You’ve finished all your daily tasks and finally have time to rest.
You lie on your bed and scroll through your phone.
Then your pooch enters the room.
They decided to make you their personal bed.
Might as well change your name to “Mattress”, right?
Even if you don’t mind, it can get you thinking, “Why do they lay on top of me?”
Read more to find out:
- 13 reasons why your dog lays on top of you.
- 3 tips on how to make your dog refrain from laying on top of you.
- What this behavior means when it comes to your dog-parent relationship.
- And much much more…
Why does my dog lay on top of me?
Your dog lays on top of you because they’re either trying to protect you, get your attention, or they got scared of something. They might also need comfort from you. Another reason would be a reinforcement of the behavior through rewards that you may have unwittingly given to them.
13 reasons why your dog lays on top of you
#1: They got scared
The world is a huge place for your pooch and it can get scary for them sometimes.
It’s not like your fur baby can see their environment and perceive it like you do.
People they don’t know look like giant statues. But to you they’re just normal-sized humans.
Some may even be just your friends.
Think about this.
If you hear something drop in your kitchen at 2 am you’d be a little bit scared too, right?
Could be an intruder.
Or worse, it’s Sadako from the horror movie “The Ring”.
This is how it is with your pooch, too.
Not that they’re scared of ghosts and monsters but they do get frightened by the world around them.
And when they do, they try to look for you for help.
“What can I do to help them calm down?”
Dr. Klein suggests putting your hand on your dog can help them calm down.
Not pat, but just placing it on their head, back, or belly is a huge help.
Obedience training can also be helpful when your pooch is scared.
You can use this to redirect their attention when you give cues such as:
- “Play dead.”
- “Shake hands.”
You should also avoid saying things like “good boy” and “I love you” while they are scared.
This might reinforce the behavior, and your pooch might think you’re rewarding them for acting scared.
#2: They want your attention
Our pooch loves getting our love and care in whatever shape, way, or form.
Even a quick hello from you and a treat can already make their day.
I mean, have you seen how their tail wags when you come home?
This can also happen even if you’re at home with your pooch chilling.
“I’m already in her vicinity, why does she need to lay on me?”
Well, laying on you is just one way they’ll try to get your attention.
They would also do the following:
This is pretty common doggy behavior.
“But why do they do this?”
They want to play with you
Exercise and other physical activities are essential to your pooch’s health.
Especially if you have an energetic working dog.
Here are a few exercises you can do if you have a pooch that loves going outside:
- Hiking on trails.
- Obedience tests.
- Playing fetch with them.
- Running with you while you cycle.
For indoor pooches, there are also activities that you can do with them:
- Stair runs.
- Jumping through hula hoops.
Look at this active baby playing with hoops:
Note: Getting short, consistent, and regulated exercise is better for your pooch. Keeping your dog sedentary and exercising with them for long hours on the weekend might not be beneficial, according to Dr. Wosar.
Your dog might have been wanting to play with you all day long.
But if you were preoccupied due to emergencies and other urgent matters, then grabbing your attention is inevitable.
They are feeling hungry
It might be feeding time.
Or maybe even just a quick snack in between activities.
Whatever the reason for your pooch’s hunger, it’s important that you address it.
“But I feed them on time.”
Well, let’s look into other possible first.
Two major reasons why they get hungry is either:
- There’s a lack in the amount of food they eat.
- The nutrients aren’t enough for them.
It would be best to get your vet’s opinion regarding the amount of food your pooch should eat.
You should also take note that active dogs will demand more food and nutrition to fuel their busy bodies.
Size and age are other things that you need to look at when deciding on the food intake of your pooch.
#3: They’re trying to be affectionate
Cuddles, licks, resting their head on you – all these are ways your pooch would show affection towards you.
They are loving creatures, no doubt.
And they show this to you in every way possible.
That’s why, even if it gets hot or maybe even inconveniences them, they’d still lay on top of you.
There are several other ways they do this such as:
If your dog sees you as a part of their pack, it is normal for them to care for you.
Physical affection is a common behavior in canines that show affection towards each other.
You can see this even in simple scenarios like going to the park.
Dogs will sniff and cuddle with other dogs that they like.
Check out also: Top 10 Reasons Why Dogs Are So Affectionate In The Morning
#4: You trained them to do this
There are certain behaviors that our dogs do because of us.
And one of the reasons why they do these actions is because you conditioned them to repeat the behavior.
“Condition? I don’t think so.”
Well, it may have been accidental or involuntary.
According to research, dogs who had reward-based training scored higher in behavioral tests.
Changing your dog’s behavior is better when rewards are given.
Now, when your pooch lays on top of you, what do you usually do?
Maybe even give them treats?
These are all rewards. And whatever the behavior your dog did prior to receiving these will be reinforced.
In this case, laying on top of you.
The more you do it, the higher the chance that your pooch will repeat the behavior.
#5: It makes them happy
Being physically present with the people you love fills you with joy.
Celebrating wins would always be better when friends and family surround you. Or in other words – by those who truly care for you.
It’s normal human behavior to want to be around those you care for.
And that’s how it is for dogs, too.
They love you and want to physically be with you for the most part of their day.
Their brain also tells them to be with you.
Laying on top of you releases oxytocin.
This hormone is a chemical that your pooch’s brain releases when they interact with you.
It’s widely known as the “love hormone” and is correctly named so.
When your pooch engages in a “loving” behavior like cuddling and laying on top of you, they’ll have a surge of this chemical.
According to research, oxytocin makes your pooch more open to socializing.
This could either be with other pets and humans alike.
These interactions are then going to be the foundation in building loving relationships.
#6: They need something from you
Being the main provider of their needs, it’s inevitable that they go to you if they need your help.
Have you ever seen your pooch’s puppy eyes?
Oh, I know how you feel when they whip out those bad boys.
Whatever they ask in this world, I’m sure you’re going to give it to them.
It’s like they got magic, right?
Add to that the fact that they just laid on top of you – I mean up close puppy eyes?
Gets my knees weak.
Now, what could they need from you?
Our pooch loves to play around with their toys.
However, because of their energetic nature, their playthings might get stuck.
It could be under the couch and they need your help to come get it.
Dogs love your smell.
It has a very unique imprint on their minds and they associate it with all the good things you provide.
On a regular basis, they would smell you.
It’s one of the ways they try to learn more about you and build a relationship with you.
Dogs really do have weird tastes when it comes to scents.
You might even find some of them rolling in dead animals for their smell.
Pets and rubs
Another reason why your pooch climbs up on you and lays on top of you is because they’re poaching for your rubs.
It might be nothing to you but your fur baby might be thinking that it is the best one out there.
World-class level back and belly rubs.
They’d also be getting their hair follicles stimulated. It’s similar to us getting a head massage.
Ever saw your pooch roll their eyes back when you pet them?
It’s almost like an immediate response to your touch.
Yep, that’s how good it feels to them.
#7: They feel anxious
There are a lot of behaviors in dogs that stem from anxiety.
And one of them is laying on top of you.
Especially if it has become a repetitive behavior.
Feeling separation anxiety is pretty common in canines.
According to the AKC, this can affect all dog breeds.
However, the manifestation of anxiety in each dog is different.
“What could be causing my dog’s anxiety?”
The Merck Vet Manual states that there are 3 major causes why your dog feels this way.
It could either be due to:
This may be induced by loud noises, new environments, or meeting new pets and humans.
If your dog is unfamiliar with something, they may be afraid to interact with it.
You’ll also see this behavior when they hear thunder and vacuum machines.
We fur parents are familiar with how they act when they hear these things.
With aging comes the deterioration of their eyesight.
Another health issue that could come up when dogs grow old is cognitive dysfunction syndrome.
The AKC says that this condition can be compared to Alzheimer’s Disease.
Which can also lead to memory loss.
As a result, they could also experience declined learning capabilities. And general confusion of their surroundings.
Separation anxiety happens when a dog isn’t comfortable being left alone for a period of time.
While it’s true that dogs love being with us, this condition will manifest differently.
They can become unruly, aggressive, and destructive.
Further reading: 17 Reasons Why Your Dog Is So Clingy All Of Sudden + 7 Tips
#8: They feel sick
Just like humans, dogs sometimes run to their humans to get help for any health-related issues.
I used to go out and call for my mom whenever I felt sick. Or when I scratched my knees playing outside.
As to your dog…
Whenever they are not feeling well, one of the things they’d do is go to you and ask for help.
One common health condition dogs feel is tummy problems.
They might have the following:
- Abdominal pains.
Try to check if you have made a recent change in your dog’s diet.
An abrupt shift in what your dog eats can have a negative effect on their tummy.
As a general rule, the AKC suggests that the transition should last between 5-7 days.
The breakdown of the change should as listed below:
- 1st day: 75% old food + 25% new food.
- 3rd day: 50% old food + 50% new food.
- 5th day: 25% old food + 75% new food.
- 7th day: 100% new food.
You might also want to know: 13 Effective Tips To Get A Sick Dog To Drink Water (Fast)
#9: They are trying to protect you
As a part of their pack, your pooch is inclined to protect you from harm.
Or from any animal or human that they see as a threat to your safety.
The pack mentality is evident and is pretty common in dogs.
They got this behavior from their ancestors who used to travel in groups.
These groups also hunt and survive together in the wild.
Is your dog trying to protect you?
That just means they see you as someone valuable to them.
“Wait, I heard they do this to be dominant, too.”
Well, that’s not quite true.
According to Dr. Horwitz, there has been no evidence presented that shows that wolves see hierarchy in their groups.
However, they do try to look out for other members of their pack. Especially the young and weak.
They even prioritize them when it comes to the distribution of food.
#10: They feel cold
When you notice that the temperature drops in your area, the chance that your pooch will also “drop” on you will increase.
By drop, I meant they’d put their weight in you as they lay on top of you.
Dogs do not have the money to buy jackets that would keep them warm.
It’d be awesome if they were able to come up to the cashier standing on their hind legs and swiping their credit card for a sweater, right?
Well, some dogs don’t need it because they are suited for cold weather conditions.
Their fur can protect them and their body composition can withstand a chilly breeze.
These dog breeds are as follows:
- Saint Bernard.
- Siberian Husky.
- Japanese Akita.
- Alaskan Malamute.
- German Shepherd.
However, there are also dog breeds that aren’t built to embrace the cold.
They can’t sing along with Elsa as she belts, “The cold never bothered me anyway”.
And if they are this type of dog, then they’d rely on you for heat.
Humans are naturally warm beings and it can be attractive for dogs to cuddle with you.
Or maybe even lay on top of you.
If your pooch belongs to these dog breeds then expect a long cuddling time during the winter:
- Shih Tzu.
- Great Dane.
- Yorkshire Terrier.
Continue reading: Dog Shivering After Bath: 15 Reasons & 5 Essential Tips
#11: They are putting their scent on you
Dogs have a love for smells and scents.
They use this to explore the world around them.
When socializing with other dogs, they also sniff around the other canines they want to be friends with.
If they see something new, they investigate it by smelling.
A leaf fell?
A bug squirmed?
A ball rolled towards them?
Sniff sniff sniff all the way.
Research even shows that dogs do have a strong sense of smell.
And this ability can also be stronger in some breeds.
They can also smell other dogs’ scents from objects and humans.
Because of this, canines try to mark their fur parent with their scent to indicate that they belong to their pack.
It’s one way your dog says to the world, “Hey, this awesome hooman is mine.”
#12: They have no concept of your personal space
Breathing on you while you’re sleeping?
Walking in the bathroom with you when you go?
Laying on top of you while you’re resting?
An even bigger check.
If you agree with how I answered these simple dog behavior questions, then your dog might be the same as most fur babies…
They have little to no concept of personal space.
And because of this, they might jump up on your bed and lay on top of you.
Now, this wouldn’t be much of a problem if you have a petite-sized dog.
But if you have gigantic and absolute tanks of dogs, then it might become a slight issue.
You might also like: 13 Oddly Cute Reasons Why Dogs Check On You While Sleeping
#13: They trust you
It can be hard to gain your pooch’s heart, but you’ll have it for the rest of their life once they give it to you.
And this shows in their actions.
Here are some ways your pooch shows they have trust in you:
- Having relaxed facial expressions.
- Wagging their tail when they see you.
- Lying on their back and showing you their belly.
Another behavior would be laying on top of you.
This is a very exposed position your dog will be in.
They can be open to attacks and dangers they can’t see.
But because they have trust that you won’t hurt them, they’ll just relax when you’re around.
3 tips to stop your dog from laying on top of you
#1: Buy them their own bed
Having their own place to sleep and relax in could help push your pooch to not lay on top of you.
One of the ways you can give them this is by purchasing a dog bed for them.
Add a few cozy doggie blankets and they’re set for the cold weather, too.
Do you need a fancy dog bed for your fur baby?
No, not necessarily.
In fact, you can find a few affordable and well-reviewed ones on Amazon. Here’s one.
“What do I need to consider when buying one?”
First, you need to make sure that the size fits your pooch.
A good estimate for the size of the dog bed should be based on your fur baby’s measurements.
What you can do is take the length between the tip of their nose and the base of their tail.
Then add 6 to 12 in. (15 to 30 cm.) to the size you got from your dog.
You should also check the quality of the dog bed first.
Especially if you have an active pooch.
The materials might easily tear off if they move around a lot.
Having a waterproof covering for the dog bed would also be beneficial.
Accidental pees can be easily wiped off and cleaned from it.
#2: Refrain from encouraging them
Since one of the reasons your pooch lies on top of you is because they think you are rewarding them for it, it’d be wise to stop it.
I’m not saying that you totally ignore your pooch, too.
However, giving them pets, hugs, and cuddles when they lay on top of you, will make them repeat the behavior.
#3: Let them know you don’t like the behavior
Well, we can’t talk to our pooch and communicate things like this.
However, we can show this in other ways.
One method you can do is slowly and gently picking them up off you.
Then placing them down on either their bed or on the floor.
This way, they’ll learn that the behavior is something that you don’t want them to do and will learn next time to sit somewhere else.