Does your dog frequently pick dirty clothes from your laundry basket pile to sleep on? If yes, you’re not the only pet owner worried about this behavior. Many experienced dog owners have grown used to their pooches sneaking away with their clothes to relax on and may not be too bothered.
However, if you’re a first-timer, it is easy to see why the sight of a dog sleeping on your dirty t-shirt, shirt, or another type of clothing could ruffle some shoulders.
The biggest problem for many is why dogs often choose sweaty and mushy-smelling clothes they cannot even stand to go near themselves.
Is this proof that dogs love dirty scents or is there another explanation for the behavior.
5 Reasons Why Dogs Love Sleeping on Your Clothes
Several explanations can account for why dogs of all ages may love sleeping on their owner’s clothes. Shall we delve into a few of the reasons why that may be the case?
1. They love Your Smell
Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend and once they take to a particular person, falling in love with everything about you becomes the next logical step. Naturally, these four-legged mammals are wired to follow “packs” based on scent.
Since they no longer have to follow packs in the wild due to their domestication, dogs replicate those instincts by following the scents of their owners. And what better way than to sleep on your clothes?
Remember, no matter how dirty a particular set of clothes might be, dogs will have no problem identifying your scent from it. This is why they always dig through to find the clothes of their owners even in big piles featuring those from other members of the household.
2. Soft and Comfy
Like humans, dogs love the feeling of soft items on the skin. Lying down on clothes provides comfortable cushioning from the harsh surface of the floor.
And the fact that the clothes contain your scent is another bonus that gives them a sense of safety and familiarity. It provides reassurance that the dog is in familiar settings where he is free from external threats.
Have you ever tried to lie down on the floor during winter? It can feel extremely cold to the point of discomfort. Thus, sleeping on soft, comfy clothes can allow your furry friend to conserve body temperature during those floor naps.
3. Missing You
Dogs are loyal friends always open to building strong bonds with their owners and other members of the family. This means they can miss you a lot in your absence and look for ways to stay close until you’re back home again.
What better way to continue feeling the presence of their favorite human than to sleep on his or her clothes while away? Since dogs can smell your body scent from those clothes, sleeping on it gives them the confidence that you’re not too far away.
This is why a dog gets replacement clothes once they can no longer smell your natural scent from the previously chosen ones.
Have you read the article we wrote on Why Does My Dog Sleep Between My Legs? Click the link to check out the possible reasons as well as why it is not a big deal when you notice that behavior in your pooch.
4. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety can be a huge problem among dogs of all ages and breeds. The condition is triggered when these canines become upset when left alone because their guardians have to go to work or school.
The distress can become so unsettling that the dog may begin destructing anything and everything in its surroundings. This may include causing physical damage to furniture, clothes, carpets, and other household items by chewing and knocking them down when possible.
Depression is a common medical condition that affects pooches and the one thing that may provide some comfort is their guardian’s scent. Therefore, reaching for your clothes to sleep on can be a comforting way for the dog to calm down.
Separation anxiety may also be exhibited via physical signs such as:
- Loud barking and howling
- Urinating and defecating
- Chewing and digging
- Escape attempts
5. Attention Seeking
Dogs love to get constant attention from their guardians and other members of the household. This is why they become so happy when you’re constantly playing, petting, or simply spending time with them.
Sometimes, life gets in the way and you may become so busy that these canines begin to feel neglected. If a new pet has just been introduced and receiving more love and care, the old dog may have reason to feel jealous too.
Grabbing a few clothes from the laundry basket can be a smart way to gain your attention especially if they know you won’t be too fond of that.
They expect that you’d chase after and try to get them off the clothes, thereby gaining some attention in the process.
How To Discourage The Behavior
You’re now aware that a dog sleeping on your clothes may be nothing to worry about. However, if the behavior bothers you then there are ways to discourage it including:
1. Reinforce the “Leave it” Command
If you hate the idea of a furry friend sleeping on your dirty clothes, it is time to train it not to do so. This can be achieved by reinforcing the “leave it” command each time you spot the canine lying down on one of your clothes.
Remember, the majority of dogs exhibit this behavior without any mischief in mind. They only lie down on a guardian’s clothes because they love how it smells. Instructing them to leave it every time can reinforce the message that it is not a cool thing to do.
Over time, the pooch may catch the drift and seek other ways of getting comfort besides reaching for clothes in the laundry basket.
2. Keep Dirty Clothes Covered
Covering the laundry basket can be a smart way to keep dogs from getting access to your dirty clothes. Sometimes, your furry friend may reach for the clothes while you’re at work or school.
This means you won’t be around to get them to back off. Covering the laundry basket with a lid may ensure that the clothes are kept just the way you left them. After a few tries to remove the lid without success, most dogs will back off and find something else to do.
If your current laundry basket has no lid, it is time to start shopping for a new one with a tight cover.
The Sterilite Ultra-Wheeled Laundry Hamper from Amazon comes with smooth-gliding wheels and a lid that can keep your clothes out of the reach of dogs and other pets. They’re sturdy and can be used for years.
3. Do Laundry Without Your Dog
When a laundry basket is always covered with a lid, canines may only get access to dirty clothes during the weekly laundry time. Sure, many of us love doing laundry with our dogs because it provides an opportunity to spend time together.
However, if the dog is proving disruptive by repeatedly pulling clothes to sleep on and failing to heed your instructions to back off, it may be a good idea to kick him out of the laundry area. This can give you the peace of mind to get the clothes washed as quickly as possible.
4. Give Him His Blanket
Many dog sitters recommend that owners leave a blanket for their pooches in their absence. This is because dogs love having something with a scent from their homes to give them a sense of familiarity even when in new surroundings.
Getting a dedicated blanket for your dog can provide warmth and a sense of comfort during those chilly winter nights. The fact that the canine can also smell your scent means it is less likely to look for your clothes to sleep on.
This can effectively kill the habit of your dog sleeping on your clothes every chance they get.
My Dog has been sleeping way better and calmer since I ordered the Luciphia Super Soft Fluffy Premium Fleece Blanket from Amazon 3 months ago. It offers amazing comfort for dogs and cats while being easy to wash.
5. Train Dogs To Ease Separation Anxiety
If a pooch reaches for your clothes to use as a blanket due to separation anxiety, it is time to train him to get comfortable when alone. Counter-conditioning procedures that teach dogs to love your absence can be a great way to eliminate mild forms of separation anxiety.
You can achieve this by giving your dog a food puzzle that takes half an hour to complete, for instance before leaving home for school or work in the mornings. Eventually, the dog will begin looking forward to the next time you leave home since that gives them access to some sort of treat.
Dogs sleep on clothes because they love smelling their guardian’s scents while also enjoying the smooth feeling of the fabric on their skins. They may also resort to this behavior when they miss their guardians or other members of the household.
As such, it should be nothing to worry about. However, if you’d rather not have your furry friend lying down on your clothes, several methods are available to counteract that. This may include providing the dog a dedicated bed or blanket to lie down on as well as covering your laundry basket with a lid.
Hopefully, following the tips shared above can bring success in the quest to discourage the behavior among the pets.