7 Reasons Why Dogs Sleep With Their Bum Facing You

Why does my dog sleep with his bum facing me


7 Main Reasons Why Dogs Sleep With Their Bum Facing You

You’re sitting on the sofa chilling out and the next thing you see is your dog’s butt moving its way towards you. Yep, that’s right your dog has decided to sleep with its bum facing you. Why do dogs perform this odd sleep position?

The most common reason for your dog choosing to sleep with their bum facing you is security. Dogs will sleep in this position as it provides a better vantage point for oncoming danger. They know that they are protected from behind by you, leaving any front-facing area to be guarded by them. 

This article will highlight 7 common reasons why your dog is choosing to sleep with their bum facing you and hopefully provide a better understanding of why they carry out this strange behavior.

1. Security

Security is one of the most vital parts of an animal’s instinct and your dog’s natural urge to protect the area they live in is one of the most profound. An excellent example of why your dog sleeps with his bum facing you is the ringing of a doorbell. It is common to see dogs rushing to the door barking their heads off when that doorbell rings. This is an example of the protective instincts dogs possess. When the doorbell goes a dog will not necessarily know who is behind the door, this unknown entity adds to the urge to be protective.

The same goes for during sleep, dogs cannot see whether there are any incoming threats, and therefore the urge to increase security is high. Because your dog is aware that they cannot secure an area fully whilst asleep they will seek another form of protection to position at their rear, this is not always a human but another animal such as a cohabiting dog.

This behavior is perfectly natural and your dog is only trying to make sure any threats are detected quickly and efficiently.

2. Comfort

Comfort is by far one of the most desired factors when choosing where to sleep. With this in mind, it can be said that dogs choose to sleep with their bum facing you, as a way of nestling into your body. Humans tend to have a warm core, especially when curled up on the sofa or inside a nice warm house, for this reason, your dog may choose to push themselves into that warm space as they know if it gets cold they will have a warm body to keep them toasty.

Of course, security is still the most likely reason your dog will sleep with its bum facing you. What many owners don’t understand is that the reasons for certain behavior are linked. Not only does your dog want to position itself in a comfortable place that is warm, but it will also want to have a good position in the surrounding area, for security. This leads to another reason your dog chooses to sleep with his bum facing you, protection.

Reducing your dog’s need to cuddle up to you can be easier than you think. Choosing your dog the right bed is vital for their comfort and even helps them stay healthy for longer. Our article “Do Dogs Need A Bed” gives some expert advice on the advantages of dog beds and whether you should consider getting one.

3. Protection

Your dog may seem like they can handle themselves, but dogs are not naive like humans are. Dogs will happily receive forms of protection whenever the opportunity arises. Protection amongst wild dogs such as wolves is often seen through pack mentality, this is why wolves don’t usually travel alone. Sleeping habits often involve sleeping amongst each other nestled up for warmth and security, which in turn protects the entire pack.

Taking the above concept and applying it to your own dog, it can be said that dogs choose to sleep near the alpha figure in their lives. They may not wish to cuddle right up to you and so they turn their bum towards you so that they are protected from behind. If they view you as the alpha they may not feel worthy of facing you and so turning away allows them to be close by but also not invading your space too much. This leads to the next reason which involves some of the points mentioned in this section.

do hiding

4. Eye Contact

You may be familiar with this behavior as it’s very common amongst dogs. Eye contact can be a difficult thing for a dog to do. Although humans view eye contact as a way to communicate with one another, dogs don’t feel the same. For dogs eye, contact is an intimidating experience, something that naturally happens during a show of dominance. Of course, don’t jump to the conclusion that your dog assumes you are asking for a fight when your stare at them face to face, it’s just a natural instinct, remember dogs still have a little bit of “wild” in them, even if they are highly domesticated.

Looking at this behavior and the reaction dogs have to it, it is no wonder that dogs tend to sleep with their bums facing you. This is a way of being near you without having an awkward moment where you are staring at each other. Another point to make is that your dog’s eyesight is very different from yours and the way long and short distance vision occurs for your dog is a factor in what they are comfortable looking directly at. Have a look at our articles, “What is a dog’s favorite color” and “Are dogs afraid of the dark”, these two articles cover a great deal of detail involving your dog’s vision.

5. Seeking Attention

Whilst some dogs enjoy their own company many dogs are needy attention-seeking individuals. Now I don’t mean that in a horrible way it’s in your dog’s nature to seek companionship and that is why they make such great pets. You can always trust a dog to be by your side when you need them the most.

Dogs use their bum to push themselves into a space, this is because it is one of the strongest areas of their body. This allows them to let you know they are in your space. In addition to this, if your dog is sleeping with its bum facing you, the likelihood is that they are trying to get into a position where you will notice them. In fact, your pooch may not even be asleep, just pretending so they can get a pat on the rump.

In light of your dog’s attention-seeking nature, take a look at this article on Wag Walking with 10 of the most attention-seeking dogs there are.

6. They Want To Play

If you have ever experienced a collection of dogs playing you will notice certain behaviors between them. This particular behavior is related to the use of their butt. Dogs will swing their rear end towards other dogs during play, this is because of the strength they can get from this area, it also acts as a protective barrier for their frontal area.

The same thing happens when humans play with their dogs. Speaking from experience, my own dog will often push his bum into me during play or if he thinks he is not getting enough attention. This behavior could also be the aim when dogs sleep with their bum facing you. Although your dog appears to be sleeping, they may well be trying to encourage play, and it’s easy to figure this out. Try saying good boy and patting them on the back if the response is some serious wagging then you may have a faker on your hands. If all your dog wants to do is play all the time and a simple walk is not doing the job, then try using some of these great walking games, check out the article “9 Games to Play When Walking Your Dog”.

7. Vulnerability

When relating vulnerability to sleeping positions, dogs will usually display certain out-of-character actions. If your dog is cuddling up to you then they may be feeling vulnerable. This could be for a few reasons, firstly they could be tried and sleeping is exactly what they intend to do. The second reason could be for something more serious, an injury can create a shadowy demeanor in dogs and it is often easier than you think to tell.

Dogs may either try being alone in a rather isolated area of the household, or they will seek affection wherever they can, this includes sleeping. Keep an eye on what your dog is doing and whether it is normal behavior for them, as they may be sitting with you because they are hurt. The reason for facing their bum towards you during this scenario is to ensure they are protected from behind, as they know they are compromised.

puppy on sofa

What To Do If Your Dog Is Sleeping With Their bum Facing You

Of course, this is not the end of the world, it may well be a little irritating but having your pooch willing to cuddle up to you can be all bad. If you are not too keen on this behavior continuing, firstly assess the possible reasons for your dog sleeping with their bum facing you.

Think about security and whether the positioning of the room is causing them to seek protection from behind. Do you have a hoover stored in the corner and it is putting them on edge. Even out-the-box thinking is required here.

In addition to this think about whether there is something bothering them such as injuries or they are stressed. If you are able to comfort them in any way possible then provide what you can to help.

Speaking of comfort, also ensure that your dog has somewhere cozy and comfy to sleep, they may well be seeking refuge with you because they don’t feel the floor is a nice place to relax. Again the temperature of the room may play a part in why your dog is nestling into you at this angle.

Stimulating them physically and mentally can help prevent attention-seeking attitudes. In addition to this your dog may be feeling left out for some reason and it is causing them to seek attention all the time. A new baby or even a new dog can often upset this balance.

Does Your Dog Know You Are Sleeping

Dogs can be opportunistic in their nature and knowing when you are asleep can help identify the perfect moment to nestle into you. If your dog is choosing to sleep with its bum facing you, then you may not be too keen to let this behavior continue. As discussed above dogs will often carry out certain behaviors for specific reasons and so identifying the reason is your first priority. If you have identified the reason to be something like attention-seeking or they are just very needy, you may want to discourage this behavior. Of course, it’s hard to discourage this behavior when you are asleep and dogs can certainly tell when you are asleep. Check out our article “Do Dogs Know When Humans Are Sleeping”, this has some great tips on managing those dogs that seem to be more aware of your movements that the average.


It’s important to remember that your dog’s behaviors are usually due to something they are feeling or a natural urge they have. Security was outlined as the main reason why your dog sleeps with his bum facing you and that is because it is the most connected to other more specific reasons. Remember to check out our homepage for more great content all about dogs and the wonderful lives they share with us.

Dean Lissaman

As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. Being an outdoor enthusiast has inspired me to create the ultimate resource on relating both dogs and the outdoors. For more information on me check out my about page.

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