why does my dog lay on me
Category_Dog Knowledge

Why Does My Dog Lay on Me? Is Something Wrong?

by Andrew Ehlert

Dogs will often claim whatever space they feel entitled to, even one on top of their owner. Dog owners often become accustomed to this behavior. Sometimes, the space is on their owner’s chest or their laps. This closeness might be a habit, but have you ever wondered why dogs like to lay on their owners?

Dogs will snuggle with their owners for many reasons. Some dogs are affectionate and want to show their love and respect given they see you as the pack leader. It is pretty common for your furry friend to want to share your personal space.

Reasons Why Dogs Lay on Their Owners

Dogs are born into litters and are used to having several siblings to snuggle with. As they grow older and are adopted into a forever home, they want the security that comes with closeness. Canines will often lay on their owners to protect what they love.

Most dog owners appreciate these bonding experiences with their canine companions. Cuddling with your dog can be calming, and it can create a sense of security for the owner and the dog.

Warmth and Comfort

One reason that dogs love to lay on their owners is for extra warmth. You might find that your furry friend is looking for extra cuddles late at night or early in the morning, and they are simply seeking a warm place.

You might find your pet climbing into your lap after being outside when it is cold or rainy, and they are usually searching for a warm, dry place to nap.

It would help if you considered adding a blanket to their bed or where they usually sleep. Their sleeping area should be adequately heated.

Reinforce the Behavior

Many dog owners reinforce certain behaviors without even realizing it. When your dog started laying on top of you, it was probably natural to scratch his head or give him a belly rub. In your dog’s mind, you rewarded him for snuggling.

To discourage your dog from laying on you, you will have to redirect him. Gently pushing him away with a firm “no” is the first step. Bring your dog to his sleeping area and reward him with a treat and snuggles.

Seeking Attention

Your dog may be lonely. If you have been away from home, you may find your dog lying on you because he has missed you. Dogs are social animals, and when left alone, they can become lonely, just like humans. They seek your attention, and dogs need the security of knowing their owner loves them.

Spending a few minutes giving your dog some extra attention when arriving home will help ease their loneliness.


Dogs are protective of their humans, some more than others. If they sense a threat, dogs will often lay on their owners. Sometimes, the danger might be a car backfiring or someone unfamiliar with entering their home. Whether the threat is real or perceived, dogs have the instinct to protect their two-legged pack leader.

On the other hand, your dog may be looking for protection, and they might want you to protect them from the rumbles of thunder, fireworks, loud voices or any other loud noises that frighten them. In many cases, owners will find their dogs trembling with fear, and these dogs will require some soothing to calm them.


Like human siblings, dogs can get jealous of their pet siblings. Your dog may lay on you to take your attention away from the other animals in the home. When giving attention to animals, giving each animal an equal amount of cuddles is crucial.


Some dogs are more affectionate than others. Some dogs are happy to lay in their owners’ laps all day. Usually, these are smaller breeds. These dogs require a great deal of attention.

Food or Treats

Laying on you might be a simple reminder that it is time for a treat or supper. Dogs will sometimes lay on their owners if they want something. They might be trying to convince you that it is time to go for a walk or a drive in the car.

Mood Changes

Dogs become attached to their owners and quickly sense their mood changes. If they feel their owners are sad or upset, they will often lay on them to comfort them.


A reason your dog may be laying on you that might cause concern is anxiety. Some dogs from shelters, puppy mills, or that have once been stray may suffer from anxiety.

It is challenging to deal with some of the behaviors exhibited by dogs who suffer from anxiety. Anxious dogs require a great deal of patience and understanding. Dogs suffering from anxiety can have aggressive outbursts against specific people or objects. They will often require attention from their human caregiver to soothe them.

Dogs suffering from anxiety can often be treated with antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication that your veterinarian can prescribe.

Establish a Routine

Dogs are creatures of habit. It is best to choose a specific time of the day when you can give your dog your undivided attention, and you can invite your pet into your lap and give them some uninterrupted snuggle time.

Dogs will soon recognize the routine and expect his cuddle time at a particular time. You should choose a time that you can commit to regularly. Once dogs have been accustomed to a routine, it is tough to change their expectations.

For the most part, dogs laying on their owners is perfectly normal, and it is their way of showing that they love you. They also want to feel loved, so they require that physical touch.

Dogs will often nudge you with their noses while lying on you because they want you to pet them or give them belly rubs. These physical touches soothe them and make them feel secure. There is nothing better than the bond between a dog and its human.

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