Why Does My Golden Retriever Sleep on His Back – 7 Sleeping Positions & Meaning


When my golden retriever was a puppy, he used to sleep in funny positions all the time. Every time I see him sleeping I get worried and I go to check on him.

When I finally made my peace with it, he started to sleep on his back and now I am concerned again because he was used to that position and he almost never changes it so I wondered why now? Is there something wrong? so I looked it up and here’s what I found.

Why does my golden retriever sleep on his back? Golden retrievers sleep on their back when it’s hot and they are uncomfortable so they sleep on their backs to try to cool themselves down. Their belly has less fur than their back so sleeping on their back will allow the air to get to it.

That was the short answer, but it’s not the complete answer. To know more about that subject and how to make them more comfortable in their sleeping, keep reading to learn more.

7 Golden Retriever Sleeping Positions and What They Mean

Golden retriever sleeping to illustrate the answer to why does my golden retriever sleep on his back and what different dog sleeping positions mean

Dogs can sleep in many, many different positions, but thankfully, we can condense most of them into 7, kind of. These are the 7 most popular dog sleeping positions, and I have seen my goldens sleep on all these positions.

The 7 Sleeping Positions

  1. The side pup
  2. The wild legs
  3. The belly curl pup
  4. The back to back
  5. The furball
  6. The back sleeper and legs in the air
  7. The belly sleeper and all legs stretched.

The side pup

Well because this position leaves their belly uncovered and their organs unprotected, it means they are feeling safe and comfortable.

A dog who sleeps in that position is calm, carefree, and easy-going, they have a really strong bond with their owner and it also means that they are relaxed.

Your dog can change that position if they’re around people they don’t know or if they are sleeping in unfamiliar places.

The wild legs

When they sleep on their back and the four legs are up in the air with every leg is in a different direction, it shows some vulnerability in their personality and surrender.

That’s because their belly and all organs are exposed and they can’t get up on their feet quickly. It also shows independence and that they are comfortable in their space.

This position helps the dog to cool down by allowing the air to access the area with the least fur. This position is most common in the summer.

What to do when they sleep in that position? 

Make sure that they stay cool by making more areas with shades( more areas that the sun can’t access) you can also lower the air conditioning temperature and you need to leave them a lot of cold water (not too cold) that they can reach.  

The belly curl pup

The dogs who sleep on their belly and their front paws are tucked backward are the sweetest pups; they are adventurous and they have high energy.

This position is known for not getting the best sleep because it doesn’t allow their muscles to relax enough to have a good and deep sleep, these dogs are also shy and gentle 

The back to back

If you have other pets in your house you can notice that your dog is sleeping back to back with them or you can find them sleeping behind you back to back style.

It means that they trust you and want to bond with you and they want to be closer to you. Dogs who sleep in that position are loving, affectionate, and comfortable with the person they are napping with.

Dogs in the wild are used to sleep in that position for protection, warmth, and comfort.

So if you find your dog crawling to sleep next to you back to back style make sure you make them feel welcomed and loved because that’s what they are seeking

. Do not hesitate to take a snooze with them.                                                                                                 

The furball

It’s when your dog is curled up and it looks like a furball you can not see his face or his tail.

Dogs who sleep in that position are in a new environment or new people or they are just cold because this position is incredibly warm and it’s a really comfortable position for them.

But because it covers the belly and organs it shows signs of fear and a desire to be protected which often happens around new faces and new places.

This position is common among wild dogs and wolves. If your dog is sleeping in that position make sure to make them feel safe or if they are cold make sure to keep them warm.      

The back sleeper and legs in the air

It’s a bit similar to the wild legs, they are sleeping on their back or their side, and their front paws are over their chest and their back paws are stretched in the air.

It means that your dog needs to cool down because they can’t handle the weather, it’s the perfect position for cooling down the body temperature. Because their paws contain sweat glands, and their belly has less fur than their back.

A little warning if your dog is sleeping in this position and their paws are curled up they are telling that they are in a deep sleep and do not want anyone near them or bothering them so if you try to wake them their reaction will be completely unpredictable they might even bite. 

The belly sleeper and legs all stretched 

It’s when they sleep on their belly and their front legs are stretched forward and their back legs are stretched backward, it’s also known as the “superman” get it? Because it’s the position superman makes when he’s about to fly.

You can tell that a dog is playful and fun from that position. They are energetic and they love life.

This position is popular among puppies because this position helps them to get back up immediately to keep playing because it makes it easier for them to wake up.

Related Questions 

Should golden retrievers sleep inside or outside?

Golden retrievers should live inside, they are not programmed to live outside because they are not guarding dogs they’re bred to be hunting dogs. They can’t stay outside for too long, if they stay outside for too long they will become stressed, frightened, and even anxious.

If you are going to keep your dog outside for some time, make sure to make it very comfortable for them. You can learn how to make your dog comfortable while outside here.

Do golden retrievers sleep with their owners?

Yes, they do, the studies for the last few years has proven that letting your dog sleep next to you makes the pros outweigh the cons because in the past most people said that you shouldn’t let your pets sleep next to you because it will make them feel that you are no longer their leader.

Is it bad if dogs sleep on their back?

No, it’s not, when dogs sleep on their back it means they are secure and they are feeling safe, because it’s the most vulnerable position it leaves them open to any threats, but when they are sleeping in that position it mostly says that they’re feeling hot and they need to cool down.

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