My Dog Guards Me When I Sleep [9 Causes & 5 Tips]

My Dog Guards Me When I Sleep

Have you ever wondered why your dog guards you while you sleep? In this article, we will explore 11 potential reasons for this behavior and provide seven solutions to prevent it when it becomes troublesome.

Here are some reasons why your dog may guard you while you sleep

  • Territorial issues
  • Resource guarding
  • Over-attachment
  • Kennel aggression
  • Encouragement
  • Trying to protect their possessions
  • Past traumatic experiences

These issues can be addressed through avoiding sleeping with your dog, counter conditioning, impulse control, and basic obedience training.

Although this behavior can be annoying, there are instances where it can be beneficial. Identifying the exact cause of the behavior can help you apply the appropriate solutions. Let’s explore this topic further.

Reasons why does the dog protect you while you sleep

Unless you live alone by yourself, Whatever the reason for this is, it is not acceptable and should be corrected immediately.

Does your dog attempt to bark and lunges whenever one of your family members tries to come into your room and literally won’t let them in?

But, he doesn’t do any harm. And your dog only does when you in asleep don’t do anything odd when you are awake.

Moreover, the dog doesn’t have any issues with the family and loves them.

In fact, this situation is so dangerous because imagine something terrible happened to you, and it required an Emergency medical technician in presence ASAP. The dog wouldn’t allow him to approach you.

If your situation is the same as above, here are the possible reasons.

  1. Resource guarding issue.
  2. Territorial issue.
  3. The dog tries to protect its position.
  4. The dog is overly attached to you.
  5. Kennel aggression.
  6. Bad memories of its previous life.
  7. The dog also sleeping
  8. Do you lock the room before sleeping?
  9. Encouragement.

1. Resource guarding issue.

Resource guarding, often referred to as possessive aggression, is a common behavioral issue in dogs that needs to be addressed ASAP.

If we think about common items that influence resource guarding in canines, the food items are most obvious. But it can be developed with any item that the dog deems as valuable.

Moreover, this can be anything that seems to be less critical for us, but the dog is still found that as valuable.

If your dog also protects you from others while you in asleep, the reason might be the resource guarding issue.

Observe whether the dog protects the following items.

Although the dog protects these items while growling, air snapping, and lunging, this can worsen where the dog attempt to bite.

Recommended reading: [11 Reasons] Why Does My Dog Like My Room So Much!?

2. Territorial issue.

If your dog guards you against other family members when you are sleeping, the dog might be barking or growling as a form of territoriality.

This fact becomes more evident if you are the primary caregiver of the dog.

In fact, when the territorial issue is combined with a lack of confidence, things can get even worse because a confident dog doesn’t attempt to bark or lung at its householders.

Things can get more suspicious if the dog sleeps with you. Because it could be protecting the bedroom territory.

3. The dog tries to protect its position.

Sometimes the dog might be protecting his position of the household, neither you nor the room.

It may be thinking that you are the Alpha and himself as number two. But all the other householders, including human beings, pets lower than him.

However, don’t regret it. We gonna discuss all the solutions before the end of this article.

4. The dog is overly attached to you.

If your dog used to growl or bark at others whenever you sleep, the reason could be the dog is obsessed with you.

Observe whether the dog exhibits the following behaviors.

  • The dog follows you everywhere.
  • Prefer to sit or stay in the same room as you.
  • Aggressiveness toward other people whenever someone tries to hug or approaches you.
  • Prefer to sleep with you.
  • Howling and crying when you away from home.
  • Some breeds naturally one person dogs. For instance, Rottweilers tend to attract one person.

5. Kennel aggression.

The next most suspicious cause for this problem is kennel aggression.

To show this aggression, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a crate. If the dog spends most of the day in your room, It will think of the room as its crate or its territorial space.

6. Bad memories of its previous life.

Are you adopting a rehomed dog?

If so, the reason could be bad memories of its previous life and still suffering from them from time to time.

Sometimes the dog was persecuted by previous owners except for one householder. In fact, the canines are smart, and they can memorize all the horrible occasions they had in their former life.

So, it’s crystal clear that your dog needs to be socialized with other householders and elucidate that they are good human beings. We gonna look more into this under solutions.

7. The dog also sleeping.

One of your family members may greet you with a story of the dog being aggressive toward them whenever the householders attempt to enter the room when you go downstairs after a nice nap.

Chances are, the dog also was in a deep sleep and startled from the arrival of someone to the room, causing him to growl.

If the dog takes some sort of medication, we can expect this because some medicines could make them sleepy.

8. Do you lock the room before sleeping?

If you sleep in the room during the day with the dog, you are more likely to close the door, which means either you or another family member from the other side can open the door.

So, the dog has to spend the whole time until someone opens it.

In fact, if your family is a slightly busy household, It can be disappointing and frustrating for your dog to listen to all the things going on the other side of the door without him.

So, the reaction of the dog when someone opens the door can be varied by the personality of the dog.

Your dog may be aggressive toward householders when someone tries to open the door and approaches you. In contrast, some other dog becomes so enthusiastic in that instant.

9. Encouragement.

Do you encourage the dog of its protectiveness toward you when someone attempts to approach you? It could be a little game or a joke for you.

But, what you are doing is that you are literally approving its guarding behavior from other people by encouraging him, resulting in you intentionally develop a behavioral issue in the dog.

If this is the case, the blame on you. There is nothing wrong with the dog.

What to do if the dog guards you against others while you in asleep?

Now you are fully aware of the possible causes. It doesn’t matter what the reason is. The essence of the story is that by any means, this behavior is not acceptable.

Here are several things that are worth trying.

  1. Do not allow the dog sleep with you.
  2. Counter conditioning.
  3. Socialize with the family
  4. Impulse control.
  5. Provide proper obedience training.

1. Do not allow the dog sleep with you.

If your dog protects you from others when you sleep, the very first thing you need to do in order to solve this behavioral issue is that restricting or completely cut off access to sleep with you.

However, it should be done gradually if you don’t wanna deal with separation anxiety and other related psychological issues.

If that is something imaginable or a tough thing to do, try to do that at least the dog has sufficient awareness about its place in the household.

Encourage him to go and sleep with other householders because a lack of understanding about other family members would lead to such kind of an issue.

2. Counter conditioning.

This is also one of the easiest ways to solve the issue.

Suppose you are sleeping in the room and the dog also lying on the bed or nearby floor.

Educate other family members if they wanna come inside the room while you in sleep to come with several treats in hand.

Then toss a treat toward the dog, and it doesn’t matter whether it started to growl. Educate them to just go ahead and throw another treat and get the dog under that particular person’s control.

It’s better if he/she can cuddle him up for a minute or two and engage him in play.

The downside is that you have to encourage all the householders to do so. But, it’s almost a trivial drawback when we think about the rewardable side of this method. Because this method is more likely succeed and could give instant results.

3. Socialize with the family

As I mentioned earlier, a lack of understanding and bonding with other householders in the family could lead to such issues, especially if the dog is fairly new to the house.

Because it’s crystal clear that if the dog guards you against others when you in asleep, it reflects a lack of awareness in your dog about all other family members.

Here are some suggested ways to socialize your living pooch with family members.

  • Encourage others to give a nice walk to the dog.
  • Encourage others to provide a bath for the dog.
  • Encourage others to give a bath to the dog.
  • Tell others to hand feed him.

4. Impulse control.

If you want to have great success in this process, one of the most essential things you need to do is impulse control.

Since this is difficult to explain in a blog post, I highly recommend you watch the following video.

5. Provide proper obedience training.

If the dog doesn’t have proper obedience training, I strongly suggest you participate in dog obedience training classes.

Believe me, it’s so worth doing. What’s more than having a well-behaved dog.

Things to be aware of.

I believe now you have a proper awareness of why does your dog might wanna guard you when you in asleep. But, what if I told you that isn’t sufficient?

There are a few other things you need to be aware of. So, here they are.

  • Never ever punish the dog for this growling.
  • Use positive reinforcement and other proven methods in order to train them.
  • Don’t skip regular vet checkups to make sure it isn’t prone to any physical or psychological issues.
  • Limitless patience is much appreciable.
  • You need to get the 100% involvement of family members.


Some dogs tend to guard their owners against others when they sleep. But at other times, the dog behaves as usual with other family members. Well, in this comprehensive guide, I came up with 9 different reasons why they would do that and 5 tips to solve the issue. I hope you found this helpful. Have a nice day.

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