There's nothing quite like curling up under a soft blanket and enjoying a Netflix binge or even just taking a nap. Blankets are a lovely innovation -no one can argue with that - including, your pooch.
That's right! Your pooch might enjoy a soft blanket as much as you do. That's why it's important to make sure they have somewhere soft to sleep just like all of the rest of the members of your family.
Signs Your Dog is Comfortable
So, how can you tell if your dog is comfy? You'll probably notice some signs very similar to how you would react if you were comfy. More than likely, if your dog is comfy, they'll exhibit relaxed body language. Their ears will be relaxed, their eyes closed, and they might even have their tongue out or be drooling if they are asleep. They might wag their tail if you talk to them, but don't expect them to move if they're feeling comfy. They don't want to lose their spot!
If your dog isn't comfortable, they’ll probably make every effort to get comfortable. They might jump up, pace, and sniff around for a better spot. Some dogs may even scheme to take your place on the couch or bed if you get up. So, don't be surprised if you get up to grab something, and your pup is in your spot when you get back. It's probably already warm from you and if you think it's comfy, they probably do too.
History of Dogs and Blankets
So, where did the blanket originate? It’s hard to say! We know that humans have needed to stay warm for thousands of years, so it wouldn't be surprising if blankets had been around for thousands of years. They probably started out as furs from hunting, and have evolved over the years to include different fabrics and patterns.
Blankets can be used for everything from staying warm at night to being used as a decoration or even a floor covering. They're extremely versatile! We can also probably assume that as long as our furry friends have been domesticated and enjoying spending time with humans, they've probably had some use of blankets too.
Fast forward to the today's world, and many pet shops sell blankets just for your pup! You can even get beds for your pup in every shape, size, or material you can think of, but some dog owners just let their dog sleep on a simple pillow or blanket. Everyone is different. It's not just dogs that like soft warm places to sleep too. In fact, most animals and people alike love the combination of a clean, warm, and soft blanket.
A former dog owner recently recalled how her family’s pooch would sleep in a bed with covers over him every day until her sister got home from school. He'd seek out the softest and comfiest part of her bed and lie there almost all day. He'd only get up for bathroom breaks, food, water, and treats. He seemed to absolutely love sleeping in a soft bed with blankets. They even tried buying him a variety of pet beds to sleep in, but he still loved sleeping in his favorite human's bed the best.
Science Behind Dogs and Blankets
This brings up an interesting scientific question, though. While dogs really do seem to enjoy a nice soft place to sleep, could there be another reason a dog enjoys sleeping with a blanket or pillow, besides the fact that it's warm or soft?
Yes! There probably is a reason. Dogs have a very strong sense of smell. So, when they curl up with one of your blankets, they might actually also like that it has your scent on it.
Another dog owner recalled having a puppy with separation anxiety. The dog breeder suggested that the dog owner let the puppy sleep with a blanket or shirt that the owner had used the previous day to see if the scent helped calm the puppy. Surprising, it did help! So, there are a variety of reasons for a dog to like a blanket.
Another reason pooches love blankies has to do with their paws. Some sources say a dog's paws can tell the temperature. So, if they are sleeping on a hard, cold surface, that can't feel good! It's also hard on a pooch's joints and body to always sleep on a cold cement floor. So, it is good to offer a nice comfortable place for your pooch to sleep. Again, this can be a blanket, pillow, or a dog bed. It's good for them to have somewhere comfy to call their own, though, for their emotional and physical well being.
Training Your Dog to Sleep in a Certain Place
As far as training your dog to feel softness, you can't do that. You can, however, teach them to sleep somewhere in particular. It can be a bit tricky depending on how stubborn your dog is, but it's not impossible. Dogs love positive reinforcement.
So, if you want them to sleep in their dog bed, maybe ask them to go to their bed, and when they do, praise them and give them a treat. That way, it communicates to them that that's the right thing to do. Some dog owners also "crate train" their dogs to sleep in a crate of some sort. With this sort of training, it's important to get information from your vet, a trainer, or dog breeder.
Another problem for some dog owners is that their pooch just won't stop sitting on a fancy couch or trying to sleep on a guest bed no matter what. If this occurs, tell your dog "no" firmly, and tell them to get off the furniture. If your pup doesn't move, they may not understand you, so you can help gently encourage them off of the furniture.
Continue to firmly tell them "no" if you see them on a piece of furniture they are not allowed on. It's also important to make sure all of your family members are on board with training. If you tell your pup "no" but your significant other encourages your dog to sleep on a piece of furniture, that could be very, very confusing for your pup. If all else fails, you can always speak with a dog trainer about next steps.
So, can dogs feel soft blankets? It's just a theory, but probably. Why else would they always seem to be on a soft surface any chance they can get?
By Katie Anderson
Published: 05/04/2018, edited: 04/06/2020