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If your dog won’t go to bed until you do, it could be for many reasons. A common thought is that your dog might have separation anxiety and is unable to sleep without you being near.
Why Won’t My Dog Go To Bed Until I Do:
Dogs are pack animals, and you are the leader of their pack. Many dog’s take their role in your pack seriously and don’t want to sleep unless they know you’re joining them. This means you have a loyal dog that wants to keep you safe.
While having a dog wait for you to go to bed can be endearing, there are ways to change this behavior for the better.
We’ll be diving further into the complete reasons why a dog won’t go to bed until you do as well as how to fix it, and other sleeping hacks for your furry friend.
Do Dogs Wait For You to Go to Bed to Fall Asleep?
As a part of your pack, your dog will naturally have a role to play. This could be a protector, provider, or mother, so it’s important to understand everyone’s position within your pack.
As long as you (the pack leader) are awake and active, there’s a good chance your dog will be too, always looking for a way to help out.
They’ll be waiting for you to give instructions, like when it’s time to go for a walk or to eat, as well as when it’s bedtime.
You do this by either saying it’s time for bed, or by leading the way by walking to your bedroom.
Your cute little (or not so little) friend is likely even keeping an ear out if you need anything through the night.
Other than nap time, dogs are always looking for ways to contribute to the pack, that’s part of the reason they follow you around all day!
What Does it Mean When My Dog Only Goes to Bed When I Do?
If this is the case, then you have one faithful friend!
Your dog is always looking to help their pack and when they wait for you to go to bed it just means they’re waiting for every opportunity to do so.
You’re their master and by following what you do is a great signal that they understand their place and that you are their leader.
When Should a Dog Be Going to Bed?
A dog should be going to bed at a similar time each night, just like people!
This routine of falling asleep around the same time every night helps keep their daily bathroom routine in order.
If they’re used to being awake from 6AM until 9PM and this routine changes, their bathroom routine will be out of sync which could cause them to have an accident in the house.
So while it’s a dog showing their loyalty by staying awake until you go to bed, it’s also best for them to do so.
It helps them be awake when you’re awake so you can take them out to relieve themselves as well as get some exercise WITHOUT being woken up in the middle of the night.
We all know how frustrating that can be..
Do Dogs Know When It’s Bedtime?
Dogs know when it’s time to go for a walk or a visit to the vets, so they one-hundred-percent know when it’s bedtime.
While they don’t have the best understanding of time, dogs seem to have a great understanding of structure and routine.
You know this all too well if you take your dog for a walk around the same time everyday. There your furry friend is, patiently (more likely impatiently) waiting to go for their morning walk.
The same goes for when it’s bedtime. If they routinely go to bed around the same time everyday, they will naturally start to wind down as that time comes around.
Why Won’t My Dog Go to Bed When I Tell Them to?
There are lots of reasons why your dog may not be going to bed when you tell them to. Don’t forget, they’re social animals, and therefore like to sleep with their pack.
If they won’t go to bed when you’re telling them to, it’s likely that they aren’t able to fall asleep, as opposed to outright defiance.
Here are a few reasons why they likely won’t go to bed:
If they spent the majority of their day sleeping and didn’t get enough exercise, this could be a reason for their disobedience.
If they continue to be restless during a time they’d normally be going to bed, try taking them for a nice long walk (or jog) an hour or so before bedtime.
Disharmony, life-changing experiences, or simply changes to their ordinary everyday life can cause anxiety making them restless.
Maybe your pup has been going through some changes lately and once life gets back to normal, so will their obedience.
This is more common than any of us can imagine. Attachment issues require a commitment from you to truly resolve the problem.
Has to go potty:
It’s tough to go to sleep when you have “to go”!
Bright lights, loud noises or even just being overly energetic are all examples of ways animals can be overstimulated.
When a dog is overstimulated it’s likely their heart is beating faster than their normal resting heart rate.
And whenever your heart is pumping from excitement, exercise, etc. it can take a bit of time to wind down and be ready to fall asleep.
Why Won’t My Dog Sleep With Anyone But Me?
Dogs are renowned for being faithful and loyal creatures.
All they want is your approval and undying love so sleeping with someone else isn’t something that they would find logical.
Their pack instincts are going to drive them, and they are only going to want to sleep around people and animals they trust.
How to Get a dog to Sleep Without You
Dogs are habitual animals and if your dog is already used to sleeping with you then this is going to take some patience and training.
You could do this 2 ways.
1 – Cold turkey. Which means moving their bed from your bedroom to somewhere else in the house and have them learn that this is how it’s going to be from now on.
There’s a good chance there will be withdrawal consequences by doing this which means whining, barking, crying, etc. so the both of you may not get the best of sleep until they are used to the new sleeping arrangements.
2 – Gradually. Gradually move their bed further and further away. Start by moving wherever their bed is currently, closer to your bedroom door.
After a few nights of sleeping a little further from you and they’re doing this without issue, move the bed a little further. Just outside your door while keeping it open so they can still see you is a good idea.
Gradually, as they become comfortable with each new sleeping arrangement, move their bed where you’d like it to stay permanently.
A good trick to help with this process would be to put a piece of your clothing on their bed so they have a fresh scent of you.
Being able to smell your scent gives them some added comfort when you’re not actively beside them.
How Do You Get Your Dog to Go to Sleep Right Away?
Just like humans, there are things dogs need every day to help them sleep at night.
Here are 3 things that will help your dog go to sleep right away:
#1. Healthy Diet
This is hugely important in any living being’s life, what we put in is what we get out. So making sure your dog eats healthy is paramount.
Just as eating junk food or being super hungry prevents us from having a healthy sleep, so will it with your furry friend.
Make sure they’re not eating too close to bedtime and that what they’re eating is good quality food.
Just like a child with a bunch of pent up energy won’t sit still, it’ll be difficult for a dog to fall asleep right away if they haven’t had much exercise that day.
Multiple walks a day will help ensure they’re tired by the end of the day and ready for a full night’s rest.
If you have a high-energy doggo on your hands, playing a game of fetch roughly an hour before bedtime (on top of their walks) should help tucker them out and allow them to fall asleep quickly.
#3. No Major Stimulation Right Before Bed
It’s not a good idea to get a dog into an excited state just before bedtime.
Just as with a child, or even most adults; if you get some exciting news just before you go to bed, it makes it very difficult for you to fall asleep.
For dogs this could mean no guests coming over right before bed where they could get worked up.
No running around the house right before bed. Or no big meals right before bed, to name a few examples.
If your dog won’t go to bed until you do, it more than likely means they love you and are demonstrating their loyalty.
Another reason could be that it’s simply a part of their routine. They’ve been going to bed at the same time for a long time and now they naturally wind down at a similar time to you and know it’s bedtime.
Most of the time, it’s nothing more than an endearing act that demonstrates they’re a part of your family.
However, when they are unable to function without you being by their side, this is an indicator of separation anxiety and should be focused on remedying.
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