Our canine friends are usually terrific sleepers who can curl up just about anywhere and make themselves at home. But have you ever noticed their sleeping positions, some of them really cute, others a little strange, and some just hilarious, that your dog sleeps in?
Let’s take a deep dive into the world of dog sleep and see how the positions they choose to rest in reveal important aspects of their character.
1. The Snowball
This is one of the most common sleeping positions. It involves the dog putting its front legs out to one side and head down on the ground, while its back legs are curled to the other side. This position allows a dog to quickly spring into action if necessary. Normally, dogs don’t fall into a deep sleep while resting in this position; on the contrary, it is more like a nap-time position without abandoning their guard functions.
2. The Sphinx
You might see your dog, either awake or asleep, resembling the famous Egyptian monument, with its legs facing forward and perhaps with its head resting on its legs. This position tends not to be for longer rests as the dog wants to keep its head and ears up and ready to listen and respond to anything that might be around. Expect a short nap or eyes half-closed kind of doze with this position.
This position shows your dog’s flexibility and athleticism, with its legs stretched all the way out in front and back. It’s no coincidence that these sleeping dogs look like they could fly. With this position, they are ready to jump up and shoot off at a moment’s notice.
Playful and energetic dogs are particularly partial to this sleeping position. And who knows, they may just be flying through the air in their dreams!
4. Curled Up
If your dog manages to curl itself up into a perfect donut shape, they are putting themselves into a safe, warm position. With their belly covered up, they not only protect themselves from potential attackers, but they also retain all their body heat.
Though this is a protective position, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog feels threatened. Rather, they could just want to get into some really deep sleep and not have to worry about what’s around them.
5. On the Back
Given that dogs are most vulnerable to attack in their throats and bellies, a dog sleeping on its back is extremely comfortable with its surroundings. The dog knows it has nothing to fear in the safety of its home, and this is a big compliment to you as an owner. One other reason that a dog might choose this position is that dogs cannot get rid of excess heat by sweating or through their fur, so they might sleep belly up to cool off after a very hot day.
6. The Zombie
Perhaps of all the cutest and funniest positions a dog can end up sleeping in is this one. With its paws stretched and lying on its back, when looked at from above, it seems your cute pooch could be doing some fancy dance moves. A dog sleeping in this position is completely at ease with its surrounding environment.
7. The Pancake
In this position, your dog feels the most relaxed. The “pancake” gets its name from the fact that the dog is lying completely flat on its side with its legs out in one direction. This means that the dog feels very safe and is comfortable enough to let its guard down.
In this position, your dog can get some of the deeper, restorative sleep it needs to have the energy to run around once it gets up. Because the dog has really unwound, this position is the most conducive to dreaming. So be prepared to see the dog moving its legs as though it’s chasing a squirrel. It may just be doing that in its dream world!
8. The Burrower
We all know this kind of dog. Give them a sheet, a blanket, a pillow, or a lap, and they will find a way to get at least their head, if not more of their body, inside. For dogs who were weaned early and separated from their siblings, this might be a residual behavior from infancy. Burrowing gives them a feeling of comfort and security that can help assuage their anxieties.
If your dog is stressed by a move to a new apartment or house or maybe even the arrival of a new person or pet, this might be their response.
9. Bonus: Couch Doggies
All the other sleeping positions that we have looked at here can be found in nature, but this last one requires a special human invention: a couch. Everyone has had a least one crazy couch sleeper, who uses the sofa to get themselves in the most improbable sleeping positions. If your dog does this, it’s likely that they are more than a bit spoiled.