Why Does My Dog Sleep Between My Legs?

Pug laying between legs

As fun and adorable as it can be to have your dog sleep between your legs, there are times when it can get excessive and you might need to take measures to reduce this behavior.

To understand why your doggo sleeps between your legs, when you should start getting concerned and how to manage this, here are some aspects you should know.

Why Does Your Dog Sleep Between Your Legs?

Several reasons might be responsible for your dog sleeping between your legs. A lot of them are positive and healthy reasons, although some others can present causes for concern too.

Let’s take a look at what some of these are.

Instinct

A common reason that can help explain your dog’s behavior is their natural instinct. Simply speaking, dogs tend to function and rely quite a bit on pack instincts.

Many of them were bred and had origins in which they had to move around in packs in the wild. Based on this, they also think of you as their pack leader and tend to sleep between your legs as a way of seeking warmth.

Many dogs also instinctively burrow in the beds or on your legs to make themselves more comfortable. In most cases, your dog is acting out of this instinct, which is not something you need to worry about.

Affection

Your dog can also act out of affection for you. Sometimes, they just want to cuddle and want you to pet them.

This can lead them to settle between your legs and sleep. This can also occur as a result of your own actions, such as when you call them to you and reach out on your own to pet them and show them affection.

As a response to you, they might come to you and fall asleep. This can also become a habit if you always permit them to sleep between your legs, which you will then have to consciously change.

Safety

Another reason that can help explain your dog sleeping between your legs is that they simply feel safe and secure with you nearby. Sometimes, this can happen simply because they want to be around you, but this cause is more likely to result in this behavior if there is something around them that makes them seek you out.

Knowing that you can protect them from harm can make them feel safer around you. If there are some sudden changes around them, they might need this kind of security even more.

For instance, if you have moved to a new house or if there are some unfamiliar noises and people nearby, they might require some extra safety.

Fear

Your dog might also be afraid of something around them. If there is anything or anyone in their surroundings that they view as a threat and are afraid of coming into contact with them due to the harm they can cause, they might come to you to express their fear.

Some kind of traumatic incident in the past or even recently can result in this. If something has triggered them again or if they are in pain, they might rely on you to soothe their fears.

Support

Support from you might be something that your dog might require. An illness or a disease can be a common reason that can require them to seek someone out for support.

They might also be trying to convey their discomfort to you so that you can figure out what’s wrong and help them out.

Comfort

Another simple and positive explanation for your dog sleeping between your legs is that they are comfortable there. They might be able to rest better with you, not to mention that the space between your legs might be cozy and warm.

In this case, you can let them be and pet them a bit while ensuring that they do not repeat it all the time.

Attention

In many cases, dogs might try to get physically close to you whenever they want your attention. This could be because they are bored and feeling neglected or simply because they want to play around with you.

They might also want some food or water or might feel tired.

Loyalty

Dogs are loyal creatures who enjoy being around their packs, families and owners. They might also have a strong bond with you, with sleeping between your legs just being their way of showing their loyalty to you.

It might even happen if there is someone else around and they want to be by your side.

Protection

Dogs have a protective instinct within them that stems from their pack mentalities and breeding origins. As a result, they might feel the need to be near you so that they can protect you from any kind of danger.

In other cases, if there is a perceived threat around them that they think will harm you, they might carry out this action even more.

Trust

Trust is a very likely cause of dogs sleeping between your legs. Only if they trust you will they carry this out, and this is their way of expressing it to you.

This can be a good sign, especially with new puppies or dogs or those who were having trouble adjusting.

Anxiety

Anxiety in dogs can stem from fear, discomfort, pain or trauma, which can cause them to sleep between your legs as a way to temporarily cope.

This anxiety can also be separation anxiety, causing your dog to cling to you more than usual. Other signs like chewing, scratching objects, acting destructive and aggressive and urinating around the house can point toward this.

Imitation

If there are other pets around the house, your dog might notice them sleeping between your legs and enjoying it, causing them to imitate it themselves out of curiosity.

They might also see other people (such as kids in the house) doing this and can try to imitate them too.

Also Read: Why Does My Dog Lay On Me And Sleep?

Should You Be Concerned?

You generally do not need to be concerned if your dog sleeps between your legs because of comfort, loyalty, affection, security and love. However, when something seems unusual to you, such as your dog acting fearful and displaying other signs such as whimpering, aggression, scratching and more, you might need to take action.

Even if your dog seems to be sleeping between your legs way more than usual, there might be something around them that is making them afraid or anxious. An injury or some kind of discomfort can also result in this behavior.

It is only in these scenarios that you should be concerned and figure out how to proceed.

How to Reduce This Habit

In order to reduce your dog’s habit of constantly sleeping between your legs, you can try out a few methods. In some cases, you might also need to delve a bit deeper.

Prepare Their Own Bed

Get your dogs their own bed and make it as comfortable as possible so that they can enjoy sleeping there. You will also need to teach your dog to sleep there and that it is their space.

You can also place some of their toys and favorite blankets there to help them adapt to it.

Provide Training

Training your dog out of the act of sleeping between your legs is important if you need them to stop. Rely on positive reinforcement and reward them for obeying your commands so that they can repeat the learned behavior next time.

Give Care and Attention

Generally, make sure you care and attend to your dog enough so that they feel fulfilled and loved. Give them their meals on time, provide exercise and keep them hydrated so that they do not rely on sleeping between your legs every time they want attention.

Reduce Separation Anxiety

In case your dog has separation anxiety, you will need to help them reduce this so that they can feel safe and comfortable on their own again. Use rewards and start gradually by sitting in another room and increasing the period of absence (but not too much).

Make sure you still treat them well and give them enough attention.

Do Not Encourage Them

It is likely that your dog tends to sleep between your legs repeatedly because of your encouragement. You can stop encouraging them and gently make them get off whenever they try this out again.

Reduce Territorial Aggression

If your dogs are acting protectively by sleeping between your legs while also acting aggressively against other people and pets who try to get close to you, you will need to train them out of it.

Consult a Professional

Ask a trainer to help you out or visit the vet if you think there is another medical issue.

Also Read: Why Does My Dog Check On Me When I’m Sleeping?

Final Remarks

Your dog sleeping between your legs is usually a healthy and positive action. It can indicate loyalty, affection, protection, comfort and safety.

Whenever this seems to become excessive or stems from fear or anxiety or simply because you have indulged them too much, you can take measures like training, care and reducing their fear to deal with the issue.