Why Does My Dog Lay On Me?

why does my dog lay on me

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Do you feel like your dog is always laying on top of you?  While this is charming, it can also get hot and maybe even irritating for you and your family.  You might not feel the need to be so close but your dog obviously does!

So why is this? Why do dogs love laying on people?

Your dog may be feeling any combination of emotions when they lay on you.  They might feel affectionate, loving, and protective. Your dog could also be feeling anxious or cold!  Either way, they consider you part of the pack, and are keeping you close!

Let’s take a closer look at each reason so you can figure out which explanation makes the most sense for you and your pup!

Reason 1: Your Dog Is Showing Affection Towards You

Although this may seem obvious, sometimes when our dogs lie right on top of us, it doesn’t always feel loving.  We may feel hot, suffocated, and a little crowded.  While you want personal space, your dog might not agree, and getting as close to you as possible is a common way that dogs show affection

Dogs use physical touch to show affection and love.  They can do this with a nose bump, a quick cuddle, or by lying on you (sometimes even on your face).  By lying on you, your dog is communicating some positive things.  They are communicating trust, love, and usually respect.

So if you think your dog lays on you too much, think again!  I could just be their own way of saying “I Love You!”

Reason 2: Your Dog Is Protecting You

One thing that we can sometimes forget is that our furry friends are animals.  These animals specifically were domesticated to serve a purpose for humans!  Historically, many dogs had jobs like herding dogs, hunting dogs, and guard dogs  German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers are just a few examples of dogs that were bred to be protective.

If your dog was bred to be protective, this might be why your dog always lays on you.  

By laying on you, your dog is able to rest easy while also ensuring that you are not in danger. They can also immediately tell if you move since they’re literally on top of you. Some dogs may even position themselves between you and the door.  If a dog positions their body right next to yours, it could very well mean they are ready to jump into action if something threatens you. 

Laying on you gives your dog a sense of satisfaction for their “job” of keeping you safe.

Reason 3: Your Dog Is Seeking Comfort

On the opposite side of the spectrum from protective dogs, are nervous dogs!  Some dogs may experience anxiety or fear and seek comfort from their owners by being physically close to them.  

When your dog lays on you, do they seem alert and protective, or do they seem calm and relaxed?  Are their ears up and eyes open?  Or have they let their head fall and their eyes drift closed?

If your dog is relaxed while laying on you, they feel comfortable next to you.  Maybe your dog is anxious or worried about something.  Maybe they are afraid of a noise they just heard.  Either way the comfort of being close to their owner can be very calming to them.  Just like humans, dogs experience positive emotions from physical touch and weight.  

It is natural that an anxious dog finds comfort in being as close as possible to their owner!

Reason 4: You’re Warm and It’s Cold Outside

Did you move to a colder climate?  Or is it winter?  If so, your dog might decide to lay on you more than before so they can steal some body heat! Especially if your dog seems eager to squeeze between your legs or some other extra-warm nook!

It is very normal for dogs to experience effects from the weather just like we do, and at night they want to be warm and cozy too!  By laying on us, dogs are able to share our body heat.  

Smaller dogs are more negatively affected by harsh weather, but all dogs can get chilly.  If you know your dog’s weight, you can check with a professional to see what temperatures would be uncomfortable for them.  If they have short hair they are all more likely to become cold easily.  So if your dog is small with short hair, odds are good they get cold easily!

Laying on you could be a sign that your dog is not warm.  If this is the case with your dog, we can only hope that this is a mutually beneficial relationship and that by laying right on you or you feet, your dog is also warming you up!  Who doesn’t like a good snuggle buddy when the weather is bad outside?

Reason 5:  Your Dog Considers You To Be Part Of The Pack

Dogs are direct descendants of wolves and wolves are pack animals.  Pack animals display many traits and one of them is sharing a sleeping space.  This means that members of the pack will lay on each other all night long while they sleep.

This video shows a wolf pack in their den at night.  Notice how they all sleep together and lay side by side or on top of each other!  Imagine that you are one of the wolves in the pack!

After seeing this, you can see that your dog might still have some wolf-like instincts in their body. Because dogs do naturally follow their instincts they want to sleep with and lay all over their “wolf pack”.  You and your family usually make up your dog’s pack, especially if you run a one dog household.  

Reason 6:  Your Dog Love To Be Pet

The last thing to think about is whether there is any positive reinforcement you give when your dog lays on you.  Probably, you’re not giving your dog treats when they smother you, but maybe you are always petting your dog when they are close.

Not only do dogs love a good pet, they also form connections through physical touch!

Being pet is a very positive interaction for a dog and some dogs are more vocal about it than others.  If they lay on you and you pet them, that gives them even more of a reason to stay on you.   Perhaps your pup is looking for more petting and attention!   If they lay their entire body on you, that’s definitely one way to get it!

What Does All This Mean?

There are so many reasons why your dog wants to spend so much time laying near you. Your dog could be feeling protective, affectionate, anxious, cold, loyal, or cuddly!   How are you supposed to know which reason applies to you and your pet?

The answer might not be simple.  Your dog could be experiencing a combination of these things at different times for different reasons.   The best way to decide why your dog is doing this is to look for any changes in your routine or any things that are causing a change to your dog’s routine.  

Your Dog Is Probably Not Detecting Illness When They Lay On You

It is proven that dogs are able to detect many diseases through their noses whether they sniff your belly, your breath, or just about anything else. Not all dogs are trained to signal an owner when they smell a change in health but the most common way a dog will show that they detect an illness, like cancer, is by aggressively or obsessively sniffing a single area.

If all your dog is doing is laying on you in a relaxed state this is likely not something you need to worry about and most dogs aren’t going to just casually lay on you when they detect that something is wrong. 

Your Dog Is Probably Not Being Aggressive With You

If you think that your dog is showing aggressive behavior by laying on you, don’t worry about it too much.  Normal signs of aggression in dogs are growling, baring teeth, standing stiff, and making direct eye contact.  Did you dog knock you to the ground to get on you?  Is your dog doing any of these things while also laying on you?

Most likely your dog is not trying to be aggressive towards you by just laying on top of you.  Even though the weight of a whole dog can feel intimidating, it’s not meant to be.

Should You Worry If Your Dog Won’t Stop Laying On You?

Most of the reasons for your constant company are good reasons.  It is generally a positive thing that your dog wants to be close to you all the time.

However, if your dog is always cold or always anxious, those are things you should definitely address.  

Smaller dogs usually need layers when they go outside in cold climates.  It is important to keep your pet comfy outside and in the house.  You could consider buying a nice fluffy bed for your dog so they feel warm on their own.  You could also get your dog a nice warm sweater to wear inside during the colder months.  This dog pullover is a super cute and comfy option found on Amazon and can help some smaller pups stay warm.

If you think your dog can’t stay away from you because they are anxious, you need to think about what is giving your dog anxiety.  Is there any rescheduling you can do to spend more time with your dog?  Your dog might benefit from more consistency!  Outdoor walks are important for human and doggy mental health, so it’s also important to make sure you get outside once a day!

So, What’s The Takeaway?

If you have a cuddly dog who likes to lay on you, you’re in luck!  There most likely are no big problems to worry about.  The odds say that your dog is trying to communicate something positive to you.  Or they might be receiving something good from the act of laying on you. 

Either way you can rest assured that your pup is laying on you because more than anything they just love you!