It’s bedtime and your dog curls up in a tight ball on their bed. Or maybe they sprawl out belly-up on your bed. What makes them choose these strange positions for snoozing? A dog’s chosen sleeping position says a lot about their comfort levels, and not just by how fluffy their bed is.
The first reason for curling up is a very logical one – your dog is trying to stay cozy! From their wild ancestors, dogs have a tendency to curl up into a ball in order to stay warm. Wild dogs also tend to burrow into the ground first, creating a nest to further protect them from the cold. This is why you often see your dog circling and digging at the floor, couch or bed before they settle in for a nap.
Dogs in the wild also curl up to protect the weakest middle part of their bodies from any potential predators, offering them a position in which they can feel secure. Being balled-up head to toe allows your dog to feel as safe as they can be.
Does this mean that a curled-up dog feels insecure in their surroundings? Not necessarily. Although a dog who is nervous or in unfamiliar territory will often follow their instincts to curl up, a family pet who always slumbers in this position may just have a stronger connection to their wild cousins.
Dogs who sleep belly-up, on the other hand, are expressing a deep sense of security. Not only are these dogs often relaxed and easy-going breeds that may be more distanced from their wild ancestors, but they are frequently well-socialized and confident in their surroundings.
It’s safe to say that if your pooch is passed out with legs in the air, they have complete trust in you. A sprawled out dog may also be trying to cool down, as the circled position keeps in body heat.
In any position, a slumbering pup is a great companion when nighttime comes around. That is, unless they snore…