If your German Shepherd has been sleeping next to you, this post will show you why and what you can do about it.
So, why does my German Shepherd sleep next to me? Possible reasons are that it has separation anxiety, is frightened, is being protective or that you inadvertently trained it to do it.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why it sleeps beside you. Depending on the cause, there are also a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd sleeps next to you
Each of the different reasons that your German Shepherd sleeps next to you will likely come with some clues in the way that it does it.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might sleep beside you and what would make them more likely.
If your German Shepherd always wants to be with you then it could be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where your German Shepherd does not like being left alone and it gets anxious when it is.
It would be more likely that your German Shepherd has separation anxiety if it gets anxious when you are about to leave and it does things such as pace, cry or whine when you are.
German Shepherds were bred to work alongside their owners and they would spend most of their days with them. With that being the case, they will often, naturally, want to be around their owners a lot and this could be why yours always wants to sleep with you. This would be more likely if it has seemingly been this way from an early age.
Even if it does do it naturally, it will still be possible to train it to sleep in other places. You can do so by following the tips in the sections below.
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
It might be the case that it wants to sleep next to you because it gets frightened when it gets left alone. The reason that it gets frightened on its own might be that it was mistreated as a puppy. This would be more likely if you adopted it from a shelter.
In this case, it would help to train it to be comfortable around you and to let it socialize with friendly people and dogs when possible.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?
It’s being protective
German Shepherds are naturally very protective of their owners and territory. This is why they are often used as guard dogs. The reason that yours sleeps next to you might be that it is trying to be protective. This would be more likely if it gets overly protective at other times as well. If it does then I have written about why that might be the case here.
You inadvertently rewarded it
It might be the case that it sleeps next to you because you have inadvertently trained it to do so. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things that it wants when it sleeps next to you such as toys, treats or attention. Instead, it would help to train it to sleep somewhere else and to reward it when it does so.
How to get your German Shepherd to stop sleeping next to you
Train it to sleep somewhere else
To train your German Shepherd to sleep somewhere else you would train it to lay down in a certain spot and then gradually train it to stay there for longer and longer periods.
Avoid rewarding it for sleeping next to you
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have been rewarding it for sleeping beside you. Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it does try to do so and to train it to sleep in a different location.
Train it to be less anxious when you are not around
Since the reason that it sleeps next to you might be that it has separation anxiety it would help to train it to be less anxious without you.
One way to do this would be to start out by leaving it for very short time periods and then to reward it for not being anxious and then to build up to leaving it for longer and longer periods.
You can see more on how to do this in the video below.
Consider crate training
Crate training is where you train your German Shepherd to be comfortable in a crate designed for dogs. When done correctly it can give it a space where it can go and feel safe. One option for you would be to train your German Shepherd to go to its crate when it would normally try to sleep next to you.
Things to consider
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd sleeps next to you.
When it started sleeping next to you
If your German Shepherd didn’t always sleep next to you then it would help to consider what happened at around the same time that it started doing it.
Some examples could be:
- Someone mistreated it
- It’s schedule changed
- You stopped giving it as much attention
What is different when it does not sleep next to you
If it does not always sleep next to you then it would also help to consider what is different when it doesn’t do it.
For example, if it doesn’t sleep next to you when you have given it a lot of attention during the day then it might be that it normally does it due to separation anxiety.
When training your German Shepherd not to sleep next to you it is important to be consistent with the training. It will be unlikely that you will be able to train it not to sleep next to you with just one training session. But if you are consistent over the course of weeks and months then it will be much more likely that you will be able to get it to stop doing it.
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Best German Shepherd Training Program
Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.
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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.