When your dog first starts snuggling up close and sleeping on you at night, it can be very endearing. You might even feel privileged to be the chosen one! However, as time goes on you could find that your sleep becomes interrupted, and you might even wish your dog would take a turn with someone else for a change! In this article, we explore why your dog might be favoring you over your partner and what you can do to improve the situation.
Most pet parents get their dog as a very young puppy. Leaving their mother and siblings can be a worrying time for some puppies, so they will be eager to form new bonds with you. This will happen naturally if you are the puppy’s primary carer, feeding, playing, and grooming them. If your husband is equally involved in your pup’s care then it is likely that they will split their affections equally too.
When a puppy is very young it is important to get them to socialize with as many different people as possible to make them grow into a well-rounded adult dog. If your pup spends all his time with you and you alone, then there is a risk that this close bond could become an issue.
If your puppy isn’t used to other people then he could be at risk of anxiety, especially when meeting someone new. There is also the risk that your dog will become very protective over you and start to display guarding behaviors, showing aggression towards others. This can be difficult to deal with, especially if the aggression is shown to your husband or other family members.
So, as far as possible, try and get your husband and other family involved in your puppy’s life from a relatively early age.
Why does my dog sleep on me and not my husband?
There are several reasons why your dog might be favoring you over your husband — we’ll explore each of these in turn.
1. More familiarity
If you are spending more time with your dog than your husband is, then they will naturally prefer to lie with you at night. Husbands that work away in the week or who are out of the house for long hours may not be as familiar a presence in the house as you are. Unfortunately, you can’t change work commitments but you can ensure your husband spends lots of quality time with your dog when he is home, in the evenings, and at weekends.
2. Protective behavior
Your dog may be lying to you because he is acting protectively. They have a natural instinct to protect weaker members of the pack, and if you are physically smaller than your husband he may feel that you need more looking after. Some dogs may demonstrate their guarding behavior by barking at strangers or watching out of the living room window for delivery men, while others will want to sleep with you to keep an eye on things at night.
Dogs have an extremely sensitive sense of smell. They can even smell and detect cancer cells in people, which is incredible. Therefore your dog may favor lying with you simply because they prefer your smell to your husband’s. Natural body odors, as well as aftershaves and perfumes, create a heady mix, and your dog may just like your scent the best.
4. Personality match
Your dog may want to sleep with you rather than your husband because you share similar personalities. If you are both relaxed and happy-go-lucky then you might be naturally closer, with your dog favoring you over a partner who may be more of an anxious worrier.
Dogs will pick up on body language and subtle cues that we may give out due to our natural personalities. Dogs will also shy away from people that yell at them a lot, which might be the case if your husband is stressy and easy to anger.
5. You are the primary caretaker
Your dog may lie with you simply because you are primarily responsible for his care. If you do most of his walking, grooming, and feeding then your dog will probably favor you over your partner. Dogs feel closest to those that give them the most time and attention so they will feel happy snuggling up with you at night.
6. Sleeping position
If you sleep in a certain position that is more comfortable for your dog to join in with, then he will probably pick you instead of your husband. It’s a bit harder to snuggle up to someone that sleeps in a rigidly fixed position than somebody who snuggles you or allows you to sleep on their feet.
7. Sleep cycles
People have their own individual sleep cycles that can affect how deeply they sleep and how long for. Your dog is most likely to pick someone that he is in tune with, otherwise he risks being disturbed or woken up in the night. If your husband tosses and turns a lot more than you do then your dog is less likely to lie on him, or snoring could also put them off.
How to encourage your dog to sleep on your husband
First of all, it’s worth addressing how much time your husband spends interacting with your dog in the daytime. Dogs are more likely to bond with people that give them plenty of positive attention and fuss. So get your husband to walk the dog more frequently, play games in the garden, or serve up his dinner from time to time.
At night you can increase the chances of your dog sleeping on your husband by making sure he steers clear of strong-smelling aftershaves and lotions, especially if he baths or showers before bed.
You may want to consider whether you want your dog in bed with you at all though, or whether you should start encouraging him to use his own bed.
How to encourage your dog to stop sleeping on you
While sharing your bed with a puppy can be quite sweet, having a dog in the bed can introduce dirt, hair, and parasites into your sheets as well as confusing your dog as to who is the pack leader.
If your dog is starting to affect your sleep quality or is getting in the way of you and your husband being able to cuddle, then it would probably be a good idea to discourage him from sleeping on you.
Some dogs may start to show signs of aggression or possessiveness, and while the odd grumble may be amusing to begin with, it should be taken seriously before it ends up becoming growling and biting.
Becoming pregnant is another reason that some pet parents decide to move their dog off of the bed. After all, being pregnant can make sleep tricky at the best of times, and when the baby comes there may be even less room in the bed!
Tips to stop your dog from sleeping on you
- Make sure he has an appealing bed of his own that is comfortable, the right size, and in a warm location.
- Start teaching him the “off” or “down command.” Give the command and reward him when he gets down from the bed. Use this command consistently if he tries to get on the bed.
- Encourage your dog into his own bed. You could give him treats or food in his bed, place his favorite toys there, and make it as inviting as possible. Praise him when he lies in it.
- Don’t confuse him. Make sure everyone sticks to the new rules and that your dog is kept off the bed at all times. It will be confusing to him if he’s allowed on the bed sometimes but not all the time. He will be happier, in the long run, to know what’s expected of him.
There are many reasons why your dog might favor lying on you to sleep rather than your husband. You could try and improve your dog’s relationship with your husband by getting them to spend more time together during the day, which may then change how they interact at night. Ultimately, though, you may have to reconsider whether you want your dog on the bed at all or whether you would all be more comfortable if your dog slept in his own bed.