I know it’s weird.

And as a fur parent, this strange sleeping habit in dogs can happen anywhere, anytime.

Especially when you’re dozing off.

Though seemingly strange, knowing the reasons why is actually eye-opening and gives you a new perspective on your pup’s instincts.

So, why do dogs sleep with their bum facing you?

According to a study:

They use their whole body to communicate, conveying information intentionally or otherwise.

While you may be grossed out by your pup’s odd behavior, you might as well unravel the science behind and learn:

  • The 3 surprising science-backed reasons that support this behavior
  • Whether dogs can smell stress in their owners (Intriguing, isn’t it?)
  • Other weird sleeping positions in your Fidos
  • And plenty of interesting facts!

So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!

why does my dog put his butt on me when sleeping

Why Do Dogs Sleep With Their Bum Facing You?

Dogs sleeping with their bums facing you show trust and affection to their human companions.

While this may come off odd for some dog owners, this canine sleeping behavior is completely normal.

Be aware, however, that your dogs might be trying to communicate an underlying health condition such as flea and parasite infection.

If so, consult your vet immediately.

Why Do Dogs Sleep With Their Bum Facing You: 3 Science-Backed Reasons

Ever wondered: Why do dogs sleep with their bum facing you?

To finally address this phenomenon, here’s what science wants you to take note of:

1. Offering Protection and Comfort

“Why does my dog put his butt on me when I sleep?”

Despite this odd circumstance, your mighty pup might only be a little protective over you.

Your dog’s bum facing your direction is actually its prime position of looking after you, especially when you’re in the most vulnerable state.

Sleeping or, well, snoring.

Another indication of dogs sleeping with bums facing you is comfort.

It may not be the most comforting thing to do, but your pooch can show its love in an unconventional way sometimes.

Can dogs smell stress in other pups and humans?

A study suggests that dogs can sniff negative emotions from other pups by smelling them through their right nostril.

The same is true for humans.

By using their left nostril, your dogs can also detect your feelings and emotions.

So, when your pups decode your heightened emotions, lying on the bed with you is their little way of comforting you.

With their other side around, literally.

RELATED: 5 Benefits of Dogs Sleeping in Your Bed

2. Avoiding Eye Contact

So, you’re wondering: Why does my dog sleep against me?

 A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that dogs are not hardwired for human face-to-face contact.

In the case of dog-dog interactions, eye contact is a crucial way of communication that “it represents a clear threatening signal,” according to another study.

And since this canine instinct is mapped in the DNA, most dogs will avoid eye contact with humans.

My pup does this every time except when it’s mealtime.

However, the same study also finds that “eye contact represents the most important and efficient one” among the many human signals and cues.

Depending on the situation, the human-directed gaze has been interpreted as a “request for helpthroughout the years of domesticating dogs.

From an early age, dogs show a spontaneous tendency to gaze at human faces and to make eye contact in a wide range of contexts, for example, in unsolvable tasks or to beg for food from humans.

So, early training and socialization can help regulate this behavior in your dogs.

And hopefully, reduce the tendency to sleep with their bum facing you, too.

RELATED: A Dog Sleeping in Bed With Their Owner: Statistics and Should You Do It?

3. Communicating a Health Concern

The evolution of dog-human interaction and communication isn’t only limited to the positive aspect of canine behavior.

Experts claim that dogs:

display a wide range of postures and body part positions that convey different information about the signaler’s inner state and intentions.

It’s good to point out that dogs aren’t just smart; they’re also expressive.

And especially when your pups try to relay a message of a health concern… 

Facing their bums at you when you’re sleeping could be your pup’s way of telling you they’re not okay.

With that scenario in mind, some common health problems in your Fido’s bum could be any of the following conditions:

Consult your vet if you notice the following symptoms in your dogs:

Flea Infection:

  • Foul smell
  • Excessive licking on their behind

Parasite Infestation:

Trivia: When your dogs are experiencing anxiety, it releases a specific body odor.

What odor do dogs release when they’re stressed?

Dogs release a foul, rotten fish odor when they’re stressed, nervous, or even excited.

While this isn’t necessarily a health concern, it’s good to highlight the difference, right?

You might be wondering why dogs emit the same odor and secretion from their anal glands when pooping for territorial reasons.

Note: Your dogs aren’t necessarily pooping out of fear.

But as their muscles contract (the same when pooping), your scared or terrified pooch will release such a stinky smell.

RELATED: Dementia in Dogs at Night: Explained

why does my dog sleep against me

Why Do Dogs Sleep With Their Bum Facing You: How to Stop This Behavior

Dogs sleeping with their bum facing you isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

But if you want to set boundaries and limit your pup from invading your nap time, you can take note of the following information:

1. Train Your Pup Where to Sleep

Tip: Take advantage of training your pups at the earliest time possible.

A study suggests that:

a dog's individual environmental history plays a major role in shaping its behavior over its lifetime.

If you don’t want your dogs to sleep on your bed, then designate a comfortable place for rest.

Ensure you slowly and properly introduce your pups to their place, especially if they got used to snuggling with you for a long time.

RELATED: Should My Dog Sleep with Me?

2. Provide a Comfy Bed

Dogs sleep about 12 hours daily, so a good-quality bed is needed.

If your pooch is a chewer, you’ll need the more durable type.

You can also go for orthopedic dog beds for optimal sleep quality (usually pricey).

RELATED: Why and How Much Do Dogs Sleep?

3. Promote Positive Reinforcement

Getting used to their new sleeping spot can take time and patience, but a delicious reward like treats can help.

Giving them their favorite snacks will encourage your dogs to follow your commands.

Of course, don’t forget to add your Fido’s favorite dog toys to their bed, too.

dog sleeping with belly up

Dogs Sleeping With Their Bum Facing You and Other Canine Sleeping Positions

Dogs sleeping with their bum facing you can be weird.

But if you’ve been pup parenting for a while, then you’ve probably noticed a few sleeping positions in your dogs by now.

While sleeping positions can vary depending “on their preference in the moment,” according to Dr. Patrik Holmboe of Cooper Pet Care:

there are a few tidbits of information that can be gleaned from a sleeping position.

Just like humans, dogs also have strange and interesting sleeping positions like the following:

1. Side Sleeping

Dogs sleeping on their side with limbs extended and their bellies partly exposed mean they’re calm and content and have happy-go-lucky personalities.

Side sleeping in dogs can also indicate that they’re in a deep sleep, often evidenced by little paw twitches.

RELATED: Can Dogs Have Sleep Apnea and What to Do About It?

2. The Doughnut Position

With limbs curled up like a tight ball, you’ll see your dog’s nose close to its bum or tail.

Dogs sleeping in the doughnut position typically mean they’re sweet and caring but can be shy around strangers.

This sleeping posture also helps your pups trap heat in the body.

So, you’re pups might be curling their body to regulate temperature.

3. Superman

The Superman pose is characterized by your dog’s stomach down with back legs straight out behind them and front legs stretched forward.

Common in French Bulldogs and Pugs, dogs sleeping in a Superman position mean they’re silly and full of energy.

4. The Lion Pose

Similar to a sphinx pose, dogs sleeping in a lion-like position indicate they’ve just fallen asleep while staying alert at the same time.

This position includes their belly down with their head perched on their front paws, which can mean they’re alert, loyal, and caring toward their families.

You might also notice your pups sleeping in this position with a newborn baby on the bed.

5. Belly-Up

Commonly referred to as the dying cockroach position, this is actually what Greyhound dogs prefer when sleeping.

Dogs sleeping in this position appear lying on their backs with their bellies fully exposed and legs in the air. 

While this can indicate a playful and loving personality, puppies typically sleep with their belly up, too.

Note: The belly-up position can pressure your dog’s spine while sleeping.

However, your dogs can definitely switch to another comfortable position when they need to.

Why does a dog sleep facing away from you

Why Do Dogs Sleep With Their Bum Facing You: Before You Go

When I noticed my dog sleeping in this weird position, I also asked myself:

“Why do dogs sleep with their bum facing you?”

As a pup parent, I thought it was, well, cute but uncomfortable.

I never actually bothered until today when I heard that a lot of dog parents out there share the same experience with me.

And when I began my research…

The more I learn about my dog’s behavior, the more I appreciate its presence in my life.

While other fur parents might want to eliminate this behavior, my dog facing his butt on me when sleeping earned my respect.

Does your pooch do this weird sleeping position, too? Let us know in the comments.

And oh, if you enjoyed this blog, you might want to read our top recommendations below, too!


Compassion for pets is fuel to Lenin's lifelong mission. As a fur mom to a Havanese dog and 6 stray cats, Lenin sees the joy in rescuing and giving pets a chance at a forever home. Even in her career as a freelancer, Lenin focused on writing everything about pets — from breed profiles to nutrition down to some of their interesting facts.