You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 5:44 a.m.

Does your dog's choice of sleeping position have any significance?

By Lorrie Shaw


Does your dog do this?

flickr photo by fdecomite

Many of us have seen it: our beloved canines happily sound asleep with their tummy exposed and paws up.

It seems a bit counter-intuitive when you see a pet doing it, since in the wild, this might leave them in a more defenseless position when it comes to other animals, right?

So, does this sleeping position have any significance when it comes to the behavior, temperament or age of a dog?

Dr. Patty Khuly explored this in a recent blog post, and one of the points she brings up is thought-provoking.

Are dogs that are better socialized and well-adjusted more likely to strike the comfortable-looking pose?

Over the years, having seen my share of sleeping pooches, I've made a couple of observations:

  • Dogs tend to do it more often during the day
  • Medium to large breed dogs are more likely to engage in a tummy-baring snooze
  • How well-adjusted a dog is doesn't seem to influence their inclination to sleep belly up

Sleeping comfortably with paws in the air, on their side or tucked in a ball seems to be simply a matter of comfort and preference.

What's your pooch's preferred mode of sleep? Take the poll and leave your comments below:

Lorrie Shaw is lead pets blogger for Catch her daily dog walking and pet sitting adventures or email her directly.



Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

Sleeping belly-up in my zoo is a dangerous thing to do but my beastie does it anyway. He's the lone dog among too many cats & kittens. The kittens use him as a springboard to the sofa and the older cats will snuggle up for warmth (nothing warms a bed like a big toasty dog). But when he's feeling sore & cranky after a hard day's playing he'll curl up in the dog bed - if it's not already occupied by kitten or two. Belly-up sleeping seems to be reserved for savoring the tail end of a wonderful nap.

Lorrie Shaw

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

RunsWithScissors: That's funny that you mention that. I've seen so many kitties snuggle up to their canine housemates. Our Bruiser likes to lie on his back after our dinnertime, propped up against the couch, paws up. He'll scootch out, turn from side to side and stretch his back before he gets up, as if he's doing yoga. Our Gretchen used to sleep on her back constantly as a young dog; now she prefers to sleep on her side or in a ball. Thanks for chiming in!