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Why Does My Dog Sleep On Me and Not My Husband?

Do you have one of those dogs that love to sleep on top of you? Are you curious as to why your furry friend has chosen to always sleep on top of you and not your partner? Have you ever wondered why does my dog sleep on me and not my husband? The reasons for this could be simple in principle, but interesting to explore nonetheless.

Dogs are pack animals. They have a natural instinct to group into families, so when you are a family unit, it’s no surprise that they will do as many things with you as possible. They are social animals. This includes bedding down together to sleep. They also assume a protective role in the middle of the night.

Why it chooses you over your partner may have a lot to do with your individual relationship with the pooch. So let’s take a closer look at why your partner might be the mattress of choice.

dog face under duvet with human feet

What Does It Mean When Your Dog Chooses To Sleep With You?

One main reason to state upfront is that your dog is all about affection. We enjoy the idea that our dogs love us and that we have a strong bond with them. And – in the general sense of what we mean – they do. Dogs experience affection for their dog parents, which they regard as keepers, caregivers, and family. 

They seem to like to hang out with us, so much so that they get depressed when their dog owners aren’t around. Some even suffer from separation anxiety. It’s no surprise that if left to their own devices, they are quite happy to jump up on the bed and rest with you rather than head to their own bed. Most used to snuggle puppies, with the rest of the litter so sleeping with others is a positive experience.

So it’s also a sense of safety that comes into play. Pack animals find security in numbers instinctually. They also provide protection for you in the same way. Some dogs who bark at night are also exhibiting an extension of this behavior. Strange noises outside may be threatening!.

Another reason is that your dog may just love the idea of cuddling. Believe it or not, some dogs like physical interaction, and there is a good chance that breeds that love cuddles are happy to just share a bed with you rather than be on their own in a dog bed. For your best friend, this is just a standard sign of affection.

dog curled up asleep with owner

Why Does it Seem Like Your Dog Prefers One Partner? 4 Things to Consider

Regardless of which of the reasons mentioned above your dog may have for sleeping on your bed, you may notice a preference. The dog may choose to lie on or next to your partner more than it does with you, or vice versa.

Firstly, it’s not anything you necessarily did wrong. Remember that animals have their own individual temperaments, too. Much of their choice may lie in the nature of a relationship with you as an individual. It may also have to do with socialization.

One expert believes that a dog may have a stronger bond with a person who has a similar personality trait. Author Dr Joel Gavriele-Gold suggests that a dog will relate to someone with a similar demeanor, whether high-energy or otherwise.

He goes on to say that it isn’t a cause for alarm or jealousy. Rather, it’s useful to be appreciative that the dog is bonding with one of you. It still considers you part of the family, regardless.

dog asleep on owners legs

1. Associations

It just so happens that if your partner were the one to associate with negative experiences like vet visits and leashed walks, and you are the one with treats and cuddles, that’s the way the choosing goes. Remember it takes both of you to raise a healthy pup.

Are you the one to always wake up and rise first? Perhaps you are the one to walk the dog early in the morning. A pup with a sleepy disposition may not like that, especially in the winter months.

The important thing is not to worry about whether your dog is punishing you or deciding you’re just not nice. Sometimes a dog just doesn’t feel the need to protect your partner as much as it does you.

sleepy dog being stroked

2. Emotional Bonds

It may seem strange to think about, but dogs choose sides when the situation warrants it. As mentioned, they are instinctual pack animals and can pick up on any emotional shifts in relationships between family members.

The relationship between this and whether or not it’s connected to the amount of time spent together is uncertain. Observers have noted that loyalties can shift over the course of time.

3. Temporary Love

Ok, it’s unfair to call it temporary love, but if you feel that a lot of excitement is in the air when either you or your partner comes home, don’t mistake it for a preferential choice.

Similarly, if your partner is carrying the bowl at feeding time, or heading to the bedroom earlier than you, it may simply be a relationship of convenience for your pup. Who doesn’t feel temporarily happy when a loved one comes home after a long day?

Conversely, if he’s just forced a tablet down doggo’s muzzle, or applied some tick and flea treatment or something else your dog dislikes, he may not be the favorite person in the house right now. Give it some time, it surely shall pass.

white dog with person wearing pyjamas and hand on their head

4. Awkward Odors

Researchers have found that sometimes dogs find certain smells off-putting. In people, this could be perspiration or a result of alcohol, smoking or other diet issues. Dogs have an acute sense of smell and will try to avoid an odor they don’t enjoy.

Conversely, you may smell like a million bucks to your dog. It’s hard to tell why – perhaps you eat the right food or use a more appealing clothing detergent. Sometimes, as mentioned, they pick up on hormones or other pleasant body odors (many of which may be imperceptible to humans).

Can Dogs Pick a Favorite Person?

It’s worth asking the question of whether dogs actually have the capacity to choose a favorite in your family. There are several common reasons why this may indeed be a thing.

It’s reasonable to assume that a dog will bond with the primary caregiver – one who feeds and walks and plays with it – especially during the early months and years of puppyhood. But this isn’t the only factor.

A dog may also just feel more drawn to you over your partner because you happen to spend a lot of time with them. Or maybe it just likes the smell of your hands. It’s not always easy to tell. All you can do is play your part – perhaps try to win them over with more attention and time, and enjoy the moment.

Your Dog’s Socialization Matters

The first six months of your dog’s life are critically important to its social skills and a well-behaved dog. Healthy conditioning into social situations and behavior is most likely to take hold during this time. Dogs introduced into a multi-pet home will also adjust far more easily than older dogs.

dog asleep on human bed

Similarly, doggo will find it much easier to bond with a human friend in this time as well. Whoever cares for them, feeds them that delicious kibble and chunks, and so on, will become an invaluable part of their identity and friendship circle. This is also a time, however, that you want to introduce your dog to people to get them used to the idea of others.

If for some reason, your dog does not properly socialize, it could develop aggressive tendencies towards others, and be overprotective of you.

Are Dogs More Protective of Female Owners?

Some people believe that a dog’s preference is to be more protective of female human owners. This is not a scientifically confirmed bias. But it is worth noting some anecdotal evidence that suggests that sometimes dogs bond with women because their voices are perceived to be softer and more welcoming.

While this is contentious, it may play into the relationship between some individual pets and people. But this is probably more dependent on the specific dog and its background.

Another theory suggests that dogs sense hormones, which could affect certain behaviors at specific times. For example, if a female becomes pregnant, a dog may sense this, and start to act slightly more protective accordingly.

There is one study that suggests that dogs tend to show more obedience to men overall. The details of this study are complex, and it seems somewhat counterproductive to base any behavioral training on this.

For now, these ideas remain theories.

woman with sleepy beagle

Why Does a Dog Take Your Spot When You Get Up?

So your dog has been lying on your side of the bed all night, and then he gets up. In an instant, your dog is in the space he just vacated. What’s going on? Is it trying to tell you it’s going to replace him? Do you need to check the electric cords in the bathroom for signs of sabotage?

black dog sleeping on owner.

There are two possible reasons for this behavior. Neither means anyone’s life or presence in the home is in jeopardy.

1. Affection

First, they do this to show affection and solidarity. They just want to feel a part of the group, and occupying the spot your hubby just vacated is their way of showing that they love his presence here and want to protect it. And this spot is probably nice and warm thanks to your body temperature.

2. Dominance

The dominance scenario is more likely to occur when there are other pets – especially dogs – in the home. Your and your husband’s place is a place of dominance. By occupying that space when he vacates it, a dog is showing dominance towards the other dogs. You may find that this comes with a more aggressive demeanor when other dogs approach.

So, Why Does my Dog Sleep on me and not my husband?

It feels a little simplistic to say that a dog prefers one of you over the other. It’s great that it feels comfortable in your home in general, so where it sleeps specifically should be one of those freedoms you afford. It may not mean a preference at all, but simply a matter of convenience of need.

Much as we love to be everyone’s favorite cup of tea, sometimes the dog just feels they are needed elsewhere. Tell your husband to focus on the parts of the day and life that he does share with your pup, and make the most of that. Who knows – perhaps he can affect a natural shift in loyalties.

man in bed with dog nearby why does my dog sleep on me and not my husband

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