Why Does My Dog Sleep Between My Legs?

You are at home, sitting comfortably on your couch watching your favorite Netflix show, then you notice your dog sleeping between your legs. Now you’re wondering if something is wrong with him. Why would he choose your legs over its comfortable bed?

dog sleeping between owners legs

Why Do Dogs Sleep Between Their Owners Legs?

Well, dogs are cuddly beings. Often, they will want to sit or sleep near you or other family members. This behavior is generally common in puppies, but large dogs can display it too. But is this the only reason? There are several reasons your furry friend might choose to sleep between your legs. Go through them below to understand the meaning behind this common dog habit.


Sometimes it’s hard to believe that one of the fiercest animals can get scared. But keep in mind dogs are bred to serve different purposes. Some are bred to protect humans, while others offer company and comfort.

When your dog runs and sleeps between your legs, it’s possible that he’s scared and feels safer with you. You can know if your dog is scared if he displays the following symptoms:

  • Barking
  • Pacing
  • Lip licking
  • Running away and hiding
  • Barking
  • Growling

When dogs are scared, they tend to assume a submissive posture, including tucking the tail between their leg or lowering the head.

Unlike humans, canines fear the most insignificant things, including loud noise, children, other pets, and even hats.

Hes Not Warm Enough

During winter, it’s common for dogs to sleep between their owners’ legs since it’s warm and comfy. In cold weather, you’re like an instant heating pad for your dog. Your legs produce enough body heat to warm up the dog on both sides through touch. The best part is, you also benefit from the heat produced by your dog’s body. So, it’s a win-win situation for both of you.

Some dog breeds sleep more between their owners’ legs during the cold season than others, especially those with less fur and body fat like Chihuahuas. By curling in between your legs, they can get warm faster. Puppies will also sleep between your legs since their bodies can’t regulate heat properly, especially during cold nights and seasons.

Emotional Support

Canines require emotional support from their owners, particularly when they’re tired, anxious, feeling insecure, or injured. According to Stanley Coren (author of The Intelligence of Dogs), humans and canines share similar brain structures responsible for emotions. This means they have basic emotions like joy, anger, love, and even disgust.

Although they can’t process complex emotions like shame and guilt, they can get sad and depressed. These emotions can affect their appetite, sleeping patterns, and interaction with humans and other pets.

During such times, it’s common for dogs to seek attention from their owner. And the best way to do that is curling in-between their owners’ legs.

You Have Encouraged Him

Another reason why your dog sleeps between your legs is you inadvertently trained him to do that. There’s a high chance you reinforced this specific behavior in your dog by rewarding him with affection or doing something he loves.

We’re not blaming you for wanting to strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend. However, the more you pet him or scratch his belly, the more you encourage him to sleep between your legs. You’re teaching him that curling between your legs is okay.

Separation Anxiety

If your four-legged friend always persists in sleeping between, even when your try to stop him, chances are he’s struggling with anxiety due to loneliness. Signs of separation anxiety in dogs include:

  • Pacing
  • Crying and whining
  • Restlessness
  • Trembling
  • Growling

When you leave him alone in the house, he might try to break loose of his cage or develop repetitive-injurious habits, howl or whine, and even pee in the wrong places.

If your pooch displays these symptoms, you need to consult a behavioral specialist. Alternatively, you can show him attention when you come back, but don’t overdo it. Keep in mind anxiety can affect your dog’s mood, behavior, and general health.

Is It Bad for My Dog to Sleep Between My Legs?

This boils down to your preference and scenarios. It’s okay to let your dog sleep between your legs if it’s a small breed like a Chihuahua. But if he’s a heavy breed like a German Shepherd, the weight might make you feel uncomfortable.

Also, you need to factor in your family members. If there are children and seniors in your household, it’s wise to train this behavior out of your dog. Otherwise, he might cause them discomfort and pain. Other negative aspects of this behavior include:

Too Much Heat During Summer

If your dog sleeps between your legs during the summer, its body heat can rise significantly, heating your bed. Therefore, making it difficult for you to sleep.

Accidentally Kicks at Night

Some dog owners suffer from restless leg syndrome, which is a condition that makes it hard for you to sleep still throughout the night. If that’s the case, you might end up kicking your dog while it’s sleeping between your legs. The kicks can wake up your dog or cause him pain.

Reduced Movements During the Night

Combined sleepers might have a hard time sleeping with their dogs between their legs. There’s no way they can shift their position at night without making physical contact with their furry friend. As a result, they can end up having a poor night’s sleep, which isn’t healthy for the body.

Final Thoughts

We hope this piece has addressed your question of “Why does my dog sleep between my legs?”. As you can see, your legs can provide a sense of security and comfort to your four-legged friend. Also, this behavior is a sign that your dog loves you and wants your affection.

However, if this habit is persistent, then your dog might have severe separation anxiety. Therefore, you need to reward him when you come back home. If the situation makes you feel uncomfortable, consider training your dog to sleep comfortably alone or on another side of the bed.

That said, this habit is a sign of an unbreakable bond between you and your dog, and you should treasure it.

Here are some other common questions about dogs that may also be helpful:Why Does My Dog Scratch My Bed Sheets? Why Does My Dog Bury His Head in Me? Why Does My Dog Lay His Head on Me? Why Does My Dog Lick My Pillow? Why Does My Dog Stand Over Me? Why Does My Dog Stretch So Much? Why Does My Dog Put His Butt on Me? Why Does My Dog Sleep With His Tongue Out? Why Does My Dog Lay On My Clothes? Why Does My Dog Nibble My Ear? Why Does My Dog Hump the Air? Why Does My Dog Lick Other Dogs Pee? Why Does My Dog Push Against Me? Why Does My Dog Lick My Legs? Why Does My Dog Lick My Eyes? Do Dogs Get Tired Of Barking? and if you are after our pet portraits, you can see themhere.