Why Does My Dog Sleep On My Head? 10 Reasons and Solutions

Dogs are some of the best companions and additions a family could ever have. I know from first-hand experience; my kids and our two dogs Duke and Bella are almost inseparable. Especially when they’re outside!

The dogs love chasing the kids around the yard and the kids enjoy trying to teach the dogs new tricks. The unconditional love these canines can spread is fun to witness.

*As a side note, dogs are a great way to get your kids to play in the yard!*

But having dogs isn’t all fun and games. Us dog owners need to understand our pooches’ behaviors and decipher when they need help and attention.

Why does your dog whimper at night, bark when you hug your wife, or get scared when you do laundry? Understanding these quirks and what to do about them are just par for the course for some dog owners. Other dogs, of course, have different odd behaviors…like say falling asleep on your head.

So, what about dogs that doze off on their owners’ heads? Why does my dog sleep on my head? Unfortunately, there isn’t one quick and easy answer, instead, there are many likely possibilities. The reason your dog is sleeping on your head is probably due to one or more of the following:

  • To feel secure and comfortable
  • For warmth
  • Issues with separation anxiety
  • Natural instincts
  • To get up high
  • Climbing the doggy social ladder
  • To dominate you (Probably Not!)
  • Protection
  • It’s something your dog just likes
  • You (accidentally) taught your dog to do it

Security And Comfort

We all like to feel safe and secure, and your dog is no exception! When your good boy snuggles up to your head to fall asleep, it could be him seeking out comfort by being close to someone he loves.

To your dog, this kind of security and emotional comfort can greatly improve the bond between you two as well.

To Warm Up

It’s not just us humans that don’t like to get cold when we sleep. Dogs also want to stay warm and cozy while they sleep too.

This is why your dog might curl up against you if you let your room temperature get a little too cool for his taste.

Remember, your good boy is no dummy! He knows that the closer he gets to you, the warmer he’ll be!

Separation Anxiety

Sleeping on top of your head could be just one of many indicators that your pooch has separation anxiety. Separation anxiety isn’t just missing you; it goes way beyond that.

Other signs that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety may actually be more obvious when you are away from your dog than when you are with him. For example, when you’re at work all day, you may come home to find your dog has been extra destructive.

Or perhaps your neighbors will let you know that your dog won’t stop howling and barking when you’re not around.

If this is happening, then your furry friend will probably want to stick as close to you as possible while you’re present, which might include climbing right on top of your head while you sleep.

Pack Instinct

Dogs are pack animals, and they have the inclination to be close to their family. It’s an instinctive behavior for them to keep their pack members warm and secure, and to receive the same as they all snuggle up together.

Your dog sees you as part of the pack. In fact, your dog likely sees you as the head of the pack. So, for him, snuggling up on your head is just acting on this instinct.

To Be Up High

Okay, so if you’re laying down your head isn’t actually up high…but your dog could still associate it with being the ‘highest’ spot in bed.

Dogs like to be high up for a variety of reasons, so if this is your dog’s reason for sleeping on your head you might have more investigating to do.


When a dog decides to sleep on top of you, or just closer to you than any of the other dogs in the house, it could be his way of showing other dogs that you love him the most.

By being as close as possible to you, while the others are ‘forced’ to sleep farther away, your dog can put himself higher up the social ladder of the pack.

And after all, why shouldn’t he be higher up? You do love him the most, right?

Dominance Over You (Doubtful!)

Some people might think that their dog sleeping on their head is the dog’s attempt at trying to dominate. However, this isn’t usually the case.

Humans control most aspects of a dog’s life including food, warmth, and fun. So, domination is an unlikely motivator for your dog.

If your pup is actually trying to dominate you then there will be other signs as well.

Protecting You

Your dog’s instinct to protect you is strong and deeply rooted in his pack animal instincts that we discussed above.

By sleeping on your head, he can make sure you are safe and can keep an eye (or ear) out for any potential danger.

Take note of when your pup does this. Does he only sleep on your head when strangers have been to your house or when the neighbors are being exceptionally loud?

Your dog might be giving you a clue that he thinks something is off and you’re not as safe as normal.

Your Dog Likes It

It’s possible that your dog just likes sleeping on your head. It’s the best spot in the world and your dog is going to keep sleeping there as long as you let him. 

You Taught Your Dog To Do It (What?!)

This comes up a lot when dogs start repeatedly doing something odd. That’s because we sometimes train our dogs to do things without even realizing it.

For example, my dog Duke has figured out that if I open a can of something to drink when the weather is nice, it is practically guaranteed that I’m going outside.

So, when we’re at home and I open a beer on a nice summer day, Duke runs straight to the back door ready to join me outside.

The point is if your dog acts a certain way and your reaction is to do something your dog enjoys (like going outside), then your dog will keep doing what he’s doing.

If you pat your dog on the back or rub his belly when he lays down to sleep on your head, he’ll quickly learn that he gets rewarded for doing it. 

Is It Okay For Dogs To Sleep On Your Head?

It’s understandable if you’re feeling a bit torn about whether or not to allow your pup to sleep on your head, but really, it depends on two things.

First, the reason. If your dog is sleeping on your head as a symptom of a serious problem like suffering from separation anxiety then no, it isn’t okay.  You’ll want to address the separation anxiety (or other problem) so that your dog’s quality of life improves.

But what if your dog is just after some love? Then, I suppose it is okay, as long as it meets the second requirement.

That is that you ultimately have to be okay with your dog sleeping on your head.

I personally would not like any dog sleeping on my head. So, if I were in that situation I’d be keen to get my dog to quit sleeping on my head.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Snoozing On My Head?

As I just said, if my dog was sleeping on my head, I’d want to teach him that it isn’t something I want him to do. If you’re in the same boat as me, these tips should help you train your dog to stop snoozing on your head.

Address the Underlying Issue

The first step in getting your pup to quit dozing off on your head is to figure out why he’s doing it in the first place.

Is he after some extra love, or is he cold and trying to warm up?

Once you identify his motivation, you can begin taking steps to curb the behavior.

Use Commands Your Dog Understands

If your dog already understands commands like ‘no’, ‘off’, and ‘down’, use them as necessary. Make sure you don’t yell at your four-legged friend. Also, be sure to use a firm but gentle voice and be consistent.

If you don’t give the same command every time your dog tries to snuggle up on your head, you may confuse him and he won’t be sure what’s okay and what isn’t.

Give Your Dog A Spot To Sleep

It’s important that your dog has his own safe spot to sleep. Consider splurging on an especially comfy dog bed if you can afford it.

Or do what I did in my younger, broker years: Make a dog bed from some old pillows and a blanket!

Be sure that the spot you choose for the bed lets your pooch feel safe while he rests. Many dogs prefer their beds to be in the corner of the room or another similar spot that gives them a sense of security.

Teach Your Dog A New Command

Training your dog to understand commands such as ‘go to bed’ or ‘go to (any) spot‘ will help direct him away from sleeping on your head.

Using positive reinforcement is key; this lets your dog know he has done what you want him to and will encourage him to obey the command again.

Don’t Reward Your Dog For Sleeping On Your Head

This probably seems obvious, and on paper, it is. But in real life…when you love your dog as much as I love mine, it’s much more difficult.

While I’m sure you’re not giving your dog treats for doing something you don’t want him to do, you might still be accidentally rewarding him in smaller ways.

When you tell your dog to get off of your head, avoid rewarding him with pats on the head, or scratches behind the ears. Otherwise, you’re encouraging your dog to get on your head again.

Sure, he probably knows he’ll be told to get back down, but he’ll also get some of that sweet love from you that he craves so much!

Don’t Punish

It’s important to not punish your dog when he tries to sleep on your head; this can lead to unwanted outcomes. And besides, it’s not nearly as effective as proper training.

Instead, take the time to train with positive reinforcement by rewarding desired behaviors…like when your dog lays in his own bed.

Doing this will ensure that both of you are happy, and lead to sustainable results in the long term.

Summary: Why Does Your Dog Sleep On Your Head?

As you can see, there are many possible reasons why your dog might sleep on your head. Your pup may be trying to protect you, claiming his higher social status over the other dogs in the house, or simply seeking warmth and comfort from being close to his pack leader. It is also possible that he has learned this behavior as a result of positive reinforcement from you!

While it can certainly be an endearing behavior you need to make sure your dog isn’t doing it as a symptom of something serious, like separation anxiety.

If he isn’t snoozing on your head as a result of something seriously wrong, and you’re okay with it, then go ahead and let your buddy sleep on your head; just make sure you don’t mind having a few extra hairs on your pillow!

If you want your good boy to stop sleeping on your head there are concrete actions you can take to help him understand that you don’t want him there.

First, figure out your dog’s motivation for snoozing on your head. From there use one or more of the methods I went over.

Making sure your dog has his own spot to sleep and consistently using commands like ‘no’ or ‘off’ when he tries to get on your head will go a long way.

Remember, positive reinforcement is key to training dogs, so be sure not to reward bad behaviors with love or pats on the head.

With patience and consistency, soon enough you won’t have any extra hairs in bed from having a furry friend sleeping atop your head.

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