Opening your eyes to see your dog’s rear end facing you may not be the most pleasant sight, but it happens so frequently that many people wonder why their dogs do it?
There may be many reasons why your dog sleeps with its bum toward you, but the main reason is that they want to be close to you.
It also might mean that they need help with a health issue or something is bothering them. The bond you share is strong, so if your dog can comfortably face away from you when they sleep, you can also read the signals they give off to make sure you’re in tune with your pup.
Why Do Dogs Sleep With Their Bum Facing You?
A dog’s instincts are to protect itself and its family. If their exposed rear end is pointing in your direction while they sleep, their most vulnerable bits are close to you, and your dog trusts you. It also means that despite their friendly and furry nature, their genetic code has trained them to point their defensive weapons outward so they can protect their family.
So, there are a few specific reasons why dogs sleep with their bum facing you. But it’s almost always a reason that falls into three main categories:
- Asking for help
- Getting defensive
Getting a face full of dog butt isn’t ever exactly fun, but it isn’t necessarily bad. Be observant of your dog’s behavior, and you will better understand it and gain insight into how you can help.
10 Reasons Why Dogs Sleep with Their Bottom Facing You
Following are ten reasons why your dog points its butt at you.
1.) Your Dog Trusts You
When a dog points their vulnerable rear end toward you, it’s a sign that they trust you. Dogs are wary of strangers and people they don’t trust. If your dog is comfortable showing its backside to you, take it as a sign of trust.
2.) Scent Marking
Dogs rely on their strong sense of smell. They use scent to find their way and to mark their territory. One set of tools used in scent-marking is the scent glands on either side of their anus. These glands express fluid when the dog defecates, and the resulting trail of smells can tell other dogs a lot about your pet, like their age, sex, and overall health condition.
A dog sleeping with its bum towards you may be leaving clues to other dogs that the human associated with this scent is mine.
3.) Your Dog Feels Vulnerable
If your dog is frightened, vulnerable, or exposed, they may sleep with their rump facing you. It comforts them to have you protecting their six. It might not be the most pleasant thing for you, but it is a sign your dog trusts you.
4.) Your Dog Wants to Relax with You
Sometimes, if your dog senses that you’re relaxing, they might want to join you. Dogs are very perceptive, so they will pick up on the cues you’re giving off. So if you have your feet up on the coffee table while you sit on the couch, they might sense that you’re chilling out.
So, instead of coming over and laying a toy at your feet to try and prompt a game of fetch, they might decide to hop up right next to you, with their bum facing you, and take a snooze.
5.) Your Dog has a Skin or Medical Condition
If your dog has certain skin or medical conditions, it might be very itchy on its rear. When your dog lays its head on your lap to nudge you into taking a walk, it may point its bum at you to try and get your attention on that part of its body.
For instance, if your dog has swollen anal glands due to an infection, they might be itchy. They want your help, but they demonstrate their need differently since they can’t talk and ask for it. Other conditions can lead to your dog getting itchy on its rear. Some of these are:
- Fleas – Fleas are tiny, parasitic bugs that feast on your dog’s blood. Infestations can be severe if left unchecked. Flea bites cause extremely itchy irritation.
- Tapeworms – Tapeworms are intestinal parasites that your dog may eat as small larvae, then develop into six-inch worms that live inside them, stealing food and nutrients. Excreted tapeworm segments can cause itchiness on your dog’s anus.
- Dry skin – If your dog suffers from raw, red, dried skin or another dermatitis, its rear end might become very itchy.
- Dried fecal matter – If your dog is dragging its rear end on the floor, it may indicate that your dog’s bottom needs a good cleaning. So if your dog has been sick with diarrhea or has been making a big mess when it defecates, clean it before bedtime.
6.) Your Dog Thinks you Like Sleeping Like That
A dog is a creature of habit, just like us. When we condone or reward a particular behavior, the dog will likely repeat the behavior. So, if you have a big problem with seeing a dog’s rear end pointed in your direction, you need to take steps to change its behavior.
However, you should not wake your dog in anger, particularly if they are in a deep sleep. Like humans, studies show that when dogs are deeply asleep, they may be in the REM cycle of sleep and dreaming. Abruptly waking them from a dream could cause significant alarm, and that’s not healthy.
Instead, give positive reinforcement when your pup lays at your feet or on their bed. The best way to get a dog to stop a behavior you don’t like is to teach it a behavior you do like by offering praise and reward
7.) Your Dog is Restless
If your dog is excited or restless, it may point its rear end at you while awake or sleeping. Your dog may be looking forward to going out for its morning walk, or it may be agitated about something. Often dogs want reassurance from a good ole’ hind end scratching.
By interacting with you, your dog gets attention. Whether that means going outside for recreation or a pit stop at a favorite tree, or that it’s time for breakfast. Pointing its rump at you or pushing against you gets your attention.
8.) Your Dog is Comfortable
Just like when a dog wags its tail and blinks at you with its tongue lolling, pointing its bottom at you while they sleep is a sign that they are comfortable. It feels safe near you and instinctively points its head outward toward the world, knowing you will protect its hind end.
9.) Your Dog Wants to Protect You
The domesticated dog we know and love is scientifically called Canus Familiaris. Though there are debates about where and when dogs became domesticated, they descend from wild dogs. Like their cousin, the modern wolf, dogs have paws with tough claws and strong jaws with sharp teeth.
Of course, a dog’s traits vary tremendously by breed. For example, a Havanese or toy poodle isn’t known for its athletic prowess and menacing build. But, just like a Doberman or a Rottweiler, they have protective instincts. If they sense danger or think you’re vulnerable, they will face outward to intercept any potential threats. The result is that their bum will point at you while sleeping.
10.) Your Dog is Avoiding Eye Contact
If your dog points their head away from you, it might want to avoid your gaze for some reason. Your dog’s posture could be a reaction to your mood. If they think you’re angry at them, they may sleep with their bum facing you to avoid eye contact and the risk of upsetting you again.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why does my dog have to be touching me when he sleeps?
There is a natural bond between canines and humans. To protect themself and you, they instinctively want to be near your to form a collective defense. They also enjoy the reassurance and warmth of you resting against them.
How do you know your dog is sleeping comfortably?
Signs your dog is comfortably sleeping include wagging their tail, small leg kicks or twitches, and soft barks, snuffs, and grunts. These are all signs of REM sleep, the deepest part of the cycle where your dog rests and recuperates.
Why does my dog steal my spot when I get up?
When your dog takes your place after you move, it usually shows affection. They like to roll in the scent you left on your seat, bathing themself in your smell. It’s a sign that they feel safe and consider your warmth comforting.
Do dogs like being petted while sleeping?
Dogs and people are pretty similar in that they don’t like it if you wake them abruptly or unnecessarily. A gentle and reassuring pat on the rump is appropriate if you sense your dog is upset while sleeping or having a nightmare. So is stroking them absent-mindedly while you’re both dozing or relaxing. But don’t go in for a belly rub session when your dog is sleeping.