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9 Dog Sleeping Positions and What They Mean

Mar 25,2024 | Petbobi

Nothing is more peaceful than watching your beloved pet curl up next to the fireplace and happily drift off to sleep as you stream a show, read a book, or enjoy a warm cup of coffee.

While you’re sitting there studying your pup, you may ask yourself, are there certain dog sleep positions that make them bark, twitch, or move their paws in a running motion?

In this article, let’s go over some of the widely accepted dog psychology behind your four-legged friends' various positions, attributes, and habits while they doze off to Slumberland.



1. The Side Sleeper

This is probably the most common dog sleep position you will encounter as a pet owner. Many dogs prefer to lay on their side with their legs poking out because it shows they are happy, feel safe around you, and are at a comfortable temperature.

Dogs sleep on their side when near a heat source or because they feel a certain loyalty to you based on mutual trust. This is also when they will get the most deep sleep, which is why you tend to notice running or twitching in the position.



2. The Lion’s Pose

Sometimes called “The Sphinx,” this pose is when the doggo gently rests their head on their paws. Think about the statues of lions you may have come across in libraries or courthouses.

While in this position, the dog feels a sense of added protection to you. They may adopt this pose while sleeping in front of a door waiting for you to come home or at your feet when visiting friends. This is because they are able to jump up quickly if startled or need to defend someone.



3. The Donut

One of the most heartwarming dog sleep positions you will come across is the donut. This is when your furry friend curls up into a ball with their legs tucked in. The goal of this “shrimp-like” position is to conserve body heat.

When in a donut, a dog shows they care about you and their surroundings but maybe a little anxious – hence protecting their vital organs. Most dogs visiting a new space or being welcomed into a new home will try out the donut pose.



4. The Burrower

Almost every dog owner has come across the burrower before. Maybe there is a smaller dog on a trip or certain breeds that need a little extra attention. What happens is the dog wants to get under some form of blanket, pillow, or even your old pile of dirty laundry.

When a dog burrows like this, they are saying they love you, but may be a little needy to feel extra secure. If you have a burrower but don’t quite like the behavior, try picking up some dog shirts that add a little pressure to their body as they rest.



5. The Belly Up

This is the dog sleep position you’ll find flooding social media. There are endless videos on TikTok of dogs with tongues hanging out and bellies proudly exposed to the sky as they snore away on a couch.

Even though we may think this isn’t the most comfortable position, these dogs are showing they truly trust and love who you are. They have become so comfortable in their surroundings that they feel okay exposing themselves to potential harm. Put simply, they know you’re there to protect them.



6. The Superman

This dog sleep position is a little rare because it can be rough on a dog’s hips or joints. In Superman, the dog is lying sprawled out while pressing their belly down to the floor. If you want a funny experience, look up a squirrel “sploot". It's basically the same thing.

Many puppies will choose this position because they are effectively “plopping down” due to a lot of physical exertion from play or other activities.



7. The Cuddler

It can be challenging when you have a dog that prefers the cuddler position. This is because they want to be on top or curled up next to you. While these dogs are super affectionate, and you get some crazy good pictures, they can be a little over-loving if you prefer some space.

When your dog cuddles close to sleep, they are bonded to you. Over time, this activity becomes a habit and indicates they feel comfortable sleeping around you.



8. The Cold Surface

This really isn’t a position because you’ll find dogs sleeping in Superman or lion’s pose with this option. What is more important is they are seeking out a cold floor, water, or something else that lowers their body temperature.

The only real reason they’re choosing this position is because they are overheated. A lot of huskies and cold-weather dogs will lay like this to feel relaxed. If you want to enhance this experience, switch on a fan, offer a frozen treat, or maybe turn down the AC.



9. Head and Neck Raised

Finally, let’s look at the dog psychology behind a puppy lying with its head or neck on a raised surface. Maybe they like a pillow or use the armrest of a couch.

We want to mention this position because it can indicate some breathing or heart issues. Your dog is trying to get more oxygen into its body, so be on the lookout for other symptoms that may be a reason to visit your local vet.



Dog Sleeping Patterns and Behaviors

While there are some incredible dog sleep positions that you’ll find your pup happily embracing throughout the day and night, you may also experience random behaviors that make you curious. Don’t worry. These are pretty common and shouldn’t be cause for alarm unless it relates to breathing. Here are some examples:

  • Dreaming: Yes, not only is there scientific evidence backing that part of dog psychology is dreaming, but they also have complex dreams similar to ours. The current research leans toward dogs dreaming about their recent day, but more insight is needed for details.
  • Twitching: Just like your great uncle twitching in that lazy boy chair after Thanksgiving, your doggo will also occasionally twitch their paws or facial features. This is just them moving from one sleep cycle to another, and nothing to be worried about.
  • Snoring: All the pug owners can skip this section. There are plenty of dog breeds that will snore. Dogs are similar to us in that some will snore, others will not. It usually is no cause for alarm.
  • Running: If your dog sleeps on their side and begins to run, that just means they’re reliving a fun part of the day or thinking about roaming free outside. Nothing more than a response to a dream.
  • Squeaking: In some cases, your dog may let out tiny squeaking barks. Odds are they see a rabbit or treat in their dreams and are getting excited. Simply ignore it, and they’ll stop naturally.

The best course of action is to let your dog continue sleeping. As long as they seem safe and free from harm, you have nothing to worry about as they snort, squeak, and twitch their way through dreamland.



How Long Do Dogs Sleep?

Every dog will sleep different durations based on their age, level of activity, and comfort with their surroundings. In general, you can expect:

  • Puppies tend to sleep between 18 and 20 hours a day.
  • Adults snore happily for around 8 to 14 hours per day.
  • Seniors need to get more sleep in the 18 to 20 hours a day range as they enter their golden years.

From this breakdown of dog psychology and sleep habits, you can see that puppies and seniors need the most sleep. In the case of puppies, this is because they are still developing and probably highly active around your home.

For seniors, they have less energy and need added sleep to feel comfortable throughout the day.

With adults, sleep is directly related to diet, activity level, and personality. It may take some time to understand the unique needs of your particular pooch, so give them a designated space for sleep to best track their habits.

For example, if you have your pet on one of our Petbobi Tie-Out Cables & Stakes to get a lot of exercise during the day, they may sleep longer through the night to recover their energy levels.



Wrapping Up

Your dog is a prized family member with just as many sleep needs as you do. Finding out what the different dog sleep positions are and the various dog psychology behind them helps inform you about their general personality, health, and happiness.

While getting an hour’s worth of extra activity using our Petbobi Dog Toy is always a great way to keep them active, seeing how they lay down for a good night’s sleep will also give you comfort that they are happy at home.

The next time you see your dog happily snoring away on its back or leaning its head on your knee for a nap, they are at peace and trust you as their owner. Sweet dreams doggies!