Why Does My Dog Lay on Me? [7 Reasons]

“Why does my dog lay on me?” is one of the most asked online questions. While dogs will always have a way of being loved even when they’re not trying, some people prefer having their dog somewhere else but not lying on top of them.

Dogs share their love with us in many ways, and one of the most common ways is by laying on us! Yes, this behavior can be annoying sometimes, but it’s also a sign that your dog is just as affectionate as you are and probably wants some attention from you. 

So if your dog isn’t showing signs of aggression when she gets on top of you or wrapped around your legs while you’re trying to walk through the house, then learning why it happens might help make the situation better.

why does my dog lay on me?

Why Does My Dog Lay on Top of Me

Ever wondered, “Why does my dog always lay on me?” Well, below are 7 reasons: 

1. Your Dog Wants to Bond with You

From an early age, we have known dogs to be social animals (one of the reasons why we love them). Whenever you are around, your dog will always want to be close to you. That’s why, when your dog is lying on top of you, he’s not just trying to get comfortable; he’s trying to bond with you.

You will notice if you always feed your dog, they will give you unconditional love in return. Being on top of you strengthens the bond.

2. Your Dog Is Asking for Affection

Affection is the most apparent reason why dogs lay on their owners. Dogs love their owners. To show affection, they will need to be close to you all day long.

Unlike humans, dogs know nothing about personal space. Hence, they will always be on top of you to replenish the strong bond. Letting your dog do this will make them feel their presence is appreciated and that you intend to reciprocate their love. 

Your dog will also lick you to confirm that they are being affectionate. Experts equate licking to human kisses. The next time your dog tries to get on top of you and licks you, show them some love.

wondering why does my dog always lay on me?
Laughing mixed race girl bonding with a 6-week-old black and white great Dane puppy laying on her.

3. Your Dog Is Trying to Tell You Something’s Wrong

While dogs have a great sense of smell, they are limited in expressing what is happening in their world. Your dog will try to tell you that something is wrong by getting on top of your lap. Whether it’s an illness or injury, or even just an unfamiliar smell, they will let their owners know.

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They may have had an accident and need extra attention, or they may just be stressed out from all the changes that have been happening in their life lately. Whatever it is, your dog wants you to know about it. But dogs can’t talk, so your dog will try to get your attention by laying on you until you figure out what’s happening with them.

4. Safety and Comfort

If your dog lays on you more often, they might be seeking assurance from you that they are safe or trying to be comfortable.

A new study shows that sudden noise from common household appliances like a microwave and vacuum can trigger your dog’s behavior.

Some of the things that disturb dogs leading them to seek asylum in your arms, include the following:

  • Loud music
  • Shouting
  • Fireworks
  • Backfiring cars
  • Grinders and blenders
  • Parades
  • Explosions

They can also lay on you to feel safe and comfortable. Your dog can sense a sudden change in mood. If you are upset, worried, or crying, your dog will detect a variation in vocalization and scent. Dogs also recognize human emotions.

Once your dog senses you are depressed, sad, or unhappy, it will try to comfort you by laying on top of you, a sign that they are always there for you.

5. Feeling Anxious

According to the University of California research, people will likely underestimate their dog’s anxiety. Most dogs from shelter facilities, puppy mills, rescue homes, or adopted stray dogs exhibit signs of trauma and post-traumatic stress Disorder(PTSD). PTSD affects dogs and people after surviving a traumatic or near-death experience in their puppyhood or childhood.

Anxious dogs are prone to being violent or angry toward a specific trait, like short people or loud music. They will also seek shelter in calm places or lay on their owners to soothe their anxiety.

If your dog lays on top of you more often and you suspect they are suffering from anxiety, talk to your veterinarian. 

6. Is Sick or Detecting Illness

If your dog is sick or in pain, it may seek comfort from you by trying to lay on top of you. Some signs of possible discomfort include the following:

  • Your dog whines when getting up or lying down
  • He walks with a limp
  • He seems stiff or sore after exercise or playtime
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Another rare but likely reason your dog will suddenly start to lay on you is their ability to know when you are sick. While not all dogs can detect illness, research shows pet dogs have a strong bond with their caregivers. In the long run, the dog’s sense of smell gets responsive to you.

Hence, there are chances that dogs can detect the following conditions:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Malaria

Some dogs can detect seizures and try to alert the owner of the impending seizure occurrence. Seizure-alert dogs undergo training to move the owner to safety before they occur.

The video below is of Colt, a service dog. His owner had a bad seizure seven years ago, so she set up a camera, hoping to record how it all goes down. She was reading when Colt came to alert her. Colt, her dog, lays his head on her and then puts his body on her, trying to hold her down. Her dog also paws her after getting her attention, and then holds her down.

These occurrences truly marvel at what your dog can do, but it shouldn’t be a cause for alarm if your dog lays on you. While you can see your doctor for a checkup, it’s infrequent that your furry friend will detect an illness in you.

7. A Sign of Respect and Initiation

Your dog lays its head on you as a sign of honour. When street and wild dogs initiate other dogs into the pack, they will lay on each other to show respect.

why does my dog lay on me?
Portraits of a dog laying his paws on a lady at home

If a dog likes to lay its paws on you in a docile and calm manner, it shows its acceptance of your love. Other signs that your dog lays on you out of love include the following:

  • Resting their head on you 
  • An entirely still or wagging their tail slowly
  • Relaxed ears
  • Half-closed or closed eyes
  • Snoring or breathing slowly and then heavily

If you wonder, “Why does my dog lay on me” and eventually fall asleep, they trust or love and are comfortable letting their guard down when with you. They feel safe and can relax on your lap.

Why You Should Let Your Dog Lay on You

  1. Alleviates insomnia
  2. Better sleep
  3. Enhances heart health
  4. When your dog lays its head on top of your lap, it helps lower your stress levels
  5. Keeps you warm
  6. Lowers your body temperature
  7. Makes you feel safe, happy, and loved
  8. Relaxes your body
  9. Promotes better sleep
  10. It’s fun
  11. Strengthens bond
  12. Dogs give you company
  13. Reduces depression
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5 Ways to Stop Your Dog from Laying on Top of You

Dogs love to lay on their owners. However, they may end up with hip or back issues if they regularly lay on top of you. If you decide you do not like it, you can keep your dog from laying on you by encouraging it to lay elsewhere by doing the following:

#1. Ensure your dog has a comfortable place where it can lie down. If they have their spot in the home, they won’t feel like they must lay on top of you.

#2. Make sure your dog is well-exercised before bedtime. If tired, they’ll be less likely to jump onto the bed or couch with you.

#3. Keep blankets and pillows off the floor so that there’s no temptation for your dog to jump up next to them while lying down near where they sleep at night.

#4. Ensure your dog has plenty of toys to play with and chew on while they’re home alone. This will help them use some energy so they won’t need to rely on you as an outlet for boredom.

#5. Make sure the environment around your dog is safe. Remove all lying around objects that will pose a choking hazard or anything that could cause injury to your dog when playing.

 Just like children, dogs are sensitive to their environment and emotions. Hence, at Pet Grail, we encourage you to treat them with empathy for the best behavioural outcomes. 

Verdict: Why Does My Dog Lay On Me?

Your dog may be trying to tell you something or just want some attention. If he’s lying on top of you, it’s best not to overthink. 

However, ensure your dog does not suffer from any medical condition or anxiety and their emotions are not hurt. Otherwise, go ahead and cuddle them. After all, one of the benefits of having a dog is playing around with them and keeping you company. If you have any questions you would like us to address in our next blog, Contact Us!

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AUTHOR

Enock Baraka

BIO

Enock Baraka is an award-winning freelance writer and pet enthusiast with 5+ years of experience in copywriting and website content creation. Before he started writing, Enock got a diploma in journalism and a degree in Education Science with IT. After that, he enrolled in a Digital Marketing Course at Coursera just to get what it takes to be an SEO. He then did a handful of courses that have seen him work with several content mills, businesses, and website owners. He now writes full-time. Enock contributes to multi-niche blogs that cover pets, cannabis, vapes, and any topic you would think of in multi-media. He has a dog named Jayden and is an uncle to every dog in the neighbourhood. In his free time, he loves creating fresh content for his audience. You can also Hire me.

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