Why Does My Dog Lay On Me? (11 Reason and Solutions)
Do you ever see your dog do something that makes you laugh out loud? I think I catch one of my dogs acting silly enough to make me laugh at least once a week! Dogs are good for more than just a laugh though.
Dogs are also fiercely loyal and incredibly loving. For example, every time my kids go out to play in the yard, one of our dogs follows them and lays down to keep an eye on them. There aren’t many other pets that will form such a strong bond with you and your family.
In return, dogs don’t ask for a lot back. Be kind and loving to them, and provide food, water, toys, and exercise. Finally, don’t forget to pay attention to their medical needs and odd behaviors.
No doubt you’ve witnessed a dog doing something silly like licking your legs and wondered what it means. Sometimes, their weird behaviors are signals that something more serious is going on with your pooch. You don’t want your dog to be suffering because you didn’t take the time to read about why he’s acting so weird.
So, what about dogs that lay on top of people? Why does my dog lay on me? There isn’t just one reason a dog would do this but it likely boils down to one of the following reasons: Your dog is being territorial, acting on instinct, getting comfortable, warming up, being submissive, wants your attention, comforting you, looking for protection, has anxiety, cuddling, or trained to lay on you.
Your dog sees you as part of his pack and he wants to make sure everyone knows it – or at least those whom he sees as a threat to his territory know it. Most dogs are at least a bit territorial and some will try to protect what they see as their territory, including you and your family.
When another person or pet comes into your home or the room you’re in, your dog may jump on you or lay on you to show the ‘intruders’ that you belong to him.
So much of what dogs do comes from instinct. The ancestors of your dogs often slept close to one for security and sometimes warmth. Additionally, as a puppy, your dog likely laid on, under, and right next to his siblings as they slept next to their momma.
Just because your dog has gotten older and never lived in the wild, doesn’t mean his instincts have vanished. He likely still has those instincts and feels the need to lay on you for warmth or protection from predators.
Your dog could be trying to get comfortable when he lays on you. If you’ve ever watched a group of dogs together, you know that they often lay touching each other. This is because it feels good and provides comfort.
When your dog lays on you, he’s likely trying to get as close to you as possible to feel that same sense of comfort.
Another reason your dog may lay on you is for warmth. If you live in a colder climate, keep your house temperature lower than your dog is comfortable with or if he gets cold for any other reason, your dog may be trying to warm himself up by laying on you.
Like you, dogs don’t enjoy being too cold. And contrary to popular belief, some dogs really can’t stand it. One of my dogs is like this. When it is winter and I let our dogs out to potty, he does his business and is back at the door ready to come in way faster than our other dog and much, much faster than when he goes out to potty in the summer.
In the wild, wolves and other dogs use their body language to communicate with each other. When a dog wants to show submission to another dog, he may lie down on his back.
While your dog isn’t necessarily trying to submit to you when he lays on you, he may be trying to show you that he trusts you and sees you as the leader of the pack.
Wants Your Attention
Dogs are social pets that love attention from their humans. If your dog is looking for a way to get your attention, he may lay on you. I mean, what better way to get your attention than to plop down on you? There probably aren’t many better ways, to be honest.
When your dog senses you’re sad or upset, he may come and lay on you as a way to comfort you. Dogs are incredibly intuitive and can often tell when something is wrong, although don’t be offended if they don’t always try to make you feel better.
When your dog knows that you’re sad or upset and he’s trying to make you feel better he may do all sorts of things to try to cheer you up. Not every dog is sweet and calm when they comfort you. The wonderful thing about these pooches is that they’ll probably make you laugh as they do all sorts of silly things trying to make you feel better.
Looking For Protection
If your dog is afraid or feels threatened, he may try to find protection by crawling into the bathtub, going under the bed, or even laying on you. One of my dogs is scared to death of thunder. When storms roll into our neck of the woods, he is glued to my side at the first hint of thunder. Even if it is still off in the distance. Then he stays attached to me until well after the storm has passed.
Sadly, I have had to leave him at home alone during a storm before. I’m not sure many things could make me feel guiltier. He hates thunder that much!
Sometimes, when dogs experience anxiety, they may seek out their humans for comfort. If your dog is anxious about something, he may lay on you as a way to ease that anxiety.
Many things can cause anxiety in dogs. Some dogs’ fear of certain noises like fireworks or thunder can trigger their anxiety while others may experience separation anxiety when left alone. Dogs may also get car sick or anxious when they realize you’re going to take them to the vet.
Your dog could be anxious about any number of things and if he’s seeking comfort from you, he likely trusts you to make him feel better.
He Loves You And Just Wants To Cuddle
There aren’t many better things in the world than a pet who adores you. If your dog loves you, he may just want to lay on you because he loves being close to you.
Dogs are loyal and form strong bonds with their humans. If your dog loves you, he probably feels like he can’t get close enough to you. When he’s laying on you, he’s likely trying to get as close to you as possible to feel that same sense of comfort.”
It’s incredible how fast dogs pick up on positive cues. Especially when those positive cues encourage them to do something they already want to do. If you trained your dog to lay on you and are reading this article for answers, you probably trained him to lay on top of you without even realizing it.
If your dog laid on you and you gave him a nice belly rub, a pat on the head, or even told him ‘good boy’ before getting out from under him, your dog might think you enjoy him laying on you.
Why Is My Dog Suddenly Laying Top Of Me?
If you’ve noticed a sudden change in your dog’s behavior, he may be sensing a change in your health or emotions. Dogs are incredibly intuitive and often know when their humans are feeling down. If your dog is suddenly laying on top of you more than usual, it may be because he’s trying to comfort you and make you feel better.
Beyond sensing peoples’ emotions, some dogs can even sense more serious diseases. I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that you’re sick just because your dog started laying on you, but you may want to keep it in mind if you can’t find another reason he is laying on you.
There is also the more likely possibility that there is a change in your dog’s health. If your dog is suddenly laying on top of you, it may be because he’s feeling pain and is seeking comfort from you. If this is the case, it’s important to take him to the vet to get checked out. Dogs are good at hiding injuries but often give away that something negative is going on with one or more sudden behavior changes.
There could also be changes in your home life that are giving your dog a reason to lay on you. If there are new people or animals in the home, or if any other major changes are happening, your dog may be seeking comfort from you because he’s suddenly feeling anxious.
If you’re not sure why your dog is suddenly laying on top of you it’s best to consult with a veterinarian or dog behaviorist to get their professional opinion.
Is It Okay To Let My Dog Lay On Me?
Yes, as long as you are okay with it, it is perfectly okay for your dog to lay on you. In fact, depending on your mood and how your dog lays on you, it could be enjoyable for both of you. Dogs often lay on their owners as a way of expressing their affection and it can deepen the bond between you and your good boy.
Unless you don’t enjoy it, or your dog is putting part of his body near your mouth, eyes, or somewhere else that could make you ill, there’s no reason to stop him from doing so.
How To Stop A Dog That Lays On You
Of course, the first thing you need to do is figure out why your dog is laying on you. If your dog’s terrible anxiety during thunderstorms causes him to lay on you, you’ll approach the situation differently than if your dog lays on you when he’s trying to get comfortable. With that in mind, not every method I will go over will apply to each dog’s situation.
A good way to get your dog to stop laying on you is to simply stand up when he tries to lay on you. This will show your dog that you are not comfortable with him being on you. More importantly, it makes it not very comfortable for your dog to lay on you since he is constantly getting up. The idea is that he will eventually stop trying.
Use Basic Obedience Commands
To help you communicate with your dog and make it easier to get him to stop this behavior as well as other undesirable behaviors, train him to understand basic commands. I’m sure this is something most of you reading this article have already done but I wanted to cover it just in case.
Commands like “no” and “off” will help teach your dog what is and is not allowed, which in turn should help them stop laying on you. Remember you may have to use the commands multiple times for your dog to understand you always don’t want him to lay on you, rather than just this one time.
Get A Dog Bed
If your dog is laying on you to get comfortable and warm, then get him a super comfy dog bed to lay in.
This will give him a designated spot where he is allowed to lay and get comfortable. Ideally, it’ll be where he chooses to lay. Of course, he’ll first need to get used to his new bed.
Reward Your Dog For Not Laying On You
When you’re in a situation that would normally lead to your dog laying on you and he doesn’t, reward him! If your dog is doing well and not laying on you, give him treats, pets, or praise. This will let him know that he is behaving in the way that you want him to and should encourage him to continue doing so.
Talk To Your Vet
If your dog is laying on you due to anxiety, you probably want to talk to your vet. Dogs might lay on people as a way of trying to alleviate their anxiety. If your dog is displaying other signs of anxiety, such as whining, pacing, or barking constantly, it is important to seek help from a professional.
Summing It Up: Why Does My Dog Lay On Top Of Me?
There are a few different reasons your dog may lay on you. He may be trying to submit to you, looking for attention, comforting you, seeking protection, or experiencing anxiety. Alternatively, he may just love you and want to cuddle, be trying to get comfortable or warm, acting territorial, or acting on instinct. You may have even accidentally trained your dog to lay on you!
Ultimately, it is up to you whether or not you allow your dog to lay on you. Some people love it and see it as a sign of affection while others find it annoying or even intrusive. If you fall into the latter category, there are ways to get your dog to stop laying on you.
You can stand up, use basic obedience commands, get a dog bed, or reward your dog for not laying on you. If your dog is anxious, you may want to talk to your vet. Whichever route you choose, be consistent and patient with your dog and he’ll eventually get the message.