Doggy Sleeping Positions and What They Mean
On the side
The most common sleeping position for dogs is on their side with the legs pointing straight out. Sometimes dogs will fall asleep in a different position, but as soon as the muscles relax and the dog starts to dream, they will automatically roll onto their side.
This position exposes their vital organs, so a dog who prefers to sleep on its side is likely relaxed and comfortable, and feels safe with his or her surroundings.
As the legs are free to move in this sleeping position, it is likely that you will see the dog’s legs twitch and kick as they dream.
If your dog favours this position, make sure that their bed is big enough to accommodate their whole body, including the outstretched legs.
Curled up in a ball
This is a common sleeping position for wild dogs, who are much more vulnerable than our spoiled pet pooches. The vital organs are protected, the body heat is retained, and the dog can move quickly if needed.
Dogs that are in an unfamiliar location or experience something that is worrying them will often sleep in this position. However, if your dog prefers to roll up like a fox for nap time it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is worried or uncomfortable, they might just like being snuggled in.
Super Pup Pose
In this position, the dog is on its tummy, with all four legs stretched out. This is very common with puppies who need regular naps, but also always want to be ready to play at any given moment, as it’s very easy to get up and going.
The Super Pup is almost completely limited to napping; very few dogs spend a whole night in this position. It’s also much more common with smaller dogs like terriers and toy breeds, possibly because their limbs are shorter.
On the back, legs up in the air
If your dog is cold, they will curl up into a ball. In a similar way, exposing the belly and spreading out will cool them down. Exposing the tummy, where the fur is much thinner, as well as the sweat glands on the paws are two of your dog’s best tools to stay cool.
Comfortable as it may be, it is however a very vulnerable position. The vital organs are exposed and it will take the dog much longer to get up and go in case of danger than if they had their legs on the ground. If your dog chooses this position even when it’s not boiling hot, it is likely that he or she feels extremely relaxed and comfortable.
Close to a human or other pet
Many dogs love falling asleep next to another living thing, preferably really, really close. This behaviour comes from their time as puppies, before they could regulate their own body temperature and had to snuggle up to their siblings to stay warm.
Although grown dogs don’t need you (or the cat) as a heat source, they have come to associate sleeping next to something warm and breathing with comfort and security. You can be sure that your dog is completely relaxed in your company if he or she decides to sleep right next to you.