Dog Sleeping Positions Meanings

Dog Sleeping Positions Meanings

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We all love the silly ways our dogs can sleep sometimes. Yet they all have meanings. From laying on their back, legs in the air, or flat on their stomach in a superman pose, there position can tell you something about their mood and why they are laying that way. So here are common dog sleeping positions and their meanings.

Back To Back

When you have multiple dogs in your house dogs will occasionally lay their backs on one another as they rest. This is from their pack instinct and its just a way of protection, warmth, and affection. If your dog lays their back against you they are just showing some extra love.

Belly Curl

This position is when your dog is simply laying on their stomach with their front paws tucked back. Dogs often get in this position when the just want to take a quick rest.

Dogs don’t ever really sleep in this position because it’s too up tight for their muscles and they can’t get fully relaxed. When laying in this position it prevents their chance of getting into the REM deep sleeping stage.

If your dog is laying like this they may be under stress or uncomfortable. Most shy and gentle dogs lay in this position. It’s a quick way to get up and they aren’t exposed.

Crazy Legs

Crazy legs is an amusing position where your dog is laying on their back with all legs going up in all different directions. Our neighbor’s Goldendoodle tends to lay like this when she gets sleepy.

If you see your dog sleeping in this position that’s a good sign for you! It means your dog really trusts you. When they lay in this position they are fully exposed, meaning they have got to feel laid back and comfy in their spot.

Curled Up

For this position think of the belly curl position except this time your dogs front legs are out and their body is more curved in. Newly adopted dogs usually are spotted sleeping like this. They may not be so sure about their new environment or people yet.

It can also mean that your dog may be cold. So like the belly curl position this is simply a comfy way they can nod off.

Legs Up, Back Down

This position is similar to the crazy legs. The dog is laying on their back or side with their front paws bending by their chest and their back paws out in the air.

This usually means your dog is hot and wants to cool down. Although this position may be cute, be careful. Dogs who lay with their paws bending right over their chest usually don’t want to be bothered.

Side Sleeper

If your dog is laying like this on their side and legs out they are probably chill and have their trust kept in you. This is a very common position a dog will get in when wanting to take a quick power nap. Most dogs who lay like this have strong bonds with their owners.


This position is exactly how it sounds. It’s when your dog’s laying on their stomach and their legs are together and pointed out, making a flying superman pose on the ground.

Most puppies do this position because it’s an easy way to rest then get right back up and play again. This dog will definitely have lots of energy and is always ready to go!

That concludes seven types of dog sleeping positions meanings. Now let’s look at some places that your dog may catch some z’s and why.

Places Where Your Dog May Sleep and Why?

Your dog may have their favorite spots to rest around the house but why do they choose these areas.

Your Bed

A bed is the most common place a dog will sleep overnight if you let your dogs on the bed. Dogs love to be snuggled close to you. Also they like to have lots of space, that’s why dogs commonly try to sleep on your bed at night instead of their dog bed.


Dogs will often rest or sleep on your living room couch. The reason for this is that most families spend their time on their couch hanging out in the living room. Dogs see them here a lot and know it’s a comfortable safe place they can get tons of attention at.

Dog Bed

A dog bed is a essential thing to buy your dog when you first bring them home. It’s important that if your dog wants their privacy they have their own place to lay and sleep. Dogs who choose their bed over other places may want to be left alone.

Make sure the bed is size appropriate for the breed and plenty comfy. Need a good dog bed for your pooch? Click here to find the perfect doggie bed!

Hard Floors

On a hot summer day your dog will often lay on your hardwood floors. This is the most useful way a dog can cool down and take a little nap. When your dog rests here they are usually very excited about something yet tired and hot at the same time.


Some dogs mostly prefer to stay laying on the ground where they feel more comfortable. So a rug is a more soft comfy place they can rest. Most dogs take naps on rugs when having a long play period.

Edges of Chairs and Stools

Dog rarely sleep in this position. They usually just lay their back down by the feet of the chair or stool and watch you. This is a common position when dogs are curious about what you’re doing yet are tired and don’t want to walk around at the moment. They also do this to lean up when tired after playing because laying on the flat ground means they have to hold themselves up.

Do Dogs Dream?

Dogs have intelligent advanced mindsets that some people underestimate. But studies show dogs do actually dream. Anytime you see your dog twitch or make a sort of small movement while sleeping they are actually dreaming. Now of course we can’t really find out what they are dreaming about. They could be chasing something or someone, or maybe playing with someone they love. Who knows, but it is a definite yes that they have their own doggie dreams.

How Long Do Dogs Sleep a Day?

This really differs if we are talking about puppies or grown dogs. Puppies sleep much more and take naps throughout the day as they get tired easily and it helps them mature and grow. While grown dogs usually are up all day then just sleep at night. On average new puppies sleep around 18 – 20 hours a day. Yet Grown dogs just sleep about 12 – 14 hours a day.

If your have noticed big changes in your dogs sleep schedule then maybe have an exam from a vet to make sure your dog is healthy. With puppies a sleeping schedule that is all over the place is common but if you have an adult dog that has had a constant similar sleep schedule throughout the years change dramatically all of a sudden then you may want to look into it.

Some things that could be the cause of a sleep schedule change include: change in diet, aging, health problems (heart conditions or active thyroid). When dogs get very old they do tend to do the opposite of their normal sleep schedule.

Does the Environment Change How Much Your Dog Sleeps?

Yes, this actually has a huge effect on how much sleep your dogs gets. Like humans dogs start to get more used to things that they do more such as sleeping in your own bed. When you stay the night at a new place this can throw off your dog and they might not sleep as well for a while.

Also what your dog does effects their sleep schedule. Examples include working dogs, police dogs, guide dogs, sporting dogs, and farm dogs. They all feel as if they have a mission to fulfill all the time. So when it comes down to sleep they tend to get less of it because they are always alert and ready to work or be active. In contrast, lapdogs that are just your pet can sleep the day away all they want because they don’t have a care in the world.

Is My Dog Sleeping Too Much or Too Little?

Let’s talk some more about causes and effects of sleep change and if it’s healthy. I could be nothing serious but it could also be something that is really affecting their health.

Causes of oversleeping-

Depression- Dogs can get depression just like humans. And this can totally mess up their sleeping schedule. Signs of depression is your dog can be anxiety, loss of interest, and lack of appetite.

Deafness- Dog that are deaf seem to sleep much more. The main reason for this is that most dogs wake up in the morning to sounds or their owner calling their name. So if your trying to wake up your dog but they continue to sleep this is a huge sign of deafness. This is most common in older dogs.

Diabetes- Diabetes can affect the way your dog sleeps because when dogs get diabetes they feel very weak. Watch out for weight loss too in your dog as that’s a big symptom. This is most common in middle aged dogs.

Hypothyroidism- Hypothyroidism is when your dog gets lower levels of thyroid hormones and it weakens their immune system making it slow. If you have a small dog this is very rare but for medium sized and big dogs watch out for this condition.

Causes of decreased sleep-

Anxiety- Symptoms of anxiety are barking, pacing, shaking and trembling which can cause your dog to get little sleep. Treatments include therapy or medications.

Little exercise- It is very important that your dog gets the exercise needed. This can lead to your dog being restless and not able to settle down when your ready to sleep.

Getting exercise is mandatory especially for hyper dogs like shepherds or dogs that feel like they need to accomplish something like working dogs. If these kind of dogs don’t get enough exercise daily it can lead to anxiety, which leads to depression like we talked about earlier.

Need some ideas to keep your dog busy? Check out our article “Games To Play With German Shepherd When Bored.”

3 Facts About Sleeping Dogs

  1. Dogs sleep about half of their life. sleeping about 14-16 hours a day.
  2. Puppies and older dogs more commonly dream when they sleep than middle aged dogs.
  3. The saying, “Let a Sleeping Dog Lie” should be followed. 60% of dog bites happen when children wake up dogs that are in deep sleep. So make sure not to bother them.

Dog Sleeping Positions Meanings In Conclusion

So now you know all about dog sleeping positions meanings. So watch out for those signs of change in sleep pattern and when you see your dog sleeping in certain positions think about those meanings! Sleeping is a very important thing to this species. So follow this article to keep your dog healthy and happy.

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