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Dogs are definitely mankind’s best friends. They are our closest companions, with us every single day no matter what.
Dogs are some of the most loyal animals on the planet and will do anything to protect us and to be near us.
You will have already noticed that your dog follows you to the bathroom, to the kitchen, to bed at night, or whenever you walk around the house.
What they may also do is feel the need to touch you when they go to sleep. This is largely because dogs are reliant on their humans, and because they are pack animals. So, what are pack animals?
What Are Pack Animals?
In the wild, pack animals are those that live together as one in order to thrive and survive.
Dogs are just the same, even though they have been domesticated and live with us humans. This is largely due to the fact that dogs were domesticated and have evolved from wolves, who are also pack animals.
By nature, wolves would hunt, eat, play, sleep, travel, and raise their young together as a pack, where everyone in the wolf pack has a role and responsibilities in order for the pack to survive.
As dogs evolved from wolves and were domesticated from them, they still exhibit many wolf-like behaviors, such as chasing squirrels, chasing after balls, digging holes, and many other survival instincts that they have.
As a result, dogs still have a pack mentality due to their instincts.
This is why they enjoy living in a group, being close to us, and listening or obeying our commands, as they see us as part of their pack, and often as the alpha.
Why Do Dogs Touch You When They Sleep?
As mentioned above, dogs love being with their own kind, or they will treat you as part of their pack.
Wolves would normally sleep with their pack, and the more tightly they sleep together the better because it not only offers them warmth and protection, but it can also make them feel more secure and safe.
This is often why dogs like to sleep very close to us and do not want to be far from us, as they sometimes do not feel protected or comfortable enough to go to sleep without our support.
There are numerous reasons why your dog may want to sleep touching you.
It could be that they feel that they need to protect you or to be affectionate towards you, whereas others need to touch you because of separation anxiety or to make themselves feel safer.
Some dogs may also see their owner as of the pack leader, which is why they instinctively want to cuddle up to you to be as close to you as possible.
For others, snuggling up and touching you whilst they sleep is simply because they love you so much.
So, should you try to avoid this behavior? Well, the answer to this is largely up to you, as it depends on your personal preference.
If you enjoy your dog sleeping close to you, then you don’t need to take action, but if you need some space from your clingy pup, then it could be time to train them with positive reinforcement to sleep in another place.
Why Are Dogs So Clingy?
Dogs are often considered clingy creatures, and can often suffer from separation anxiety.
Most of the time, a dog will demonstrate clingy behaviors either when they are feeling stressed or anxious, or when they sense that you are feeling anxious or stressed.
Dogs can also become stressed and anxious when their routine is changed or if they are in a new environment, as this can cause them to feel nervous.
Another reason why dogs are so clingy is that they are seeking attention and affection from their owners.
This is why they may paw at you, try to jump on you, or touch you.
One of the most common reasons why a dog is so clingy is due to separation anxiety.
A dog with separation anxiety will panic when you are not with them and may whine, pace, become destructive or defecate in the home when left alone.
Finally, a dog may be clingy if it is older, senior, or unwell. In these cases, dogs who are not feeling well, or those who are older and have lost their sight or hearing may remain as close to you as possible to feel safe.
Why Does My Dog Put His Paw On Me While Sleeping?
When your dog sleeps, they are at their most vulnerable, and they feel more aware than ever.
For some dogs, this can make them feel insecure, and so touching you with their paw is a way of keeping you close and giving them that extra feeling of safety and security.
Many dogs like to be touching you when they go to sleep because it makes them feel safe.
Other dogs may feel that you are part of their pack, and touching you is a way of protecting you whilst both of you sleep.
How To Train Your Dog To Sleep Away From You
The best way to train a dog is with positive reinforcement, which means having a lot of treats, patience, and showing them love and affection.
To train your dog to sleep on its bed, away from you, you will need to ensure that the bed and the location is comfortable.
This means purchasing a soft, suitable, and well-sized bed for your dog. You can also place it in a cozy corner in your home to make it seem more inviting for your dog.
Then, you will need to have tasty treats to motivate your dog to do what you want.
With the treat in your hand, guide your dog towards the bed, and use your chosen word such as ‘bed’ or ‘place’ as the command. Then, when your dog stands in the bed, reward it.
Keep repeating this process consistently until your dog seems to grasp the concept.
Then, keep doing this, but try to encourage your dog to lie down in the bed, and reward it when it does.
With consistency, practice, and a lot of patience, you can keep repeating this training until your dog realizes that going into their bed results in treats and rewards.
If you are unsure how to train your dog to sleep on their bed, then check out this video tutorial from AnimalWised:
To conclude, dogs may often try to sleep on you, with you, or by touching you in some way.
This is largely due to the fact that they are pack animals by nature, and want to do everything with their pack in order to feel safe, secure, and protected.
Whilst this can be endearing for some owners, others prefer to have their space, and so training with positive reinforcement can help ease your dog’s anxiety.