If you’re a new dog owner, you’ve likely noticed how your dog behaves, including how they sleep. When your pup snuggles close for a nap, you may find that they sleep in a specific position for comfort. You may also notice that dogs sleep with their rear end facing toward you, which may seem unusual. When dogs sleep this way, it’s a sign that they feel safe and trust you.
There are several important reasons why dogs position their bodies this way as they sleep, giving you a better idea of how they think and bond with you. Like many quirky and funny dog behaviors, sleeping with their rear end facing you is often harmless.
1. Dogs Protect Their Human Companions
When a dog sleeps with its bum facing you, they are posed so that it can observe its environment and keep guard over its human companion. Their face looks outward, so they can quickly wake up and react when there’s a sudden noise or perceived threat in the room or nearby. This sleeping habit is a dog’s way of providing protection, and it’s an instinct for dogs to shield or provide comfort to other dogs as pack animals. This level of protection is common among service dogs and emotional support animals.
2. Your Dog Trusts You
Dogs show that they trust a pet owner when they sleep with their bum facing them instead of lying in a more cautious sleeping position if they feel the need to guard themselves against a potential attack.
When your pet shows their vulnerable side and their bum facing you, this is a definite sign of trust and indicates that they don’t feel threatened or worried about any harm or risk to their safety.
As pack animals, dogs that trust their owners consider them as a part of their family or pack and offer the same level of protection and care, along with that trust. This behavior is expected in many dog breeds, from Shih Tzus and Poodles to German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers. When a dog trusts their owner, they will display body language that indicates a strong level of loyalty and obedience.
3. Avoiding Eye Contact With Pet Owners
When a timid dog or puppy is adopted, or a pet is rescued from an abusive situation, they may be extra cautious about interacting with anyone, including a well-intentioned human companion. It’s not unusual for these dogs to exhibit behavior where they are avoidant or hide.
They may also prefer to keep to themselves, including sleeping dogs, who sleep with their rear end facing their pet owner simply to avoid eye contact. While this isn’t a cause for concern, this behavior indicates that your puppy needs time to get acquainted and comfortable in its new home.
4. A Sign of Illness or Health Condition
Many dogs sleep with their bum facing their human companions for simple comfort and protection reasons. However, this sleeping position may point to a concerning health issue that requires attention.
Suppose you notice a strong, unpleasant odor or scent, frequent scratching, or signs of pain when your dog tries to sleep, including a raised tail. In that case, these symptoms may indicate an infection, fleas, or an illness that requires an assessment from a veterinarian.
Suppose your dog’s sleeping position is accompanied by concerning symptoms, such as excessive biting, swollen skin or soreness, bloating, sudden weight loss, diarrhea, and changes in eating patterns. In that case, this can be a sign of intestinal parasites such as tapeworm or another infestation. While sleeping in specific positions may not be of concern initially, there are significant signs to note that could indicate a more serious problem, which should be addressed as soon as possible.
5. Comfort and Preference
For most dogs and situations involving how they sleep, a dog’s butt facing you may be the most comfortable position, which allows them to sleep without interruption. As some pups grow and develop into older dogs, they may gradually change their sleeping position, based on how well they can relax, including falling asleep on their side, curled into a ball, and lying on their tummy or back. Dogs may prefer to sleep differently around other dogs, humans, or in an enclosed space where they are alone.
If you notice that your dog feels comfortable sleeping in a particular position, you can add an extra blanket or invest in a plush dog bed to give your pet a greater sense of security and comfort.
6. A Sign of Dominance
In some instances, a dog sleeping with its bum facing you can signify dominance towards other dogs, as they claim you as a member of their pack or family. This sign lets other dogs or humans know that your dog protects you and how they are loyal to you. Dogs often show this trait and the protective nature of their human companions.
While most instances where a dog sleeps with its rear end pointing towards you are benign and harmless, it’s essential to notice sudden changes in behavior, diet, and health. Dogs communicate directly when they feel pain or discomfort in many ways, through barking, changing their eating habits, and retreating from socializing or play.
In most cases, dogs sleeping in this position display a high level of trust, care, and protection over their owners. They may also prefer sleeping in this position due to personal comfort, which can depend on features in a room, such as a source of heat or a cozy blanket.
Since most dogs enjoy a deep sleep and relax in this position without any issues, most dog owners can rest assured that their pup simply feels comfortable and trusts them completely. Generally, dogs enjoy showing their loyalty to their owners, which includes displaying affection, protection, and trust in all their actions, from playing outdoors and going for walks to taking a nap or enjoying a night’s rest.