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

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From side sleeping to lion’s pose, our dogs love to adopt different sleep positions depending on their mood – and now you’ll know exactly what they’re feeling during nap time

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You might have seen your pup adopting some strange positions during their nap time and wondered how they could possibly feel comfy.

But the way our dogs go to sleep actually tells us a lot about how they’re feeling, 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 it means about their mood, temperature and behaviour.

So, you’ll never be left questioning why their paws are by their head, or why their legs are spread out so wide.

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side sleeping







They clearly have trust in you
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Lynne said: “Chances are, you’ve seen your dog lying on their side with their legs splayed 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 stomach to you, showing they have trust in you.

“Sometimes dogs won’t start their nap in the side sleeping position.

“They might start in the sphinx or lion position and then loll into the side-sleeping position.

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

“If you happen to find them lying in this position while awake, however, be sure to give them some belly scratches.”

curl up







Curling makes them feel safe
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“If you’ve ever seen your dog spin in circles before settling down in a curled-up position, this harks back to their historic habits,” Lynne says.

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

“In the same way that a dog will display its stomach when they feel comfortable, curling up means it’s protected.

“Curling up is also the cosiest sleeping position for our four-legged friends, as it helps them retain body warmth.

“This is a position that’s instinctual for a lot of mammals – even humans, when you think about it. We tend to curl up more when we’re trying to sleep and we’re cold.”

On their bellies







They’re trying to cool down
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“On the flip side, if your dog is lying on their front with their legs stretched out, they might be trying to cool down,” Lynne explained.

“This is a common position for dogs coming home from a walk – it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re exhausted, but it means they’re regulating their temperature by exposing their bellies to cooler surfaces.

“This is another position that doesn’t suggest your dog is in a deep sleep.

“You might find that they’re lightly snoozing to recover from a walk or to cool themselves on a particularly hot day, but they come to life if you call them or move from room to room.”

lion’s pose







It means you have a playful pup
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Lynne said: “This is the next step up from dogs lying flat out on their bellies. The lion pose, also known as the sphinx, sees dogs lie on their bellies.

“Instead of their legs being splayed out in front of and behind them though, they’ll have them tucked closer to their bodies and rest their heads on them.

“If you see your dog in this pose, they’re likely to be resting but not fully asleep. That means if they hear you move, chances are, they’ll stir.

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

“If your dog’s favorite sleeping position is this pose, you can be sure that they’re an especially playful pup!”

cuddling up







They feel super close to you
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“Lastly, if your dog loves nothing more than cuddling up to you, be honored – this demonstrates how close the bond is that they feel for you!” Lynne explained.

“It’ll come as no surprise that dogs who enjoy snuggling with us are the most affectionate personality types.

“Dogs who enjoy being close to your other dogs or pets are also affectionate and can be protective over their brothers and sisters.

“Some puppies have a hard time keeping themselves warm, so they might curl up with you, fellow dogs, or their mother for that extra warmth.

“As they grow up and get better at regulating their temperature, curling up for a snuggle with you is a habit they’ll come to love!”

Do you have a dog story to tell? Contact nia.dalton@reachplc.com.

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