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Does Your Dog Suddenly Change Their Sleeping Location? Understanding Your Dogs' Sleeping Habits - PawSafe

Does Your Dog Suddenly Change Their Sleeping Location? Understanding Your Dogs’ Sleeping Habits

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

dog suddenly change sleeping location

Have you ever wondered, “Why does my dog suddenly change sleeping locations?” Just when you think your canine companion is comfortably curled up in their favorite spot, they decide to abruptly shift positions and leave you wondering why. Sometimes, when a dog changes where they sleep, it can feel personal. When my mixed breed dog Josie suddenly stopped sleeping in my bed and started sleeping on the couch, I have to admit, it hurt my feelings a little.

As pet owners, we want our dogs to be comfortable and content in their environment. However, dogs are creatures of habit and routine. So, when they suddenly change their sleeping location, it can be a sign that something is off. It can be confusing and concerning for pet owners, but rest assured, it’s a common behavior among dogs.

Well, there are a few reasons why dogs change their sleeping positions, and it’s all part of their natural behavior. In this article, we’ll use research papers and expert sources to explore the reasons why dogs switch up their sleeping spots and what it could mean for their health and happiness.

Firstly, dogs are creatures of habit, but they can also be curious. They may want to explore new areas of your home, or they may be seeking a more comfortable or cooler spot to rest. Additionally, dogs may change their sleeping location due to changes in their environment, such as new furniture or a new family member.

It’s also important to note that dogs are social animals and may want to be closer to their owners. If your dog suddenly starts sleeping in your bedroom or on your couch, it may be a sign that they want to be near you.

Fun fact: Sleep has been linked to improved learning in dogs by improving their consolidated memory. So, if you want your dog to be a trick master, it’s time for a nap. This is on top of consistency and positive reinforcement, of course. 

11 Possible Reasons A Dog May Suddenly Sleep Somewhere Else

A child sleeping on the couch with a Beagle dog. Dogs may often change sleeping locations to sleep near family members they love most, like children.

Dogs spend about half their day asleep, which is basically half their life or more. Therefore, staying observant about your dog’s sleeping patterns, like sleeping too much, restlessness, or not sleeping enough, provides insights into their overall health. 

Here are 11 possible reasons for sudden sleeping location changes in dogs:

1. It’s Too Hot

Dogs may move to a cooler location if they are feeling too hot. This could be due to the temperature of the room or the bed they were sleeping on. Providing your dog with a cooler sleeping area or a fan to circulate the air can help alleviate this issue.

Heat was the main reason Josie stopped sleeping in my bed. In summer, the bed was just too warm so she moved to the couch. As soon as winter rolled round, she was back in bed snuggling with me.

2. It’s Too Cold

On the other hand, dogs may move to a warmer location if they are feeling too cold. This could be due to the temperature of the room or the bed they were sleeping on. These adjustments help them maintain a comfortable body temperature while sleeping.

3. Disturbances in Their Usual Space

If there are sudden changes in the environment around your dog’s sleeping area, they may move to a different location. This could be due to loud noises, new smells, or other disturbances that make them feel uncomfortable. Research shows that all these pre-sleep experiences affect canine sleep.

4. Finding a Better Spot to Sleep (Furniture or Beds)

Dogs may move to a different location if they find a more comfortable spot to sleep. This could be a new piece of furniture, a different bed, in between your feet, or even a pile of blankets on the floor. Picky dogs might switch positions until they find the “perfect” one.

5. Another Pet Took Their Bed

If you have multiple pets, your dog may move to a different location if another pet has taken over their bed. If another pet approaches or disturbs them during sleep, your dog might wake up or change their position in response to social cues. See this video of cats taking over dog’s beds:

6. Bed Has Become Uncomfortable

Over time, your dog’s bed may become worn out and uncomfortable. This can cause them to move to a different location in search of a more comfortable sleeping area. You’ll probably observe fewer sleeping location changes if you get your canine a new bed.

7. A New Addition to the Household (Children, Babies, and Guests)

If there is a new addition to the household, such as a child, baby, or guest, your dog may move to a different location to avoid the new addition. This behavior reflects their natural instinct to stay alert to potential threats or exciting stimuli in their environment. However,  if they really like the baby or guest, it’s not uncommon for them to start sleeping in the child or baby’s room to take up the role of protector or simply out of a deep sense of love to the new addition to the family.

8. Health Concerns

If your dog is experiencing health issues, they may move to a different location to alleviate any discomfort. This could be due to pain, discomfort, or other health concerns. It is important to monitor your dog’s health and provide them with any necessary medical attention.

9. Age-Related Changes

As dogs age, they may experience changes in their sleeping habits. This could include moving to a different location to alleviate discomfort or to find a more comfortable sleeping area. 

A study of 28 senior dogs found that dogs with higher dementia scores (Canine Cognitive Dysfunction) spent less time on REM and NREM sleep, with shallower sleep overall. Senior dogs may move around more at night due to cognitive decline and confusion.

10. Sleep Cycles

Different sleep cycles in dogs include REM and non-REM sleep. When transitioning from deep sleep to REM sleep, a dog’s muscles muscles may relax, causing them to shift or stretch. This natural cycle can lead to sudden changes in sleep positions.

The REM stage is often associated with dreaming, and if your dog is having an active dream, they might move or even make noise and whimper while sleeping. Some dogs even appear to sleep with their eyes open. A phenomenon we’ve covered in our linked article. 

11. Safety

A dog’s choice of sleeping location may reflect their perceived level of safety and comfort. Additionally, different sleeping styles can include curling up into a ball or tucking their tail, which are defensive postures that offer protection to their vital organs. Conversely, when they feel safe and relaxed in their environment, they may stretch out in a more exposed position. 

How to Address Sleep Location Changes in Dogs

sleep location changes in dogs

If your dog has suddenly changed their sleeping location, there are a few things you can do to address the issue.

Consulting a Veterinarian

Before making any changes to your dog’s sleeping arrangements, it’s important to rule out any underlying health issues. 

Schedule a visit with your veterinarian to ensure your dog is healthy and not experiencing any pain or discomfort that could be causing them to change their sleeping location. It’s especially important to schedule vet visits if your senior dog has sleep difficulties.

Creating a Comfortable Environment

Once you’ve ruled out any health issues, it’s important to create a comfortable sleeping environment for your dog. This includes providing a comfortable bed, ensuring the room is at a comfortable temperature, and minimizing any noises or distractions that could disrupt your dog’s sleep.

Additionally, consider providing your dog with a few options for sleeping locations. This can help your dog feel more comfortable and in control of their sleeping arrangements.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why does my dog sleep in weird positions?

Dogs can sleep in a variety of positions, and it’s not uncommon for them to sleep in what we might consider to be “weird” positions. It’s important to keep in mind that dogs are individuals with their own preferences, just like humans. Some dogs may prefer to sleep curled up in a ball, while others may prefer to stretch out. As long as your dog is comfortable and able to get a good night’s sleep, there’s no need to be concerned.

Why is my dog not sleeping in his usual place?

There could be a number of reasons why your dog is not sleeping in his usual place. Perhaps he’s feeling anxious or stressed, or maybe there’s something in that area that’s bothering him. It’s also possible that he’s simply looking for a change of scenery. If you’re concerned, you can try to make his usual sleeping area more comfortable and appealing, or you can provide him with a new sleeping spot that he might enjoy.

What does my dog’s different sleeping position mean?

Different sleeping positions can indicate different things about your dog’s mood and health. For example, if your dog is sleeping on his back with his belly exposed, it could mean that he’s feeling relaxed and comfortable. On the other hand, if he’s curled up in a ball, it could mean that he’s feeling anxious or insecure. If you’re concerned about your dog’s sleeping position, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian.

Why does my dog lay in the bathroom alone?

There could be a number of reasons why your dog is lying in the bathroom alone. Perhaps he’s seeking out a cooler spot, or maybe he’s looking for a quiet place to relax. It’s also possible that there’s something in the bathroom that’s attracting him, such as a particular scent or texture. As long as your dog is comfortable and safe, there’s no need to be concerned.

My dog has his days and nights mixed up; what can I do?

If your dog has his days and nights mixed up, there are a few things you can do to help him adjust. First, try to establish a regular routine for feeding, exercise, and playtime. This can help your dog understand when it’s time to be active and when it’s time to rest. You can also try to create a calm and quiet sleeping environment for your dog and avoid stimulating activities before bedtime.

Why has my dog’s personality changed overnight?

If your dog’s personality has changed overnight, it could be a sign of a health problem or other underlying issue. It’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian if you notice any sudden changes in your dog’s behavior or personality. They can help you identify the root cause of the problem and recommend the best course of action.

Conclusion

There are several reasons why your dog may suddenly change their sleeping location. It could be due to discomfort or pain, changes in their environment, or a desire for more privacy. It’s important to observe your dog’s behavior and monitor any changes in their sleeping habits. Providing your dog with a comfortable and safe sleeping area can help prevent any sudden changes in their sleeping location.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe

Author

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.