Dogs sleep in lots of different positions that may change on a regular basis. Sometimes, dogs sleep in their favorite position, and other times, there are additional factors that determine why they sleep a certain way. A dog might choose a particular sleeping position based on how relaxed she is, how she feels about her environment, or how hot or cold she is. When a dog sleeps with legs straight out or up in the air, it often looks cute and silly, but there is a lot more to it than just that.
Comfort and relaxation
Comfort is one of the main reasons dogs choose a sleeping position, and you can probably relate. This sleeping position might look awkward because there are limbs, ears, and maybe even a tongue hanging out in different directions, but that doesn't mean it feels awkward. If you're watching your dog sleeping and wondering, "Why does my dog lay on her back with her legs in the air?" the answer may be simple: because it's comfortable.
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Dogs might find sleeping on their back more comfortable than you think. There isn't weight or pressure on any parts of their body, and their muscles don't need to be tense to maintain their position. Their awkward-looking limbs might offer the perfect balance to make them feel totally relaxed.
Feeling safe and trusting
A dog's sleeping positions with his owner can tell you something about their relationship. A dog who sleeps on his back trusts the people around him and feels safe where he is. Animals who live in the wild don't sleep on their back. They generally sleep curled up, protecting their organs in case of an attack while they're sleeping. This protective position also makes it easier to get up and on foot quickly. Dogs who sleep with an exposed belly feel they can let their guard down because they trust that nothing will hurt them.
Trying to keep cool
You might notice that dogs sleep on their back more often in the summer. They may be trying to keep cool. Dogs don't sweat the same way that we do. They only sweat through glands in their paws, which means they need to find other ways of regulating their temperature during those hot nights. Sleeping curled up or even on their side traps unwanted heat around their body, making them even more uncomfortable. By sleeping on their back, dogs cool off the underside of their body, and if they're lucky, they feel the cool air conditioner over their whole body.
Why does my dog sleep on my side of the bed?
Speaking of odd sleeping habits, if you have a dog who always tries to sleep on your side of the bed, you may be wondering why. One of the most likely explanations is that your side of the bed smells like you, and she wants to feel like she's close to you. Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and an intense love for their owner, so it's understandable that when your dog is going to sleep and wants to feel safe and loved, she would want to smell your scent.
Another reason your dog might take your side of the bed is the reward she gets for taking it. When you see that your dog has taken your spot, you might tempt her to move with a treat. To stop the behavior, instead of giving away treats after catching her on your side, decide where you want your dog to go when it's bedtime and reward her when she goes to that spot.