Harley was stretched out on the floor sleeping. The next thing I knew he was whining, twitching and resembled my human children having a restless sleep. Instinctively, I got up from the sofa and walked over to him. My neighbor almost lost her mind as she shouted – STOP! DON’T TOUCH HIM! YOU NEVER TOUCH DREAMING DOGS!…
When this happened I was a new pet parent, what did I know? I had no clue about canine behavior – so I listened to her and sank back down onto the sofa cushion. #soconfused
Ever since that day, I’ve watched my Dood’s whine and twitch in their sleep and I’ve cooed them softly from a distance, never really understanding –
- why can’t I touch them?
- why shouldn’t I touch them?
WHAT DO YOU THINK? –
A question I’ve asked many people with pets over the course of seven years.
THE CONSENSUS? –
While those mournful wails and yelps may tug at our heartstrings – we should be mindful of that famous quote –
Let sleeping dogs lie.
Harley and Jaxson are more prone to dreams/nightmares after days of non-stop activities. So whenever the sleeping symphonies start, I watch and wonder –
- Is this a dream? Are they running across the meadow chasing a huge ball? (common signs of a good dream would be twitching, kicking and making quiet noises).
- Is this a nightmare? Are they being mangled by wild dogs and I’m no where in sight to save them (common signs of a nightmare are growling, crying and sometimes screaming).
Constantly waking them could also be harmful –
Dogs dream and sleep much like humans, with similar REM patterns. Although most dogs sleep 14 to 16 hours a day, they still need some of the deep, uninterrupted sleep we do. So, if you have a dog that seems to dream a lot, constantly waking your pup may be unhealthy for him. Source: Tamara McRill
TO TOUCH OR NOT TO TOUCH? –
That is “indeed” the question!
Apparently no matter how well trained and loving your pet may be, waking them from an REM sleep could be asking for a snarl, growl or even worse – a bite.
Knowing both Harley and Jaxson I find this very hard to believe, but I’ve not tested this theory. #mommadidntraisenofool
I found this two part series (from my bestie Wiki) – How to Know if Your Dog is Dreaming – to be helpful.
In Part 1 Learning your Dog’s “Dream” Body Language…
It covers –
- Learning the different sleep stages
- Observing your dog’s eye movements
- Watching your dog’s body movements
- Listening to your dog’s vocalizations
In Part 2 Knowing What to do When Your Dog is Dreaming…
It covers –
- Not to interrupt your dog when he is dreaming
- Not to touch your dog when he is dreaming
And this was something I never EVER thought about –
- Learn what a seizure looks like. Recognizing what a seizure looks like will help you determine if your dog is having a seizure or having just a very active dream.
I’m a strong believer that there are many ways to reach the same outcome and sharing ideas can yield great results. Therefore –
HERE’S MY THREE STEP APPROACH –
Whenever one of the Boys are dreaming, I –
- Don’t touch – no matter how difficult it may be, I stand my ground and give them space
- Use my “comforting” voice – I call their name softly and slowly over and over again until they seem to respond
- LOVE – Once they’re finally awake, I take a few minutes to lay on the love! We cuddle, I hug, rub and snuggle if possible to reassure them their okay.
Does your dog dream? What’s your technique?
Make today a great start to a Doodletastic weekend ❤️