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Why Does My Dog Sleep Like That?! Dog Sleeping Positions Explained

If you have a canine companion, you’re probably used to watching them sleep! Therefore, you may have noticed some weird sleeping positions your dog has laid in. However, have you ever wondered what those positions mean?

Like humans, dogs sleep in different positions and have different sleeping habits. Your dog’s specific sleeping position and habits can give you an insight into how they’re feeling and a bit about their personality.

If you want to know why your dogs may sleep in different positions and what those positions may mean, keep reading.

Dog Sleeping Habits

Did you know that dogs are technically neither nocturnal nor diurnal? Crazy right?

Unlike other animals who, even after domestication, maintain their original sleeping pattern, such as the crested gecko, who are strictly nocturnal, dogs are different.

This is because domesticated dogs have always been social sleepers who sleep whenever their pack sleeps. So, since you sleep at night, your dog is more inclined to follow those social cues to sleep at night.

In the wild, however, dogs are typically crepuscular, meaning they are usually awake at the dusk and dawn or twilight hours. Cats are another example of a crepuscular animal.

Dog Sleeping Behaviors

Even though dogs sleep mostly at night, they commonly take naps throughout the day.  These naps may be some of the most crucial times you can watch them while they sleep.

Watching your dog can reveal some pretty unique characteristics and behaviors you may not have known are common in dogs.

Here are a couple of these cute behaviors you may have noticed your dog doing before or in their sleep.

  • Twitching: Like humans, dogs may sometimes twitch when dreaming or transitioning through sleep stages.
  • Dreaming: Research has proven that animals like rats commonly dream during their REM stage of sleep, just like humans, and it’s not a far stretch to believe that your dog may dream too!
  • Barking or whining: This is the dog version of humans talking in their sleep as they dream.
  • Running: If your dogs are sleeping on their sides or back, you may sometimes notice them running in their sleep. We can’t know for sure, but they may be dreaming of chasing rabbits or a KONG toy.
  • Snoring: Yep, dogs can snore just like humans do. However, you mostly see snoring in breeds such as pug and bulldog, which are classified as brachycephalic breeds. This is due to these breeds’ small, short noses and broad skulls.
  • Circling and digging: You may notice your dog do this before they lie down to sleep. Research shows that this behavior was passed down from their wolf ancestors.

Now that we’ve delved into facts about dogs sleeping habits and behaviors, here are three common sleeping positions you may have noticed your dog in.

The Superman

If you’ve seen your dog sleeping on his belly with his arms and legs stretched out in front, and behind them, you’ve witnessed the superman position.

If your dog is in this position, they are tired yet still willing to play if you give them the opportunity.

This position is commonly seen in dogs who are energetic and playful in nature and love playing until they just can’t anymore.

The Belly Up

Dogs sleeping on their back with their legs and paws adorably dangling in the air are in the belly-up position.

These dogs are comfortable sleeping in their environment and trust sleeping around you. A dog may also sleep like this when they’re trying to cool off.

Dogs sweat through their feet, and their belly typically holds a lot of heat. So, lying on their bellies allows air to reach those areas quicker.

Dogs who commonly sleep like this are extremely loving and trusting in nature. After all, this is a very vulnerable way to sleep!

The Donut

Dogs who sleep in the ever so adorable donut position sleep curled up in a ball with their limbs tucked in close to their bodies. The human equivalent of this position is the fetal pose.

These dogs seek protection and sleep this way to preserve their body heat in cold or windy environments. You can commonly see this position in dogs who are unsure of their surroundings as it protects all of their vital organs.

Dogs sleeping in this position are often seen as cautious, anxious, and unsure, yet calm and caring.

How To Help Your Dog Sleep Better

Highly energetic dog owners know the struggle of attempting to get their dogs to go to sleep. It’s the same as trying to put a toddler to sleep! A subscription to KONG Club can guide your pup to help them stay engaged and active, which promotes healthy sleep.

However, there are simple ways to get your dog tired and ready to rest.

  • The most common way is to tire them out by giving them something to play with.
  • Mentally stimulating toys like KONG puzzle toys are perfect since they easily keep your dog preoccupied and busy.
  • You can also take them on a run, jog, or play a nice old game of fetch with them.
  • Also, a cuddly plush toy from KONG can help them feel secure and ready to rest.


Watching a dog sleep is incredibly entertaining. However, your dog’s specific sleeping position can be a good indicator of how your dog may be feeling at that moment. Like humans, dogs have specific habits and behaviors such as snoring, dreaming, and twitching that may seem weird at the moment but are completely normal.

If you notice your dog sleeping in any weird positions feel free to reach out to your KONG Club Pet Coach!  They are experts in dog behavior and are here to help you with plans and guidance for any questions you might have!