Why Does My Dog Lay His Head Over My Neck? Concerns And Solutions

Dogs are amazing pets that can bring so much fun and joy into your life. And they can also do some really odd things that make you scratch your head and laugh.

Let me tell you, my dog Bella is the master of that! She’ll randomly start pawing at the air for basically no reason, or she’ll just stare at the shower curtain the entire time I’m bathing.  It’s weird, but it honestly makes me laugh every time I get out and see her there.

That’s the thing about pet dogs – each has such a unique personality that can always keep you on your toes. 

But as much as we love having fun with our furry friends, it’s important to know when their behaviors signal something serious. You wouldn’t want to laugh at a seemingly innocent behavior only to find out later that it was a sign your dog was suffering.

So, what about dogs that plop their heads right on your neck? Why does my dog lay his head on my neck?  Your dog is doing this for protection, to show you some affection, because he was trained to, because your neck is comfortable to him, to claim you, to warm up, to get your attention and play, as a symptom of separation anxiety, because he knows you’re sad, or to tell you something.

For a more detailed explanation of each reason your dog is laying on your neck and effective methods to put an end to this bizarre behavior keep reading.

Protection (For Both Of You)

Dogs have the instinct to protect their loved ones, and by laying on your neck, your dog may be trying to provide you with a sense of security.

In your dog’s mind, laying on top of you, specifically your neck, allows your dog to protect you from any perceived threats that may arise from outside.

And don’t forget, there’s strength in numbers too! Your good boy also probably feels a little more secure laying there.

To Show Love And Affection

Your dog loves you, and laying on your neck is a way for him to express it. Dogs are pack animals and thrive off of social interaction.

So don’t be surprised when your good boy wants to tell you that he loves you and wants to spend time with you.

You Accidentally Taught Him To

Dogs are smart, and they can learn from us without us even realizing it. For example, if you praise your dog when he snuggles up to you, he’ll associate that behavior with good things, and he’ll keep doing it.

Even telling your dog ‘no’ or ‘off’ but are also petting him as you slowly push him away, you might train your dog to think that you actually want him to lay on your neck.

Your Neck Is Comfy

Your neck is warm and inviting, so why wouldn’t your pup want to snuggle up to it? Okay, okay, your neck probably doesn’t seem warm and inviting to you…but to your pooch, it might.  Remember, your dog probably spends a good amount of time on a much less comfortable floor.

Your Dog Is Claiming You From Other Dogs

Dogs have a social hierarchy amongst each other, and your dog might be staking his claim higher up it by laying on you.  This isn’t dominance, rather it’s your dog showing his four-legged siblings that he’s closer to you (and therefore higher up the ladder) than they are.

To Warm Up

One of the reasons your dog enjoys laying on your neck is that it’s warm. Dogs like a nice cozy spot to rest just as much as we do.

Your Dog Wants To Play

Dogs love to play, especially with their favorite humans! So your dog may try laying on your neck to get your attention. Pay attention to the rest of your dog’s body language.  If he’s super excited and squirming as he lays there this move might just be a signal that he wants to play.

Separation Anxiety

If your dog has separation anxiety, he may feel more secure when he’s close to you.

Laying on your neck is about as close to you as a dog can get and makes him feel safe and reassured that you’re there with him.

Your Dog Thinks You’re Sad

If your good boy senses that you’re feeling sad or upset, he may lay on your neck to comfort you.  After all, dogs are capable of feeling empathy, and laying on you is an excellent way for a dog to show support.

Your Dog Is Trying To Tell You Something

You and your dog probably have a little language of your own.  Your dog does his little dance when he needs to go potty, or he spins in circles by his bowl when he’s hungry. 

But what about when your dog needs to tell you something entirely new and different? He’ll have to try to get your attention and communicate all at once, which could lead to some funny behaviors.  Like laying his head on your neck.

Is It Okay For My Dog To Lay His Head On My Neck?

Before you let your dog get too comfortable laying on your neck, it’s important to figure out why your dog is doing it. Although it can be a sign of affection, it could also be a symptom of an underlying problem, like separation anxiety.

Keep a keen eye on your furry friend’s behavior to determine the root cause of his snuggles. If you determine your dog’s lying there is a symptom of something wrong, then address that problem as soon as possible.

On top of that, while you and your canine friend may enjoy cuddling like that, it’s not always a good idea to let your pooch assume it’s alright to do with other people. When your friends come over for a movie night they might not be thrilled that your dog wants to lay on their necks.

So be sure to establish boundaries and make sure your furry friend does not make others uncomfortable.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Laying On My Neck?

If you’ve decided that your furry friend’s neck-cuddling isn’t exactly comfortable, then it is natural to want to stop your dog. Here are some effective steps to take:

Figure Out The Cause

I already talked about the wide variety of reasons dogs lay on their owner’s necks. Understanding your dog’s motivation can help you stop this behavior effectively. If it’s due to separation anxiety, you’ll need a different approach than if it’s just a sign of affection.

Don’t Use Punishment

Punishing your best friend will damage your relationship with him. It’s important to find alternative approaches that won’t physically hurt your dog.

Give Your Dog His Own Safe And Secure Spot To Lay

Dogs are habitual, and they naturally seek a comfortable spot where they can relax. Giving your dog a comfortable bed or cozy nook will encourage him to stay away from your neck.

Consider Crate Training Your Dog

Crate training is an effective way to train your dog to relax and feel secure in his own space. Dogs in a crate feel comfortable and secure and are less likely to get up to ‘no good’. 

Don’t ever put your dog in the crate as punishment or he’ll no longer associate the crate as a good place to be.  Instead, make it so enticing that he wants to be there.

Make Sure You Aren’t Encouraging It

You need to evaluate your own behavior and make sure that you’re not inadvertently encouraging your dog to lay on your neck. Any positive action or behavior you do while your dog is trying for neck cuddles, such as petting or praising, will encourage this behavior.

Use Basic Obedience Commands Like ‘No

Basic obedience commands like ‘no’ can be effective at stopping your dog from laying on your neck. Be consistent with your commands, and praise your furry friend when he follows your instructions.

Get Up

If you’re having a hard time breaking your dog from laying on your neck, you might need to be more aggressive.  Getting up and changing the environment can signal to your dog you’re not okay with him laying there.

Just like when you use ‘no’ or ‘off’, be consistent or you won’t teach your dog as effectively as you otherwise would.

Talk To A Dog Trainer For Personalized Advice

If none of these tips work, you can always seek out the advice of a professional dog trainer. They can analyze your dog’s behavior and offer more personalized solutions to help stop this behavior.

Final Thoughts: What’s With Dogs That Like To Lay On People’s Necks?

It’s important to understand why your dog is laying on your neck, as it could be a sign of affection or something more serious such as separation anxiety.

If you determine that the behavior is due to an underlying issue, then address this problem immediately. 

If you decide to allow your dog to keep laying on your neck, don’t forget to establish boundaries so that others are not made uncomfortable by your furry friend’s snuggles.

Use tips like providing a comfortable spot for your dog to lie down, crate training, and using basic obedience commands like ‘no’ when needed.

Finally, if all else fails don’t hesitate to seek out help from a professional trainer who can offer personalized advice specific to your situation.

With these tips in mind, you should have no trouble getting rid of any unwanted cuddling habits!

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