compelled to sleep by your head to maximize its experience with the smell.
Owners that notice that their dog seems to only sleep by their head after they have washed their hair may need to consider the unusual conclusion that their beloved pet loves the smell of their hair.
Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety in dogs is a complicated issue for pet parents. Any good dog owner will want their furry friends to enjoy spending time with them, but dogs who get to the point of being anxious any time an owner is about to leave are a challenge.
Separation anxiety is a condition that owners will not want their dogs to have, as this condition is detrimental to the health and happiness of your canine companion. Luckily, spotting the signs of separation anxiety in dogs is simple.
If your dog starts to whine, pant, or act distraught every time you’re about to leave home, it may have separation anxiety. Those who have an anxious dog with separation anxiety may find that dogs with this condition tend to sleep by their heads when it comes time for a good night’s sleep.
Dogs that have separation anxiety may do this because sleeping by their owner comforts them. In cases of dogs with severe separation anxiety, these pooches may sleep next to the heads of their owners because they can’t even stand to sleep in their own dog bed.
If your dog acts upset whenever owners try to relocate it during sleep, then it may have separation anxiety.
It is best for owners to treat this condition when they first notice signs that a dog may have separation anxiety. Seeking advice from a vet on how to treat this condition is a good place to start.
They’re Feeling Lonely
Some dogs may sleep by their owner’s heads because they are feeling lonely.
We all want our furry friends to be happy and feel loved, but sometimes life gets busy and we fail to make the time for our dogs that they deserve.
Both adult dogs and puppies are fully capable of having feelings of loneliness, but some dogs are more susceptible to this feeling than others. Just like humans, dogs have unique personalities and preferences that vary between individuals.
Most dogs are perfectly content with alone time, with some owners even wishing that their dogs would be more personable. However, other dogs thrive on having interactions with their owners.
If you have a dog that craves spending time with you, then it may sleep by your head as a way of telling you that it is feeling a bit lonely.
If you suspect that this may be the case, try offering some attention to your dog and see if its sleeping habits change. Petting your pooch and giving it love may be enough to make your dog happy enough to sleep in its bed. Of course, this behavior may also encourage your furry friend to stay right where it is.
You Have A NewPuppy
Sometimes owners may find that their dogs tend to sleep near their head if they’re a puppy settling down to sleep. Is this a sign that something is wrong with your puppy? Why does my puppy sleep near my head?
A new puppy that wants to sleep on your head is not likely to be indicative of something wrong with the dog. Rather, this can be perfectly normal behavior for a puppy that is adjusting to a new home.
Getting welcomed into a new home can be a jarring experience for a tiny pup, as they are leaving behind the life that they’ve known and starting a new life.
The first few days at your house can be scary for a puppy, as a new house will be full of unfamiliar sights and smells.
As your puppy gets adjusted to its new life, you may find that it tends to sleep by your head. Your young dog may do this because they are wanting a familiar sight and smell when they sleep.
If your puppy is sleeping by your head, consider the action to be a compliment, as it likely means that your precious pooch is comfortable with you. Older dogs are likely to grow out of this behavior if you train them to do so.
Your Dog May Have A Minor Health Issue
Sometimes puppies sleep near the heads of their owners if they have a minor health issue such as an upset stomach. If a dog sleeps near your head and tries to get your attention with its front paws, make sure that nothing is wrong.
Dogs with poor eating habits are especially prone to developing these minor health conditions. If you suspect that your dogs sleep by your head because of health issues, take them to the vet immediately so they can check your dog’s vital organs and the remainder of your dog’s body.
Sleeping By Your Head Is The Only Comfortable Sleeping Space For Your Dog
If you have read through the list that we’ve assembled of possible reasons why your dog may be sleeping by your head and you feel that none of them pertain to your dog, then maybe your pooch is sleeping by your head because it is the only comfortable sleeping space.
Does your dog have its own place to sleep? If your canine companion doesn’t have its own bed or another place where it feels comfortable sleeping, then this could explain why it may sleep on your head.
In the absence of a designated sleeping spot, dogs will find their own sleeping location. During instances such as these, dogs may choose to sleep near your head.
This should not be surprising that dogs should choose to sleep here, as it is the most comfortable location for you to sleep.
If you’ve been thinking about why your dog sleeps by your head and realize that your pooch lacks a sleeping spot of its own, try creating a designated spot in which your dog can sleep and see if its behavior changes. You will quickly deduce if your dog prefers to sleep in their new sleeping spot.
How Can I Get My Dog To Stop Sleeping By My Head?
Some dog owners may adore the fact that their furry friends choose to sleep next to their heads, but for most, this sleeping arrangement is not desirable.
It may be cute to receive dog love as your dog sleeps by your head during the first time or two that it happens, but most will quickly tire of the sounds, smell, warmth, and tendency for a dog’s butt to be in its face when trying to sleep.
After several instances of dogs sleeping by an owner’s head, most pet parents are ready to look for solutions to changing this behavior. So, how can owners deter their dogs from sleeping in one of the most common sleeping positions?
Find The Cause
As you have surely gathered from reading the above section, there are plenty of different reasons why a dog may sleep on your head.
Determining the exact cause of why a dog is sleeping by your head is the best way to ensure that you address the behavior correctly.
Owners can try to discern why a dog may be sleeping by their head by observing their canine friends and noting their behavior. Are they cold, scared, excited, or seemingly unenthused? Trying to perceive how your dog feels emotionally or physically when they sleep next to your head is a wise idea.
If you are still unsure about your dog’s behavior after several days of observation, then you may want to meet with your veterinarian to see if they can offer insights into how your dog may be feeling.
Give A Dog Plenty Of Exercise and Attention
Dogs that have not received sufficient amounts of exercise or attention during the day may become restless when it comes time to settle down and sleep for the night.
In their restlessness, a dog may find that sleeping by your head is a convenient spot to sleep. If owners want to avoid this circumstance, they should prioritize giving their dogs lots of exercise during the day.
If a dog has received sufficient exercise, mental stimulation, and attention, it will likely be ready to pass out and fall asleep anywhere when it comes time to go to sleep.
Create A Cozy Sleeping Space For Your Pooch
Pet parents will want to make sure that their dog has a comfortable, cozy place to sleep so they don’t decide to sleep near their heads.
It’s always a good idea to ensure that dogs have a place to sleep in their owner’s bedroom if they want, so having a dog bed in this location is a wise idea.
However, owners may also want to consider creating additional places for their dogs to sleep. For instance, placing a dog’s crate in another room may compel your furry friend to choose to sleep there rather than in a bedroom on some nights.
Having multiple comfortable locations in which a dog can sleep will likely deter a pooch from sleeping next to your head.
Incentivize Your Dog To Sleep Elsewhere
If you have a pooch that tries to sleep by your head without being prompted to do so, you will want to try to discourage this behavior if you don’t want to have your dog doing it.
When a dog tries to sleep by your head, offer a firm “no” to discourage the behavior from them. If they don’t listen, try to gently remove them from the area and place them elsewhere. If they try to hop back up by your head, tell them “no” once again.
Continue practicing discouraging the behavior if you don’t want your dog to sleep next to your head. If your precious pooch still doesn’t quit the behavior despite your discouragement, then there is one more thing owners can try.
Seek Professional Help
Some dogs seem determined to sleep by their owner’s heads no matter the circumstances. If you have a dog that always seems to sleep by your head, rest assured that they are not engaging in this behavior out of spite, and remember that it can be difficult for an animal to break a habit.
If you have exhausted your options and tried your best to get your dog to stop sleeping by your head, then you may want to seek professional advice.
Talking to a trusted veterinarian would be a good place to start, as they can diagnose the root cause of why your puppy may be sleeping by your head.
A vet can give advice and offer some solutions to treat the behavior. If they think the behavior has developed into a strong habit, they may recommend that you work with an experienced dog trainer in an effort to break the habit.
Why Does My Dog Sleep Wrapped Around My Head?
If you have a pooch that tends to sleep wrapped around your head rather than sleeping near your head, then there may be several reasons for this behavior.
Luckily, a dog that sleeps wrapped around a head does not have as many possible causes as a dog that sleeps next to its owner’s head.
A common reason why dogs may sleep on my head is because they are chilly from the cold air in your house. By wrapping around an owner’s head, dogs are warming themselves as they get ready to sleep.
Overprotective dogs may also engage in the behavior of wrapping themselves around their owner’s head. An overprotective dog may tend to smother their owner in their attempts to stay close to their side. Remember, it is beneficial for both dog and owner to treat this behavior when it is observed.
The final common reason why a dog may sleep on my head is because they have separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety often prompts a dog to want to be as close to an owner as possible, and it’s hard to be closer than wrapped around an owner’s head.
If you try to remove your dog when it is wrapped around your head and it starts to whimper or act distraught, then it may have separation anxiety.
Why Does My Dog Sleep On The Pillow Above My Head?
Perhaps you know of a dog that does not sleep next to your head, instead preferring to sleep on a pillow above your head.
If you have a dog like this and you’re wondering what is causing them to behave in such a way, the truth is that any of the reasons that can be used to explain a dog sleeping next to an owner’s head can be used to explain this behavior.
Unlike the specific behavior of a dog wrapping itself around an owner’s head, this behavior does not have likely explanations.
If you don’t like having your dog sleep in this location, try to deter them from sleeping on pillows above your head. If your dog does not listen to you and continues to practice this behavior, observe your furry friend, and try to deduce why they are behaving in this way,
As always, if you are having trouble identifying the exact cause of why your dog is behaving this way, consult a veterinarian or dog behavioral specialist.