If you have a dog or have ever been around dogs when they sleep then there is a strong possibility that you will have heard them barking or yipping while they are asleep.
Often this will be accompanied by lip twitching, paw twitching and movement of legs and, for a novice dog owner, can, at times seem a bit daunting.
There is nothing to worry about if your dog barks while he is asleep. Most dogs can be vocal while they sleep and it is simply due to your dog dreaming. Your dog will dream when in deep sleep and it is normal for your dogs barking to be associated with this.
Why do dogs bark when they are asleep?
Dogs can often be heard making noises like woofing, growling or even howling while they are asleep.
This is due to the fact that your dog will be dreaming and it can often sound similar to when they bark while awake.
As well as the dog’s barking and twitching, their legs will often move like they are running or even jumping and this is also normal in dogs that dream and bark while asleep.
Dogs often have very active dreams which are most likely associated with what is happening in their normal day to day lives.
A lot of dogs bark when they are asleep because they are dreaming of something that makes them happy or excited, perhaps a walk or just playing with another dog or people.
- Stanley Coren (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 304 Pages – 08/02/2013 (Publication Date) – W. W. Norton & Co. (Publisher)
Why do dogs dream?
Your dog will dream as a way of processing the day’s happenings and this often helps them feel calm and relaxed.
As you might have noticed, your dog will tend to be very active when awake and it is not always easy for them to wind down at night.
This is where dreaming can help a lot as it gives your dog a way to relax their minds and bodies.
When your dog is asleep they are working through the day’s events which can mean that if they have been barking or playing about, they will dream about this which can look like them twitching in their sleep.
Are we sure that dogs dream?
Science suggests that a dog’s brain undergoes similar processes to those of human’s while he sleeps.
According to Psychology Today, dogs brain wave patterns are similar to those of humans while sleeping and that they go through similar stages of electrical activity.
It is also suggested that dogs dream about doggy activities and researchers found that, for example, a sleeping spaniel may flush an imaginary bird in his dreams.
You can read the article here on Psychology Today.
Should I wake my dog up if he is barking during sleep?
There is no need to wake your dog up if they are barking in their sleep.
Most dogs should not be woken up when sleeping. It could also lead to stress and anxiety if you do wake them up while they are dreaming or simply twitching in their dreams.
Your dog is simply dreaming and you should let him sleep.
What do dogs dream about?
There is plenty of debate about what dogs dream of and, as humans, we’ll never really know.
It’s most likely that they dream about dog stuff and the things that they did and experienced while they were awake according to Matthew Wilson, Professor of Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
So when your dog is sniffing in his sleep or twitching his paws then he could be hunting for a rabbit, tracking a pheasant or playing fetch with his owner.
It’s perfectly normal for a dog to bark while he is sleeping as he is dreaming.
If your dog is barking while he is still asleep then you should leave him be and let him sleep, just like humans do.
While we’ll probably never really know what dogs dream about, research suggests that they dream about doggy things and their ‘awake’ experiences of the world around them.
Barking and twitching while sleeping is perfectly normal dog behaviour.
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