Why Does My Dog Lay On Me 8 Interesting Reasons and Tips for Handling It

At one point or another, fellow dog owners know that this question pops on top of our minds quite frequently: “why does my dog lay on me?” In this article, we go into all the reasons why your dog might do that and discuss various ways how you can handle the situation. Let’s get into it!

Why Does My Dog Lay On Me: 8 Interesting Reasons

One of the best parts of having a pet is that they become our fully rightful family members. We get to do all sorts of fun stuff with them – daily walkies, playtime, and enjoying some downtime cuddling up after a long day. And is there anything better than cozying up with your Dood on the couch while reading a book or watching TV? Not really!

It’s also extremely rewarding to see your new furry companion grow and develop each day, both physically and mentally. They become more confident and self-aware, while constantly learning new things and discovering the world around them. And when your pup discovers your lap, they’ll quickly pick up on that as well. More often than not, they’ll learn that laying on top of you is the best thing ever.

So, if you’re wondering: “why does my dog lay on me?”, there are numerous reasons why your dog may do that. Most commonly, dogs just love to be close to their humans. However, that’s not the only reason that drives this behavior. Let’s now take a closer look at the most common reasons why your dog likes to lay on you. 

1) They Feel Comfortable

As you might’ve guessed, your pup might just feel so comfy laying on top of you that it’s become their favorite pastime activity. After all, it’s warm, cushy, and you’re right there next to them. Think of it like this – you’re basically a huge pillow and they can’t say no to the invitation of you just sitting there with them.

Not only is being close to you comforting on an emotional level, it’s highly likely that they just feel extremely comfortable when their head or whole body leans on you. This is especially true for smaller pups, as they can very well fit on your lap. However, bigger Doods also like to lay on top of their humans…but maybe not with their whole body.

2) They Feel Affectionate

Similarly, dogs like to express their love and adoration by interacting with you. Being so close to you, your dog is bound to feel this as a nice and calm bonding experience for the two of you. It’s as simple as your Dood enjoying your close proximity and feeling secure on your lap. 

In addition to that, your pup likely knows that once they lay on top of you, belly rubs and cuddles commence. Because who could say no to those ‘lil buddies! 

3) They Are Cold

As we mentioned above, your lap is a warm and snuggly place to curl up on. In fact, some dogs like to lay on their humans because they’re simply feeling a bit chilly. This is especially common in small-sized breeds and pups who don’t have much fur. 

If you notice that your pup seems to be more keen on napping on your lap during colder months in winter and fall, it’s safe to assume that they’re just looking for some warmth. 

4) They Feel Protective

Why does my dog lay on me? Could it have something to do with being protective? Yes! Some Doods like to lay on top of their humans when they’re feeling protective. This typically happens when there are other people or pets present. Your dog is just showing that they regard you as the alpha leader of the pack, and they’ve got your back. 

5) They Need to Assert Dominance

Interestingly enough, some pups like to assert their dominance by sitting on your lap. First of all, your pup will be physically higher and therefore feel more in control whilst on your lap. It’s a common occurrence when you’ve expanded your family with a new pet – your pup wants to make sure that everyone knows who runs the household. This can also be accompanied by growling and barking from your lap, a.k.a the doggy throne. 

6) They Need Attention

Social creatures as they are, dogs constantly crave attention – some more than others. It’s not uncommon for a bored and needy pup to climb on top of you just so they can get your attention. 

If they’re feeling especially cheeky, they might start pawing or nipping at you, maybe poking you with their nose, or giving you those extremely cute puppy eyes just so you’ll pay attention to them. Although super cute, it may become slightly over the top from time to time. 

7) They Have Separation Anxiety

Another reason why your dog may be laying on top of you is that they’ve developed separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is relatively common and more prevalent in dogs who are very affectionate and even clingy by nature. 

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Leaving them alone for longer periods of time causes extreme stress to them, which can manifest in various ways. Most commonly, dogs with separation anxiety may start to bark or howl excessively, pace around, leave accidents around the house, or become destructive by chewing, scratching, and digging compulsively. 

As we mentioned earlier, your lap is a comforting, soothing place for your pup to relax and rewind. Naturally, if they’re experiencing anxiety, they’ll come to you for relief. Pups with separation anxiety most often lay on their owners right before they’re about to leave the house or immediately when they get back home. 

8) You’ve Encouraged The Behavior In The Past

Lastly, a very simple answer to your question ‘why does my dog lay on me?’ could be because you’ve allowed them to do so in the past. For most of us, it’s a blessing to have such a cuddly companion that wants to be by our side. Of course, a natural reaction would be to give your pup some belly rubs and kisses as they do so. 

But, as with anything, your reaction guides your pup’s behavior. If this has happened one too many times, it’s become a learned behavior that will definitely take some time and training to unlearn. 

Tips to Stop Your Dog From Laying On You

Now that we’ve provided a few answers to your question – ‘why does my dog lay on me?’, let’s discuss a few ways you can approach the situation. 

Give Them A Comfortable Place To Rest

More often than not, your pup just enjoys resting its head on your lap. It’s warm, snuggly, and they feel close to you, all at the same time. So, if you’re not bothered by your pup using you as a human-sized pillow, just enjoy this bonding time for the two of you. 

However, if it’s become a frequent and annoying habit that you don’t really like, there are a few ways you can approach this. 

Firstly, prepare a comfortable bed for your dog to rest and recharge in. Sometimes it’s just a matter of not having a bed that’s comfortable enough. Make sure that it’s big enough so your dog can fit into it. It goes without saying that very large Doods need plenty of space to feel comfortable. Maybe add some blankets and pillows to make it extra cushy – whatever seems comfortable for your pup. 

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Secondly, use positive reinforcement. Have your dog lay down in their comfy new bed and reward them with some yummy treats and praise. Of course, this process is going to take a bit of time, but if you do this on a daily basis, your pup will soon catch on. 

Manage Their Separation Anxiety

If the reason behind your dog laying on you lies in separation anxiety, it’s going to be slightly tricker to manage the situation. 

First of all, some breeds are simply more prone to separation anxiety. For this reason, they shouldn’t be left home alone for long periods of time, like while you’re at the office. So, you might want to consider hiring a dog walker or a pet sitter for when you’re out and about.

However, the key to successfully managing separation anxiety is prevention. You’ll want to teach your new puppy that spending time alone is completely normal and that they can, in fact, enjoy it. 

Set a routine and stick to it (this includes alone time!), establish boundaries, and provide your pup plenty of enrichment toys and puzzles to keep them occupied. You can also teach your dog to associate you leaving the house with rewards, such as tasty dog treats that they can only have once you leave the house. 

For more information on how to deal with separation anxiety in dogs, be sure to check out our full guide on the topic.  

Avoid Encouraging Undesired Behaviors

And finally, recognizing your own behaviors and reactions is the best place to start. Keep a close eye on how you react when your dog lays on top of you. Do you immediately start giving them attention, belly rubs, and kisses? That’s probably why your dog is so keen on laying on you – they associate this behavior with rewards. 

Here’s what you should do instead – only encourage and reward their behavior if it’s desired. For instance, reward and praise your dog if they lay on their own bed. But if they do try to lay on top of you, gently but firmly say no, and guide them to an appropriate place, like their comfy new bed or right beside you. Once they’ve completed the task, always reward them. 

Keep in mind that you should never scold, punish, or yell at your dog for not behaving exactly the way you want them to. After all, you’ve taught them the undesired behavior, and punishing them will only do more harm than good. 

Why Does My Dog Lay On Me? Frequently Asked Questions

What Does It Mean When A Dog Lays Their Head On You?

If you’re wondering ‘why does my dog lay his head on me?’ it could be for a few different reasons. Most commonly, dogs like to lay their head on their owners, as it’s comfortable and they want to show their affection. They trust and love you, and they feel safe and secure in your presence. 

On the other hand, some dogs also like to lay their head on their owners to show that they want attention, they’re feeling anxious, or that they’re feeling a bit chilly. 

Why Does My Dog Lay His Head Over My Neck?

If your dog lays its head over your neck, it most likely indicates that they want to feel super close to you. It shows that they fully trust you and adore you. Simply put, it’s their way of cuddling with you. 

Why Does My Dog Have To Be Touching Me When He Sleeps?

More often than not, this is your dog’s way of expressing its love, being protective, and feeling safe. They might also feel warmer, as they’re in contact with your body – something that comes from their natural instincts, as they view you as the leader of the pack. However, it could also indicate that your dog struggles with separation anxiety, and therefore has to stay very close to you at all times to feel calm. 

Why Does My Dog Lay On Me? Final Thoughts

As a dog owner, you’ve probably asked these questions a million times: ‘Why does my dog lay on me? Why does my dog lay his head on me? Why does my dog lay on my stomach?’. Most commonly, it boils down to your pup wanting to bond with you, as they feel safe, secure, and comfortable on your lap. It’s one of the many ways dogs express their adoration, love, and affection towards you. 

If you’re not too worried about this behavior and enjoy this time with your furry pal, there’s probably no need to worry. However, it can become quite a nuisance if your dog refuses to lay down anywhere else. Even worse, if they don’t seem to listen to you at all. The best way to approach this situation is to get to the root of the issue and understand what drives your dog to this behavior. Once you’ve got the answer, you can start handling it in an appropriate manner. 

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