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desiree333's avatar

Why does my dog get nervous when I try to move him to the side of my bed that's against the wall?

Asked by desiree333 (3190 points ) March 26th, 2013

Sometimes when my dog is laying in the middle of the bed, and is in the way for me to sleep, I’ll try and move him over. My bed is in the corner of my bedroom. For some reason he gets quite scared and he’ll put his brakes on and jump away from the wall. I don’t really understand; it’s not as if he is going to fall off the bed, hit the wall, or even fall through. There is not even space between the bed and the wall. Does anyone else’s dog do this? So strange.

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13 Answers

RandomGirl's avatar

Have you had him since he was a small puppy? If not, do you know his early history? My first thought is that maybe he was abused as a puppy. If the abuse involved small spaces or being cornered, he might get nervous in situations like that. Being in the dark would just amplify that feeling. Maybe you could introduce him to small spaces, that wall next your bed, and the dark under good circumstances – being fed his favorite treats and being petted and loved. Start off with the light on, and when you think he’s comfortable there, then turn the light down and keep loving him. If you show him he’s safe and can associate that situation with good things, he’ll be less nervous.

rooeytoo's avatar

I have groomed dogs for a lot of years and have noticed how many dogs will stand happily facing one direction but refuse, dance around and are generally unhappy about facing the opposite way. I figured it was like mafia guys always like to sit with their backs to the wall, they want to be able to see danger coming. Most dogs when mating will turn around so they are rump to rump while tied and I have heard it said that it is also a defensive position. Akitas almost always back up to a tree to poop, again same reason. So I figure your dog must be as if his escape route is blocked when you put him against the wall.

Does it matter which side he is on? I would just move him to the other side of the bed. That seems the easiest way to deal with it.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

Heres what I think, if you are allowing your dog on the bed the dog has already designated that spot as his. It has nothing to do with walls or being scared. Your actually putting too much human thought into it. You pick a side of the bed right? I know I always do. I always sleep on the right side, so I always told my husband “the right side of the bed is mine against the wall or not” luckily he liked the left side of the bed so we never argued. The dogs don’t sleep in the bed for that very reason I bought them their own beds and they can argue with eachother over who sleeps where on those and they do lol, I tried that letting them sleep in the bed idea for about a month then I said forget it sleep on your own bed. Lol.

The dog is not moving because he is owning his spot on the bed and he just doesn’t want to move. He is just telling you that he was more comfortable in the spot he chose. In dog language it is usually called asserting dominance.

RandomGirl's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Of course, that’s a more probable reason.

Plucky's avatar

I agree with @rooeytoo. Sleeping position is about safety and preference. Different dogs will have different sleeping preferences and confidence levels…just like humans. However, @RandomGirl has a good point too. Where/when you obtained your dog is important…as is his history.

@nofurbelowsbatgirl The dominance theory is very debatable. It is now usually only followed by traditional dominance-based trainers. More and more, dog trainers and behaviourists are calling the dominance theories (regarding domesticated dogs) bogus. For the most part, dogs just want to be with their humans; it is not necessarily an alpha/dominance behaviour. Dealing with high aggression and anxious dogs are a different matter all together though – but that’s for a different topic.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Plucky – I was going to say anyone who thinks alpha/dominant dogs bogus has probably never dealt with one. They apparently just write books and don’t deal with real dogs!

longgone's avatar

Agree with @Plucky. We tend to oversimplify dogs. Some problems may be related to asserting dominance, but I think that’s very unlikely in this case. @desiree333 , your dog probably just gets nervous because he doesn’t understand what you’re trying to do. From his point of view, it seems like you’re going to push him against the wall. Have you tried getting him to stand up and then showing him where to lie down again?

marinelife's avatar

He is scared of being trapped. Move the bes away from the wall or don’t force him there.

Leanne1986's avatar

I have heard of dogs being spooked by the sound of pipes behind the wall (radiator pipes etc) so that could be something to bear in mind.

For the most part I agree with @rooeytoo @Plucky and @marinelife that he doesn’t like not being able to see an escape route.

jaytkay's avatar

I know a couple of dogs who always sleep facing the front door. They’re guarding the house.

marinelife's avatar

Bed not bes.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@Plucky Well I don’t actually mean dominance as in “I am the alpha wolf and you are not so what I say goes so back off or you’ll get it”. I have been studying this for awhile now. Dogs need leadership. They need control. Domestic dogs are a subspecies of the gray wolf.

The researchers found 19 genome regions containing nervous system genes that are significantly different between wolves and dogs. Eight regions contain genes governing brain development. How those genetic mutations explain dog behavior is a topic of future research. However, the fact that so many are involved in brain maturation supports the theory that dogs are really wolves that never grew up.

Assuming this it is why I suggested that the dog is just testing the boundaries of who is in charge.

@desiree333 I am in no way suggesting that you use dominance based techniques. Just be more assertive instead of using your hands to move him or push him ask him to move with a certain tone. My one dog can be laying beside my chair sound asleep and I can pet him and just the slightest touch freaks him out and he gets up with his tail between his legs looking at the spot like wth was that that got me. He is a very sensitive dog though wel actually both of my dogs are Maybe your dog is similar?

I just say to my dogs “move now” and they do it. It’s all in the way I say it, it’s not harsh nor soft but firm. I only touch my dogs when they are freaked out and I am calm, I consider myself giving them calm vibes at that time and usually within 2 minutes or less they calm down. I now find they come to me if they are fearful or if I am.

Maybe some of this makes more sense about what I mean.

ccrow's avatar

I have a dog who does something similar; but in our case, there is a small (very small) space between the bed and the wall, due to the baseboard being there. She has always acted like she thinks there is some sort of force that will suck her into that space and to her doom. She is an Australian shepherd and definitely too big to fit… we just laughed about it and put it down to her being weird. She also freaks out about being too close to the stair railing, like if she can see through it, she might fall

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