Sleeping dog floppy ears
Dabl At Home Dec 2020
Presented By
Dabl at Home

What Is The Deeper Meaning Behind Your Dog’s Sleeping Habits?

Learn what your dog’s favorite sleeping positions say about your pup’s personality and how he’s feeling!

While snoozing dogs never cease to be adorable, your dog’s sleeping position likely holds more significance than simply being cute and comfortable! In fact, your dog’s resting position holds lots of clues into how your pet is feeling both mentally and physically. Your dog’s primary way to communicate is through their body language, and that doesn’t stop when he’s unconscious! So the next time your snoozing pup is melting your heart, remember to also use his sleeping habits as a way to check in with how your dog is feeling. Here are the deeper meanings behind eight of the most popular sleeping positions for dogs! 

The Donut:

Donut Dog

Does your dog love to curl up into a tiny ball that resembles a donut or a fuzzy bagel? In this position, your dog makes himself as small as possible, often tucking his paws beneath himself and resting his head on his tail. This resting position is quite popular for dogs in the Fall and Winter, as it’s a great way for your dog to stay warm and conserve his body heat. 

After centuries of living in the wild, dogs have also passed down the natural instinct to protect their vital organs while they are asleep. In this position, dogs tend to feel safer because they are protecting their vital organs and are not particularly vulnerable. However, your dog sleeping in this position doesn’t mean they feel unsafe or worried. While it can indicate your dog is feeling anxious, it’s also just a warm and cozy way to sleep! 

On Their Back:

Every now and then, our dogs crack us up by falling asleep on their backs with their paws in the air! In addition to being adorable and hilarious, you can rest assured knowing your dog feels safe and secure around you and in his environment if he’s assumed this position. Since your dog is exposing all his vulnerable organs, you know he trusts you completely to keep him safe. Since dogs sweat through their paws and their bellies can be a source of heat, some dogs will also sleep on their backs when they need to cool down. 

Side Sleeping: 

Just like their owners, side sleeping is one of the most comfortable positions for pets at night. Dogs who lay on their sides feel relaxed, safe, and at ease in their environments. They are comfortable and don’t need to make any adjustments to their body temperature. 

Once you see your dog in this position, you can be pretty sure that he’s in bed for the night! This position tends to be when dogs get the most deep sleep. This is also the position where your dog is most likely to show he’s dreaming through twitching or running in his sleep. 

The Superman:

Super Man

This sleeping position is often described as the Superman pose! In this position, your dog has stretched out his arms in front of head, and lays flat on the ground. Your dog may also kick out his back legs behind him, which many people lovingly refer to as a sploot! Since dogs tend to stretch out on cold surfaces when they need to cool off, your dog may be feeling a bit warm if you notice he’s assumed this position on tile or hardwood flooring. It’s thought this position helps your dog regulate his body temperature

In addition, the Superman is a sleeping position that has a clear time and place. You’ll likely only see your dog in this position if he’s taking a quick nap. While your pup is content to rest for a bit, he is also able and eager to get up quickly if the opportunity to play or do something exciting were to arise. Dogs who are naturally energetic and playful tend to assume this position the most. 

The Cuddle Bug: 

Some dogs are just born a little extra cuddly and love to curl up next to, on top of, or back-to-back with other pets and people in the home when it’s time to catch some Zs! A key reason your pet may cuddle with you or other members of your household is out of love. It’s your dog’s way of saying he loves you and wants to get closer to you. 

However, there is also a scientific reason for why dogs like to sleep while cuddling or snuggled up against their humans or fellow pets. As puppies, dogs cuddle together while they rest as a way to regulate their body heat before they are old enough to maintain their body temperature on their own. When adult dogs sleep this way, it’s thought that it’s a learned comfort carried over from puppyhood. 

Sleeping On Your Stuff: 

Your dog relies greatly on his nose and his sniffer is significantly more powerful than yours! So when your dog confuses you by sleeping on things like laundry or your used towels, know that the reason is linked to his nose. In fact, your dog is really saying that he loves you. These things are imbued with your scent, and it’s your dog’s way of trying to get closer to the human he loves. 

The Lion Pose: 

Lion Pose

This sleeping position is called the lion pose because your dog’s position resembles the statues of reclining lions placed in front of some government buildings or a sphynx. In this resting position, your dog will be laying down with his head placed on his front paws. This is a position where your dog will not be able to fall into a deep sleep, but can jump up at a moment’s notice to play or protect you. 

Owners often see their dogs assume this position while keeping an eye on their front door or sitting at their feet while they work from home. This position is a sign that your dog is protective and devoted, but also that they don’t really feel like sleeping right now. They may doze off into a light sleep, but they are really full of energy and waiting for the signal to jump up and play! 

The Burrower: 


Dogs naturally have the instinct to dig and burrow. They often find comfort in den-like environments that can become their own personal sanctuary. Dogs need to have a space to seek refuge when they want time to themselves or to go when they need to feel safe and secure. 

When dogs dig before they settle down for the night, it’s a call to when dogs used to sleep outside in the wild. It’s thought that dogs dig to make their resting spot as comfortable as possible and to provide warmth. But dogs who dig and burrow when getting ready for bed in our homes may try to make themselves cozy by essentially hiding amongst clothes, blankets, or pillows. This is a sign that your dog is searching for comfort and security. Dogs who do this tend to be very affectionate with their owners and may need extra attention or love to help them fall asleep at night. Adding some cozy blankets to their bed may also help them sleep more soundly! 

Get more great inspiration, ideas, and pet parent tips on Dabl! Check our Dabl TV schedule and find out where to watch Dabl TV.