Do Dogs Protect You When You Sleep?

Do Dogs Protect You When You Sleep? Truth You Should Know

A lot of us prefer raising dogs in our homes. Why would you get a dog in the first place? As we all know, dogs are ideal human companions and make perfect family-friendly pets. However, sometimes what we expect from having a dog is not only companionship.

We also expect them to protect the family. Dogs have the natural instinct to protect their masters, but do they always protect you? Many dog owners have raised the question of whether dogs protect their owners while they sleep. What do you think? To find out if you are correct, keep reading this article. 

So, do dogs protect you when you sleep? Several reasons may lead a dog to guard you while you sleep. Among those reasons, the most common is the natural will to protect the owners. Other than that, this behavior of dogs is associated with your dog’s personality, how much attachment they have with you, territorial concerns, encouragement, and fears.

It is a good thing for your dogs to be protective of you. However, sometimes you might find it overbearing if the dog attempts to be overprotective.

At the same time, some like it when their dogs protect them while they sleep; others might not like it. So let’s try to understand whether all dogs defend you while you are asleep, how they do it, and what factors motivate them to do it. 

Do dogs protect you when you sleep?

You don’t necessarily have to train your pet dog to protect you because they naturally do it. Dogs are loyal companions.

When raised in a caring and loving family environment, dogs grow solid feelings for their family, leading them to be protective of the family.

This is something that dogs inherit from their earliest roots. Therefore it is not unusual that they attempt to protect you while you sleep.

Although dogs naturally protect their owners, other push factors encourage this behavior. Suppose your dog is highly clingy; they prefer spending most of their time with you, cuddling with you, and so on.

In such cases, they try to protect you when you sleep because they care a lot about you and do not want to miss a chance to be close to you. If you keep accepting this behavior and let your dog stay close to you and keep an eye while you sleep, they will get used to it.

Apart from their emotional attachment, dogs also protect you due to territorial concerns meaning they try to mark the territory and ensure that their area is safe.

This territorial behavior can be especially seen among dogs if you have other pets in your home. They stay close to their owners and try not to let others get close to them while they sleep.

Do they stay close to you when you sleep because their only motive is to protect you? Sometimes dogs also want to feel protected.

Significantly if you raise a shelter dog or a dog who faced past trauma, they hesitate to sleep on their own. Being close to owners while they sleep makes the dog less sacred. 

How do you know if my dog is protective of me?

Your dog might stay close to you, but is that because the dog wants to protect you? Is it due to some other reason? How can we ensure that they are protective of you?

Although dogs are considered protective animals by nature, how they show it might differ from one dog to the other.

So in some instances, you will find it somewhat complicated to understand whether your dog is being protective.

Below are some common gestures that any dog would indicate when they are protective of the owners. 

  • Being very alert yet calm

Protective dogs are highly alert whenever they sense something suspicious or strange. They act vigilant but are calm at the same time.

When dogs are observant and attentive, they don’t panic or act aggressively straightaway; instead, they calmly attempt to figure out where the danger is coming from to protect their owners. 

  • Changes in the physique

When dogs are protective, you can see visible changes in their body and gestures. Their bodies usually stiffen, and their ears get pointed.

You might; also notice that their fur stands up at the back of their body. Their teeth will get exposed, and you’ll hear growling noises. All these signs indicate that they defend you. 

  • Trying to attack the perceived threat 

Once the dog has channeled the threat, it will attempt to attack it. The threat could be someone who came to your home, another animal, or even an object.

So the dog will constantly bark and attack it. This behavior is also demonstrated when dogs are protective of masters. 

Are dogs more protective of female owners?

Some believe that dogs can be more protective of female owners than male owners, but how accurate is this belief? Are dogs really more protective of female owners, or is it just a subjective assumption?

Thanks to their instinct, it is evident that dogs tend to be protective of their owners, whether a man or a woman. Does your gender matter to your dog when they protect you?

Typically females are soft-spoken and gentle compared to males. Does that make dogs love female owners more and lead them to be more protective of them over male owners?

It is hard to give fixed answers to these questions, but the gender of the owner, especially their characteristics, could somewhat impact determining who your dog would protect the most.

Although dogs are now better known as domestic animals, they have their origin coming from hunting backgrounds. Therefore they are pack animals. The pack’s leader is usually well-built, rigid, and dominant.

When it comes to a household, the males possess the pack leader characteristics, so your pet dog could be more protective of male owners instead of female ones because they believe males are their leaders.

But there can be exceptions too. Unlike men, we know women are better at nurturing and caring for others. So the emotional attachment sometimes could make dogs more protective of female owners. 

Will my dog protect me if I’m attacked while sleeping?

When you are in danger in front of your dog, any dog owner will surely expect them to protect you from it.

How will your dog respond if you get attacked while you are sleeping? Will they protect you? The safest answer to this question is maybe because no one can guarantee how the dog will act in such a scenario.

Some dogs are naturally highly protective compared to others. You do not even have to train them to protect you because it is already there in their genes.

However, this will be different for some other dogs; they require a lot of training to become guard dogs, so if they lack training, we cannot assure you that they’ll protect you all the time.

Depending on their personality type and social skills, some dogs will certainly save you if you get attacked while sleeping or any other time, but some dogs will not know how to react; hence they could get panicked or even scared.

How does a dog protect it’s owner while sleeping?

Some dogs prefer sleeping close to their owners; this gesture indicates affection as well as protection. However, dogs also try to stay closer to you while you sleep because they are scared to be left alone.

So how can we know if the dog is trying to protect you, or is it some other reason that thrives them to stay closer to you while sleeping? 

Dogs are also living creatures like humans, so they also need the energy to act effectively. If dogs sleep throughout the night, how would they protect us? Most dogs get enough sleep during the daytime.

So they don’t sleep throughout the night and have sufficient energy to stay vigilant and protect the owners. If your dog typically indicates guarding behavior, for instance, being alert, it gives some reassurance that they will protect you while you sleep.

If the dog sniffs around the room or bed, that’s also an indicator of them being protective of you.

Dogs have potent senses; unless they sense something strange, dogs will not act aggressively, but as soon as they perceive it, they won’t hesitate to take action and protect their owners.


Dogs are domestic animals, but they are naturally gifted with plenty of skills they inherit from their ancestors. Being protective is one such skill that any dog owns.

However, the way that dogs protect you may change according to their personality type, meaning while some dogs are incredibly protective of their owners, some might not be the same.

Through this article, we attempt to find answers to whether dogs protect us while we sleep. The answer depends on several factors.

Nonetheless, no matter when or where, if you raise a dog with good care and affection, they will always be there to protect you. 

Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner. We’ll see you next time!


  • Dominic Parker

    Dominic P. is a dog behavioral researcher who graduated from the University of Surrey and holds BVMsi (Hons) in Veterinary Medicine and Science. He has been around dogs since childhood and has unconditional love for dogs. It makes him become a researcher instead of practicing as a veterinarian. Dominic enjoys his work and likes to share his findings with dog parents to give them a better understanding of dogs’ behaviors.

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