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You’re laying on your bed or couch and your fur baby comes over to join you in that comfortable spot. Next thing you know, your dog places their head on your neck and has fallen asleep!
It doesn’t seem like the most normal thing to do, and you might suddenly find yourself asking the question, “Why does my dog lay on my neck?”
Your dog could be sleeping on your neck to show you affection, or because it’s a comfortable and warm spot to sleep on. Your dog might be doing it out of habit, or they might be expressing separation anxiety, thus seeking attention or safety, but they could also be marking you as theirs.
Let’s take a deeper dive into these reasons and some other reasons why your dog sleeps on your neck!
Reason 1: Your Dog Is Showing Their Affection And Trust In You
As dog owners, we love our dogs so much, we want to spend as much time with them as possible. It shouldn’t be surprising that our dogs would want to do the same and be as close to you as they can!
Your dog might lay and sleep on your neck because they want to show their affection and trust in you.
Dogs can’t communicate with us in the same way humans communicate with each other. They can tell us how they feel using body language and their actions.
By being close to you and wanting to stay near you as much as possible, such as laying on your neck, your dog could be trying to show how much they love you and appreciate you for taking care of them.
Every dog has their own way of showing their affection toward their owner just as people have different ways of showing how much they care about someone.
For example, while your dog might sleep on your neck, a pitbull could have another way to show affection such as leaning on their owner. Rottweilers and Great Danes could show affection in similar and different ways as well.
No matter how strange it may seem, the next time your pup decides to take a nap on your neck, they could be showing you how much they love and trust you!
Reason 2: It’s Comfortable And Warm
Our dogs can find the strangest places comfortable. While we might not agree with their choices of places to nap, we can certainly be that place of comfort.
Your dog might sleep on your neck because it is comfortable and warm for them. Your neck might be the best place for your dog to lay or sleep because they can perfectly fit their snout on there!
Your dog might also sleep on your neck because it’s warm and they find the warmth comforting, especially when it’s a little chilly.
Laying on your neck could also be similar to laying with the pack. Your dog most likely sees you be a member of their pack and sleeping with or laying near you is only natural to them and their ancestral instincts that were passed down from wolves that lived in the wild.
Reason 3: Your Dog Feels Safer With You
Similar to being comfortable physically, your dog also wants to feel comfortable mentally. So, your puppy might sleep or lay on your neck because they feel safe with you.
Your presence and knowing that you are there can make your pup feel safer. They might find that simply having physical contact with you, such as laying on your neck, lets them know that they can count on you to keep them safe from any harm that may come while they are napping.
There are other things that dogs can do to make themselves feel safer. Besides sleeping on your neck, you might find your pup denning in places such as under a desk or in their own crate.
Your might even find your dog just sleeping by your head. They might just want to sleep on your bed with you too!
Check out this video of a pup waiting to get on the bed with her owner:
Reason 4: Your Dog Is Trying To Protect You
Our dogs often see us as a part of their pack as mentioned previously. There are many ways they show that you are part of the pack and some of those ways might seem a bit strange to us!
Your dog might lay on your neck because they are trying to protect you.
As many people know, dogs are descendants of wolves. Wolves in the wild have the instinct to protect their pack and stay close to them in order to survive.
However, according to Dr. Coren’s article, a canine psychologist and behaviorist, dogs might not have begun to be attached to their owners as if they are part of the pack until later on in the domestication process.
This was assumed to result in dogs becoming more attached to their owners and showing signs of attachment.
It may be a combination between your dog’s natural instincts and the instincts passed down from early domestication that result in your dog sleeping on your neck in order to protect you as if you are their pack member and that they care about you!
Reason 5: Your Dog Is Marking You As Theirs
Similar to the previous reason why your dog might sleep on your neck, your dog might want to tell other dogs that you are their human!
Your dog might lay on your neck because they are marking you as their human.
Dogs use their sense of smell to navigate around their surroundings. Their sense of smell is estimated to be at least 1,000 times to 10,000 times better than humans according to this article from the Veterinary Centers of America.
To dogs, everyone and everything has its own scent to help them identify who and what was in a spot.
By laying on your neck and even sleeping on your neck, your dog could be trying to leave their scent on you. That way, other dogs will know that you were with your pup before.
If you’ve spent some time with your friend’s dog, your dog will be able to tell just by the scent you bring home!
If you notice that your pup tends to lay or sleep on your neck after you’ve spent some time with other animals, your pup may be doing it to give their scent back to you and let others know that you are their human.
Reason 6: Your Dog Wants Attention
While many dog owners tend to call their dogs their “fur babies,” our dogs can really act similar to human babies!
One of the similarities between your dog and a human kid is that they both really like having your attention!
Your dog might lay on your neck because they want attention.
Just as dogs have different ways to gain our attention, they also have different reasons why they want our attention.
While the most reasonable answer would be that your dog lays on your neck to ask for attention from the person who gives them food, your dog might want attention because they feel that you do not give enough throughout the day.
Dogs need to exercise both physically and mentally and they need your help to do both. Spending more time with your pup and doing a few activities each day can provide them with the mental stimulation they need to keep their mind sharp.
Without mental stimulation, your pup might get bored all the time and frustrated that they have nothing to do. They may start to exhibit attention-seeking behaviors in order to ask for help to stay happy and healthy!
Check out this video of a beagle wanting more attention from their owner:
Reason 7: It Is Part Of Their Routine
Dogs can form their own routines, like laying in the sun in a certain spot at a certain time of the day every day. Or they might start hanging around the door when it’s time to walk them.
Having a routine not only helps your dog stay on track with their day, but it can also help you reduce stress and enhance your mental health according to this article!
So, don’t be surprised if your dog has learned that the best place to sleep is on your neck.
It’s also possible that you as an owner reinforced this behavior by letting them take a nap there in the first place.
Perhaps the first few times you did it your dog was just a tiny puppy, but that place has stuck with them ever since.
If this is a habit you don’t like then you will have to train your dog to sleep somewhere else instead of your neck!
Reason 8: Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
It’s not uncommon for our dogs to want to be with us as much as possible. However, there may be a time when our dogs feel like they need to be with us, or else they can’t do anything else.
Your puppy might sleep or lay on your neck because they have separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is your dog feels stressed, anxious, and helpless when away from the person or animal they feel attached to.
It can be normal for dogs to feel a little nervous when left alone for a while, but if you notice that your dog is constantly showing signs of anxiety and destruction when you’re not around, your pup may have separation anxiety.
Besides constantly laying and sleeping on your neck and refusing to leave, other signs of separation anxiety could be pottying in the house when they normally do not, being destructive when left alone, and showing repetitive behaviors.
You might notice that they might not want to leave your side all of a sudden.
Why Does My Puppy Lay On My Neck?
It can be very hard to not want to hold and hug your furry companion every time you see them no matter what size they are, but that feeling can be extra strong when they are a puppy!
This can easily result in your new puppy falling asleep on you and as they try to get comfy they might choose your neck to sleep on. Watch this adorable video of a dog sleeping on their owner’s neck while cuddling:
Of course, your puppy might find that spot, not just physically comforting, but also warm, so they will look for it the next time you’re cuddling. I also want to add that all the above reasons can be applicable to your puppy, including feeling anxious.
If your puppy is experiencing separation anxiety they might look for the spot that makes them feel like you’re closer than ever, and the neck is definitely one of those spots!
Our dogs and pups can do some very strange things sometimes! Somethings we don’t pay attention to but when we do, we realize how strange our dogs can be like when they lay on our necks.
Our dogs often do things for a reason and it can interesting to discover what our pups are trying to tell us through their actions.
The better we understand our dogs’ behaviors, the better we can meet their needs and communicate with them!