Dogs are known for being loyal and loving creatures. It is why so many people love to have dogs as pets. They seem to have the ability to sense when we are feeling down.
But unlike humans, dogs do not view their owner’s personal space as “private” spaces.
Dog’s usually don’t like their space invaded, but they won’t hesitate to take over our bed. And what may not always come as a surprise is the question, why does my dog lay on me? Or why does my dog sleep on top of me?
There can be various reasons why your dog prefers laying on you while resting or sleeping. Some of these include: being in complete comfort, getting energy from you, feeling reassured and safe when sleeping next to you. When your dog lays on you, it’s not because they want something from you; it is more of a sign that they feel comfortable with you and consider themselves part of the family.
Here are some quick answers to the common questions pet owners have –
Why does My Dog Sleep On Me?
Dogs sleep on top of their owners because they are comfortable in this spot. It is also a sign of their affection. Your body is an excellent heat source, and instinctively, your pet will settle beside you or on top of you to feel warm.
Your pet may also lay asleep on top of you because they give them easy access and love licking your face.
On the other hand, observe your pet’s behavior as they may be laying on you because of separation anxiety.
Reasons Why Does My Dog Lay on Me
For most dog owners, it is a universally accepted behavior. When pets take over their empty laps or climb up to settle on top of them, it is viewed as a show of affection. But why does my dog lay on me? This seemingly innocent question can be answered in several ways. Here are ten reasons why –
1. Your Dog Wants to Keep Warm
It is no secret that dogs cannot regulate their body temperature. In cold weather, your pet will want to curl up close by to stay warm and generate heat if they are not wearing a jacket or bedding with you. Even in warmer climates, the same principle applies to humans – why do I need air conditioning when my dog is laying on me?
2. Your Dog is Protective of You
Your dog may want to lay on you because they are trying to protect you. If your pet feels a threat, they want to be close by and ready for anything.
Over the years that you spent with your pet, they develop a strong bond with you. They now consider you as a part of their pack. Thus, they feel that they need to protect you.
However, there are various ways for dogs to show it. Some lay on top of you when you sleep, and others take their post in your lap.
3. Your Dog Wants to Show You Affection
Another popular reason my dog lays on me is that they want to show how much they love you. It is an affectionate gesture when they want to interact with you.
You will notice this when you have gone for some time. Your pet will lay on top of you to ask for your attention and time.
If you share a close bond with your dog, they will always try to get near you and on top of you.
4. Your Dog Is Jealous
Some dogs may feel the need to watch over their owner. It is why they are constantly guarding you or wanting to lay on top of you.
There will be times that your dog gets jealous when you play with other pets, and this can lead them to protectively laying on top of people in an attempt to mark them as theirs.
This behavior is common when there is more than one pet in the household. Some dogs want their owners to have more time and attention. Thus, they climb up and lay on top of you.
5. A Sign of Separation Anxiety
For some pet owners, leaving their dogs is difficult. And for many dogs, the experience of being left alone is stressful. Many dogs have separation anxiety and feel distressed when their owners are not around.
Pets with such conditions may develop destructive behaviors such as barking, chewing, or acting destructively.
In other cases, these animals will grab the attention by lying on top of their owners and demand some cuddles before being left alone again.
6. Your Dog is Happy
Some behaviorists believe that why does my dog lays on me is because they are happy. Dogs might not be able to verbalize it, but there will be times when your pet wants to show its joy through actions such as licking you and laying beside you.
Apparently, the hormone oxytocin, which makes humans happy, is activated when dogs are with their favorite human. Oxytocin is activated through touch, warmth, and stroking. That’s why dogs love it when you pet them!
7. Your Dog Thinks That They Are the Alpha
In the pack dynamics, the owner often is considered as the alpha or the leader. But some male dogs may test the waters and take on the reigns as the leader.
For instance, if you are playing around and your dog climbs on top of you to lay down during rest, it might be thinking that he is the alpha.
Don’t tolerate this behavior and correct it before it becomes a bigger problem. Some dogs become aggressive when they think they are the alpha and that their wishes are not followed.
8. Your Dog Wants Something From You
When they have not been given their food or treats for a long time, some dogs will lay on top of you in an attempt to get your attention.
If you are busy with something else and do not give them the desired object after being asked twice, then this is why does my dog lays on me! They want to show their displeasure.
As a pet owner, you may not turn your attention to them for various reasons; the dog still wants to be acknowledged and feels they need to do something about it!
9. You Have Reinforced the Behavior
If you let your dog lay on top of you without any complaints, then the reason why your dog lays on me may become a reinforced behavior for them. They are not naturally going to know why they should stop this if it has been encouraged and rewarded throughout the years.
For instance, when your pet crawls on top of you after a long day at work, you give them belly rubs or scratch them behind the ear.
The way you react to their behavior is like a reward that they want to experience always.
10. Your Dog Wants to Cuddle
Last on our list for the reasons why does my dog lay on me is that your dog simply wants a cuddle. Some dogs will eagerly climb on top of their owners and lay down to feel the love.
Some other dogs may be in pain, so they need to find a comfortable position for themselves because laying down is too hard with all of that discomfort.
But then again, why my dog lies on me can also depend on what you want from them.
Is it Normal for Dogs to Always Lay on Top of their Owners?
It’s normal for dogs to lay on top of their owners. Some love it and reward their pets with rubs and pets. But some reasons point to behavioral issues that call for professional help.
If you have a pet suffering from separation anxiety, they might always want your attention and will often climb up because laying down makes them feel uncomfortable. You may be able to remedy this behavior by providing your pet with some separation training.
In other cases, my dog lays on me can be a sign of dominance or aggression if you are the owner and they do not respect you as their alpha.
It is why it’s important to train them to be too assertive for them to behave more appropriately.
Should I Stop My Dog From Lying on Top of Me?
The answer is Yes and No. If your pet only wants to show you affection or wants to bond with you, it is normal behavior for them.
But if your pet is always lying on top of you is becoming a problem, you should start looking for ways to change this behavior.
In some cases, dogs can fall asleep when they lay on top of you. And they can get startled when you move. Some veterinarians also advise against allowing your pet to sleep or lay on you for hygienic reasons.
Tips for Stopping Your Pet from Laying on Top of You
If you find your dog too heavy to lay on top of you or just want to correct their actions, here are some tips to help out.
Crate Train Your Pet
One of the best ways to stop your pet from lying on top of you is to crate train them. Instead of always crawling on top of you, teach them to use their bed for sleeping or lounging.
Choose a spot where it is quiet and away from foot traffic. Make sure that it has a comfortable bed.
Encourage your dog to use the crate for sleeping and for quiet times. Reward them with treats when they stay in the crate. With positive reinforcement, your dog will soon learn that their crate is the best resting spot for them.
Crate training is also an effective solution for dogs with separation anxiety.
Don’t Encourage the Behavior
Dogs are clever. They only do things if they get rewarded for it, so the next time your dog tries to lay on top of you, deter them. After you make a clear boundary like this with your dog, it will stop trying to get what it wants most of the time.
A gentle voice is a key to deterring your dog. Don’t speak sharply or in a reprimanding tone; otherwise, your pet will feel rejected and there could be confusion.
Help your dog to get comfortable by staying close while they adjust.
Allow them next to you if they are allowed on the couch or bed, but only where you want them.
There are many reasons why your dog might prefer laying on you over anything else. They could seek comfort, rest to get energy from you or feel reassured and safe when sleeping next to you. When they lay on top of you, it’s not because they want something from you; it is more of a sign that they feel comfortable with you and consider themselves part of the family.
You can take this one step further by being aware of any specific behavior that triggers them to want to cuddle up close – like after eating or exercising, for example. Understanding why my dog lies on me is the first step to finding solutions if you want to change this habit.
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