Why Does My Dog Sleep on My Pillow?

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why does my dog sleep on my pillow

After a long hard day, nothing is better than coming home to your pet. It can strike a chord of jealousy, however, when your dog is peacefully curled up in the same spot where you left him several hours ago.

Often times the place your pup chooses to curl up is in your bed, right on the pillow where you lay your head at night. But have you ever wondered why he prefers that exact spot to make his nest for slumber?

Here are several common causes and solutions.

Why Does My Dog like to Sleep on My Pillow?

1. Comfort

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 it the perfect place for your dog to make his nest. 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.

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2. Imitation

Another reason why your dog sleeps on your pillow is that he’s 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? You! Your dog views you as the head of your pack and wants to be just like you, so he lays his head where you do and sleeps where you sleep.

Remember, imitation is the best form of flattery.

3. Marking

On the flip side, your dog may think he’s actually the pack leader.

Does he run ahead of you on walks, behave aggressively towards you. or show other signs of dominance over you? This is an indication of a dog who still needs some training to recognize you as the alpha of the pack.

If your dog doesn’t try to dominate you but you have other pets or even children or a partner, your dog could be marking his territory over them, rather than over you.

Dogs are very possessive, and even though they typically like to travel in packs, they don’t want to share the attention and resources their primary human provides. Sleeping on your pillow is a way for your dog to spread his scent and assert dominance over other pets or humans in the house.

4. Security

Even when you aren’t at home sleeping with your dog (like during the day while you’re at work), your pillow may still be his preferred snuggle spot because it smells like you.

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.

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If your dog sleeps with you on your pillow at night, it may be because it brings him a sense of security to be as close to you as possible. Sleeping on your pillow also gives him some of your body heat along with your scent, making it the comfiest spot in the whole house for him.

5. Protection

Your dog may not be sleeping on your pillow just for his own security, but for yours, too.

Dogs are very protective of their owners, and sleeping on your pillow allows your dog to watch over you through the night. Some dogs have even been known to check their owners’ breathing to make sure they’re okay.

Your dog sleeping on your pillow could mean that you have an extra special guardian angel looking over you as you sleep.

6. Bonding

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.

7. Attention

This is more common in puppies, and it’s typically a learned behavior, but some dogs will lay on your pillow just to get a reaction out of you or signal that they want to play.

Particularly if you have expressed that you don’t like your dog to lay there by picking him up, moving him. or even using treats to lure him out of the spot, your dog thinks 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?

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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 him off your pillow.

The most obvious way is to simply buy him his own comfy dog bed, preferably one that has a headrest.

Start by keeping it in your bed by your pillow, then slowly move it further to the foot of the bed and eventually to 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 even place a piece of your recently worn clothing, like a sock or T-shirt, in his bed for him to snuggle with. This way he will have some of your scent and feel more secure.

Bottom Line

There are many reasons why your dog prefers to sleep on your pillow, and most of them are positive and mean your pet just wants to be near you, get your attention, or strengthen your bond in some way.

Of course, it’s totally fine, and many pet owners prefer to let their pups snooze in the bed right next to them. As long as it doesn’t bother you and your dog isn’t displaying signs of aggressiveness or dominance, it’s perfectly okay to keep your best friend by your side at night.