Our dogs do a lot of cute things. From the way that they play to some of the noises they make, they are always bringing smiles to our faces! One of my favorite cute things to watch my dogs do is their sometimes weird sleeping habits. From their cute snores to their entertaining dream barks, I love watching what they do!
One of the things that intrigue me the most is what sleeping positions they choose to be in. Just like people, dogs seem to have a preference on where they like to sleep, and what position they’d prefer to be in when they do it.
One of the most common sleeping positions I’ve observed in dogs is one in which they sleep up against a wall. But why do dogs lay against the wall?
Dogs like laying against the wall mostly because it is a comfortable sleeping position for them. It can provide support for their bodies, keep them cool in hotter months, and act as a barrier that makes them feel safe when they are scared. Rarely is it due to a medical or behavioral issue.
Below we’ll look at some possible reasons as to why your dog is laying against the wall, and when it might be a cause for concern if your dog is suddenly sleeping against the wall.
We’ll also discuss why it’s probably not a bad thing if your dog is laying against the wall and how there are a few things you can do if you’d rather your dog not do it.
5 Reasons Why Your Dog May Be Laying Against The Wall
When looking at the following reasons, it’s important to remember that each individual dog may have their own sleeping and comfort preferences and how they lay against the wall can vary, and there could be reasons beyond what I’ve listed below as to why your pup may be laying or sleeping against a wall.
It’s also important to note that if you ever suspect that your dog is laying against the wall in an odd position due to a medical or behavioral reason, you should reach out to your vet as soon as possible to get them checked out.
Reason 1: Comfort
This is the most likely reason that a dog is laying or sleeping against a wall. Just like people, certain dogs can have odd sleeping positions. What seems uncomfortable to us can be perfectly comfortable to them!
Laying against the wall might be the most comfortable for them in terms of bodily support, including support for their legs, hips, or back. Dogs who like to lay on their backs but tend to fall over to the side will often lay against a wall and use it to help prop their legs up so they don’t fall over mid nap.
Along the same lines as comfort, some dogs just like sleeping against the wall! Dogs have various sleeping positions that provide them with comfort, and for some dogs, the most comfortable place and position to sleep may be up against the wall.
Reason 2: Temperature
Another big reason why dogs tend to lay against the wall is that they are trying to cool down, especially if you also see them laying on their back at the same time.
Both the floor and the wall provide an often cooler place to sleep than any other part of the house, and dogs who are sensitive to hot weather may choose to sleep there during the summer months instead of their normal beds.
I often see my German Shepherd Kenai do this in the summer months when the house is hotter, and she is trying to find relief.
As you can see in the photos below, she does it quite frequently and it’s one of her favorite sleeping positions!
She’ll push herself up against a wall that faces away from the sun (so it tends to stay cooler than other parts of the house), roll over on her back, and then use the wall to hold herself up so that she can cool her belly down while also providing cooling relief to her paws and legs from the wall itself.
As the sun moves throughout the day, you may notice your dog moving to different parts of the house in an attempt to locate the coolest wall.
Reason 3: Medical Or Behavioral Issue
If your dog doesn’t normally lay or sleep against the wall but has begun doing it recently, or you notice other symptoms that suggest they are feeling unwell, then it may be time to get them checked out by the vet.
Sometimes dogs will choose to lay against a wall because they are in pain and the wall provides them with much-needed support for their aching joints or an injury.
Other times dogs will choose to lie against a wall if they are in a state of extreme fear (either due to an illness or injury or because they have experienced something traumatic). Dogs like this tend to show hypervigilance and other PTSD-like symptoms and struggle to lie down in open areas due to the underlying fear.
The wall provides a barrier in which they do not have to worry about someone or something approaching them from that side, so they only have to be concerned about the other side, in front of them, and sometimes behind them.
If you ever see your dog pushing their head into the wall, though, this is generally considered a medical emergency and you should take them to your nearest emergency vet.
Reason 4: Something In The Walls
Sometimes there’s something a little bit creepier behind why your dog might be laying against the wall! A dog’s sense of smell is up to 100,000 times stronger than a person’s sense of smell, and their sense of hearing is incredibly powerful as well and capable of hearing things that the human ear cannot.
This means that they might smell and hear things crawling around in our walls that we might be unaware of. If a dog has located something in our walls, they may lay down by the wall as a way to alert us to the fact that there is something in the wall that they feel we should be aware of.
It could be a way of protecting us from whatever is in the wall, but it’s more likely they are just curious about what is in there and want us to check it out.
If whatever is in the wall is something that is a frequent inhabitant (such as some insects and rodents, depending on where you live), then your dog may eventually tune out the noise and stop laying by the wall.
But if the noise or smell is something that isn’t usually there, and your dog starts displaying other indicators that they have noticed something within the walls, then it may be worth checking out.
There are all kinds of stories about animals (both wild and domestic) who have become stuck inside the walls, and your dog may just be alerting you to help prevent a potential disaster!
Reason 5: Safety
Another common reason that a dog may be laying or sleeping against a wall is that they are afraid and a wall provides them with a sense of safety. You can see this often in dogs who are recently adopted, or in puppies who have recently been weaned from their mothers and who have poor socialization skills.
Similar to the medical and behavioral issues discussed above, the presence of a wall can help calm these anxious and fearful dogs down as it provides them with one less area that they have to maintain vigilance over.
For some dogs, such as in the case of the dog in the video below, this extreme fear causes them to shut down emotionally and they’ll resort to pushing themselves into a corner between walls to try and find a space where they feel protected.
As the dog becomes more comfortable in their new surroundings, they may start to venture away from the wall, though it may still be some time before they feel comfortable enough to actually sleep away from the wall.
If you have one of these pups, you can help make them more comfortable in their new home by providing them with a bed and safe space next to a wall in a quiet area of your home, and then use positive reinforcement and rewards whenever they are brave enough to venture away from the wall.
Over time they should start to feel more comfortable sleeping away from that area, but you never want to force them away from laying by the wall if the reason is fear or anxiety.
Why Is My Dog Sleeping Against The Wall Suddenly?
If your pup doesn’t normally lay against the wall but you’ve noticed a sudden increase in your dog laying against it, then it may be worth looking into why your dog may be suddenly doing it.
The reason may be as simple as the ambient temperature of the room being too hot or cold and the wall providing some relief from that temperature, or the reason may be more concerning and require a visit to the vet.
This is especially true if you notice other concerning signs of illness or injury, such as lethargy, excessive vocalizations, drooling, or sudden aggression toward members of the household when the dog is approached while they are laying against the wall.
Dogs suddenly changing up their sleeping location preference (whether they move to suddenly sleeping with you or if they suddenly start sleeping against a wall) is usually nothing to be concerned about, but it’s better to rule out any underlying medical issues if you feel that is a concern.
Is It Bad If My Dog Sleeps Against The Wall?
No, it’s not a bad thing if your dog sleeps against the wall unless it is a result of a medical or behavioral issue in which case a visit to your vet is probably necessary. In most cases, your dog laying against the wall is more of a source of comfort or support rather than something to be concerned about.
Just like people, dogs have their own idea of what positions are comfortable or not! Your pup may choose to sleep against the wall, they may choose to sleep between your legs, or they may even choose to lie down while eating.
The only real downside to your healthy dog laying against the wall is that your dog may leave behind some “evidence” of their preferred sleeping spot, and can cause headaches if you have white or light colored walls, or if you have a dog who likes to rearrange the furniture in order to get to their favorite sleeping spot against the wall.
This includes dirt and hair that can build up around the area (including on the wall and baseboards, which can be more difficult to remove) and your dog potentially scratching up the walls if they are one of those who likes to use the wall to support their paws and legs as they lay on their back.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Laying Against The Wall?
If you’d rather your pup not lay against the wall, the best thing to do is to try and keep them away from the wall in the first place. The easiest way to do this is to make sure you’ve provided your dog with plenty of other sleeping locations, preferably in a variety of different places and of different types of bedding material.
You can also look at getting cooling mats or raised cots for the hotter summer months, or orthopedic support beds for dogs who need a little more joint support. If your dog still tries to sleep against the wall, you can put up a baby gate or a pen to try and keep them away from the area.
Ruling out medical or behavioral issues is another important step if your dog is really adamant about staying by the wall, as is making sure there is nothing living inside the walls that your watchful pup is trying to alert you to.
You could also attempt to teach your pup to go to their own bed if you see them attempt to go lay down by the wall by moving them to their own bed and rewarding them heavily with treats.
You want to make sure you reward them each time they choose to go lay down in their bed, and that you try to prevent access to the wall as much as possible so that they must go to their bed instead.
Or you could also move their bed over to the wall and then gradually move the bed further and further away from the wall until it is where you want your pup to sleep in the house, making sure to still reward your pup whenever they sleep in their bed instead of laying against the wall.
This method might take a bit for them to truly understand what you are asking them to do, but over time they should start to understand that their bed gets them lots of tasty rewards whereas the wall doesn’t get them anything.
For the most part, your dog laying against the wall is probably nothing to be concerned about and is likely related more to a feeling of comfort.
It’s unlikely it’s a result of an underlying medical or behavioral condition, but if you suspect there is a cause for concern (especially if your dog is engaging in this behavior suddenly or if you notice other unusual behaviors from your pup), then it’s best to get your dog to your vet for a check-up.
Otherwise, let your pup enjoy their slumber!