Why Does My Dog Lay On Me? Top 5 Reasons

by Stuart | Last Updated:   September 23, 2020
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Dogs are not like humans, they don’t view our personal space as being “private”. While they don’t usually like their space being invaded, they seem to have no problem getting ours.

Is this such a bad thing though and what does it mean? To be more specific, what does it mean when your dog lays on you?

The main reasons why your dog will lay on you is because the dog is being protective. A dog may also lay on you as a way to bond with you. Also, as simple as it sounds, maybe your dog just finds you to be comfortable.

If you don’t like your dog laying on you so much, you could always train your dog not to do it. 

It does not matter if you see your dog as a guard animal or part of the family, to them, you are often their entire world. So, it is easy to understand why they would be protective of you.

That is not the only reason they will lie on you. In this article, we will look at some reasons and solutions to why your dog lays on you. 

Senior man lying in sunbed in courtyard while dog laying in his lap

Why Does Your Dog Lay On You

You get different types of dogs, those that love being close to and sleeping on their owners, and then you get those that don’t.

That doesn’t mean they don’t care for you in the same way, they might just have different ways of showing affection.

If your dog does lie on you, here are some reasons why they do.

1. They Are Protecting You

As we said, to your dog, you are their entire world. Almost everything they do revolves around you and the home that they live in.

You are also the dog’s main source of food and obviously, all living beings will protect their livelihood.

2. They Are Bonding With You

Studies are so far unclear as to whether or not a dog can love its owner but that has not stopped them from being affectionate with their owner.

When your dog lays on you, or when your dog touches you in other ways, sometimes it could be their way of showing you that they appreciate you.

3. It Is Routine

If you allow your puppy to sit or lay on you, this will start to become a routine.

Sometimes we do not even notice it but we generally do a lot of things at the same time every day.

Our puppies catch on to this very quickly and your routine becomes theirs.

So, if your routine consists of sitting or lying down and your puppy lay with you, chances are, he/she thinks it is routine for them to lie on you because they have been doing it since they were puppies.

4. You Are Just Comfortable

Like humans, dogs also like a little bit of comfort. Maybe your dog lies on you because you are just a comfortable person.

5. The Alpha/Beta Dynamic

In some cases, it might be to show that the dog is the Alpha, this is more common with male dogs. In a pack, there is always an alpha and male dogs will sometimes test you to see which they are.

When it comes to lying on the couch or bed, this usually is not the case. We will give this topic its own section, so, keep reading.

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Your Dog Thinks It Is The Alpha

If you are playing around and the dog always makes a point to get on top of you, that is him/her asserting that they are the alpha.

It is never good for a dog to assume that they are the alpha in the family as this can lead to some complications. 

If your dog thinks you are submissive, it could lead to them attacking you when you do not “obey” their wishes.

I know that a lot of people think that it won’t happen to them because their dog cares too much for them. This is wrong, an “Alpha” dog will still see you as part of the pack, even if they attack you.

If they always make a point of lowering their heads to your level or below, that is them showing that they understand that they are not the alpha.

How To Test If Your Dog Knows You’re Boss

How To Tell If Your Dog Thinks He Is Alpha

If a dog thinks that he or she is dominant, the signs are normally easy to read.

If the dog growls at you for going near its food, when it wants attention, when you go near its toys or anything, that means they think you are submissive.

It could also be by always making a point to have their head above yours when you lie down.

Usually, some of the other signs will be present so try not to mistake this for them just wanting to lie with you.

What To Do If Your Dog Thinks They Are Alpha

A lot of people might make the mistake of thinking that “spanking” or other physical forms of discipline will work. This might have the opposite effect though.

Showing your dog that you are violent might make them act with violence when they decide to assert dominance.

What you could do is show them that they need you. Do not respond to them when they are trying to tell you something. If they bark for food, ignore them, if they want attention, Ignore them.

Give them commands and reward them when they do it. This shows that if they want something, they must listen to you.

Doing all of this will show the dog that you are in fact the leader of the group and they should listen to you.

Rewarding them for obeying commands is known as “Positive Reinforcement Discipline” and it has been shown to be the most affect form of discipline.

How To Stop Your Dog From Laying On You Or Sleeping With You

If your dog usually lays on you, he or she could see this as a routine and you will have to break that routine.

It might be hard at first especially when your dog stares at you with big confused eyes and then starts whining. Don’t worry, your dog will soon adapt and they will still care for you the same.

With regards to sleeping with you, this is something that is actually not recommended in the first place. To stop your dog from sleeping with you, you have to break the routine.

Show the dog that they have a new bed and get them to lie on it. Don’t give in when they start crying to come into your bed, they will adapt to this too.

How To Keep Dog Off Bed in 10 Simple Steps

Is It Bad For A Dog To Sleep With You

It is not recommended that your dog sleeps with you. Some people actually wake up as the dog bites them.

This isn’t because your dog just decided to attack you but rather, you gave the dog a fright and his first reaction is self-defence. You can startle your dog by accidentally kicking them or rolling on top of them.

There is also the risk of transference of disease between you and your dog.

Although this is fairly rare.

Conclusion

Dogs have been our guard animals, our companions, and our family members for thousands of years.

This can allow us to assume that the bond between man and dog is almost second nature and predetermined at birth.

We have such a strong connection and sometimes, our dogs act in ways that make me think they are showing us that they understand that connection.

If your dog lays on you, it is probably nothing more than them bonding with you and using a routine to do it.

Stuart loves blogging about his hobbies and passions. Sir Doggie is a place for him to share what he learns while being a pet parent. Click here to read more.