Why Do Dogs Sleep Facing Away From You? Reasons Explained With Tips

Why Do Dogs Sleep Facing Away From You? Reasons + Tips

Since my pet dog was a puppy, I let him sleep in my room. My pet is almost two years old and still sleeps in my room. However, I noticed that as my dog grew up, although I attempted to keep him close to me, he preferred sleep facing away from me.

This bothered me for a while because I was not entirely sure why my dog was trying to sleep away from me. Was it because he was sick, or did something bad happen from my end unintentionally?

There might be many other dog parents who might have faced this situation. So this article will provide you with answers to those questions.

Why do dogs sleep facing away from you? The most common and logical answer to this question would be their natural instinct. When your dog bonds well with you, it will build trust within them, which also helps them to stay comfortable around you. If your dog sleeps facing away from you, that is a gesture to indicate that they trust you and they feel safe around you.

Also, dogs follow this sleeping gesture to protect their masters. When they keep their eyes on the opposite side of the owner, they can quickly notice if something happens and act right after. While these are the most common reasons for a dog to sleep facing away from you, sometimes they simply do it because they find the sleeping position more comfortable. 

If your dog sleeps facing away from you, do not feel bad about it because it does not usually indicate anything terrible. Instead, it shows that your dog cares about and trusts you.

Although you try hard to make the dog sleep in a position you prefer, the dog will always stick to what is more comfortable for them. To deepen your knowledge on this topic, keep reading this article. 

Why do dogs sleep facing away from you? Reasons

As mentioned in the previous section, dogs sleep facing away from their masters as a natural instinct; therefore, it happens spontaneously. So let’s have a look at the common causes for this elaborate. 

  • Pack mentality

You might have heard that dogs are pack animals. Although they are now considered domestic animals, initially, dogs always have the pack mentality inherited within them.

The pack always stays together, and they usually sleep facing away from one another when they sleep. They sleep that way because it helps them to observe threats better and act faster.

So as a matter of cause, dogs tend to sleep facing away from pack members, in this case, you.

  • Trusting and protecting the owner 

Trust and protection are also common causes that lead dogs to sleep turning against you. It is crucial to have a solid bond between you and the dog to create trust.

When a dog trusts you, it will act very comfortable around you. Dogs always keep their eyes on the target.

If you are not closely bonded with your dog and if the dog feels suspicious of you for some reason, then it will not sleep facing away from you. If the dog sleeps facing away from you, that usually means your dog has complete trust in you.

Moreover, it also indicates that your dog attempts to protect you. Dogs are typically very loyal to their owners. Mostly they see the owner as their alpha or the leader.

Therefore dogs will always try to protect their owners. As mentioned, dogs are very attentive to threats.

Suppose an intruder comes into your room while you are sleeping; the dog keeps their eyes in the opposite direction of you so it can grasp it fast and protect the owner from the threat. 

  • Comfort 

The pack mentality and dogs’ instinct to protect owners are the most common reasons for them to sleep facing away from you.

However, dogs sometimes get used to this sleeping behavior because they find it more comfortable and easy to sleep. We have certain sleeping positions that make us sleep better.

Dogs also have sleeping positions that are more comfortable for them, so the comfier it is, the more the dog will follow that position. 

  • Positive reinforcement 

Imagine your dog lying on your bed facing away from you; this could lead you to give them some nice and soft back scratches, maybe unintentionally or not.

If this keeps happening for some time, it will become a positive reinforcement for your puppy. Dogs quickly adapt to routines.

So if you keep scratching them likewise or make them feel better when they stay facing away from you, the dog will be encouraged to use the same position. 

  • Avoiding eye contact 

Eye contact is a strong way for dogs to express their emotions. However, dogs are not big fans of maintaining long and intense eye contact because they find it disturbing and threatening.

So even though your dog maintains eye contact when they require it, when they try to sleep, they will sleep facing away from you, which helps the dog to avoid eye contact and sleep comfortably. 

  • You made the dog mad 

Most of the time, dogs keep facing away from owners because they find it more accessible and better; still, there could be instances where a dog tries to sleep facing away from you because you possibly made the dog mad.

Dogs follow different sleeping positions. Suppose your dog sticks to a specific sleeping position but suddenly sleeps facing away from you.

In that case, that could be because something wrong happened that makes the dog a little angry, so it will sleep facing away from you to express the anger. 

Is it bad that your dog sleeps facing away from you?

Your dog sleeps facing away from you; is it something bad? Should you be worried about it? Usually, it is not something for you to stress about.

As explained in the previous section, dogs sleep facing away from their owners for perfectly normal reasons. This particular sleeping behavior is expected among dogs due to the pack mentality and also their will to protect their owners.

Moreover, dogs often find it a comfortable sleeping position, and there are also times when they unintentionally get encouraged by you to stick to that sleeping position.

Considering these facts, it does not mean anything negative if your dog sleeps facing away from you.

However, if you feel your dog’s sleeping position is odd, you can be cautious and figure out why. Maybe something bothers your dog, so they have changed their sleeping position. Still, most of the time, this is not a bad thing. So you do not have to worry. 

How to stop your dog from sleeping away from you?

Some dog owners are not bothered about their dog’s sleeping position, but it could be different for other dog owners.

This is why some find it troubling when the dog tries to sleep facing away from you. What can you do if your dog follows this sleeping behavior and you want them to avoid it? 

Here’s the thing. Your dog’s sleeping position is not something that you can manipulate. If you train them to sleep in a specific position consistently, it might work unless the dog will always shift into the position that feels more comfortable for them.

Most of the time, dogs like to sleep facing away from their humans because it is convenient, natural, and comfortable for them. Though you try to change this, your dog will likely stick to this sleeping position. 

If you are highly considerate of your dog’s sleeping position and want them to stop sleeping facing away from you, then you have to train them not to do it consistently.

Continuous training from a young age helps dogs to stick to certain things; therefore, it could help you to change your dog’s sleeping position.

Also, you can use positive reinforcement methods that will encourage the dog to sleep in another position.

Final thoughts 

Here are some final thoughts to conclude things. In this article, we discussed why dogs sleep turning away from their owners; as pointed out, if your dog sticks with this sleeping position, that does not signify anything negative.

It is just a natural way for dogs to sleep, and they usually find it more comfortable. So there is nothing to be worried about. When you are a caring dog parent, every small change in your dog’s behavior could make you worry.

So if your dog is trying to sleep facing away from you, it could make you think that something is wrong, but technically there is nothing wrong. Your pet always picks the most comfortable sleeping position for them to sleep in.

However, there can be some instances that deliberately make your dog sleep facing away from you. No one knows your dog better than you, so if you pay close attention, you can figure out if something is wrong. Anyways, the majority of the time, it is just what your dog prefers.

Thank you for reading this article! Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about your favorite dog breed.


  • 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.

    [email protected]

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