5 Dog Sleeping Positions and What They Mean

As much as dogs like to run, play and sniff out the world around them, they also like to snooze. Healthy adult dogs spend an average of 12 to 14 hours per day sleeping, and puppies, senior dogs or those with health problems may require even more rest.

Pet parents witness all sorts of dog sleeping positions, especially if they share a bed or couch with their pups. You have the back loungers, the spread-out space hogs, and the curled-up cuties. But what do these dog sleeping positions mean? Why do dogs sleep the way they do?

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The Lion Pose

If you see your dog sleeping with his head on top of his paws, chances are he’s just resting, says Dr. Stanley Coren, professor emeritus in the Psychology Department at the University of British Columbia and author of numerous books, including “Do Dogs Dream?”

“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,” he says.

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The Side Sleeper

If your doggie is passed out on his or her side, they’re in a common sleep position that is typically reserved for naps. However, it is possible for some dogs to sleep like this for longer periods of time.

The side sleeping position is a relaxed one and again demonstrates complete trust since the pup’s tummy is exposed. Side sleepers are usually very calm, care-free, and usually have a strong bond with their families.

The Crazy Legs

You might not have heard of the “crazy legs” sleep position — but you’ll know it when you see it! This position has your pup on their back with all four legs splayed up in the air.

Dogs that sleep like this are showing a combination of submission and vulnerability. With all four legs in the air, a dog’s stomach and organs are completely exposed, which means they are probably independent, laidback, and feeling very comfortable in their space.

The Donut

The most natural dog sleep position is curling up. That’s a favorite dog sleep position for dogs kept outdoors.

You often will find a dog curled up in a ball. The dog sleeps with paws tucked under their bodies and their tails wrapped around their faces. By covering their faces, dogs are protecting their eyes and throat. Although it is the least vulnerable dog sleep position, it also is the least restful way for dogs to sleep.

The Cuddle Bug

Like a small baby, this position lets your pet get closer to your face where they can feel the reassurance of your heartbeat, whilst maintaining a quick escape route to other parts of the bed if you alter your sleep position. Strategy comes into play again here, as this kind of pet may also aspire to one day become a Pillow Bandit. This position may just be your pet biding his or her time as they gain your trust, allowing them to then advance to the prime pillow spot.

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