Dog Sleeping Habits And What They Say About Their Personality

Have you ever looked at your dog, peacefully resting and thought “I wonder what it’s thinking”? Well, you’ll probably never know that for sure, but you can get an idea of its personality and other traits based on the way it sleeps. Here’s how the way a dog sleeps tells you about how it feels.

Side Sleeper

When a dog sleeps on its side with its legs out like this, that means the dog feels safe and secure in its environment. That would mean your pet is loyal and trusting. Although, they also are normally in a comfortable position when doing this. This is the position a dog can get the best sleep in.

Lion’s Pose

Dogs get into this position when they’re taking a less deep sleep. They’re ready to pounce or play at a moment’s notice. Dogs that sleep in this position are protective and devoted, and ordinarily sleep by their owner’s feet or the front door.


The Superman is pretty similar to the lion’s pose, in both position and function. A dog in this sleeping position is resting, but ready to play at a moment’s notice. Dogs that sleep in this position often are energetic and playful. They can fall asleep easily, but just as easily get back up. They keep playing until they pass out.


A dog that sleeps in the donut position is trying to preserve body heat and hide its vital organs. Dogs that sleep in this possession are caring, but anxious. It’s a common sleeping position for dogs adjusting to new homes. Of course, this is also a common sleeping position for dogs when they’re just cold.


Dogs that often cuddle are affectionate and loving. Not necessarily just to their owner, but any other person or animal they like to cuddle with when they sleep.


Burrowers are dogs that, when they’re going to sleep, burrow themselves in blankets. These kinds of dogs are incredibly affectionate, but also needy. The “burrowing” is an effort to cuddle, even if they aren’t able to cuddle with their owner or another dog.

Belly Up

Sleeping belly up for a dog is a sort of the reverse of sleeping in the donut position. Dogs that sleep belly up are loving and trusting. They’re comfortable in their surroundings and can sleep just about anywhere, at least in that general area. Also, they sleep in this position to cool off, as opposed to keeping warm like in the donut position.

Back To Back

Dogs that sleep back to back are sort of similar to those that sleep while cuddling. This way to sleep is a sort of a way in which dogs shows intimacy. They’ll really only sleep this way with the person they feel safest with. This can be their owner, another dog, or even a cat, if they’re close enough.

On A Cold Surface

When a dog sleeps on a cold surface, there isn’t much to read into about that. The dog’s just tired and hot and it’s trying to cool down. This is especially apparent when the dog’s sleeping on its belly with its legs sprawled out, maximizing the amount of skin without hair being exposed. This may also be one of the reasons your dog sleeps on the floor instead of their doggy bed. If your dog acts like this a lot of the time, you should try giving your dog some more water.

Head And Neck Raised

If your dog often sleeps with its head raised, that might mean it has trouble breathing properly. This is common among dogs with respiratory issues, like pugs and bulldogs. This could also mean that your dog has some form of chronic heart disease. So, if your dog sleeps like this, be on the lookout for it.

Crazy Legs

This is a variation of the bully up position, with a dog just sleeping on its back with its legs sprawled out. And as with belly up, it just means that the dog feels comfortable and at-home in its environment.

Tummy Curl

This one’s a sort of variation as well, in this case, the donut position, albeit, not quite as guarded. The dog sleeps in this sort of curled position because it’s not quite as relaxed as it could be. That’s not to say that the canine is unhappy or not relaxed when it’s awake. It may actually be one of the most energetic dogs in its pack.

In Its Owner’s Clothes

If your dog is sleeping on or in your clothes, it’s probably just showing you affection. Your clothes hold your scent, and they feel closer to you by doing this. They’re especially likely to do this when they miss you, such as if you’re on a trip, where it becomes a form of comfort for the pet.


There’s not much to actually interpret with this one, other than the fact that your dog can sleep in virtually any position. There’s also a slight chance that your dog has narcolepsy (which dogs can get by the way), but it’s far more likely your dog just likes to sleep this way.

Snuggling With Owner

Pretty similar to just cuddling, when a dog sleeps with or on its owner, it’s just trying to strengthen its bond with its owner. It may sleep in your lap, cuddle up with you in bed, or just make sure its touching you before dozing off.


You may often see that a dog circles its sleeping area before laying down to sleep. This is from a dog’s wolf ancestry. In the wild, they would pat down tall grass in order to make their resting place more comfortable. However, doing this excessively or for a longer than average period of time may be a sign of arthritis or some sort of neurological disorder.


Digging is the somewhat less common cousin to circling. Another pre-sleep habit among dogs, this one originates from the dog’s habit of digging dens for themselves. It’s also just another habit to make sure the sleeping area is comfortable. Some dog breeds may be more likely to attempt to dig than others, due to their breed’s higher affinity for digging.

Puppies During The Day

For new puppy owners, you may notice that your pup is sleeping a lot during the day (at least when it’s not bouncing off the walls). This is completely normal. The puppies just burn through a lot of their energy and require constant rest to help to them grow and replenish their stamina. Of course, with them sleeping so much during the day…

Puppies At Night

Puppies tend to be incredibly energetic at night. Initially, it’ll be tough for them to get through the whole night without an outburst of some kind (much like a human baby), but they should eventually grow out of this as they get older.

Active At Night Instead Of The Day

Sometimes, even adult dogs can find themselves awake and active at night instead of during the day. Dogs can get confused about the time of day and end up knocking their sleep schedule out of wack. Sometimes, hormonal supplements can help get a dog’s sleep schedule back on track.


Yes, dogs can dream too. They often dream about the day’s events. You can normally tell what they’re dreaming about based on how they act.

Sleeping Activities

Much like with people, a dog can sometimes be an active sleeper. Sometimes they may kick their legs like their running or even attempt to dig.

Agitation And Whimpering

Just like how dogs have dreams, they can have nightmares too. When a dog moves and whimpers in its sleep, it’s likely just experiencing a bad dream. The best thing you can do for your dog in this situation and be with and try to comfort it best you can without waking it up.


Some dogs may also involuntarily twitch while sleeping. Most of the time, this is a completely harmless action. However, in some instances, you may find that the dog is twitching far too much. This could mean that it’s having a seizure. Call your dog’s name and see if its responds. If it gets back up, it was a particularly bad nightmare. If it doesn’t, you need to go to a vet.

Sleep Schedule

As mentioned before, a dog’s sleep schedule can sometimes get knocked out of wack. It’s recommended that dog owners train their dogs to gain a certain sleep schedule so that their dog doesn’t disturb their rest. However, sometimes a sleep schedule may change for different reasons. Potentially, a dog could’ve developed a neurological disorder such as cognitive dysfunction disorder (CDS). This is more prevalent when a dog sleeps less. Oversleeping on the other hand may be a sign of another illness or lethargy.


When a dog is dozing, it isn’t exactly getting proper rest. They can get tired throughout the day and take period rests. They may look asleep, but you may see their ears perk up when they hear something, even if they don’t get up. They’re just waiting for something interesting to do, and may be in the Superman or lion’s pose in the meantime.

Buried In Toys

When a dog’s sleeping in its toys, it’s trying to say one thing: it loves its toys. Its possible that the toys in question also have the scent of their owner or another pet their friendly with on them, so they’ll like to sleep with them for the same reason they’d sleep in their owner’s clothes.

Randomly Falling Asleep

Not to be confused with dozing, this is when a dog just full on passes out in the middle of the day. Another thing that both dogs and humans can have is narcolepsy. If this seems to be an issue for your dog, take them to the vet to see what the problem is. It could be high stress, but it could also be a hormonal issue of some kind.


It was earlier mentioned that a dog may prop its head up when it falls asleep because it may have breathing issues. This would be the same reason that a dog would snore. Again, this is most common among breeds with known respiratory issues, like the bulldog.

Sleeping Location

No matter how much you may want to cuddle with your pet, to help a dog sleep better, sometimes it’s best to give them a crate, kennel, or dog bed to sleep in. It’s like giving them a den, as their ancestors slept in, allowing for more sound sleep. It’ll also be far less likely to disturb your sleep and make you wake up than if you were to cuddle with your dog for the night.