After a hard day at work, you finally decide to turn in for the night. You get ready for bed, get in your covers, try to get all cozied up, and reach for your book by the nightstand only to find your covers hard to pull as you feel something heavy on top of them. Startled, you get up to see your dog sitting at the foot of your bed. It very well may be their most favorite spot to curl up for rest!

But the question is, why does your dog do this, and is it something to be concerned about? You’ll be glad to know that this behavior is prevalent in many dogs, and though it may make you curious, it's completely normal.

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In this article, we will dive into the detail of exactly why and when your dog may decide to sleep at the foot of your bed. There are a lot of reasons for this behavior, ranging from acting territorially to simply attempting to keep warm!

  • The Dog Pack Instinct

While your dog might have never been a part of a pack, they do still have their evolutionary instincts. There are a lot of reasons why dogs act a certain way. Most of them go back to their instinctual behavior (1).

One such instinct is to stay close to the alpha of the pack, so whenever they stop to rest, the alpha lays in the prime position, and the other dogs will sit or lie down around the leader. In your home, you are the pack leader, so your dog will be compelled to show similar behavior towards you.

  • Unconsciously Encouraging His Behavior

It is also possible that you have encouraged your dog to rest at the foot of your bed by rewarding him with treats or love when he does this. If you provide him extra attention when he sleeps at the foot of your bed, he will repeat this behavior. So, if you want him to stop sleeping at the foot of your bed, try rewarding him when he sleeps somewhere else.

When you try to change your dog’s habits, it is possible that he might end up sleeping in unusual places. Sometimes even out of the house! If you don’t want to worry about your dog’s whereabouts, you can get the Fi smart dog collar which comes with a GPS, so you know where your dog is at all times.

  • To Protect You

Most dogs have a very strong protective feeling over their owners. Hence, they frequently lookout for risks. Dogs also have great night vision, up to multiple times better compared to people in low light conditions. So, by sleeping at the foot of your bed, they try to be at the front to be ready to protect you from any intruder or any disturbing event that might occur.

  • Marking Their Territory

Just like you have a strong sense of ownership for your dog, your dog feels the same way about you as well. You are their owner, and they would prefer not to let other dogs, cats, or even people come too close to you.

If you have other pets as well, you may see that when your cat leaps into your lap, your dog will come over and remind everyone that you are theirs (3). This is not alarming behavior. It’s just them being territorial. By sleeping at the foot of your bed, your dog may be trying to show that this is their territory, and no other animal can come close to you or sleep with you.

  • Space Issues

The most obvious reason why dogs like to sleep at the foot of your bed is that they have much more space than elsewhere on the bed. Dogs share a very close bond with their owners, and they like to cuddle and sleep close to them while having enough space to sleep comfortably.

  • Separation Anxiety

Just like humans, dogs can have separation anxiety. Dogs who are abandoned, rescued, or are adopted from shelters are more prone to have separation anxiety. In case your dog has separation anxiety, it will sleep at the foot of your bad. In this way, it does not feel anxious and fearful when it is left alone. If your dog feels anxious while sleeping alone, you can give those treats or even your warm clothes so they can feel safe.


The Key Takeaway

Pups love their owners more than anything in the world. Assuming they get the opportunity to cuddle up in your bed, they will never leave. However, ensure your pup sticks with the boundaries, obeys you, and knows that you are in charge. The last thing you want is your dog getting out of control.

For more helpful articles about pet-parenting tips, check out the Off Leash blog at

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