Do Dogs Know When You’re Sleeping? (Solved & Explained!)

When you lay your head on the pillow for the night, your dog will know when you’re sleeping. After being together for awhile, it will pick up on your cues to let the dog you are in dreamland for the night. But, understand they probably don’t comprehend sleep in the same way as humans, but they do have a conception of it.

Do Dogs Know When You’re Sleeping?

Most dogs understand the idea of getting some shuteye, since they themselves require 12 to 14 hours of it per day. Plus, dogs are famous for being able to catch onto a person’s emotions. So their ability to know when you’re sleeping isn’t too farfetched.

Dogs are quite smart creatures and when they bond with their favorite person, they spend most of their time studying them. They can and will pick up on the difference between the moment you lay down and the second you wake up. There are many cues, clues and signals they can detect quite well.

How Do Dogs Detect that You’re Sleeping?

The method by which a dog can detect that you’re sleeping is by understanding your bedtime habits and your sleepy cues. Things like turning the lights off, lying down, shutting your eyes, brushing your teeth, slowed breathing, deepened breathing and positioning yourself on the bed can all indicate to your pooch you’re off to sleep.

In the case you do this at the same time every night, the dog will know this is your quiet time for rest. Plus, there is evidence to suggest that dogs can also pick up on the chemical changes that occur in the body while you sleep.

Do Dogs Known When You’re Awake?

Just as they know you’re about to go to bed, they can also sense when you’re waking up. There are several methods by which they do this. Most of these accompany their ability to observe, intuit and pick up on your habits.


Since dogs have excellent hearing, the sounds you make when you awaken are enough to alert your dog. Whether it sleeps with you at night or it stays in another room, noises are one of the first things the dog picks up on. This means they can even hear you roll over simply due to the sheets rustling around or the sound of the mattress springs.

In the case you use an alarm to wake up at the same time every morning, the dog will also hear the alarm. Any noises or sounds that come from your area of slumber, so long as it’s consistent, will signal to the dog you are awake.


When your dog sleeps with you, it will see that you’re awake. If it can recognize eye shutting for sleep, the dog can definitely identify eye opening when you wake. This is also going to be true for changes in breathing and other body movements you do.

Since your dog will probably want you to take it to the bathroom and give it some food, the dog may also anticipate your waking. It’s not uncommon for a dog to wake up earlier than you.


Right before you open your eyes, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Dogs can smell this along with many other things. They connect this scent with how you wake up and lift yourself out of bed. Ergo, a cortisol release signifies that you’re either about to wake up or you are awake.


For situations where the dog sleeps next to you, it will be able to feel you waking up. As you come to, tension increases in the body along with more shifting and movement. This lets your dog know you’re about to open your eyes.

In the case your dog sleeps by your feet, it’s because this is the area of your body that gives the biggest signal that you’re waking up.

Can Dogs See You in the Dark While You Sleep?

Dogs see as well at nighttime as they can during the day. This is because their eyes evolved to seek out prey and danger at any time of day due to the fact that their pupils are larger than ours. So, if your pup is awake while the lights are out and you’re off to see the sandman, your dog can see you in the dark.

Are Dogs More Protective When You’re Sleeping?

Some dogs are definitely more protective while their owners sleep. There are several reports, particularly from German Shepherd dog owners, that their dog watches them while they sleep. They also report a more jealous-type of guarding than during the day.

And yet other people say that their dog will lay on them while they sleep in a position that intends to guard or protect. When they awaken, they find the dog in the exact same place and position.

Can You Train a Dog to Be More Protective When You’re Sleeping?

You can train a dog to do almost anything, so training them to be protective when you’re sleeping is a definite possibility. However, consider the fact that dogs are naturally protective of their favorite people in the household. So, extra training may not be necessary.

This is because most dogs are acutely aware of their role in the family, especially bigger dogs designed for such things. Regular conditioning and classical training should bring this aspect out in your dog while you sleep by proxy and default.

Tips to Train the Dog

But, if you have concerns and want to increase the dog’s ability to do so, there are methods and techniques you can try. You should confer with a dog trainer to ensure optimal effectiveness.

However, this will involve, in some way, not letting the dog sleep in the bed with you. It will have to have its own bed in the room with you or outside the room. Sleeping with you will confuse the dog in understanding its guardianship role.