Dogs’ five sleeping positions explained and what they reveal about their personality


From side sleep to lion position, our dogs love to take different sleeping positions depending on their mood – and now you know exactly what they are feeling during a nap.

It can show if they are warm, cold, happy or safe

You may have seen your puppy occupy some strange positions during their nap and wondered how it could feel comfortable at all.

But the way our dogs go to bed actually tells us a lot about how they feel, and it can even give us an insight into their ancestry.

Lynne Fisher, from dog training insurance provider Cliverton, has decoded all the different ways your dog sleeps and what that means about their mood, temperature, and behavior.

So you will never be questioned why their paws are at their head or why their legs are spread out so wide.

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Side sleep

They obviously trust you


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Lynne said, “Chances are, you’ve seen your dog lying on its side with their legs spread out.

“It’s one of the most common positions for dogs to sleep in, and it’s good news for you as their owner – it means they’re comfortable enough to expose their stomachs to you, which shows that they have confidence in you.

“Sometimes dogs will not begin their nap in side sleeping position.

“They may start in the sphinx or lion position and then meander into the side sleeping position.

Side sleep is a sure sign that your dog is in a nice, deep sleep – so best not to disturb them.

“However, if you happen to find them lying in this position while they are awake, be sure to give them some stomach scratches.”

Rolled up

Curling makes them feel safe


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“If you’ve ever seen your dog squirm in circles before sitting down in a crumpled position, it goes back to their historical habits,” Lynne says.

“Circling used to be how dogs checked for threats before settling into a safe position. Curling makes them as small as possible, which can make them feel safe and protected.

“Just as a dog will show its stomach when it feels comfortable, curling up means it is protected.

“Curling up is also the coziest sleeping position for our four-legged friends as it helps them maintain body heat.

“This is a position that is instinctive for many mammals – even humans, when you think about it. We tend to curl up more when we try to sleep and we are cold.”

On their stomachs

They are trying to cool down


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“On the back, if your dog is lying on the front with their legs outstretched, it might be trying to cool down,” Lynne explained.

“This is a common attitude for dogs coming home from a walk – it does not necessarily mean that they are exhausted, but it does mean that they regulate their temperature by exposing their stomachs to cooler surfaces.

“This is another position that does not indicate that your dog is in a deep sleep.

“You may find that they slumber easily to recover after a walk or to cool off on a particularly hot day, but they come alive if you call them or move from room to room.”

The pose of the lion

That means you have a playful puppy


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Lynne said: “This is the next step from dogs lying flat on their stomachs. The lion’s pose, also known as the sphinx, sees dogs lying on their stomachs.

“Instead of having their legs spread out in front of and behind them, however, they want them tucked closer to their bodies and resting their head on them.

“If you see your dog in this position, it is probably resting but not fully asleep. This means that if they hear you moving, there is a high probability that it is moving.

“They’re also ready to play with a moment’s notice, so if you feel like having a lively interaction with your pet, this is a good time.

“If your dog’s favorite sleeping position is this position, you can be sure it’s a particularly playful puppy!”

Have a good time

They feel super close to you


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“Finally, if your dog doesn’t love anything more than cuddling you, be honored – this shows how close the leash is to how they feel about you!” Lynne explained.

“It will come as no surprise that dogs who enjoy cuddling with us are the most loving personality types.

“Dogs that enjoy being close to your other dogs or pets are also loving and can be protective of their brothers and sisters.

“Some puppies have a hard time staying warm so they can curl up with you, fellow dogs or their mother for the extra warmth.

“When they grow up and get better at regulating their temperature, it’s a habit they’ll love curling up to have fun with you!”

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