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It’s a chilly and windy night outside and you decide to take the day to relax. You’re on your favorite spot on the bed or couch until you stand up to grab something. When you get back, you notice that your dog has claimed your spot as their own and even managed to fall asleep there!
This might make you wonder”Why does my dog sleep in my spot?” They have the rest of the bed and couch to use so why did they choose your spot?
Your dog might sleep in your spot because it’s more comfortable and warm, and it’s covered in your scent which also makes it a safe place to sleep. It could be separation anxiety and your dog is trying to get your attention, or you’ve encouraged this behavior and made it a part of their routine.
There could be many reasons why your pup might decide to steal your spot on the bed or comfy couch, so let’s explore all of them!
Reason 1: Your Spot Is Warm and Cozy
It might be a cold and windy winter day so you decide to snuggle into your bed with a blanket. One second, you see your dog coming to join you. The next second, they’ve completely pushed you out of your spot!
Dogs like feeling warm and they seek comfort, especially during a cold day. If you notice your dog always trying to sleep in spots where someone was either laying or sitting, it is likely because they like the heat that was left behind or the person is producing.
In other words, your dog might sleep in your spot because they know it’ll be warm and that’s the best spot to take a nap if they want to be cozy! Smaller dogs or shorthaired dogs are even more likely to look for a warm spot all the better if it’s as close to their owner as possible!
Take a look at this video of a pup quickly stealing their owner’s spot when their owner leaves the bed:
Reason 2: Your Spot Is Covered In Your Scent
Wherever you go, your dog might know because of the trail of your scent.
Your dog might sleep in your spot because it has your scent.
Your dog’s sense of smell is an amazing thing! Scientists state that the part of the dog’s brain related to the sense of smell is 40 times greater than ours! Dogs are able to smell things that we can’t and detect different scent trails to determine where and what things are.
While you might not notice your own scent, your dog is very familiar with it!
Since you’re probably your pup’s favorite person it only makes sense that they find comfort in your scent. It tells them that that spot is where you recently were or reminds them of you while you’re away for a while.
Reason 3: Your Dog Feels Safe With You
Your dog might associate you with safety, and so your spot on your bed or couch must be the safest place on earth!
When dogs sleep, they are in a vulnerable situation. By sleeping close to you and possibly stealing your spot, they want to be confident that you will protect them and they will protect you.
It can be hard to sleep when we don’t feel safe. While your house might already be a safe zone for your pup, they might just want to feel safer and assured you’re there with them.
Certain noises can be extremely scary for some dogs, or if there are guests staying at your house then your dog might feel safer taking over your spot or staying really close to you.
Perhaps you recently moved houses, and the new environment might still feel intimidating, so going to the spot that smells most like their owner might be your dog’s coping mechanism while they’re adjusting to their new home.
Reason 4: Your Dog Wants Attention
Dogs love getting attention, and since you’re probably your dog’s favorite person, having your attention is like a reward to them.
Your dog might realize that the best way to get your attention is by being as close to you as possible, or by stealing your spot on the couch or bed.
Perhaps whenever your dog takes over your side of the bed your dog is trying to tell you that they want to go for a walk, it’s feeding time or they simply want to be petted or played with.
You may notice your dog displaying this behavior whenever you’re working longer hours or you’re away from home for longer. Other signs of your pup needing more attention include rubbing against you often and hitting you with their paw.
Finding your dog sleeping or laying on your spot could simply be a sign that you need to spend more quality time with your pooch!
Reason 5: You’re Encouraging The Behavior
Positive reinforcement is when you give your dog a reward after a behavior. It is the method that many dog trainers use. For example, when training a dog to sit on command. If the dog sits after the person says, “Sit,” then the dog gets a treat. The dog will then realize that what they did was right because they go a reward for it!
Rewards don’t always have to be a treat. They come in different forms! As mentioned before, our dogs might want attention. Attention whether good or bad can still work as a reward to some dogs.
So, you might inadvertently be encouraging and reinforcing this behavior whenever your dog ends up stealing your spot by giving them the attention they were craving.
Reason 6: It’s Part Of Their Routine
Dogs are creatures of habit. They like to have structure and predictability. Without a routine, dogs can feel stressed and anxious since they do not know what to expect throughout the day.
Your dog might steal your spot around the same time every day because they consider it a part of their daily schedule. If you notice that your dog sleeps in your spot often around the same time, it is likely because they discovered how nice it was one day and kept at it ever since.
Check out this video of an owner asking their pup why he steals their spot every night:
Reason 7: Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
When we leave our dogs at home during the day, we tend to miss them! It makes sense that they would miss us too but is there such a thing as missing someone too much?
Your dog might sleep in your spot because they have separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety will manifest in other behaviors like excessive chewing, pacing, urinating at home, and even howling. Dogs suffering from this may feel the need to always be by your side, or in places where your scent is the strongest.
If you suspect him suffering from separation anxiety then you shouldn’t allow your dog to snuggle with you or take over your spot all of the time, because it could make their anxiety worse as you are essentially giving in to the anxiety rather than resolving it!
Try teaching your pooch boundaries and giving them the confidence to be more independent. Talk to a veterinarian or a professional that can help you establish the severity of this concern and the steps you need to take in order to resolve it!
How To Stop Your Dog From Stealing Your Spot?
Whether it’s your bed or the couch, if you don’t want to share your favorite spot with your dog then I’m not going to judge you. But the next question is how can you change the behavior?
If we’re talking about your bed then the simplest solution is to keep your dog out of the bedroom by either closing the door or crating them within the bedroom.
A crate is a great option for dogs, and you can also crate them in the living room, to keep them away from your favorite couch spot, but also to give your dog their own private space where they feel safe and can relax.
That being said, you might struggle during the crate training period, especially for puppies and younger dogs, so if you don’t want to go the route of crate training or shutting the door, let’s break down a few steps and considerations that will keep your dog from claiming your sleeping spots as their own.
Stop Reinforcing The Behavior
The first, and usually the easiest thing you need to do is stop encouraging or positively reinforcing the behavior. While it might be very difficult to say no to your loving pooch you need to make sure that you’re not promoting the behavior with verbal praise, petting, or treats.
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t use negative reinforcement or punishment to discourage your dog, simply stay neutral!
Understanding Your Dog And Providing An Alternative
Before you try to change your dog’s behavior, you should understand what’s motivating your dog every time you find him taking over your spot.
If your dog steals your spot every time they hear car noises and shouting outside of your house or apartment then offering your dog a new bed probably isn’t going to help
On the other hand, if your dog doesn’t have a dog bed then providing a new cozy bed could quickly modify their behavior.
By understanding the why behind your dog’s preference, you can find the right solution and alternative to your predicament!
“Lay Down” Command
Speaking of a cozy dog bed, the easiest way to let your dog know where to go sit or sleep is by teaching them the “Lay Down” or a similar type of command. This is a basic and very useful command across the board!
This video is a great resource for getting it done:
Positively Reinforce The New Spot Or Bed
Now that your dog has his own comfy and luxurious bed and you got the right command to show them that that’s their spot from now on, it’s time to give them plenty of praise for picking their new spot over any other.
While you’ll want to praise your dog when they follow your command to “Lay Down” any time they lay down in their new bed on their own you should also give them petting, praise, and even a treat to really sweeten the deal.
Hopefully, your favorite spot on the bed or couch will be yours to enjoy, while your dog has his own cozy corner to chill!
We love our dogs and we want them to be with us most of the time. However, when it comes to your spot on the bed or couch, you might be wondering why they would choose to sleep in your spot. Every dog is different and there is no one universal answer as to why dogs can do certain things.
Observing your pup could tell you what they’re thinking. They might do things like sleeping in your spot for many different reasons. By figuring out why they do the things they do, we can communicate and help our dogs better and strengthen our relationships!