Have you ever been cozy in your bed watching a movie, only to see your dog pop in the room to check on you periodically?
Some dogs will even do this multiple times throughout the night, causing owners to wonder why their dogs feel the need to check on them.
So what is the underlying factor behind this strange canine behavior? Let’s discuss the details!
Is This Behavioral Normal In Dogs?
Before we discuss the details of why our dogs like to check on us throughout the night, we should first state that this behavior is completely normal.
Many dogs will pop their head into their owner’s room as they sleep, checking on their loved one at varied intervals. This is standard for dogs of all kinds, whether you have a big guard dog or a tiny teacup cup.
Do Our Dogs Naturally Guard Us At Night?
We’ve always been told that our canine friends are protective by nature. Our dog’s wild ancestors would protect the other members of their pack during vulnerable moments, one of these moments being time spent asleep.
So do our doggos offer us the same nightly protection?
The answer to this question is yes and no.
Some breeds of dogs are naturally protective and have an ingrained need to guard their loved ones, while others can be a bit timider and non-confrontational.
For example, some dogs may sleep on the edge of the bed and keep watch of the door while you sleep, while other pups will sprawl out on their back without a care in the world.
As you can see, a dog’s protective qualities will vary, so a dog checking in on us at night is not automatically a protective behavior. Though most pups want the best for us and would love to guard their family, some have lost this ingrained need to guard.
So Why Does My Dog Check On Me While I Sleep?
Now that you are aware of the fact that this is not always a protective behavior, let’s discuss some of the most common reasons why our dogs check in on us at night.
- It’s how they show their love
- They think you need protection
- They heard a strange noise
- They are interested in what we’re doing
- They cannot sleep
- They are hungry
- They are bored
It’s How They Show Their Love
Our dogs love us just as much as we love them. They want nothing more than to be in our presence, and to simply make sure we are still there and okay if they leave the room. A bonded pup may check in on their sleeping owners multiple times throughout the night, as they want to be sure that we are right in the same spot they left us!
These frequent bed checks can be a dog’s way of telling us they love us and want us to be okay. Similar to how a mother checks in on their sleeping child before going to bed, this can simply be an act of affection.
They Think You Need Protection
As we discussed above, some dogs have an ingrained need to protect their loved ones and their home. Some dogs may view our time spent sleeping as a vulnerable moment, leading to the need to guard us as we rest.
Not only will these dogs check in on us throughout the night, but they may even sleep at our bedroom door to stand watch. If you notice other protective qualities in your pup, their frequent check ins could just be another example of how they are trying to keep us safe each day.
They Heard A Strange Noise
Does it seem like your pup suddenly bursts into your bedroom with the need to explore the area? If so, it may be because they heard a strange noise. This can be anything from the sound of the TV to something you just dropped on the floor, causing them to rise from their slumber and check in on us.
If your dog does this any time they hear a noise, they could just be making sure we are okay. It may also be a sign that they are simply nosey and need to get to the source of the unknown sound.
They Are Interested In What We’re Doing
We are our dogs’ entire world, so they often want to know what we are up to at all times. Our pups never want to miss a moment of our lives, and this includes our time spent asleep. If your dog keeps checking in on you while you are sleeping, they may just want to make sure they don’t miss out on anything exciting.
They Cannot Sleep
Many of us know how it feels to be restless and unable to fall asleep. Our dogs can experience this same struggle as well, causing them to roam the house and check in on each of their family members. If this is the case for your canine friend, your dog may even attempt to wake you up throughout the night.
They Are Hungry
Our pups know that we are the food providers in the home. Any meals or snacks come from our hands, so a hungry pup may check in on us throughout the night for any food opportunities. Whether they wake us up due to hunger or simply want to make sure they are not missing out on any snacks, this could be why your dog is checking in on you at night.
They Are Bored
Nightime can be a boring time for a dog. With their main source of entertainment snoozing in bed, our pups may be desperate for any source of fun. A bored pup may check in on us multiple times throughout night, just checking for any sign of life or fun. If a dog is bored enough, they may even try to wake their owners up.
How To Limit This Behavior In Dogs
In most situations, a dog that pops their head into our bedroom and checks in on us is not a bother. This behavior often goes unnoticed due to us being asleep, with many of us only catching on when our dogs check in when we have yet to fall into our slumber.
If this behavior does disturb you for any reason, or you simply want to help your dog have a more restful night of sleep, there are a few effective ways to limit this behavior.
Some of the best ways to prevent your dog from checking in on you throughout the night include:
- Making them a cozy bed in your room so they do feel the need to keep checking in
- Give them a comfortable resting place in their favorite area of the house
- Keep your bedroom door shut throughout the night, as long as they don’t scratch the door
- Make sure they are well fed and have access to water before you go to sleep
- Make sure they have gone outside to pee or poop before you go to sleep
- Give them plenty of quiet toys or a bone to munch on to make sure they have entertainment if they can’t sleep
- Offer your pup plenty of exercise throughout the day to encourage a restful night of sleep
- Help your pup learn how to spend time alone through proper introduction to alone time, socialization, and even crate training at an early age
- Try to find them a sleeping spot away from any doors or windows, as many sounds can leak through these spots
At the end of the day, our dog’s nightly check ins are one of the many ways they show their love for us. Whether they are trying to protect their family or simply stay up to date on our activities, this is often just a sign of a dedicated pup.