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What Do Dog Sleeping Positions Mean?


What Do Dog Sleeping Positions Mean?

When we look at our beloved dogs, we seem them as smart, kind, and fun family members that love us no matter what. Their sleeping positions and patterns are not something that we often think about, but what do these positions mean?

So, what do dog sleeping positions mean?

  1. If a dog is sleeping on their side, then they are feeling comfortable and safe.
  2. If a dog is sleeping on their back, then this means that they are trying to stay cool during the warmer weather.
  3. If a dog is curled up while sleeping, then they are trying to stay warm in colder weather.
  4. If a dog is sleeping with their back to you, then this means that they are showing their affection.

If you are interested in learning about more dog sleeping positions and understanding what does your dog’s sleeping position means, then make sure that you continue reading this post to learn more about that.

What do dog sleeping positions mean?

What Do Dog Sleeping Positions Mean?

Today, I will be explaining what seven different dog sleeping positions mean. They are the following:

  1. The side sleeping pose
  2. The lion sleeping pose
  3. The superman sleeping pose; aka, sprawled out on the stomach pose
  4. The doughnut sleeping pose; aka, curled up pose
  5. The crazy legs pose; aka, sleeping on the back with their toes pointing upwards pose
  6. The cuddle bug sleeping pose
  7. The belly curl sleeping position

Pose number one: The side sleeping pose

What Do Dog Sleeping Positions Mean- A dog sleeping in the side sleeping pose

The side sleeping pose is considered to be the most common sleeping posture for dogs, where the dogs lay on their sides and extend their legs.

If you see your dog side sleeping, this means that your dog is feeling comfortable and that they are very relaxed. This sleeping position is also a sign that your dog trusts their surroundings and that they feel safe.

Dr. Stanley Coren, the author of many books, like “Do Dogs Dream?”, says that dogs usually start dosing off in the lion pose, which we will discuss next, then they end up slumping onto their side once they enter the deeper sleeping stage.

This change in sleeping positions happens because once your dog starts dreaming ( yes, dogs can actually dream), their muscles relax, causing them to roll out of the lion sleeping pose and then sleep in their regular sleeping pose.

Did you know that dogs who sleep on their sides need enough space that allows them to stretch their bodies?

A big comfy and cozy bed would be perfect for your side sleeping dog is the Pet Warming Bed.

Now, let us talk about the lion sleeping pose that we have just mentioned!

Pose number two: The lion sleeping pose

What Do Dog Sleeping Positions Mean- A dog sleeping in the lion sleeping pose

If you notice that your beloved pooch is sleeping with their head lying on top of their paws, then this means that your dog is just resting or that they are just about to fall asleep.

“If you see a dog in a lion pose—with his paws stretched forward and head resting on his paws like the statues of reclining lions in front of some government buildings—the dog is apt to be simply dozing and not in a deep sleep state,” says Dr. Stanley Coren on PetMd.com.

If your dog is not resting and they are just dosing off, you will soon notice a change in their sleeping position.

Why?

Once your dog begins dreaming, their muscles will relax. This muscle relaxation means that your dog’s sleeping position is going to transition from the lion sleeping pose to your dog’s regular sleeping pose.

Pose number three: The superman sleeping pose; aka, sprawled out on the stomach pose

A dog dressed in a superman costume

Have you ever seen a dog who stretch entirely out their front legs in front of their heads and then also wholly stretch their backs legs behind their butts? Well, that is a dog who is in the sprawled on the stomach pose. This pose is also known as the Superman positions, which sounds more fun!

Here is the thing, researchers are not sure one hundred percent why some dogs sleep in the superman sleeping position. However, there are a few ideas that some have in mind regarding this bizarre sleeping position.

Today, we are going to look at what Dr. Stanley Coren and Dr. Katherine Houpt have in mind when it comes to some dogs sleep in the superman sleeping position.

Dr. Stanley Coren thinks that dogs sleep in the superman sleeping position due to temperature. Because the hair or fur that is on the dog’s belly is very light and not insulating enough like the rest of the hair and fur that is covering the rest of their body.

So if the dog is in a super warm environment, but they find a wet or a cool area, they will sleep in the superman sleeping position. So Dr. Stanley Coren thinks that this sleeping position is a dog’s response to warm environments.

Now that we are aware of Dr. Stanley Coren’sCoren’s thoughts on why some dogs sleep in the superman sleeping position, let us see what Dr. Katherine Houpt believes.

Dr. Houpt has noticed that puppies and small dogs tend to sleep in the superman sleeping position more frequently than dogs who are larger in size. “You see it often in Chihuahuas and Terriers,” says Dr. Katherine Houpt.

This makes her believe that this due to a mechanical reason because it might be harder for dogs who are heavier than twenty pounds to sleep in that position.

If your dog is often sleeping in the superman sleeping position, then this might be because they feel warm. Something like Cooling Gel Pad for Pets could be beneficial for your pooch. It is also a great way to prevent your dog from getting a heat stroke.

Did you know that many dogs die every year because of heat strokes?

If you want to learn more about heat strokes and know what you can do to prevent your dog from getting it, especially during the warm seasons, then make sure that you read my How to Keep Dogs Cool During The Summer (5 Ways) blog post.

How to keep dogs cool during the summer (5 ways)

Pose number four: The doughnut sleeping pose; aka, curled up pose

The doughnut sleeping pose; aka, curled up pose

The doughnut sleeping pose, which is also known as the curling up pose, is yet another popular dog sleeping position, according to Dr. Katherine Houpt.

Dr. Katherine Houpt finished a study where shelter dogs were observed, and their sleeping patterns were noted. They found out that almost all shelter dogs sleep curled up like a doughnut when they are undisturbed.

According to Dr. Katherine Houpt, when dogs curl up when they sleep, they do so to make themselves as small as possible.

But why would a dog want to make themselves as small as possible? Well, it turns out that shelter dogs do that to regulate the bodies’ temperatures!

As we have noticed in the superman sleeping pose, dogs stretch themselves on a cool surface. However, when it is cold, dogs will curl up to preserve their body heat.

This sleeping position also makes the dogs feel less vulnerable because they are exposing less of their bodies.

If you often find your dog sleeping in the doughnut sleeping pose, aka, the curled up posture, then consider getting them a warm and cozy bed like the COZYBED™: 2 in 1 Cozy Bed & Sofa.

You can also get them a Waterproof Heating Pad, which is a great thing to have for your pet, especially during the Winter season.

Pose number five: The crazy legs pose; aka, sleeping on the back with their toes pointing upwards pose

We have just discussed that dogs sometimes sleep curled up or in the doughnut position to keep themselves warm during the colder weather. So, of course, there is a sleeping position that is dedicated to the opposite of that.

Yes, dogs sleep in the crazy legs pose, which is basically just them sleeping on their backs with their cute paws pointing up in the air in warm weather.

Why?

When the belly is exposed, which is a body part where the fur or hair is covering it is thinner than that of other body parts, that aids in fighting the heat away.

But, why do dogs put their paws up in the air while they are sleeping as well?

Well, dogs have their sweat glands in their paws, so exposing the paws as well as the belly to the air instead of pressing their paws to the ground and sleeping on their stomach like in the lion sleeping pose helps them fight away the heat as much as possible.

Like the side sleeping position, the crazy legs sleeping position is an indication that your dogs feel very comfortable and even safe.

But, why does this sleeping position mean that a dog is feeling safe?

Well, there are two main reasons for that. They are the following:

  • You see, a dog’s belly is one of their most sensitive body parts. So, when they sleep, they are sleeping in the crazy legs sleeping position, and they are leaving one of their most sensitive body areas exposed. Dogs would not do that unless they felt safe.
  • The second reason is that in the crazy legs sleeping position, dogs are laying on their backs with their paws being placed in the furthest point away from the ground. This position makes it difficult for a dog to get in their feet quickly if something alarming occurs. Thus, this also means that the dog feels safe.

You will often see your dog sleeping in the crazy legs sleeping position in the summer season in places and around people who they feel safe to be with.

Up next is the most heartwarming dog sleeping position, the cuddle bug sleeping position. Why? Well, continue reading to get your answer!

Pose number six: The cuddle bug sleeping pose

dog sleeping and cuddling with a person in bed

Is your dog always nuzzling up next to other pets in your house or even sleeping back to back and snuggling up to you?

If your answer is yes, then this means that your dog is showing you and the other pets in the house, some love and affection. This sleeping position also means that your dog is bonding with you and the other pets in the house as well.

Another reason why dogs like to cuddle with us and other pets while sleeping is because it is something that they did when they were puppies. Like with the doughnut pose, the cuddle bug sleeping pose keeps puppies warm because puppies struggle when it comes to regulating their bodies’ heat.

As dogs grow up, they continue sleeping like that because it is something that they have learned from their puppyhood.

So the next time your dog is sleeping in the curled bug sleeping position right next to you, then cuddle up with them to show them that you love them back as well.

Finally, but not least, let us discuss the last sleeping position that we are going to discuss today in this post, which is the belly curl sleeping position.

Pose number seven: The belly curl sleeping position

Dog laying down in the belly curl position

The belly curl sleeping position is yet another belly sleeping position. It seems like some dogs enjoy sleeping on their tummies just like us humans!

During the belly curl sleeping position, you can expect to see your dog sleeping on their bellies, and usually, their front paws are going to be tucked backward.

Unfortunately, this position is an indication that your beloved pooch is not getting good sleep quality.

Why?

You see, this sleeping position prevents your dog’s muscles from relaxing well enough for your pooch to enter the REM stage of sleep, aka, deep sleep.

Fun fact: Did you know that dogs who often curl their bodies are considered to be shy and gentle? However, they can also be such sweet and adventurous animals as well.

If you are interested in getting your dog a new cozy bed to steer them away from sitting and sleeping on your bed and your sofa, then check out our Beds And Houses for Your Dog’s Comfort, where I have selected great bed and house options for your beloved pooch.

Cozy beds for dogs

Other questions related to what do dog sleeping positions mean

How long do dogs sleep on average?

  • A healthy adult dog spends between twelve and fourteen hours (12- 14 hrs) of their day sleeping. 
  • Puppies spend between eighteen and twenty hours ( 18- 20 hrs) of their day sleeping.
  • Senior dogs spend between fourteen and twenty hours of their day sleeping.
  • Of course, sick dogs might be sleeping more than the average durations mentioned above.

Can dogs dream?

Yes, dogs can dream. In fact, neuroscientists believe that the majority of animals can actually dream. Scientists have discovered that a lot of animals like rats, cats, and dogs have similarly structured brains as us humans, and that supports the idea that our beloved dogs can actually dream.

You can learn more about why scientists believe that dogs can actually dream by reading my Can Dogs Dream blog post.

Does the dog’s breed affect whether they dream or not?

Yes, the breed of the dog affects how frequently the dog dreams. Small dogs tend to sleep more frequently than dogs who are bigger in size. Interestingly enough, though, smaller dogs tend to have shorter dreams than those of bigger dogs. This means that, although bigger dogs dream less frequently, they actually have longer dreams.

That’s it for today’s post. You should now know what your dog’s sleeping positions mean. To sum it up, here are a few of the popular dog sleeping poses that we discussed today:

  1. If a dog is sleeping on their side, then they are feeling comfortable and safe.
  2. If a dog is sleeping on their back, then this means that they are trying to stay cool during the warmer weather.
  3. If a dog is curled up while sleeping, then they are trying to stay warm in colder weather.
  4. If a dog is sleeping with their back to you, then this means that they are showing their affection.

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