Puppies are adorable creatures. With their big eyes, bigger heads, and high-pitched barks, they can melt your heart.
It may be cute the first few times your furry friend sleeps on your head. They’re trying to be close to you, and it’s very sweet. But sometimes, it can become a problem. So why does my puppy sleep on my head?
Some dogs can develop behavioral issues that can lead to them sleeping on your head all the time, so you need to be careful, even though it’s lovable. Identifying the different doggy behaviors your fluffball displays can help determine if their sleeping habit is a problem.
In this guide, you will learn the most common reasons behind your pup sleeping on your head and whether or not it’s a sign of a behavioral issue. Sign number one, if you can’t breathe, it’s a problem. Let’s look at nine more.
- 1 Why Does My Puppy Sleep On My Head? 9 Reasons
- 2 How To Train That Behavior Out Of Your Pup: 5 Ways
- 3 Final Thoughts on Why Does My Puppy Sleep On My Head
Why Does My Puppy Sleep On My Head? 9 Reasons
You’ll become their primary pack member when they move into your home. When your pup sleeps on your head, they usually want to be close to one of their pack members, in this case, you. If you have two dogs, take a look at them when they sleep next to each other. You’ll likely find them curled up against each other.
In the wild, packs have to stick together for safety, as they are more at risk of being attacked if alone. When your furry friend is asleep, they’re vulnerable, and evolution has taught them they’re easier to attack when sleeping. Thus your pup sleeps on your head for security and comfort. As the owner, you are the alpha, and they know you will protect them from predators.
Your puppy is trusting you with their life even though the biggest risk they have in your house is probably the cat.
2. They Are Protecting You
Okay, so the chances of your tiny puppy protecting you from danger are probably next to nothing. However, as mentioned above, they are pack animals, and you are the most important member of their pack. Certain breeds naturally have a protective instinct and will ensure the alpha is always safe.
Your head is the most vulnerable part of your body, and thus your furry friend will sleep on it to keep you safe. Their protective instinct can be triggered by guests visiting, your partner sleeping over, or after introducing a new pet or baby to the family.
Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash.com
Some breeds, like German Shepherds and Rottweilers, have a natural protective instinct and will usually be the ones who sleep on your head as a guard instead of seeking security.
3. They Might Want The Pillow
Your puppy sleeping on your head might not have anything to do with you. They might want your pillow instead. After all, it’s free real estate, and they want to infringe on your territory.
The pillow is a soft and comfortable item; if you don’t give your furry friend their own pillow, they will try to go for yours. Dogs seek out the most comfortable place to sleep if they’re allowed to sleep wherever they want, and if you’re not careful, your pillow might be stolen in the night.
They could also just be mimicking you by trying to lay their head on the pillow as you do. Or they’re after your scent so they can sleep comfortably and securely. The point is, if your pup is sleeping on your head, you need to be careful, or you could wake up without a pillow.
4. Separation Anxiety
Dogs can suffer from stress and anxiety disorders, just like humans. And these disorders can affect the quality and amount of sleep they get and the positions they sleep in. Separation anxiety is prevalent amongst dogs who are often left alone and prone to stress.
Let’s say you work during the day, and there’s not enough stimulation for your pup while you’re gone. They can get bored and lonely and will start to associate these feelings with you being gone. Once they learn your routine and know after sleeping, you will leave for work, they might start sleeping on your head. This is their way of staying close to you when they know you’re about to leave, or perhaps even their way of trying to keep you home.
The best way to combat separation anxiety is by setting a routine for your pup. Take them for a walk before or after work, so they get all their pent-up energy out. Also, make sure they have some fun interactive toys to keep them busy while you’re gone. There are also some fantastic pet cameras with two-way audio, so your pup can hear your voice throughout the day.
Photo by Abhinav Anand on Unsplash.com
5. Social Status
We keep reiterating that dogs are pack animals, but this influences many of their behaviors. There is a pecking order, with one pack member being considered the alpha or leader. And, just like humans, dogs are always trying to get higher up in the ranks.
When you get a puppy, they automatically consider you the alpha. You tell them what to do, feed them, and protect them. Sleeping on your head is a sign to other members of the pack that they have a special bond with the alpha and will hopefully raise their status amongst other pets or household members.
However, this could also go the other way. Certain breeds are more dominant than others, and if you don’t show them that you’re the alpha and have a firm hold over them, they will think they’re in charge. Sleeping on your head will then be a way to show others, and you, that they’re the alpha.
This next one is absolutely adorable, your pupper may just be trying to strengthen their bond with you. Cuddling is a way dogs can strengthen bonds with each other, so sleeping on your head is their way of initiating a bonding session.
If you feed your dog a good diet, play with them a lot, take them on walks and train them well, the chances of them developing behavioral issues are very low. So if they don’t show any other signs of behavioral problems except sleeping on your head, then congratulations. They’re probably just showing you affection.
Allowing them to sleep on your head every once in a while will strengthen your bond, as they have a different way of showing affection than you do. However, make sure it doesn’t become a habit, or they could develop some behavioral problems that you might struggle to deal with later.
7. They’re Cold
Most people have heard the theory that heat escapes the top of the head and bottom of the feet, and there is some truth to that. Our heads are the warmest parts of our body, and your pup will take advantage of that when it’s cold.
Some dogs are content burrowing under layers of blankets to find heat during cold weather. However, others are not fans of feeling trapped but still want to find a nice warm spot to sleep. Thus, your head becomes their personal heater.
Photo by Berkay Gumustekin on Unsplash.com
Pumping up the heat in the house or ensuring they have a warm spot to sleep in will keep this from happening. Perhaps invest in a pet warmer for their bed. But sometimes, sharing body heat with your pup is not so bad. After all, humans get cold too.
8. Attention Seeking
If you notice your fluffball is using sleeping on your head as a way to get attention from you, this needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Dogs are naturally social animals and love attention. If they feel like they’re not getting enough from you, they will resort to mischievous behaviors to get that attention.
If this issue is not sorted out, they can start developing other behavioral problems like constant barking or even destroying things. Make sure to give your pupper enough attention, but train any attention-seeking behavior early.
9. A Lonely New Pup
When you bring your new pup home, keep in mind that they have just been taken away from their pack. They have spent the first few weeks of their life with their littermates and are suddenly no longer around them. Scientists have shown in studies that puppies can remember their littermates for four or five weeks after leaving them.
So if your new friend is sleeping on your head, it might be because they’re lonely and trying to feel as close to you as possible. Skin contact and your scent will calm them down and make them feel safe and not alone.
Puppies can’t hold their bladder all night yet, so if you allow them to sleep in your bed, make sure to take them out once or twice during the night. Or don’t allow them to sleep in your bed if you want to avoid accidents. Allowing them to sleep with an item of your clothing with your scent on it might help them sleep comfortably at night.
How To Train That Behavior Out Of Your Pup: 5 Ways
There are many ways that you can get rid of this behavior. Soon, your pup will be able to sleep comfortably without being on your head, and you might be able to breathe properly at night.
1. Identify the reason for the behavior
Is your pup sleeping on your head to bond with you? Or are there some deeper reasons for their behavior? Identifying whether this behavior is innocent or the result of behavioral issues is the first step in ensuring they sleep in their own space from now on.
2. Give them a bed
Training your pup to sleep in a designated space is the easiest way to keep this behavior from occurring. Whether it’s sleeping in their own dog bed or at the foot of yours, making sure they know where they are allowed to sleep and where not will keep them from intruding in your space.
Photo by Ayla Verschueren on Unsplash.com
3. Don’t reward them
If your dog comes to lie by your head and you pet them or give them scratches, they may take this to mean you’re rewarding them for their behavior. Rather avoid doing this, but do make sure to reward them when they sleep in their designated sleep spots.
You can also treat this behavior by moving them once they try to get on your head and then scratching their favorite spot while they lie in the new place.
4. Treat separation anxiety
Because this is a destructive disorder, not just for your dog’s mental health but also for the things you own, treating it as soon as possible is the best way to keep bad behavior from occurring. Supplements can ease their anxiety while you’re gone, and tiring them out before you leave is a great way to keep them from becoming anxious.
5. Let them
Listen, if you don’t mind them sleeping on your head and you’re sure it isn’t because of attention-seeking or stress behaviors and that you won’t get suffocated, let them sleep on your head. Just be sure to change the pillowcase at least once weekly since they can shed on it.
Final Thoughts on Why Does My Puppy Sleep On My Head
So now that you’ve read through this guide, you should have a better idea of why your pupper is choosing your head as their pillow.
Whether or not it’s a problematic behavior is up to you. However, if they show other signs of stress or discomfort, taking them to a dog behavioral specialist might not be a bad idea. Perhaps also take them to your vet to ensure their health is good. And if they decide to start sleeping on other parts of your body, here’s a guide to why they might be sleeping on you.
Once you have identified the reason and decided your plan of action, make sure to give your furry friend a tasty treat. This might bring on some new changes to their life, and we all need a treat when that happens.
I covered all of the costs associated with writing this post on why does my puppy sleep on my head. However, it does contain affiliate links. That means if you click through on some of the links in this article and end up making a purchase I may receive a small commission. It won’t affect the price that you pay. Just wanted to let you know.