I was surprised to see my pet dog lay on top of me last week. This behavior was very new to me and it started to become a habit. To ascertain if this behavior was a cause of concern I tried to gather information on: Why Does My Dog Lay On Top of Me?
If your dog has been portraying similar behavior, then have a look at this post to understand why your dog lays on top of you and what you can do to manage this behavior.
Why Does My Dog Lay On Top of Me? Top 8 Reasons
1. Warmth And Comfort
Dogs are very affectionate pets and they like to seek your warmth and comfort sometimes. It can either be a result of the two of you spending a lot of time together or very little time together.
If you spend a lot of time together, your dog will get attached to you and want to sleep on top of you for comfort. On the other hand, if you spend less time with your dog, it will want to spend more time with you when you are around and hence lay on top of you.
Another reason why your dog lays on top of you might be that your dog is soliciting warmth from your body. This is true especially in dog breeds that have less hair to keep them warm. The heat from your body transfers to your pet’s body and that keeps them warm and comfortable especially, in winters.
2. Protective Behavior
You are the provider of your dog’s food and shelter and also your pet’s protector. Your four-legged friend feels the same for you and wants to protect you from any unperceived threats.
Your dog will sleep better at night if it knows that you are safe under its protection. This behavior may be because you brought in a new pet or if there is an unfamiliar face in your house. Your dog is looking out for you and you should feel lucky about it.
If your dog lays on top of you, consider yourself fortunate and take this opportunity to make a strong bond with your furry pet.
Your dog wants your affection and for that, it lays on top of you to stay close to you. If you have been awol for the day and return home, your dog will want to interact with you.
Dogs are generally snuggly pets who require your affection every now and then. If your dog lays on top of you it means that your dog wants your time and care.
If there is someone in your house that your dog is terrified of or does not like, it will seek comfort in sleeping on top of you. Since your dog looks up to you to protect it, it will feel safe sleeping with you.
This behavior may also arise from any undesired noise in the background like thunder or fireworks.
You must provide your furry friend with proper support and care at these times and soothe it by gently petting it.
Did you get a new pet at home? That might be the cause of your dog sleeping on top of you and staying close to you. Your dog is jealous of the other pet and does not like the attention you’re giving the new pet. Your four-legged friend does not want to share you with anyone else.
If this is the case, your dog’s behavior will dial down as soon as it becomes friends with your new pet and does not feel threatened by it.
Your dog feels lonely when you aren’t around. If your working hours have increased or your working schedule has changed, your dog might feel neglected at the time you usually spend time together. Therefore, when you come home, your dog wants your attention.
Sleeping on top of you means that your dog wants your undivided attention and wants to make up for the time that you didn’t spend together.
7. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety roots from separation from loved ones at an early age. This anxiety is a result of your dog’s separation from its mother and siblings. To cope with the separation anxiety, your dog sleeps close to you to feel safe.
Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety tend to follow their owner around, even to the bed at night. You can try giving your dog calming supplements if it portrays aggressive behavior or restlessness.
This behavior will be distinct before you leave for work and your dog knows that it won’t see you for a while or when you come back from work to make up for the lost time.
8. Pack Instinct
Dogs tend to stay in packs when they are in the wild so that they can stay protected. When your dog lays on top of you, it considers you to be a part of its pack that it can trust for comfort and security.
The pack instinct is triggered when your pet feels intimidated by the entry of a new pet or person into its life. Your dog will try to stay close to you for safety.
Should I Let My Dog Sleep on Top Of Me?
It is common for dogs to jump onto your lap to stay close to you. It is entirely your choice if you want to let your dog sleep on top of you or not. However, you should make sure that your dog is hypoallergenic for safety purposes.
If you do decide to let your dog sleep with you, then make sure that you clean and groom your dog before you let it sleep on top of you. Although, if you have any breathing issues like asthma, then don’t let your dog sleep close to you.
Have a look at this video to help you groom your dog easily.
What Are The Different Dog Sleeping Positions?
Dogs’ sleeping positions can tell a lot about their personality. You can understand what your pet is feeling based on the way it is sleeping
Let us have a look at some of the sleeping positions of dogs and what they mean.
1. Side Sleeping
Side Sleeping is the most popular sleeping position amongst puppies. This position is used by puppies during the daytime for their naps. It is rare to see a dog sleep in this position for a long night’s sleep but they do sleep in this position at night sometimes.
The side sleeping position means that your pet is comfortable and relaxed. If your dog sleeps in this position more often, then you will have a carefree and happy dog most of the time.
The superman position is named in this way because dogs that sleep in this position look like flying superman. In this position, your dog will sleep on its belly with its legs stretched out.
The superman position is more prominent in energetic dogs who like to jump straight into the action after waking up.
3. Passed Out
This position is distinct in dogs who feel overheated and are looking for a way to cool down. In this position, your dog will sleep on its back with its paws on its chest. As the sweat glands in your dog’s paws are exposed to the air your dog will feel cool.
Since a dog’s belly has the least fur, sleeping on the back will help it cool down. If your dog’s legs are wrapped around its chest, then do not disturb it.
4. Crazy Legs
The crazy legs position is similar to the passed-out position. In this position, your dog will lay on its back with its legs in the air. This position shows that your dog feels comfortable enough to show its belly to you.
The crazy legs position means that your dog has a laid-back personality. Your dog might feel vulnerable at times because of its submissive behavior.
5. Curly Sue
In the Curly Sue position, your dog’s tail will remain curled and its paws will remain hidden under its body. This position is common in dogs who stay in the wild and try to stay safe within their pack.
If your dog sleeps in this position, it means that your dog is worried about encountering someone new. It might also mean that your dog is feeling cold.
6. Belly Curl
In the belly curl position, your dog will tightly curl up its body with its legs under its belly. It is advised that your dog does not sleep in this position because your dog’s muscles become tight in this position. It will harm your dog in the long run.
This position means that your dog is shy by nature. Try bonding with your dog so that it feels comfortable around you and does not sleep in this position.
7. Back to Back
The back-to-back position is when your dog sleeps with its back snuggled up with your back or your pet’s back. This position means that your dog trusts you to protect it and considers you as a part of its pack.
Take this opportunity to bond with your pet and spend some quality time together. However, if you have a dog hair allergy or asthma, don’t let your dog sleep with you.
What Do the Different Dog Sleeping Behaviors Mean?
1. Circling Around The Bed
Circling around the bed before going to sleep is common behavior in dogs. This behavior comes from the dog’s ancestors who would circle around their sleeping spot to level the ground and make its texture smooth.
If your dog’s circling behavior has increased it may be because your dog is having trouble sleeping. There might be some underlying issue for the excessive circling, so take your dog to the vet.
Digging is another behavior that dogs picked up from their ancestors in the wild. Dogs used to dig up holes to stay protected from enemies at night. They also dig holes to stay cool in summer and warm in winters.
Domestic dogs dig their bed to create a safe space for themselves by marking their territory using their scent.
3. Light Dozing
Your dog might doze off during the day if it is bored or just to take rest for a while. Light dozing is mostly a sign of boredom and your dog is just waiting for something interesting to turn up.
You can know if your dog is bored by looking at its ear movement. If your dog’s ears show any signs of movement while sleeping, it means that your dog is alert and waiting for something worth waking up for.
4. Scratching The Bed
Dogs scratch their bed for various reasons but the most common reason is to get comfortable in their bed by marking it as its own using its scent. Another reason might be that your dog is looking for a way to release the pent-up energy.
4 Tips To Keep Your Dog From laying On Top of You
1. Crate Training Using Positive Reinforcement
If you don’t want your dog to lay on top of you, you can train it to sleep in its own bed. Follow these simple steps to train your pet to sleep in its bed:
- Make sure that your dog’s bed is comfortable.
- Put their bed in a place that is a quiet and comfortable corner
- Ensure that your dog has a nice view of the house or the outside world so that it remains entertaining
- The dog’s bed should be at a place away from bugs and mosquitoes
- Reward your dog with tasty treats when it sleeps in its own bed
- Do not encourage your pet when it sleeps on top of you by petting it
- Keeping training your dog until it learns that sleeping in its bed will earn rewards
2. Don’t Encourage The Behavior
I know that it is difficult to say no to those puppy eyes but it is important that you don’t encourage your dog to lay on your lap. It is a learned behavior, so if you encourage this behavior, your dog will not hesitate before jumping into your lap.
Make sure that your furry friend knows that it is more profitable for it to sleep in its bed.
3. Provide a Comfortable Bed For Your dog
It is your duty to provide a comfortable bed for your dog. It would help if you place your dog’s bed in a cool and not too bright corner. Make sure that the corner is quiet and has an entertaining view.
If you have an old dog or a dog with muscle pain, then get an orthopedic bed for your dog so that it can sleep comfortably.
4. Give Proper Care and Attention
Give proper care and attention to your dog so that it does not feel left out or lonely. If you spend enough time with your dog, then it won’t feel the need to lay in your lap for extra attention.
To answer your question, Why Does My Dog Lay On Top of Me, it is simply because you share a loving bond with your pet and it wants your attention. You should feel lucky that your dog wants to spend more time with you and take this opportunity to make a strong bond with your furry friend.