dog sprawled on bed

Dogs take up the whole bed for various reasons such as wanting to be close to their owners, seeking comfort, or asserting dominance. Some breeds are more inclined to be bed hogs than others. Pet parents can reclaim their sleeping space by training their dog to sleep in a designated area on the bed, establishing a consistent bedtime routine, and providing an alternative dog bed.

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Why Do Dogs Take Up the Whole Bed?

Ah, the eternal question—why does your dog take up the whole bed? As a pet parent, it’s crucial to delve into the psyche of your canine companion to understand their actions.

Want to Be Close to Their Owners

You come home after a long day and what’s the first thing you want to do? Relax. And your dog wants to relax with you. They want to be close to you.

In fact, this is more than a sign of affection; it’s a natural instinct. Many dogs simply find comfort, warmth, and security by sleeping next to their human. So, when they sprawl across the entire bed, they’re really just saying, “I feel safe next to you.”

In Search of Comfort

Dogs need comfort too. When dogs sleep, it’s their time to recover, just like us. Imagine you needed to sleep in an uncomfortable spot; you wouldn’t be too happy, would you?

Your dog takes different positions—sometimes in the middle of the bed, sometimes at the foot of the bed—to find the spot that gives them the ultimate comfort.

Dominance and Body Language

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room—dominance. While it’s not always the case, sometimes your dog may take up the entire bed to assert themselves.

This could be due to body language or signs that your dog shows. If your dog growls when you try to move them, that’s not just them saying they’re comfortable; that’s a clear message of “This is my territory.”

Breeds More Likely to Be Bed Hogs

It’s easy to point the paw at your puppy for being a bed hog, but have you ever stopped to consider that it might just be in their genes? Yep, some breeds are more predisposed to taking up your sleeping space.

Large Breeds vs. Small Breeds

You might think that large breeds, like Great Danes or Saint Bernards, are the culprits for hogging the bed. Sure, their size plays a role in the amount of bed they occupy.

But don’t be fooled! Small breeds can be just as guilty. A little dog like a terrier can become a master of bed sprawl when given the chance.

Snuggle Factor

Some breeds have a natural instinct to snuggle and seek extra attention. Breeds like Golden Retrievers and Labradors are known for their affectionate nature.

So if you find your dog snuggled up as close to the center of the bed as possible, remember that they are just showing affection.

Senior Dogs

As dogs age, their sleep patterns can change. Senior dogs may take up more of the bed simply because they need to stretch out for joint comfort. It’s a matter of dog health, and sometimes, their comfort needs trump yours.

dog on bed with books and laptop

How to Reclaim Your Sleeping Space

Sure, sharing your bed with your furry friend feels wonderful, but let’s face it, you also need your space to get a good night’s snooze. Here are some steps to help you reclaim your sleeping area without making your pet feel less loved.

Train Your Dog to Sleep in a Designated Area

Consistency is your best ally here. Choose a spot on the bed where you’d like your dog to sleep and stick with it. Use treats and praise as positive reinforcement.

If your dog strays from their designated sleeping area, gently guide them back. A little patience goes a long way, and soon, your dog will know exactly where they should sleep.

Create a Bedtime Routine with a Designated Sleeping Spot

Dogs, like humans, are creatures of habit. Establish a bedtime routine that includes their designated sleeping area. Consistency will make your dog feel safe and secure, knowing what to expect each night.

Provide an Alternative Dog Bed

Sometimes the best way to reclaim your sleeping space is to give your pet their own comfortable place to snooze. Make sure you choose a dog bed that fits their size and sleeping style.

This way, you can sleep right at the head of the bed, and your pup can sprawl in their own comfy corner.

Tips for Pet Parents Who Want Their Dog to Sleep Near Them

You’re not alone if you still want your furry friend near you at night, even after regaining some of your sleeping space. There are still ways to compromise without feeling like you’re almost off the bed.

Use Body Barriers

Consider using pillows or a rolled-up blanket as a divider between you and your dog. This will help both of you know where your sleeping area starts and ends. It gives you room while still allowing your dog to sleep near you.

Limit the Sprawl

Dogs love to stretch out, but you can limit the sprawl with some clever tactics. For instance, place a crate or a kennel at the foot of the bed. This can discourage your dog from stretching into your space while they still find comfort in their own area.

Cuddle Time

If your dog shows strong bond and affection, designate some cuddle time before sleep. A few moments of cuddling can satisfy your dog’s need for affection and make them more likely to settle in their own space when it’s time to hit the hay.

dog on bed with blue blanket and pillows


By now, you should have a better grasp on the several reasons why your dog may take up the whole bed. Whether it’s to find comfort, feel safe, or just be close to you, understanding your pet’s motives is the first step in finding a solution that works for both of you.

Armed with these tips, pet parents can finally reclaim their sleeping space without compromising the emotional bond they share with their canine companions.

Remember, patience and consistency are key. Choose a designated sleeping area and stick to it. With some time and positive reinforcement, you’ll find the perfect balance that allows both you and your furry friend to snooze in peace.

Feel free to leave your comments below and share this article on social media to help other pet parents navigate the cozy but crowded world of sharing a bed with their furry friends.

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Written by Tom Cashman

I have grown up with pets for almost fifty years. My family has strong ties to the animal shelter community in Chicago. Currently I have two cats: an orange tabby named Zelda, and a gray mixed named Zander. Like all of my pets, they were adopted from a local animal shelter. Pet Zone represents my passion for sharing with the pet community.

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Why Does My Dog Take Up the Whole Bed?

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  1. Our doggy comes into the bed with us. He has a separate dog bed, but the first few minutes of the night, he always wants some snuggles. He quickly jumps off after that as it’s too warm for him anyway. We never bothered to change it because of his consistent behavior.
    Thank you for sharing

  2. My dog has only slept on my bed with me once because she takes up all the space. Thankfully for the most part, when she gets tired at night, she’ll just go to her own bed and go to sleep.

  3. My 87 lb Red Bone Coonhound isn’t allowed in our bed, and I’m glad I never started the habit becuase no doubt, he would be a bed hog! He is bery emotionally attached to me, and his bed is right next to mine. That has become his safe place since day one. Whether he’s sleeping, not feeling well, or its storming, that is HIS spot and HIS safe zone. His kennel was im that same spot until he outgrew being kenneled and we changed it out for just a bed. That area is his little domain so he has a comfortable spot. We have to buy him extra large beds that are 4′ or wider because he sprawls out so far with his long body and long legs. No doubt, when he’s laid out and sleeping like a log, he’d certainly take up over half of the bed.

  4. Always wondered why she has to push up against me. I guess I should have never let her in bed in the first place!

  5. Cats are bed hogs too and can be snugglers. We lost our beloved cat at the beginning of the year – he would love to come in and ask to come under the sheets by tickling your face with his whiskers. I sure do miss him…