Your dog spend a lot of time sleeping – counting little naps and longer snoozes, most dogs sleep about 14 hours a day. He may look like he is having fun when he sleeps. His eyes move back and forth under his eyelids, his feet move and he may make a whining noise. Some people think he is having nice dreams, maybe of chasing cats or squirrels.
You may think your dog will sleep anywhere, but some dogs are particular about where they sleep. In the wild, they sleep in dens, which are protected places like caves. Your dog might sometimes hide under the bed or in a closet. You might see him circling around and around or pawing at his sleeping place before he lies down. This is to flatten an area to make it more comfortable to sleep in – like a den.
Your dog may want to sleep at the foot or side of your bed, on a favorite blanket, cushion or dog bed. He may especially like sleeping there when you aren’t at home because your room smells like you, and smells are important to dogs. He may also like to sleep in other rooms where the family gathers, like the family room. Or, sometimes he might enjoy going into his crate where he can be alone.
Your Dog’s Bed
If you use your imagination, there are many kinds of dog beds. There are some you can buy and there are also some you can make yourself. Here are some examples:
- Baskets. You can put a pillow or a bean bag inside a wicker basket. You have to make sure your dog doesn’t like chewing on the basket, though. He can chew off a piece and hurt himself by swallowing the pieces. If he likes chewing his bed, use an inexpensive plastic laundry basket instead.
- Blankets. You can line your dog’s bed with towels or old flannel nightshirts that smell like her favorite person – you. Be sure that the materials are washable and flameproof, and wash them often.
- Donut or nesting beds. You can buy a dog bed that is made by surrounding the center with padding to hug your dog when he hunkers in. Some are made for smaller dogs so that they can crawl right inside and feel really snug.
- Bean bag beds and hassocks. These are like big pillows but they are covered in fabrics that dogs really like such as fleece, sheepskin or lambswool. When your dog lies down on it, the bean bag shifts to hold your dog’s shape when he changes positions. These pillows are sometimes filled with cedar and other materials that smell good to your dog.
- Raised platforms. Some dogs don’t like sleeping on the floor. You can get a low platform made of a light wood or aluminum with canvas stretched over it for your dog to sleep on.
- Crates. Dogs are naturally “denning” animals. This means that they look for places that are sheltered, like caves, to make them feel secure. Your dog may like sleeping in his crate, or “cave.” Crates come in a variety of sizes and styles that fit your dog.
- Your bed. It’s not a good idea to let your dog sleep with you. Once your dog gets used to sleeping on your bed, he won’t want to sleep anywhere else. If you want to, you can let him on your bed as a special treat sometimes.
Some dogs sleep more than others, and some sleep out of boredom. You can help your pet by providing plenty of stimulation during the day – this can be in the form of toys, plenty of walks and playtime with you. If he has enough to do during the day, he may stay awake and then sleep during the night when you do.