Do you ever come home from a long day only to find your furry companion snuggled up in your bed? This behavior may make you wonder, “Why does my dog sleep on my pillow when there are plenty of other places to rest?” Well, it turns out there’s a very good reason for this.
Why does my dog sleep on my pillow?
It can strike a chord of jealousy when your dog is peacefully curled up in your bed, right on the pillow where you lay your head at night. But why do they choose that exact spot to make their nest for slumber?
Let’s look at this from a dog’s perspective.
The first and perhaps most obvious reason why your dog likes to sleep on your pillow is for simple comfort.
Pillows are soft, malleable, and snuggly, making them the perfect place to sleep well at night. It’s comfortable enough that you want to sleep on it, right? Chances are your pup just thinks it’s a good snooze spot, too.
Another reason why your dog sleeps on your pillow is that they’re actually mimicking your behavior. Dogs are born with certain natural instincts, but they also take cues from their pack leader, and guess who that pack leader is?
Your dog views you as the head of your pack and wants to be just like you, so they lay their head where you do and sleep where you sleep.
Remember, imitation is the best form of flattery!
On the flip side, your dog may think they’re actually the pack leader.
Do they run ahead of you on walks, behave aggressively towards you, or show other signs of dominance over you? This is an indication that they still need some training to recognize you as the alpha of the pack.
If your dog dosen’t try to dominate you but you have another pet, or even children or a partner, they could be marking their territory over them, rather than over you.
Dogs are very possessive, and they typically don’t like to share the attention and resources their primary human provides. Sleeping on your pillow is a way for them to spread their scent and assert dominance over other pets or humans in the house.
You know how certain scents are comforting to you, like the smell of hot cocoa on a cold day? Well, your scent has the same calming effect on your dog.
If they sleep with you on your pillow at night, it may be because it brings them a sense of security to be as close to you as possible. Sleeping on your pillow also gives them some of your body heat along with your scent, making it the comfiest spot in the whole house for them.
When you aren’t at home (like during the day while you’re at work), your pillow may still be your pup’s preferred snuggle spot simply because it smells like you.
Your dog may not be sleeping on your pillow just for their own security, but for yours, too.
Dogs are very protective of their owners, and sleeping on your pillow allows them to watch over you through the night. Some pets have even been known to check their owners’ breathing to make sure they’re okay. This could mean that you have an extra special guardian angel looking over you as you sleep.
Dogs in the wild instinctively sleep in a huddle with their pack members, and families especially make sure to sleep together.
Newborn puppies snuggle closely with their mother or both parents not only for safety but also because sleeping close together helps form and strengthen a close bond. Sleeping on your pillow could be your dog’s way of connecting with you and strengthening your relationship.
Some dogs will lay on your pillow just to get a reaction out of you. This is more common in puppies, and it’s typically a learned behavior.
Particularly if you have expressed that you don’t like your dog to lay there by picking them up, moving them, or even using treats to lure them out of the spot, they may think this is a clever and fun way to get some touches, playtime or treats out of you.
How to get your dog off your pillow?
If for any reason this bothers you, and you don’t want to share the place where you lay your head with your dog, there are a few tips and tricks you can try to keep them off your pillow.
- The most obvious way is to buy them their own comfy dog bed. Start by keeping it in your bed by your pillow and slowly move it further to the foot of the bed and then eventually on the floor.
- Putting the bed in a warm spot (like near a vent or heater — but not directly next to it, to be safe) will also encourage your dog to sleep there.
- You can also place a piece of your recently worn clothing, like socks or a T-shirt, in the bed for them to snuggle with and still have some of your scent to make them feel secure.
There are many reasons why your dog prefers to sleep on your pillow, and most of them are positive and mean your good boy just wants to be like you, make sure you’re safe, or get your attention in some way.
Of course, it’s totally fine, and many pet owners prefer, to let their pups snooze in their bed. As long as it doesn’t bother you and your dog isn’t displaying signs of aggressiveness or dominance, it’s perfectly okay to share a pillow with your best friend.