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Do dogs know when humans are sleeping?

a man sleeping in bed with his golden retrieve dog asleep next to him with the caption Do dogs know when humans are sleeping

Do dogs know when their owners are sleeping? A lot of dog owners believe that their furry friends can tell when they’re dozing off and will often adjust their behavior accordingly. Is this just a coincidence, or is there something to this claim? 

Contents of this article:

  1. Do dogs know when humans are sleeping?
  2. How do dogs know when we’re sleeping?
  3. Why do dogs wake you up?
  4. How do dogs try to wake humans up?
  5. Do dogs know when we’re about to wake up?
  6. Can dogs tell if a human is sleeping or not?

Do dogs know when humans are sleeping?

It’s perfectly feasible that our dogs are able to tell when we’re asleep by the way we move, sound and smell while we sleep, as well as their understanding of cues in our bedtime routine that precede sleep. 

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the evidence around the idea that dogs can tell when humans are sleeping. We’ll also discuss some of the possible reasons why this might be the case. Keep reading to find out!

How do dogs know when we are sleeping?

1. Dogs are known to be very observant and aware of their surroundings, and it’s possible that they simply pick up on cues from their owners to determine when they’re going to sleep. For example, many of us have a set bedtime routine, involving locking doors, turning off lights and appliances, and brushing our teeth. Dogs that are attuned to these cues may start to understand that when these things happen, it’s time for their owners to sleep.

2. Dogs have an acute sense of smell and can detect subtle changes in scent that we humans can’t perceive. It’s possible that they can smell the change in our body chemistry when we’re asleep or sense changes in an owner’s metabolism when they’re sleeping, which may give them some insight into whether or not their owner is awake. We know that dogs are very aware of changes in our bodies, with medical alert dogs being able to tell their owners about changes in blood sugar levels or warn of impending seizures.

3. It’s also possible that dogs use other cues, such as the sound of snoring or the lack of movement, to determine when we’re asleep. This would be similar to how they can tell when we’re sad or happy based on our facial expressions and body language .

Regardless of the exact mechanisms at play, there is no doubt that dogs are very intelligent animals who are tuned into their owners’ behavior and preferences. So if you’re a dog owner, don’t be surprised if your pet seems to know when you’re sleeping – they may just have an uncanny ability to read your cues!

Why do dogs wake you up?

Let’s explore some of the reasons your dog might be waking you up when you’re sleeping:

  • They need something. For example, if they need to go potty or if they’re hungry or thirsty.
  • They’re asking for something. One of my dogs will wake me if there is food left out on the counter that he thinks should be in his tummy!
  • They are sick or in pain. If your dog has never been an early riser but suddenly starts waking you up at odd hours, it could be a sign that something is wrong. If this is the case, it’s best to take them to the vet to rule out any medical problems.
  • They’re anxious or stressed. Dogs that are anxious may start to wake up in the night. This can be due to stress from changes in the house or environment, or other issues. If your dog is anxious, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions, such as dog anxiety medication or behavior modification training.
  • You’re anxious or stressed. Dogs are highly attuned to their owners’ emotions, and may try to wake you up if they sense that you’re feeling anxious or stressed out.
  • They want attention. Dogs that have not had enough activity or stimulation may become restless and start to wake their owners in the middle of the night. If this is the case, try to provide your dog with more exercise and mental stimulation through the use of food puzzles and training games during the day.
  • They are alerting you to danger. Dogs have a keen sense of hearing, and they may be able to detect things that we can’t. If your dog suddenly starts waking you up in the middle of the night, it could be because they sense something nearby. If this is the case, it’s best to take them seriously and investigate the source
  • They are lonely. Dogs are social animals, and if they are left alone for long periods of time or don’t have enough interaction with humans, they may start to feel lonely. If your dog is waking you up at night, it could be a sign that they need more companionship and attention from you. In this case, consider spending more time with your pet during the day and providing them with toys and chews that keep them occupied when you’re not around.
  • You have previously played with them during the night. This can be an issue with puppies in particular. If you take your dog out to the toilet in the night and then play with them, they may start to wake you up expecting that routine. If this is the case, try to establish a different pattern for night time interaction without engaging in playtime. This should help break the habit and allow you to sleep peacefully through the night.
  • Sundowners: Senior dogs sometimes start waking up if they’re feeling confused or disoriented at night. This is known as sundowning and can be a symptom of dementia or canine cognitive decline. If your senior dog starts waking you up frequently, it’s a good idea to talk to your vet about possible causes.

Ultimately, the reason why your dog is waking you up at night depends on many different factors, including their individual needs and habits, your own sleep schedule, and any changes in the house or environment.

The best way to address this issue is to work closely with your veterinarian or a canine behaviorist to determine the root cause of the problem.

How do dogs try to wake humans up?

Here are some common ways that dogs will use to try to wake their humans up:

Staring at you – some dogs will sit and stare at their owners until they wake up. This can be especially effective if the dog knows that you’re a light sleeper.

Using their paws -some dogs will use their paw to nudge or gently tap their owner until they wake up.

Whining – if your dog is whining, it may be because they need something, such as to go to the bathroom.

Barking – this is usually only used as a last resort, as it’s the most likely to succeed in getting the owner’s attention. However, it can also be the most disruptive and may cause the owner to wake up feeling angry or frustrated.

Bringing toys to the person’s bed and dropping them – this is a way for the dog to say “Hey, wake up and play with me!”

Licking – some dogs will lick their owner’s face or hand in an attempt to get them to wake up.

Jumping on the bed – this is another tactic that may be used if the dog knows that their owner is a light sleeper. Dogs will often jump on the bed making it difficult for them to be ignored.

Sleeping next to you – many dogs will simply lay down next to their owner in an attempt to wake them up. This can be effective as it involves little effort on the dog’s part, and often leads to success.

Leaning against you – some dogs will lean against their owners while they are sleeping, using their weight to gently shake or bump the human until they wake up.

Nudging your hand or face with their nose – my Barney, my springer spaniel, likes to greet me in the morning by shoving his nose under my hand!

Ultimately, there are many different ways that dogs will try to wake you up when they want something – some are more subtle than others, but all are likely to be effective in getting your attention.

Do dogs know when we are about to wake up?

It is believed that dogs are able to sense when their owners are beginning to wake up.

One of my own dogs wakes me up every morning by jumping on the bed and gently pawing at me until I open my eyes. He always seems to know when I’m about to wake up, even before I do!

This may be due to something known as the dawn phenomenon, which is a rise in hormone levels in the body that occurs naturally just before we wake in the morning. Dogs may be able to sense this hormonal shift, and use it as a cue to wake us up.

However, there may also be other factors involved, such as their keen sense of hearing or smell that allows them to pick up on subtle cues from our bodies or environment.

Whatever the reason may be, it’s clear that dogs are very attuned to their owners’ sleep schedules and habits.

Can dogs tell if a human is sleeping or not?

Dogs are known to be very intelligent animals. They can learn tricks, understand commands, and even perform some basic reasoning tasks. But do dogs know when we’re sleeping? I believe that our canine friends are able to tell when we’re catching some z’s by the way we move, sound and smell while we sleep. 

Dogs are truly amazing creatures that can sense a lot more than we give them credit for. It’s no wonder they’ve been called “man’s best friend.” We hope you enjoyed reading about how dogs know when humans are sleeping and what implications this has for our furry friends.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to us!

Check out some more posts about sleep:

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