Dogs love to lay on their people! You may be watching a TV show in the evening, only to have your dog come and plop right down on your lap! But why do dogs lay on us?
We’ve put together some information on why dogs lay on people and whether or not this could be a problem.
Dogs Laying on People
Most pet parents don’t mind when their dogs lay on them. A dog may choose to lay on their person any time of the day or night. If you happen to be sitting or lying down, chances are your fur baby will come and lay right on top of you!
However, there are also dogs who really don’t want to snuggle that often. Either way, each dog is unique and may have a different reason for wanting to cuddle up.
Dog and the Pack Instinct
Have you ever noticed a little of newborn puppies? They’re usually piled up together and sleeping together if they’re not eating. That’s because dogs have a canine instinct to seek comfort and security from their littermates and later packmates. Wild canines, such as wolves, have the same instincts to sleep together in a pile.
So, if your dog comes to lay on you, it could be he’s saying you’re part of his pack. He sees you as a pack member who can provide comfort, warmth, and connection. Your fur baby feels safe with you and near you. Snuggling with you is one way a dog bonds with you, too.
When you allow your dog to lay on you, it provides him with a sense of reassurance and confirmation you allow him to be close beside you. Your dog feels happier, safer, and comfortable being with you.
So, if your dog is lying on you, he could be saying you’re a part of his pack, and he loves you!
Are Certain Breeds More Affectionate Than Others?
Most dogs have the pack instinct; however, not all dog breeds are as affectionate as others. Some dog breeds tend to show more affection to their pet parents. Here are some of the most affectionate dog breeds around:
- Bichon Frise
- Golden Retriever (you knew this dog breed would be included in this list!)
- English Bulldog
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Labrador Retriever
If your fur baby is from one of these dog breeds, then expect he will want to lay on you pretty often! Or at least he’ll want to be close beside most of the time!
Dogs Need Comfort & Safety
Let’s take a closer look at the aspects of comfort and safety. Have you ever noticed your dog seems to lay on you at certain times or when something is going on? Think about that for a minute.
Some dogs may want to find comfort and safety by lying on you during:
- Loud shouting
- Car backfiring
- Shop tools are running (such as a grinder, etc.)
These noises can be scary for a dog, so he may seek you out and lay on you for comfort and safety. However, it’s also possible for a dog to offer comfort and solace to you. For instance, if you’re crying or upset, scared, or worried, your dog may come and lay down on you.
Dogs are very sensitive beings and are able to tell when we’re upset, worried, or scared. They do try to offer comfort to you, just as they seek comfort when they’re scared and upset. Your fur baby may also try to keep you safe if they feel you’re in danger.
Laying close to or on you means your canine companion loves you, views you as part of his pack, and that he finds comfort, affection, and safety in your presence. What could be better than such a close bond with your dog?
Some Dogs Experience Fear & Anxiety
Your dog may also lay on you when they are stressed and anxious. Anxiety and stress are common in dogs that have been adopted from a shelter or rescue. They may have traumatic pasts that also leave them with anxiety disorders. And dogs that come from puppy mills may also develop anxiety disorders. It’s also possible for dogs to show symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), which is a condition some people develop, too.
Dogs that are anxious or have PTSD may have other behavioral problems, too. For instance, some may be aggressive towards people that remind them of humans in their past. It’s also possible for these poor dogs to be destructive, such as chewing things up. They may even react to loud noises by trying to hide. It just depends on what caused the fear and anxiety in their past.
Fear and anxiety may cause a dog to lay on their human. In most cases, this is normal behavior; however, if your dog shows other signs of anxiety and/or fear, then it’s time to see the vet.
Veterinary medicine has made great strides in treating anxiety and other behavioral issues in dogs. In addition, there are medications that may help ease a dog’s fear and anxiety, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.
Along with seeking comfort and love, your fur baby may want to lay on you because he’s cold. This is another natural instinct of dogs. When it’s cold, a pack of dogs may sleep in a pile seeking warmth when it’s very cold.
If your dog regularly snuggles with you and he seems cold, he’s probably OK. However, if you notice he’s shivering or shaking quite a bit, then there may be a problem. If your dog is that cold, he could be sick. This could mean it’s time to see the vet.
There may be times when it’s not convenient for your dog to lay on you for warmth. This may be when you’re getting ready for work. In that case, you may want to cover your canine companion with a warm blanket. If you’re in an excessively cold place, it’s best to seek a warmer place for both of you to get warmer.
You Make a Great Dog Bed!
Let’s tell it like it is! Some dogs love to be close to their humans and find their pet parents make a comfortable dog bed! What could be better than a soft, somewhat pliable, warm dog bed?
If you make a comfortable place to sleep, of course, your fur baby wants to lay on you! Not only are you a comfortable, warm place to sleep, but your dog can also be close to you. He can show you his love and acceptance as he enjoys laying on you!
Small or large dogs may like to lay on their pet parents for this reason! But you may notice this more if you have a small dog that doesn’t have a lot of fur. Does your dog do this more in the winter or when the air conditioner’s cranked down? If so, then your canine companion may be feeling too chilly.
Dogs Lay on You to Show Respect & Acceptance
Another reason your dog may be laying on you is that he’s showing you respect. This is another behavior that comes from wild dogs. When wild dogs meet one another, they may lay on one another to show respect and acceptance.
This may be the case if your dog is approaching you in a calm manner, with some of the following behaviors:
- Tail slowly wagging or completely still
- Eyes are closed or partially closed
- Dog puts his head down or rests it on you
- Ears are relaxed (not pulled down or completely erect)
- Breathing is slow and steady
- Dog has fallen asleep and is dreaming
These are signs your fur baby loves and wants to be with you. He feels completely at ease and comfortable in your presence. He trusts that he’s safe with you.
Unusual Reasons for a Dog to Lay on You
There are more unusual reasons that your dog may want to lay on you. Some dogs have the uncanny ability to know when you’re sick. So, it’s possible your fur baby is sensing you are sick or that you may have an underlying health issue he’s detecting in some way. For instance, researchers have found some dogs are able to smell certain conditions such as cancer and more, including the following:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Seizures (such as those caused by epilepsy and other conditions)
While some dogs have the ability to know when you’re sick or having physical problems, this is still not the norm. Most of the time, if your canine companion lays on you, he’s just showing he trusts and loves you. He wants to be close, that’s all.
However, if your dog seems to be drawn to a certain area of your body, then it may be a good idea to see the doctor. Chances are there’s nothing wrong; however, your dog may know something don’t.
Is It OK to Encourage Your Dog’s Behavior?
If you are happy with your dog laying on you or close by, then there’s no problem. You can both enjoy one another’s company and closeness, creating a stronger bond between you. As long as you and your dog want to be close together, it’s OK to let your dog snuggle.
What if your dog doesn’t want to snuggle? That’s OK, too! Be sure to respect his wishes. He may be the type of dog that’s not as demonstrative with his affection. He may be happy just knowing you’re close by. So, respect his wishes and don’t force snuggling on your canine companion.
What if You Don’t Want Your Dog to Lay on You?
There are many reasons you may not want your dog to lay directly on you. For instance, if your dog is large and heavy, then his laying on you could be uncomfortable or painful. No matter the situation, it’s OK to encourage your fur baby to lay elsewhere. However, the key is not to hurt your dog’s feelings or be harsh with him.
In fact, there may be reasons, as noted earlier, that your fur baby wants to lay close to you:
- He has separation anxiety and/or is extremely anxious and fearful most of the time
- He is aggressive and trying to show his dominance over you
- If your dog is showing signs of illness (such as breathing difficulties and more)
These may be signs it’s time to see the vet or talk with a professional dog behaviorist. Your canine companion may need some medical treatment or training to help with the issue.
How to Train Your Dog Not to Lay on You
If your dog seems otherwise happy and healthy, then you may need to train him not to lay on you. However, remember never to be harsh or aggressive when telling him not to lay on you. Dogs are very sensitive, and it’s easy to hurt their feelings, especially if they long to be close to you.
If you’d like to train your dog not to lay on you, try these methods:
- Gently tell your fur baby to “get off” or “nearby” (you may want to have a blanket or dog bed for him to lay on instead)
- Point towards the ground until he gets off
- Use a treat to show him where to lay down
- Gently tell him “no” or “down”
It may take a little bit of training for your dog to accept he can’t lay on you. That’s OK. The key is not to hurt feelings. Keep everything positive. You may also try having a dog blanket or bed nearby so he can stay close to you without laying on top of you.
Summing It Up
So, there you have it! These are some of the reasons your dog may be laying on you. Remember, in most cases, your fur baby is showing he loves and trusts you. Yes, he may be saying you’re also a comfortable dog bed. But that’s OK, as long as you’re both happy and comfortable!