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Why Won’t My Dog Go to Bed Until I Do? Understanding Your Canine Companion

Dog owners often wonder about their furry friends’ peculiar habits. One commonly observed behavior is the reluctance of some dogs to go to bed until their human counterparts do. You’re not alone if you’ve ever asked, “Why won’t my dog go to bed until I do?”. This intriguing behavior is rooted in evolutionary traits, pack mentality, and individual dog personalities. This article delves deep into the reasons and provides insights into your dog’s bedtime behavior.

Why Won’t My Dog Go to Bed Until I Do?

1. Evolutionary Pack Behavior:

Dogs are descendants of wolves, pack animals that lived and moved together for survival. Within these packs, there’s a structure and a routine. Sleeping was, and still is, a vulnerable time for animals in the wild. Wolves would often sleep together, deriving warmth and protection from the group. By waiting for the pack leader (you, in this modern setting) to settle down, the rest of the pack would be assured it’s safe to rest. Thus, your dog waiting for you might be a lingering evolutionary trait signaling it’s safe to shut its eyes.

2. Bonding & Security:

For domestic dogs, their human family becomes their pack. The bond between you and your dog is deep and built on trust and companionship. Just as a child might feel safer sleeping when their parents are nearby, your dog feels secure knowing you are settled and nearby. Your presence gives them a sense of security, making it easier to relax and drift off to sleep.

3. Routine & Habit:

Dogs thrive on routine. If, over time, they’ve gotten used to a particular way where they sleep only after you do, it becomes a learned behavior. This predictability makes their world more understandable and less stressful. Changing such habits can be challenging but not impossible, should you wish to adjust your sleeping patterns.

4. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO):

Just like humans, dogs can experience FOMO! If they go to bed before you, they might fear missing out on any activity, treats, or attention. This is especially true for dogs that are very attached to their owners or those with high energy and curiosity levels.

5. Environmental Cues:

Dogs are keen observers. They pick up on environmental cues like dimming lights, the TV being turned off, or the familiar sound of you brushing your teeth. These cues signal to them that it’s bedtime. If you have a habit of staying up late or have an inconsistent bedtime routine, your dog might simply be waiting for these cues to know when it’s time to retire for the night.

6. Medical or Behavioral Concerns:

While most of the reasons mentioned are benign, it’s worth noting that certain medical or behavioral issues can influence a dog’s sleeping pattern. If your dog shows signs of anxiety, restlessness, or any other abnormal behavior, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any potential concerns.

Tips for Establishing a Consistent Bedtime Routine for Your Dog:

  • Set a Routine: Just as you might have a bedtime routine, establish one for your dog. This could include a walk, playtime, and a calm-down period.
  • Provide a Comfortable Sleeping Space: Ensure your dog has a comfortable bed or designated sleeping area. This helps them associate that spot with relaxation and sleep.
  • Use Calming Aids: Products like calming sprays, dog-appeasing pheromones, or calming music can help set a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Positive Reinforcement: If you want your dog to go to bed before you, reinforce this behavior with treats and praises.


Understanding the “why” behind your dog’s actions can strengthen the bond you share with them. While their reluctance to sleep before you might stem from their instinctual behavior, it’s also a testament to the deep connection and trust they share with you. By recognizing and appreciating this behavior, you can ensure you and your furry friend enjoy a good night’s sleep.



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