What you should know about your dog's sleeping habits
It’s important to understand your dog’s sleeping habits and how they influence its behavior, particularly when your dog gets disturbed. You see, Dogs will usually sleep for around 13 hours every day. Although this can vary between different breeds, this still means your dog is going to be asleep for almost half it’s life!
Your dog will tend to circle before lying down to sleep.
As he would do in the wild, where he would trample down vegetation to create a bed, typically in longer grass where his presence will be concealed.
Temperature also influences the way in which a dog sleeps.
If it’s cold, your dog will curl up in a ball to conserve body heat. (just as puppies do by sleeping together instead of stretching out). It’s not unusual for an adult dog to lie on his side while he’s sleeping, and start moving his legs as if he were running. The eyelids and whiskers may twitch too at this stage, which is usually a sign of what we humans call ‘deep sleep’.
Dogs generally spend most of their time sleeping lightly.
Seeing as dogs are descended from opportunistic hunters, dogs instinctively wake when there is an increased amount of activity around them.However, if a dog is deliberately woken, particularly if it is disturbed by a child, he may react aggressively and bite without warning. The phrase ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ should give you a clue! Also, your dog may be a little unwilling to settle down again if woken at an unusual hour.
This means it’s important to establish a set routine for a new dog from the outset. This includes things like exercising, feeding and sleeping times. A new puppy is likely to be distressed on its first few nights in a new home, as this will be the first time that he will have been separated from its litter mates. Within a pack, there is no visible hierarchy in the order in which the dogs sleep, although they will instinctively sleep close to their fellow members. (Although the alpha dog will usually sleep apart).
If your new pup has been allowed to spend the night in the bedroom, it can become problematic to expect it to sleep elsewhere. Its instincts suggest that it has been driven away from the pack. By being firm right from the start and establishing that your dog sleeps on his own, you can ensure that he doesn’t experience this ‘rejection’ once he gets a little older.
Dogs can get restless during the night if they’re not exercised regularly. Although he may also nap continually if there isn’t much happening. While you are out, your dog may find its way to your bed, just to be near your smell. An old item of clothing, which will carry your scent, will comfort your dog when you are not there.
Puppies often appreciate contact with litter mates when sleeping, just in the same way that many dogs prefer to lie against a wall or next to their owner’s feet. This probably gives them a sense of security.