Jake Owen's Tour Bus Staple: Sleepy Dog Merle

08/15/2012 at 02:20 PM EDT

Jake Owen's Tour Bus Staple: Sleepy Dog Merle
Jake Owen with dog Merle
Katie Kauss
Jake Owen's tour bus roommate has taken over the couch.

"He sleeps 16 hours a day," the country star tells PEOPLE of his 1-year-old English bulldog, Merle, who likes to sprawl out on the plush leather sofa – and stay there.

Currently touring with Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, the "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" singer, 30, unwinds every night by messing around with Merle, one of Owen's two dogs that travels with him (the other, Vern, retired from touring after a few years).

"I like to take my dog on the road," Owen told PEOPLE last year. "He stays up front; he likes it there."



Apart from his intense beauty rest sessions, Merle is reliably low-maintenance. He likes the occasional belly rub, but doesn't need much more than that, which will help when Owen and wife Lacey Owen welcome their first child, a girl, in November.

"Not only do I have a beautiful wife I get to spend my life with, I'm getting a baby too!" Owen told PEOPLE in July. "You know with other people's babies, they'll say, 'Do you want to hold the baby?' And I always am excited to do that, but then you have to give the baby back. Now we get to keep the baby!"

Jake Owen's new EP, Endless Summer, will be released Sept. 25, digitally and at most retailers.





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