why does my dog sleep with his back to me
I am repeatedly gobsmacked that old school people still think this is a sign of dominance. In rare instances, maybe, but the early comparisons to wolf behaviour lose validity year by year as emerging studies reveal domestication has gone on so long now that dogs really are evolving their own rules as part of successful adaptation to co-habitation with humans. Generalising this behaviour to all dogs as dominance and rejecting it is exactly equivalent to locking a crying baby in a nursery, as used to be advised years ago when we knew far less about psychology and trauma. To do so displays a major problem with affection and bonding, most likely within the person.
In the majority of instances, this is exactly what many have written. A display of trust, a checking of proximity, a liking of closeness and affection, a protective watchfulness and the simple pleasure of companion body warmth and togetherness. Unless the dog gets aggressive if you try to move, celebrate because you have established previous trust. Nurture it, not to make the dog think it is more important than you because a healthy bond is balanced, but to go forward in life together with that ideal connection that dogs are so good at.
If you have to shut off and reject, maybe you should choose a reptile our fish in a tank as pets instead. Dogs are very tactile. They reach right to our emotions. As such they can be wonderful teachers. The question is whether the human is ready for that journey. If they are fixated on dominance and issues of disciplining etc. , it says far more about them than the dog. A healthy bond will show strong calm and affectionate human leadership, and the dog will respond to that. It will sense the inner strength and feel safe alongside it.
Aggression is only really likely in cases of previous abuse orwhere the human is overly vulnerable and it erodes the dog s sense of safety over time, causing it to feel it has to defend against everyone or everything. Seriously, this habit is a beautiful thing. If the position annoys you for any reason, just pat on the head and gently reposition to form a new habit of closeness which is preferable. Dogs want to please, ultimately, so you can work together, especially when this habit is displayed.
My thought is that dogs generally face/position themselves so they can see what's coming ie backs to walls and face towards the doorways.
Natures way of helping them protect themselves and their loved ones. People often do the same thing, furniture is set up this way, so you end up facing the same way, not towards one another. Highly pack focused dogs will face their owners fully focused for often long periods of time, particularly if they think that work or a reward might be coming. But when completely at rest they will relax and watch to see what might be coming. In bed it can also often be a heat factor. January 8, 2014
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