Wrapping and tucking themselves into blankets till they appear like a burrito of comfort is one of the most endearing actions in dogs. Why do animals cuddle? Is it for our amusement because they know how much it would make us squeal with delight, or is it because it helps them feel safe and secure in their environment? Or maybe they just envy your current location. After all, if you feel comfortable sleeping here, then maybe others should, too. However, should you give in and let it? Do dogs require boundaries? Is it okay for your dog to lie with you in bed?
Why People Act That Way
Your dog’s cute tendency to enjoy sleeping beneath the covers or burrowing under blankets is really a common canine trait, shared with other burrowing animals like moles and groundhogs. Dens are a mammal’s protected home, and that’s where their ancestors were born and nurtured, thus the name. Terriers and Dachshunds, in particular, are prone to this tendency since their ancestors were bred specifically for hunting tiny game that frequented subterranean tunnels or dens. Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies exhibit the same habit, which is not surprising given that their ancestors dug burrows in the snow for both warmth and protection from predators.
However, unlike moles and groundhogs, dogs don’t often spend the whole year holed up in their dens. As the duration of the experiment increases, they either overheat or get uncomfortable with the volume of air around them. One more is the company they provide.
Dogs, particularly puppies, are social creatures by nature, so it’s only natural for them to cluster together when they go to sleep. Puppies in a litter will always find a way to remain close to one another and sleep on the same bed for as long as they can. This explains why your dog so adores cuddling up next to you, and even sneaking a nap beneath the covers on occasion. That’s how much your dog loves you—and how he shows it. He shows you how much he values you as a member of the pack by snuggling up next to you at night and keeping you safe from harm.
Some dogs who suffer from anxiety or fear may find it comforting to sleep alongside their human owners. Last but not least, if your short-haired dog likes to take refuge beneath the blankets whenever the temperature drops, he is probably simply chilly. However, this doesn’t rule out the chance that he has an innate need to burrow. It’s not uncommon for dogs to spend the warmer months dozing down beneath a desk, table, or in a hole they dug themselves in the backyard.
Promotes the Action
The sort of dog you have and his previous behavior will have a significant impact on whether or not you should encourage your dog to sleep beneath the blankets. Forbidding it now will simply confuse him as it would be a significant shift for him and one that would be hard to grasp if your dog has been sleeping with you under the blankets for many years and has always been able to crawl out from beneath the covers whenever he was oxygen starved. But if you have any worries and believe it’s better for your dog to not sleep under the blankets, for whatever reason, try encouraging your four-legged buddy to sleep half-covered or on the outside of the covers instead of completely banning it.
More caution should be used with smaller dogs when deciding whether or not they are allowed on the bed. If the dog begins to feel uncomfortable or suffocates, you don’t want him to be trapped inside because the blankets are too thick. Small dogs are best off sleeping at your feet or in their own pet bed under a thin blanket. Smaller dog breeds, such as Dachshunds and Chihuahuas, are naturally inclined to burrow, and this solution would allow them to do so in a secure environment while you slept soundly.
Alternate Suggestions & Things to Think About
Don’t worry about your dog suffocating if they sleep with you beneath the blankets. If a dog senses that it is too hot, too stuffy, or that there isn’t enough fresh air, it will usually quickly find a way to escape from its hiding place. However, you shouldn’t tuck your dog in beneath the blankets if he’s a heavy sleeper, a little dog (due to age or breed), or if you’re worried about him getting out. Instead, invest in a comfy dog bed for him to sleep in next to yours, complete with his own blankets.
Although you may feel more comfortable with your dog lying on the bed with you, it is best to provide them with their own bed and blanket in a designated doggie bed. If you want extra space, you might consider teaching your dog to sleep on his own bed.