When you share your dog with a partner, there is often at least some degree of competition over who is your dog’s favorite. And, to be honest, it is usually pretty obvious.
Every time your dog rests their head on you, you may celebrate a silent victory, while your partner is perhaps quietly jealous. Just as with children, the landscape of favoritism towards certain parents/owners is complex and not always easy to parse. But why does your dog choose to sleep on you and not your partner?
There are many possible reasons why your dog might choose to sleep on you and not your husband. And it isn’t necessarily because your dog likes you better. It could be that you have a stronger bond, or they simply prefer the way you smell.
Let’s look at some of the more common reasons a dog might sleep on you and not your husband or partner.
Do Dogs Pick A Favorite Person?
Yes, dogs generally do pick a favorite person. But this favorite person is not necessarily set in stone; they can change daily. This is because dogs pick up heavily on energy levels, and will often choose their favorite based on the person who has the same vibe as them on that day. Like most of us, dogs look out for themselves and their comfort, and make choices accordingly.
Dogs know that one person may be more inclined to give them a treat, a walk, or affection in any given circumstance, and they are likelier to gravitate towards that person if that’s what they want. Again, just like children, dogs will kiss up to the parent that can provide what they want at the time. They, too, are master manipulators.
Is This Ever an Issue?
Most of the time, it isn’t. The only time that you should worry about your dog choosing a favorite is if they become scared of you or your partner. You never want your dog to be afraid of anyone, particularly a family member.
Most of the time, as long as your dog is well socialized with your household members, picking a favorite will not be a problem. Dogs often choose “favorites” in different contexts. They may enjoy hanging with you inside more, but prefer walks with your spouse. Just like us, they find different people more suitable for different activities or situations.
The Reasons Why Your Dog Sleeps on You and Not Your Husband
The first reason why your dog might choose to sleep on you is because they have a stronger bond with you. This is common if your dog belonged to you first.
If this is the case, then you likely have years that you have spent with just you and your dog. So it is understandable that they might feel a stronger bond with you than your partner, and as a result they might prefer to sleep on you.
Linking to the reason we have just looked at, your dog might also choose to sleep with you over your partner if they are uncertain of them.
This could happen if your partner regularly works away from home, or if they spend a lot of time away from you and your dog. In order to form a bond, dogs have to spend time with people. So, if your partner isn’t spending time with your dog, this could be the reason they do not sleep on them.
But, the reason for this behavior doesn’t have to be that deep. In fact, your dog might choose to sleep with you over your husband because they prefer the way that you sleep.
Just like humans, dogs want comfort when they go to sleep. So, if your partner’s sleep positions are incompatible with the way that your dog likes to sleep, they might choose to sleep on you instead.
It may just be a matter of you providing a better crook in your legs for them to sleep up against, or you don’t get up in the night as often as your spouse, disturbing the dog’s blissful slumber.
Likewise, dogs also tend to sleep on people who share similar sleeping cycles to them. So, if you decide to go to bed when your dog is also feeling tired, they might choose to sleep on you instead of your partner.
Similarly, if your partner works unusual hours at work, for example night shifts, your dog might choose to sleep on you instead. Simply because you are sleeping when they want to sleep.
Dogs have an excellent sense of smell, and it is a lot more advanced than the sense of smell that humans have. For this reason, your dog might choose to sleep on you, over your husband, because they prefer the way that you smell.
This could be down to your natural scent, or artificial smells such as shampoo, conditioner, or perfume. Your dog might also choose to sleep on you if they dislike the smell of your husband, so this could also explain this behavior.
As we have said, dogs pick a favorite person, but this person changes from day to day. Things that cause this to change, include who fed your dog and who has given them the most fuss and attention.
So, if on one particular day, you have made a massive fuss of your dog, and given them lots of treats, they might choose to sleep on you because on that day, you are their favorite.
Dogs pick up on energy levels, but they also pick up on personalities. Scientific studies have found that dogs tend to look like their owners, and they tend to share similar personalities too.
Out of you and your partner, your dog will generally choose the person who shares a personality similar to theirs. So, if your dog chooses to sleep on you, it could be because you are the most similar to them, out of you and your husband.
If you originally chose the dog — both the breed and your specific pet, it’s likely that your choice was based somewhat on personality. So your dog is probably more similar to your personality than your husband’s, and thus possibly more compatible with yours.
A lot of the time, your dog will choose to sleep on you because you are their primary caregiver. Dogs are incredibly loving, but they do designate a lot of that love to the person who feeds them.
So, if you are the member of the house who feeds your dog, as well as the person who takes them out for walks and plays with them, then it is likely that they will choose to sleep on you. Especially if your husband does not do these things with them.
What Does It Mean if Your Dog Chooses to Sleep on You?
There are lots of reasons why your dog might sleep on you, but the main reason why they choose to do this is that they want affection.
Dogs aren’t stupid, and they know where to go if they want love and attention. So, if your dog chooses to sleep on you, it is likely because they are getting something out of this, as well as you.
Should I Stop my Dog from Sleeping on Me?
Most of the time, there is no need to stop this behavior. There are only two reasons why you should stop this. One being if your dog is making sleeping uncomfortable for you, or your husband. There’s no reason to sacrifice sleep and your health for your dog’s comfort.
The other being if your dog is guarding you aggressively, and turning on your partner as a result. Allowing a dog to do this only reinforces the behavior, and it is not a desired one. If this is the case, immediately cease allowing the dog to sleep on the bed with either you or your husband.
Should My Dog Still Sleep With Me When I’m Pregnant?
Dogs tend to be drawn towards pregnant people, perhaps because they innately sense that a new pack member is on the way. So, your dog might become incredibly clingy at this time.
As long as your dog is not being aggressive, then there is no need to stop them from sleeping with you while pregnant. Keep in mind, however, that when you do have your child, you may decide to change sleeping arrangements for the dog. Some women don’t want a dog on top of them while they are nursing, or when the baby is with them.
If you anticipate this being the case, you may start weaning the dog off the bed while pregnant, so it isn’t so sudden a change for the dog at a time when there will be many other changes for them as a result of the newborn.,
How to Encourage Your Dog to Sleep With Your Husband
If your partner is jealous of the amount of time your dog spends sleeping on you, then you will likely be looking for ways to encourage your dog to sleep on them instead. Here are some of the best methods to use.
Correct the Scent Problem
One of the main things that will cause your dog not to sleep on your husband is his scent. Most of the time, it will be something artificial (body wash, aftershave, etc.) that leads your dog to dislike your husband’s scent.
Get your partner to switch products, or simply apply less, and this should fix the issue quicly. If your dog still doesn’t seem interested in sleeping on your partner, try applying a smell that dogs like to your husband, such as lavender spray. This should encourage your dog to sleep on your husband.
You can also try wearing one of your husband’s sleep shirts for a couple of nights so that it smells like you, and then have your husband wear it to bed. Your dog might find your scent on your husband pleasing enough to become more comfortable sleeping on him.
Show More Love and Affection
Your husband should encourage your dog to sleep on him by showing them more love and affection.
For dogs, one of the best rewards is affection, so if your husband makes a massive fuss of your dog, and spends more time with them, this should strengthen their bond. If your partner does this, while also picking up some caregiving responsibilities, this could encourage your dog to sleep on them instead.
Speak to a Behaviorist
Most of the time, you will easily be able to encourage your dog to sleep on your husband by using the methods above. But, sometimes they will not work.
Choosing not to sleep on your husband is one thing, but if this issue is caused by fear, then that is a completely different ballgame. This is most common in rescue dogs, who often tend to be very fearful of men.
So, if your dog appears to be scared of your husband, for no apparent reason, then it is best to speak to a behaviorist to solve this problem.
In short, there are lots of reasons why your dog might choose to sleep on you and not your husband. Most of the time, this is because of something as simple as smell or the position in which you sleep.
Remember, your dog sleeping on you instead of your husband is only a problem if it bothers either you or him, or creates unwanted behavior in the dog, such as aggression. But if you’re both comfortable with the sleeping dynamic, let your sleeping dog lie and enjoy the body warmth and affection!