7 Reasons Why Your Dog Always Wants To Lay On Top Of You

For most dogs, an empty lap is a waste of cuddling opportunity and will jump on top of you without any hesitation. While some find this comforting, others feel squished by their furry friend’s weight. Nonetheless, this trend is common and widely accepted as an expression of affection. 

But what motivates your dog to lay on top of you?

This article will take you through everything you need to know about your cuddle buddy. 

Why Does My Dog Always Lay On Top of Me?

Your dog will lay on you to get your attention or protect you. Naturally, when dogs detect danger, their protective instinct automatically kicks in. Additionally, you may unintentionally encourage the habit by always inviting them to climb on you. 

Why Does My Dog Sleep on Top of Me?

Your dog may sleep on you to show affection or when it senses that you’re comfortable with the act. But in some cases, dogs may also lay on their owners because of separation anxiety. What’s more, dogs enjoy the warmth they get from your body. Or they want to lick your face to demonstrate their love.  

7 Reasons Why Your Dog Wants to Lay On You (Even When You Sleep)

#1: Your Dog Finds You More Comfortable and Warm

Dogs always look for comfortable places to relax—on the couch, on your bed, on the carpet, and even on top of you. 


If you and your canine buddy are mostly together, they’ll climb on you to prevent you from getting away.  


Sometimes, dogs may also find laying on their owners more comforting than their bed. 


This is particularly more common in smaller breed dogs with less hair. The heat that your body generates invites them to climb on top of you—easily noticeable over the winter. To stay warm, your furry friend will always want to cuddle with you. 

#2: You Encourage the Behavior

Whenever your dog climbs on you and you reward them immediately by caressing them or constantly kissing them, they get fond of the habit. 


For a dog, such treats reassure them that you enjoy their company. Since you don’t reproach them when they climb on you, they’ll figure out that you want them to always climb on top of you. 


Keep in mind: Your responses are more like rewards for laying on you. And if they don’t get scolded each time they do it, the habit is reinforced.

#3: Your Dog Is Protective of You

You develop a close relationship with your dog over time.


With time, they’ll start regarding you as one of them. As a result, they will feel compelled to protect you from any threats.


However, not all dogs are the same. While some dog breeds are more protective, others may take off whenever they feel that your life and theirs are in danger.

Protective Dog #1

When comparing the protective levels between a German Shepherd and Goldendoodle, most people will, without thinking much, pick the former as the most protective dog breed. 


But that is not so. The Goldendoodle is more protective than the German Shepherd.


The Goldendoodle’s protective instinct will always kick in when they perceive even the slightest threat to their owners. For instance, they’ll readily attack a person just for arguing with their owners. 


Moreover, they’ll always protect whatever belongs to their owners, such as livestock or any other property. 


On the other hand, while the German Shepherd is protective, they’ll always avoid physical attacks. Alternatively, they would stare down at the perceived attacker till they back down or until they’re commanded to attack.


Protective Dog #2

A dog may also try to scare away other dogs who do not necessarily want to attack their owners. For instance, a pug would bark and growl at a Great Dane trying to get closer to its owner.


Dogs have varying protective instincts. However, we can all agree that every dog breed comes with a protective instinct—their impulse to show care and defend their owners from any perceived threat.

Protective Out of Jealousy

Is it possible that your canine buddy is protecting you out of jealousy? 


When you have many dogs, they’ll scramble for your attention. For instance, they’ll growl and bark when any one of them tries to come to you. Or some will get agitated when you give other dogs more attention. 


Surprisingly, according to research by PLOS One in 2014, dogs also get jealous. 


The study examined 36 dogs, in which dog owners were directed to avoid their dogs and focus on other things—other things included a kid’s book, plastic jack-o’-lantern, and a toy dog. 


The study determined that the dogs got jealous. The jealousy was more evident when their owner caressed and showed care to the toy dog as though it was real.


Additionally, more than 80% of the studied dogs sniffed the toy’s buttocks, implying that they were certain that the toys were real dogs.


However, they did not display the same reaction when the owner was engaged with the jack-o’-lantern or the children’s book. 


The study also found that the Goldendoodle breed was the most jealous. 

#4: Your Dog Wants Attention

Dogs are social beings, and they sometimes do stuff to get their owners’ attention, which can be too much and irritating at times. 


This is more common in puppies. 


However, as they get older, their attention-seeking strategies might become grating. Some may even bark at their owners if they feel ignored. The following are the common behaviours that dogs display when they want your attention:


  • Pawing
  • Stealing
  • Licking
  • Poking
  • Clinging
  • Barking
  • Nipping
  • Restlessness
  • Climbing on you

Why Dogs Engage in Attention-Seeking Behaviors

Regularly, dogs want their owners’ attention and engagement.


Sadly, some pooch parents might unintentionally reinforce undesirable habits in their pets. For example, you extend your hand for your pet when they brush up against your leg.


Another possible reason why your dog displays attention-seeking characteristics is because they’re bored. This can happen when:


  • They don’t get enough mental stimulation
  • They are not getting enough physical exercise
  • They are afraid and insecure

#5: Your Dog Is Devoted To You

Your canine friend can sometimes sleep on you as a way of showing you affection.

It may want to interact with you, especially when you’ve been off the entire day. As a result, laying on you is a quick and easy way to request your attention and time.


Furthermore, whenever your dog isn’t connected to you, they won’t approach you. However, they always try to get closer because of the strong bond.


Therefore, letting them stay on top of you has a significant impact on strengthening the bond between you and your canine buddy. What’s more, when the dog is close, it will possibly lick you, which also indicates affection.

It Makes Dogs Cheerful

When your dog lays on top of you, it will always be happy. This is a result of the oxytocin hormone. 


According to research, Oxytocin makes both the owner and the dog feel good. The hormones are released through warmth, touch and stroking, which most dog owners frequently do. 


Additionally, the hormones are released via eye contact when you stare into your pet’s eyes, your cardiac bursts.


Furthermore, the study also says that OxytocinOxytocin has anti-stress properties. Glucocorticoid—a stress hormone—is low in both humans and dogs.


Besides, OxytocinOxytocin builds on social interactions by improving eye contact face memory and reducing depression. It is also an anti-aggression hormone.

#6: Separation Anxiety

Pet owners find it hard to abandon their furry friends at home.


On the other hand, the dogs also find it challenging, particularly those who struggle with anxiety issues.


Separation anxiety happens when the individual is attached to is not present. So whenever dog owners are not present, your dear fido will not be as active as usual. 


According to studies, below are the most prevalent dangerous patterns of behaviour that dogs might show while suffering from separation anxiety:


  • Destruction.
  • Abnormal vocalization; barking and whining


The following are examples of less common traits:


  • Pacing
  • Salivation
  • Trembling
  • Depression
  • Over-grooming
  • Trying to escape
  • Inappropriate abolition


Separation anxiety increases after a dog notices the absence of the owner. But when the owner returns, the dog becomes too excited. They may sometimes express their delight by laying on top of you.

#7: Need Assistance

Although your dogs cannot communicate verbally, they can still convey their demands and desires in various ways. As a dog owner, you must have the ability to decode these signs.


Some owners claim that their dogs occasionally desire to be around them. They might sit on top of you to convey a message if they need anything. However, the dog may have hidden intentions at times. 


For example, it would want to play with you. Alternatively, the dog may decide to gnaw on rawhide, indicating the need for food or water. Or Perhaps it may want to move out of the house for a morning or evening stroll.

3 Hacks to Stop Your Dog From Laying on Top of You

#1: Crate Train Using Positive Reinforcement

Crate training is the most effective approach to prevent your dog from resting on top of you. 

You can train them to lay on their bed. And here is how to go about it:


  • Check to see if the bed is at a suitable level of comfort. They should feel pleasure while sleeping.
  • Place their crate away from foot traffic in a corner. It has to be a calm place for them to relax and also be able to keep an eye on your family.
  • While giving your dog a treat, ensure they stand next to their crate.
  • Entice them by rewarding them to lay down on their bed
  • Continue to train them until they understand that laying down in their box earns them a reward.


Crate training helps solve anxiety issues, as the dog will know that their bedding is a safer environment, and they can always have a comfortable rest while away.

#2: Avoid Reinforcing Negative Behaviors

Dogs are intelligent beings. They’ll learn to do something better if they get rewarded. 


So, if you don’t like them hopping on you every time, you should instantly stop them the next time they try to. 


However, remember to be gentle while stopping them. They are also emotional and will feel rejected. 


You can allow them to come close, but only to the distance, you want. For example, close to your feet or sit on the couch close to you. 

#3: Encourage the Behavior for the Good Reasons

It is not always wrong to allow your furry friend to lay on you. However, you should only allow them for the appropriate reasons and strictly under your terms and conditions. 


Allow your dog if you find it to be comfortable. Besides, this might lead to a stronger bond.


If you like your dog climbing on you, you should train them to do so on your terms. For instance, if you say ‘no’ or ‘off,’ they should obey your instruction.


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