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How to Understand Your Dog’s Sleeping Position

It’s possible to learn a lot about our furry friends simply by watching the way they sleep. If you’ve noticed, just like humans, dogs sleep in different positions, too, such as on their sides, on their backs with their paws in the air, curled up, and more.

5-Minute Crafts has prepared a guide for you to get familiar with the most common dog sleeping positions through which you can gain some clues and insight into their personalities and habits.

❗ Important: All the information represented in the article is for informative purposes only. In case your dog has any health issues with sleeping, it’s strongly recommended you consult with your veterinarian first.

1. The side sleeper

Dogs sleep on their sides with their legs extended for ultimate comfort. It is when they’re likely to get the most deep sleep. This type of sleeping is one of the most popular positions among puppies and older dogs who may be suffering from stiff joints too.

When they sleep on their sides, they feel safe, relaxed, and comfortable in their surroundings and with the temperatures of the environment. They are easy-going, calm, trusting, and loyal. And they have an affectionate and close bond with their owners.

2. The lion’s pose

When they sleep with their heads on their paws, it’s also called ’’the sphinx’’ position. Their muscles aren’t fully relaxed, and they are still keeping their bodies in a relatively upright position. They’ll even sleep by your feet or the front door. It’s common among energetic puppies who aren’t yet ready to sleep. Dogs sleeping in this position are protective and devoted.

They are just resting but not in a deep sleep state; they start out in the lion’s pose so as to get up to play whenever they’re ready.

3. The Superman

In this type of position, dogs prefer to sleep on their stomach or with their belly pressed to the floor. And their front legs are outstretched forward with the back legs stretched behind them. This way, they can wake up and move quickly as soon as you call their name or when they perceive a threat. This position is common among energetic puppies and very playful dogs. It also means that they’re tired but they will be ready to hop up at any moment to play.

The position allows dogs to snooze quickly and sometimes might mean your furry friend wants to cool off on a cold surface. Those who sleep in the Superman position are playful, bouncy, and energetic in such a way that they’ll play until they can’t anymore.

4. The donut

Dogs prefer to sleep curled up. They turn themselves into a ball as small as possible. This way, they hold all of their paws close to their bodies. Their tails sometimes curl around their bodies, giving a cute look. It is common in stray or new dogs, smaller dogs, or dogs with thinner coats in windy/cold weather. They may also favor this position to preserve their body heat as they might be feeling cold.

They are caring and gentle, but possibly anxious or uncomfortable. When curled up, they make themselves less vulnerable in a new environment to external threats. Also, they can protect their fundamental organs while sleeping. This is especially true for dogs that live in wild habitats, sleep in shelters, or pups getting used to a new home.

5. The cuddle bug

Cuddling up on top of you or snuggling up with another dog is common among puppies to regulate their body temperatures, as they struggle to do so on their own. Some adult dogs will carry on the habit. This is a good position if you let your dog sleep in bed with you.

They are bonding and wanting to get close to you or other dogs around. It is a sign that they are affectionate and loving.

6. The burrower (under the covers)

The burrower position snuggled in or under pillows, clothes, or blankets is common among dogs who often need lots of attention, support, and affection to fall asleep.

It means they are searching for comfort, security, and companionship to snooze. They are affectionate but needy, so add blankets, pillows, etc. to their beds.

7. The belly up

When they lie on their backs, exposing their bellies with stretched-out paws or legs in the air, it is a cute but also vulnerable position for dogs with their vital organs exposed. The position allows maximum air passage to all the body parts. It means that they are comfortable, confident, and relaxed.

They are also loving and trusting of you and their environment to fall asleep. Because their bellies have less fur and their paws hold sweat glands, it helps them beat the heat and cool off by lying on their back. Aged dogs don’t sleep on their backs as much due to arthritis, so it doesn’t mean they don’t trust you.

8. Back-to-back (snuggled up)

Similar to the cuddler position, they get as close as possible by placing their backs next to you or other pets around. It is common among puppies that have a tougher time regulating their body temperature. If they grow doing so, this position becomes more of a habit.

They want to get close to you to show you intimacy, affection, trust, a sense of love, and comfort.

9. On the tummy on a cold surface

Dogs sleep on their bellies, lying face down with their legs extended, maximizing the amount of unhaired skin that touches the cold floor or ground just to make sure their tummy is touching the cold surface. It is common among dogs who are feeling hot. This type of position is similar to the Superman pose or the lion’s pose.

This position is directly related to temperature. If you notice your dog seeking out cold surfaces to sleep on, give them some water.

10. Head and neck raised

Dogs sleep with their head and neck raised. Usually, they leverage the side of their dog bed or a cushion. They may be having some issues with breathing, which may be related to chronic heart disease or other health problems.

It is common among those who have a faster breathing rate, noisy breathing, or a reduced ability to exercise. If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to contact your veterinarian.

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