Dogs can sleep in some weird positions, but they can also sleep in some weird places. Under the bed, behind the couch, balled up in blankets- you name it!
Maybe your dog clings to you like glue, but what about those times when your friend goes off on his own and stays in the corner?
Dogs lie in corners of a room because they find it comforting, safe, or for some alone time. Serious reasons are anxiety, fear, depression, or behavioral problems associated with old age. If they’re facing toward the wall, this usually isn’t cause for concern. If this behavior is sudden, see a veterinarian to rule out problems.
I’ll explain the six most common reasons for the behavior, and help you understand which reason makes the most sense for your dog.
Let’s take a look at the top six reasons that might explain why your pup lies in the corner; a few of them have a combination of factors with each playing a role!
Then, we will also dive into why this behavior might become your dog facing the wall, and what to do if this starts to happen frequently.
Reason 1: Comfort and Space
Comfort comes in different forms! Just as I may like to sleep with three blankets stacked on me (no matter the season), others prefer to sleep with only a bedsheet over them. Dogs are similar, as they have unique preferences for restful sleep!
Sleeping in a corner may give your pup several forms of comfort, whether it be due to physical or mental security.
The two walls that join to create this corner might give off a sense of protection, allowing your dog to feel safe and “hugged” by the environment he placed himself in. Nothing can show up behind your pup through those walls, so anything that might disrupt his beauty sleep, he can face head-on!
It’s similar in concept to a dog sleeping in a crate, or something will walls or borders to help them feel enclosed and protected. Sleeping is one of the main times a pet is more vulnerable so they tend to want to be as safe as possible!
Another way your dog finds comfort in his corner-sleeping endeavors is if the area smells like you!
Maybe you tend to leave your shoes, bags, or blankets by that corner, which can all cause your dog to linger there for your smell. This will be especially noticeable if you go to work each day and come home to find him lounging in that spot. It is likely he just wanted to feel at ease by your scent based on the items around!
Honestly, the floor could be just plain comfortable for your pooch, too. I’ll admit, I’ve had my fair share of sleeping on the floor growing up. Sometimes the cold sensation and stiffness of the floor just hit differently when you’re used to a squishy bed! Your pup might not like a bed when given the option of the ground, and that is perfectly OK!
It could also be not only the firmness and cooling of the floor but also the amount of light that enters the room. If the corner is the darkest place in the room of interest (both during the day and/or at night), then your pup may try to find sanctuary in that darkness!
It is suggested that dogs, like other animals, actually have better sleep when settled in away from light shining in their face. This is because it promotes our natural circadian rhythm and allows us to sleep more efficiently.
Either one of these forms of peace or both of them can be causing your pup to lie and sleep in the corner of your room. Not to fret, because these are all normal reasons!
Reason 2: Anxiety Or Fear
Another two valid reasons that may be causing your pooch to post up in the corner are anxiety or fear. Both are characterized by similar behaviors, but it is important to determine the difference so you can take appropriate steps to remedy these unsettling feelings for your pup.
Check out this video, then continue reading to see how it applies to that corner-hogging habit!
Fear is usually an immediate defensive reaction to something that is real and in the moment. For your pooch, new visitors to your home, new pets, and loud noises (whether inside or outside) can bring about these feelings of fear!
If your dog isolates in the corner when you have a gathering at home, fireworks going off outside, or even when a new pet has joined the family and is running around like a maniac, it is likely that this response is fear. He doesn’t know what could happen with these unfamiliar, present people and noises, so his best thought is to hide from it all!
Anxiety, on the other hand, is a reaction to emotions over what could happen versus what is currently happening in front of them.
Also having a possibility to stem from the above-mentioned causes, this anxious nature will last longer in your dog and can lead him to become more secluded as time goes on. Keep in mind, however, that anxiety (including separation anxiety) can develop over time and afflict any pooch, so don’t think you are to blame!
Lying in the corner can provide your pup with a sense of security in both fear and anxiety-driven situations. Nobody can sneak up on them from behind, so they only have to watch out for what is in front of them!
You might even see your dog scratching the wall he lies next to, which is another tell-tale sign of anxiety or boredom.
Dissect your dog’s attitude when you find him lying in his corner. What is the situation like in your home when it happens? Are there a lot of unfamiliar noises and people around? Does he act open and friendly most of the time, or has he been isolating himself more frequently?
In this way, we are trying to see what it is in the environment that is triggering this reaction so we know how to control this for the future.
Reason 3: Depression
We’ve seen a trend in this article so far: a shared experience of psychological reasons (and problems).
If dogs are able to experience fear and anxiety, then depression is not out of the question!
A study examined in 2016 explored research that showed dogs do have emotions and respond to them similarly to humans. Depression in canine companions manifests itself just as you’d see it in one of us: lack of motivation, unwillingness to play or interact, lack of appetite, lethargy, and trying to hide.
While these actions can be caused by a variety of things, they can be associated closely with any sort of loss of a loved one, whether their owner or a pet sibling, a change in living situations, or even disease. Past abuse is another building block that can fuel depression, especially if the dog is still recovering from the nasty situation.
Consider all of these possibilities if you see your dog consistently lying and sleeping in the corner. This behavior by itself normally wouldn’t be a cause for concern, but when mixed with other signals, could be due to underlying depression your pup is dealing with!
It is also possible that your pup could deal with a phase of depression or anxiety if you went away on vacation for a few weeks or months and left them at a kennel or under the care of a pet sitter. They fear that you have left them, resulting in a sulking dog hiding away in a corner!
This behavior can last longer than a few days, at least until your pup realizes that you are there to stay! So just ride it out and ensure no other symptoms of depression linger.
With all of this said, if signs of depression in your dog are prevalent for a prolonged period of time, make an appointment with a veterinarian to discuss treatment strategies and get your friend back to his happy self!
Reason 4: Old Age
Ignore this reason if the dog in question is purely a puppy or still an active young lad! However, if your pooch is growing old, then it is possible for old age to be causing him to lie in the corner.
Research that was published in 2019 displayed the physical signs of a behavioral syndrome known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD). This ailment impacts older dogs (10+ years) and can sometimes be referred to as “dog dementia”.
With this, dogs will experience vision impairment, become disoriented, have sleep-wake cycle disturbances, head ptosis, circling, and even sway or fall while standing.
While not inclusive of every symptom that could appear, this video does an excellent job of showing what CCD can look like.
Cricket still lived a joyful life full of love, so don’t feel discouraged about this syndrome- it is not impossible!
If your senior pooch has started to favor corners in the room and lie there throughout the day and night, then check for these symptoms of CCD.
It could be that the confusion about their surroundings or difficulty moving around is leaving your pup to remain in this corner for long periods of time since it could provide him a sort of separation from reality that he feels. He simply doesn’t remember what he has to do, so lying there is sufficient.
Even if there are no signs of CCD, your aging pal still might enjoy his corner as it is a cozy place to rest in his eyes!
Head Pressing Is Very Different (And A Cause For Major Concern)
Make sure that you notice if your dog begins the habit of pressing his head against the wall, rather than just sleeping with his face towards it. Head pressing can be a sign of an underlying neurologic issue or a harmful build-up of toxins in the body. It’s a serious problem that must be addressed and if a client describes anything that looks like the image below I ask them to schedule an appointment immediately.
Here’s an example of head pressing and notice how it’s quite distinct from simply lying in the corner:
Why Is My Dog Lying In The Corner All Of A Sudden?
First, check for any clear injuries on your dog like scratches, cuts, or rashes. If there are no unsuspecting physical injuries, then look for common symptoms that suggest any sickness: coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal discharge from the eyes or nose, sneezing, and fatigue.
Additionally, lack of appetite, not wanting to move from his corner, and even signs of aggression can indicate that your pup is feeling unwell too.
Now, this list can seem daunting but remember, anything that starts happening that is out of the ordinary is enough reason to take your dog to the vet. Even if nothing grim is wrong, you can know for sure- just in case!
Other less serious reasons that your dog started lying in the corner all of a sudden is if you’ve just moved homes and your dog needs to adjust to the new environment or if the seasons are changing and that corner seems to be the perfect temperature!
When the environment changes, our pups’ perceptions of their surroundings will also change, resulting in this new behavior popping up. As long as you’ve ruled out any serious implications behind this new manner, then you and your pooch should be just fine.
Should I Be Worried About This Behavior?
The answer to this burning question ultimately depends on how your dog is acting overall in correlation to lying in a corner.
Typically, you shouldn’t be worried. Your pup simply finds comfort and enjoys this spot in your home as his own personal territory!
In this case, there is no need to take corrective action. Encouraging your canine pal to leave his special spot with treats will only encourage him to stay there more (positive reinforcement). Don’t be afraid to get some “me time” in as well when your dog wants his own!
Now, if your dog is showing signs of anxiety, fear, depression, or ailments related to old age, then make an appointment with your veterinarian to find the root of this corner-loving action. Eliminating problems when they first arise allows for a quicker, easier path to feeling great again!
If a dog lies in the corner or faces the corner, don’t freak out! Assess the situation and see if he is doing it for pleasure and relaxation.
If you believe that there are other factors at play that are risking the health of your pooch, then make an appointment with your veterinarian. It is best to get any concerns squashed whenever possible so you and your dog don’t have to worry!
Otherwise, ensure that you keep giving your pup cuddles and kisses, but don’t be upset when he wants some alone time too!