Dogs, our quirky best friends, often have unusual behavioral patterns. They’re much more funny than cats. And, better, too, right?
Well, we won’t get into that matter, but we will discuss certain behavioral issues like the one today.
Why does my dog lay on me?
Sounds like a pretty simple question that’s self-explanatory.
Actually, it isn’t.
Affection isn’t the only reason why our dogs choose to lay or even sleep on top of us. There are many factors that affect their decision. Some are really sweet, while some can worry us to death.
I’m not trying to scare you. What I’m trying to do is show you that nothing in the canine world is black or white.
I suggest you make yourself comfy, maybe allow your pet to lay on you, and keep on reading to find out the reasons behind this behavioral pattern.
Why Does My Dog Lay On Me? 7 Most Obvious Reasons
Ah, it’s finally the end of the day. You’re resting in the bed, trying to summon positive thoughts that will guide you to the field of dreams, and then… BAM! You feel a strong pressure on your body, and someone breathing in your face.
Yup, that’s Fido… resting peacefully on top of you like he has no worry in the world.
Well, that was a surprise! But, what do you do next? Should you move your dog so you can sleep in peace, or should you enjoy his company for a moment.
Why on Earth does your dog think that laying on top of you is a good idea?
Well, it IS a good idea for dogs for many reasons.
First, you should feel flattered because your dog chose you over his comfy bed. This means YOU mean a lot to him.
Sleeping on top of you is just one of the signs of affection your dog has for you. We’ll discuss all the other ones as well as other possibilities of this unusual sleeping / resting position.
1. Comfortability: Are You More Comfy Than His Bed?
Dogs like comfort no matter which dog breed they are. Even if they’re the tiniest of them all, dogs will still look for the comfiest place in the house.
If you have a dog breed that’s prone to showing signs of affection, chances are your pooch will always choose you over any other bed, pillow, or comfortable surface in the house.
Don’t think that your dog is too clingy. Following you around constantly, seeking your attention, and sleeping on top of you isn’t something you should consider as negative. Personally, I’d be really happy if my dog wants to spend so much time with me. But, no… I have a pretty reserved mutt.
Besides seeking comfort, dogs want warmth, too.
Let’s imagine you have a little Pug. They don’t have much fur, do they? No wonder you’ll find your buddy under the cover sleeping on top of you. They want to feel warm, and your body heat will do.
Laying on you as well as sleeping on you usually happens in the wintertime when dogs need to feel extra warm and comfy.
2. Your Dog Is Protective
Let’s be honest… a lot of dog owners want a dog that can protect them if the situation calls for it. Besides getting a companion in the first place, people like to get German Shepherds or Bulldogs because they act protective.
Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers also act protective, and they’re big favorites of people across the States.
I wouldn’t feel surprised if my GSD or Goldie jumps on top of me to sleep.
This is a clear sign that your dog cares a lot about your safety and wants you to sleep peacefully, knowing he’s around to watch over the house.
Such behavior is especially frequent if you’re a single person living only with your dog. Dogs will create a strong bond with single pet owners, and they will think of them as a part of their pack.
Since dogs are pack animals, they care immensely about their pack members.
I don’t want to scare you, but your dog will also jump to lay on you if he senses a threat. So, maybe check if your house is locked, okay?
3. Your Pup Is Desperate For Attention
Your furry friend, no matter how reserved he is, will seek attention.
Some dogs like to be showered with it, some not. And, that’s totally fine as long as you respond when your dog asks for it.
If your dog lays on you and he is making eye contact and trying to snuggle, then he’s definitely looking for attention. Cuddle time can be in your bed… why not?
Having your puppy ask for attention all the time is completely normal. Puppies are still babies. They want their mom’s love and care all the time. Once you adopt a puppy at around eight weeks, you become their mom / dad. This doesn’t only mean giving them food and taking them to the vet.
This also means playing with the puppy, and sprinkling tiny kisses and cuddles all the time.
Don’t worry… you can’t spoil your dog with too much attention.
Just imagine how it would be if your dog doesn’t want affection or doesn’t care for your attention at all.
As I said earlier, my furry buddy is reserved. Sometimes, I wish he’d come to me and ask for cuddles, but that happens seldomly.
All he cares about are tummy scratches when he feels like it. Such a tough nut!
Besides laying on you to seek attention, dogs can also nip, bark, lick you, or steal things you’re using at the moment just to switch your attention.
4. There’s Something Your Dog Wants!
Along with seeking attention comes another question: What does your dog want?
Finding your dog laying on top of you wide awake can also mean he’s in need of something.
This is the point where you can exclude some health issues because no dog will be lying down peacefully if something is bothering him.
This is a matter of something else like wishing to go out for a walk or demanding cuddles.
Sadly, dog’s can’t talk. Their bark won’t tell us what they want. But, if you pay attention closely, there are signs that could help you figure out what’s bothering Fido.
Your dog laying on top of you is a clear sign that you need to stop what you’re doing and switch your focus on your BFF squishing you with his body. This is a clear message, and if you follow other cues, you’ll find a solution.
What happens next after your dog gets your attention? Does he run away to the front door? Does he sniff around the food bowl?
You should know your dog well enough to ask the most common questions, such as “Do you want to go for a walk?” or “Do you want to play fetch?”
A simple reaction of joy coming from your dog will be an obvious sign that you did the right thing.
Don’t shoo away your dog. Let him lay on you so he knows you’ve received the message.
5. Separation Anxiety Has Entered The Room
Domesticated dogs are sociable creatures. They demand interaction and human attention in certain amounts. Otherwise, they will suffer some consequences from their unsocialized life.
This can happen unintentionally, too.
Are you aware that by leaving your dog alone at home for too long; for example, if you work long hours, can trigger separation anxiety?
This is a pretty bad condition that affects a dog’s behavior, and turns him from a courageous pal into a scaredy cat. And, it’s all because your dog feels scared to be left alone without you.
I know owning a dog and working away from home is something that needs to be balanced out. It’s hard, especially when there’s a rough patch at work, and you can’t even handle yourself, not to mention your dog.
But, even then, there are ways to help Fido at home and prevent separation anxiety from kicking in.
Have you thought about enrolling your dog into doggy daycare or having someone walk or dog sit your buddy?
Yes, doggy daycare centers are a huge thing now since there are so many dog lovers who are busy out in the big city.
For a specific amount of money, other dog lovers will take care of your BFF until you get back home.
The same goes for daily walks with a dog walker and other pups from the street.
I’d like to recommend that you get some interesting toys and puzzle games to keep your dog entertained before you come back home. Not only will they chase away separation anxiety, but such games will also stimulate your dog’s mental capabilities.
Trust me… your dog loves solving a puzzle game to get a reward. All dogs do!
What Do I Do If Separation Anxiety Affects My Dog?
If your dog lies on top of you, feeling scared like you’ll go away, or whines, or even barks, he’s most likely experiencing separation anxiety.
Even if your pup is showing how excited he is to lay on top of you, that can mean anxiety, too.
What’s done is done, and now you need to know how to repair this damage.
I urge you to change your life habits, and maybe find some family members who will take care of the pup if you’re gone.
Also, consult your vet. If the situation is really that bad, anxiety medications are the only thing that could help.
But, don’t let your dog get into such a situation.
6. You Approve Or Encourage Such Behavior
You can’t really demand your dog to stop laying on top of you abruptly if you’re the one approving such behavior.
If you call your pup one day and show him to lay on you, chances are he will repeat the action himself, or maybe even sleep on top of you because he thinks that’s okay. This even includes obedient dogs that have gone through dog training.
Laying on you means the world for your dog, especially if you’re showing other signs of affection. Your pup thinks of this as a sign of positive reinforcement for something he did right.
Don’t let your dog cuddle on top of you in the first place if you’re having some issues with it.
Approving something today and denying it tomorrow will only confuse your dog.
7. Your Dog Feels Happy When He Lays On You
I know you can’t be the happiest person if a Great Dane jumps to lay on top of you, but imagine how happy that makes your dog.
Truly, your dog is the happiest when around you, and this isn’t some fluff that dog lovers say to each other. Laying on you helps the dog receive fresh doses of oxytocin, otherwise known as the hormone of happiness.
Oxytocin gets released when you receive positive stimulations like cuddling, kisses, touches, and even eye contact.
But, why is oxytocin so important?
I mean, it’s amazing to see our dogs happy, but what does happiness do to our dogs?
Well, it does A LOT.
Oxytocin helps reduce stress. That’s why your puppy is so happy once you get back home from work. A stress-free environment will help your dog to stay away from behavioral issues like separation anxiety or even severe depression.
What’s so impressive about the hormone of happiness is that it prevents aggressive behavior. Happy dogs don’t feel the need to show aggression.
Don’t feel like your dog is bothering you if he’s happily lying on top of you. Just remember how good it is for your pooch, and think of oxytocin as a sort of dog food for their mental health.
Why Does My Dog Lay On Me? How Can I Curb This Behavior?
If you (because of an x reason I won’t address) want to stop your dog from laying on you, then you need some help.
There are ways that can help you control your dog and stop this unwanted behavior.
You don’t need to be a professional dog trainer to know that certain behavioral patterns can be stopped if you discourage your dog from doing them.
This doesn’t mean you should yell at your dog. Just stop giving praises like kisses or ear scratchies once your dog gets on top of you. You may find this to be a natural thing to do, but dogs see it as a reward.
Remember, you’re in control, not your dog. You’re the alpha of your pack. When you DO want your dog to climb up and lay on you, call him yourself. Allow him to lay there. In other situations, discourage it by showing the dog to lay somewhere else near you.
If this doesn’t work out, then you need to buy a crate.
Most dog breeders even offer crate training as a part of the initial puppy purchase price. Crate training can really come in helpful, especially at night. Trained dogs see their crate as a place where they can feel safe.
Well, that’s exactly what a crate should be!
Of course, buy a crate that’s big enough to accommodate your dog and his bed. A crate that’s too large for your pooch won’t work either. Keep it simple and comfy – just the way dogs like it.
Related Posts On Dog Behavior
“Why does my dog lay on me” is just one of the behavioral topics that PupVine has prepared for you. If you’re interested in understanding why your dog repeats a certain pattern or acts the way he does, you will be happy to go through our following articles:
I hope you won’t have to ask again, “why does my dog lay on me?”
The answer is pretty simple and logical when you think about it.
Dogs like humans. It’s a strong bond that lasts for ages. Chances are that bond will never break, and we’ll always have our four-legged, tail-wagging buddies next to us.
Well… laying on top of us, too!
Next time your dog lays on you, remember what you learned today.
This position can only benefit your dog and your relationship. If you don’t mind your dog hanging out there, just enjoy its company, and remember me when I say: I wish my dog would do the same.