How do you communicate with your pup? From going on long walks to enjoying training sessions to throwing the frisbee in the backyard, there are tons of ways to bond with our dogs. Our furry friends give us companionship and comfort, and in return, we make sure they have a happy, healthy life.
Sometimes, however, communication can be tricky. It’s hard to always know exactly how dogs are feeling about us and their surroundings, especially if you’re a new pet owner. That’s where sleeping positions come in. You can gain a lot of insight by studying the way your pooch sleeps, and then use that insight to better care for your dog and his needs.
Here are seven common sleeping positions and what they could mean about your dog’s personality:
- On your chest: Your dog feels a deep connection with you, and misses you when you’re gone all day at work or school. Make sure they have a warm blanket to cozy up to when you’re gone for comfort.
- Curled up: This could mean your pup is wary and protecting their body, or that they’re cold. Ideal temperature for dogs should range between 68–78 degrees, so adjust your thermostat if it’s too cold.
- Belly up: Laid-back dogs do this when they feel confident and at home. Since your dog is very comfortable with you, try teaching them a few new tricks when they wake up.
- Sprawled out: This position means your dog or puppy is energetic and wants to be able to hop up quickly and keep playing. Make sure your pup is getting 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise every day.
- On their side: An easy-going dog who feels comfortable in their home will settle in this position for a deep sleep. Don’t disturb your dog, as they need 12–14 hours of sleep. Let them catch up on their Z’s.
- Belly down: On their belly and paws their muscles won’t fully relax, which can be a sign they are stressed or uncomfortable. If your dog isn’t typically timid, help them relax by removing other pets or children from the area.
- Passed out: Your dog will expose their belly and paws to cool down since they have sweat glands on the pads of their feet. Make sure they have access to fresh water and bring them inside if it’s a hot summer day.
Now that you understand what your pet’s trying to communicate when they’re asleep, here are five tips to help your dog sleep more fully:
- Try ambient noise: A fan or music can help keep distractions at bay for an anxious pet.
- Make sure they get exercise: Take your dog on walks to make sure they’re getting the stimulation they need to feel tired later.
- Be consistent: Feed and exercise your furry friend on a schedule to make their bedtime more predictable.
- Model their behavior: Dogs look to you for guidance, so stick to a consistent bedtime and make an effort to reduce nighttime wakings.
- Consider medicines: If your pet is suffering from persistent anxiety or insomnia, talk to your vet about medications that might help.
Knowing exactly how to set your dog up for restful sleep will help them feel safer and more energized when they wake up. Recognizing signs of distress or discomfort while they sleep will only make you a better dog owner and strengthen the bond between you and your pup. To you, your dog will only be a part of your life. But to them, you’re their whole life — so make it a good one by caring for their needs in the best possible way!
For visual representations of the sleeping positions mentioned above, check out the infographic below.
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