If you are a dog lover, then you probably love being squashed by your dog’s weight. Dogs also enjoy laying on you as a form of affection.
But this is not the only reason. There are so many things that drive your dog to lay on you.
So, why does my dog always lay on me?
We share with you all the possible reasons and the factors that affect why your dog lays on you.
We also discuss when this becomes a sign of bad behavior and how to stop your dog from laying on you if you need to.
Why Does My Dog Always Lay on Me?
Your dog always lays on top of you because they want attention, or they want to protect you. Sometimes, they also want to show dominance or find comfort.
Your dog could be laying on you for any of the following reasons.
Your Dog is Protecting You
One of the main reasons why your dog lays on you is because they are protective of you.
Because your dog sees you as a leader of the pack, then they feel the need to guard you against any kind of threat anytime.
Make sure you train your dog to see which are actual threats and which ones are not. This will help them avoid unnecessary barking and protective behavior.
Some dogs are only protective out of jealousy. There are studies proving that dogs do get jealous.
This is usually the case if you have many dogs at home. Chances are, one of them is being territorial.
If they lay on you while also growling at other dogs, then this might be the main cause and it has to be corrected.
When your dog is well-trained, they only lay on you to protect you when there is a real threat.
You Feel Comfortable and Warm
Your dog may be laying on top of you simply because they feel comfortable around you. This is more likely to happen if it’s too cold or if they enjoy spending a lot of time with you.
They don’t want to leave you because the comfort they feel from you is both physical and emotional.
Physically, your dog thinks you are cozier and comfier than their own bed. This is more likely the reason if you have a small breed of dog that has a thin coat.
It also happens more often during wintertime. Your dog will start to cuddle you more so they can keep warm.
Emotionally, your dog just feels happy and safer when they know you’re always there. It makes them sleep more soundly.
It’s the same feeling for us.
Oxytocin is a hormone that induces a feel-good emotion. A study shows that oxytocin is released in our bodies when we touch and stroke dogs.
Oxytocin is also being released when your dog makes eye contact with you.
This hormone is also responsible for taking away our stress and improving social interactions because it increases face memory, counteracts aggression, and reduces the risk of depression.
Dogs feel more loved and safer when they lay on you. This means that affectionate dog breeds may show this kind of behavior more often than others.
Take note that there is no scientific evidence to prove the top dog breeds that are most affectionate.
This list of affectionate breeds is only based on observations and anecdotes.
- Golden Retriever
- English Bulldog
- Labrador Retriever
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Bichon Frise.
If your dog is one of these breeds it could explain why they lay on you all the time.
Their Behavior is Reinforced
You might not notice that your dog always lays on top of you because they have learned they get attention from you.
For example, you come home from a long day at work and rest on the couch. Then, your dog lays on you and you give them a belly rub.
Or you gave them verbal praises.
These rewards will surely cause your dog to lay on you more often. Remember, they learn based on a rewards system.
Belly rubs, pats on the head, verbal praises, and rubbing their ears are reinforcement for a dog. Instead of asking them to leave, you have given them the impression that it’s okay to lay on you.
They are Leaving Their Scent on You
Dogs like brushing up against a dog, a person, or another animal to leave their scent or fur brushings behind.
They do this to let other animals know that you are already taken or already part of your dog’s pack.
It’s normal for our furry friends to be cautious about your friends’ dogs or other humans. They just don’t want to share you with others.
You are their provider of food, shelter, and socialization. And they wouldn’t want you to be replaced by someone else.
When they leave their mark on you, they are also asserting dominance over other pets because they are marking you as their territory.
Your Dog Wants Attention
Sometimes, your dog is just trying to get attention from you. They lay on you because they are waiting for something, such as playtime, food, or bathroom breaks.
This is most likely to be the reason if they try seeking your attention during the day when you’re still asleep.
It’s also the most likely cause if you have not been giving them attention for a while and if you tend to reward them with attention every time they lay on you.
Another factor that influences this is if they do it more at around the same time that you would normally give them food or take them for a walk.
Here are other things that dogs like to do when they try to get our attention:
- being restless
Again, dogs are pack animals who like interacting with their fellow pack members. They will seek more attention from you if:
Dogs cannot talk, but they have creative ways of communicating their needs and wants.
Another reason why your dog lays on top of you is that they may have separation anxiety and they do not want you to leave.
We, too, do not want to leave our dogs home alone. We even overthink about what they are doing while we’re at work or somewhere else.
Dogs also don’t want to be away from us.
To restrict your movement, your dog uses their body weight when they notice that you are about to depart from them.
This is most likely to be the main cause if they only do it when you’re leaving and when they do it anxiously.
Many dogs are affected by separation anxiety, making it hard for them to cope well when you are not around.
The most common behaviors that dogs with separation anxiety exhibit include destruction and excessive vocalization.
Some signs of separation anxiety include:
- attempting to escape
- pooping everywhere
Learn how to stop separation anxiety in dogs so they can also stop the bad behaviors that accompany the condition.
History of Wild Dogs
Dogs have instincts they got from their ancestor wolves that remain now that they have become domesticated and turned into house pets.
If you observe your dog, they still have a lot of pack-related behaviors that they exhibit and even get you involved in.
Most dogs enjoy the company of other dogs, humans, and other animals by their very nature. This is why they are called pack animals or social creatures.
They are the most interactive and social among other animals. It’s evident in their huge difference with cats, who are more independent and happier alone.
This characteristic of dogs is also the main reason why humans wanted to domesticate them and bring them into the home.
Despite being spoiled and treated as family members at home, their evolutionary self-preservation trait still exists.
Dogs and wolves in the wild always move and rest in packs. One member is the leader, or the alpha male, who expects other members of the pack to submit and obey them.
In the wild, it is common for one dog to try asserting their dominance over the other by laying on the weaker dog. This is usually done by the alpha male.
Does that mean that your dog lays on top of you to show dominance because it is their deep instincts?
When dogs lay on you, they can simply be acknowledging that you are a member of the pack who deserves closeness and connection.
All of this may just be your dog’s way of bonding with you which has developed over time. They make sure you know that your presence is valuable and that they need you.
To return this reassurance, you may let them stay close beside you for a few minutes.
Factors That Affect Why Your Dog Lays on You
Aside from considering canine pack instincts, it’s important to understand other factors that influence why your dog is laying on you.
They don’t always mean to show dominance.
What Happened When Your Dog First Started Doing It?
Has your dog always been like this? If they used to sleep well away from you, then something may have triggered them to want to lay on top of you in the first place.
Try to remember what else was happening before or while your dog started this behavior.
For example, were you about to leave for work when your dog first started laying on you? If this is the case, then they are probably developing separation anxiety.
On the other hand, if your dog suddenly lays on you while it is freezing outside, then they are probably just seeking warmth.
Another example could be fear. Your dog was probably scared of thunder or fireworks when they first started laying on you.
What Happens When They Don’t Lay on You?
It also helps to know what’s different when your dog does not feel like laying on you. Observe whether your pooch tends to perform this behavior at certain times.
For instance, if they don’t lay on you every time they just ate, then they may be doing it when they are hungry and looking for food.
If your dog is laying on the couch instead of on top of you when you’re having a chill day at home, then they probably just don’t want you to leave so they lay on you to stop you from going.
When Your Dog Laying on You is Bad Behavior
Your dog laying on you can be deemed acceptable behavior depending on the reason.
For instance, if you haven’t been giving them attention, then it is normal for them to ask you to notice them.
You probably haven’t taken them out for a walk or fed them yet. Make sure to give your dog, especially if they are still a puppy, enough attention.
You can also encourage the behavior if you enjoy your dog’s presence and don’t mind them laying on your legs or lap from time to time.
Letting them lay on you will make your bond so much stronger, providing both of you with warmth and comfort.
On the contrary, your dog laying on top of you can be a sign of bad behavior if they are doing it at inconvenient times.
For instance, when you need to leave or if you need to stand up to go to the kitchen.
If your dog is making you uncomfortable, feel free to slide them off or train them to get off. Do this in a kind manner so they don’t feel rejected by the pack leader.
It also becomes a bad habit if they do it despite being given enough food, attention, exercise, mental stimulation, and more. It could mean that they don’t see you as the pack leader.
Or worse, they are asserting dominance over you and other dogs. As mentioned, dogs sometimes lay on you to mark you as their territory.
While it sounds sweet and protective of them, it can lead to worse behaviors like jealousy and aggression toward other dogs.
My Dog Does Not Lay on Me
If your dog does not lay on you, you might be wondering if they don’t love you or they don’t feel comfortable around you.
This isn’t always the case, so don’t be offended.
All dogs are different. Some show affection by laying on you, while others show affection by playing with you. Other dogs show their love for you from afar by protecting you and the house.
Dogs also do not like being in close contact with other people or animals when it’s too hot to cuddle.
You shouldn’t train them to lay on you if they don’t want to. But you can encourage them to stay by your side so you can bond together.
How to Stop Your Dog from Laying on You
If you want your dog to stop laying on you, you can simply move away or gently slide them off.
But if you want to get to the root cause of the behavior here are some solutions to discourage them from laying on you.
Positive Reinforcement Training
You can train your dog to stop laying on top of you by using positive reinforcement methods or encouraging them to behave well through rewards and praise instead of punishment.
Here are some tips when employing a positive reinforcement method for training your dog to stop laying on you:
- Give them a comfortable place to sleep. We have a separate section on this below.
- Ask your dog to stand near their new spot.
- Once they’re on the spot, use your command word and reward them with a treat. We recommend Crazy Dog Train-Me treats to speed up the training process.
- Repeat these steps a few more times until they understand that their new sleeping place is associated with a treat.
Once your dog has learned to love their new place, you can now stop them from laying on you with a command word like “off” or “down”.
Teaching command words to your dog will help you stay in control of any situation and make sure that your dog is safe from any danger.
To teach them to get off, slide them off you then say the command word so they will associate the action with that word.
Reward them every time you do this. You can also use a marker word like “good” or “yes” later on to indicate that your dog has done something right.
After a while, try saying the command word first. When your dog stays off you on their own, use the marker word and offer them treats.
Give Them a Comfortable Place to Lay
It helps to give your dog a cozy and comfy place to lay on. They could be sleeping on top of you because they feel too cold or hot in their place.
Your dog’s spot should be cool, not too bright, quiet, and out of the way.
When choosing a dog bed for their spot you should consider the following:
- your dog’s needs (orthopedic support, waterproof, chew-proof, etc.).
If your large dog has arthritis or joint problems, choose Big Barker’s Orthopedic Dog Bed.
This bed is backed by a study saying dogs have less pain and more mobility after using it for only 28 days.
It’s also easy to clean and fits any aesthetic of the house.
This therapeutic mattress is designed and developed to improve your dog’s quality of sleep since it is made of American OrthoMedic Foam that doesn’t flatten over the years.
FAQ Dogs and Sleeping
What is the Best Chew-Proof Dog Bed?
The best chew-proof dog beds are made of tough materials like nylon backing but with a softer surface to keep your dog comfortable as they sleep.
The surface is ideally made of polyester or cotton to cover the fleece. Dogs love this kind of material.
Aside from the material, you also want to consider your dog’s other needs. Do you need something to keep your furry friend warm or cool?
If your dog lays on you because they keep on chewing and destroying their dog bed, it could also help to replace it with a chew-proof and indestructible dog bed.
Is it Okay for My Dog to Sleep with Me?
You can sleep with your dog as long as they are house-trained, quiet, and have no behavioral issues.
You also want to think about whether or not you are a light sleeper. If you get disturbed easily by small movements, your dog may affect the quality of your sleep.
While it’s okay to let your dog sleep with you in bed, you should consider all factors when deciding if your dog should sleep in bed with you.
How Do I Teach My Dog to Go to Bed?
If your dog doesn’t want to go to sleep for some reason, you can train them through a rewards system.
With positive reinforcement training, your dog will be able to follow every command you give to keep them well-behaved.
Choose a command word like “bed”. You can also say “go to bed” but we prefer shorter command words so your dog will remember.
Prepare your treats so you can lure them and let them follow you to your bed. After this, give them treats and teach them the “down” or “sleep” position.
Offer treats again and increases the difficulty gradually.
Be consistent in teaching your dog to go to bed so you don’t have to worry about them bothering you and laying on you while you’re asleep.
Why Does My Dog Suddenly Want to Sleep with Me?
Your dog suddenly wants to sleep with you because the weather has changed and they want to stay warm, or they realized that they feel safer with you.
Other less common reasons include wanting to protect you, an uncomfortable bed, or simply wanting attention.
We understand how this sudden behavior leaves us dog owners worried and frustrated.
But you can know why they do this by observing their body language, the timing, and the whole situation.
Give Your Dog Love and Attention
You don’t have to worry too much if your dog likes laying on top of you. Take it as a sign of affection.
Our dogs know that we’re the ones who can give them the food, shelter, exercise, attention, and love that they need, so it’s normal for them to be clingy and enthusiastic about you.
You can continue encouraging this behavior if you don’t find it distracting.
But if you believe it’s a sign of bad behavior or anxiety, make sure to train your dog and give them plenty of mental stimulation.
Sometimes, dogs lay on us until they fall asleep. It’s important to know why your dog sleeps on top of you by observing their sleeping position and analyzing when this first happened.