Why does my dog lay or sleep on top of me?

As a dog owner, one of the things you’ll constantly have to deal with is your dog being overzealous and wanting to jump at every opportunity of lying on you.

What’s more baffling is why they virtually always want to rest their furry body on you, when lying on the rug, bed, or sofa could certainly provide more comfort. Don’t fret; you’re not alone on this, and the reason why dogs indulge in this habit varies from one dog to another.

So, why does my dog always sleep or lay on top of me? One of the major reasons is your dog is trying to express his affection for you and feel the warmth of your body; it may also be a result of him being a pack animal; or he sees it as a way to even protect you his owner.

Given this, it’s imperative that you understand what drives this habit, as each conveys a different meaning, and understanding them could guide you when dealing with your dog.

Why Your Dog Lays on Top of You

Read on below for an in-depth analysis, as well as a working solution, of what drives this behavior from your pooch.

1. Pack Behavior

To begin with, our canine friends belong to the wolf’s family [1].

Undoubtedly, wolves move in packs, and in a pack must be a leader that provides vision and a sense of security to the others.

The alpha, which is the leader, tends to be dominant and influence the direction of others.

"What has this got to do with my dog that is a domestic animal?” You might be prompted to ask.

To be frank, while dogs have evolved over the centuries and might have lost some touch of the wolf-pack gene, the truth remains that there are still elements of this show-of-dominance behavior in them.

What if your dog lives alone with you? To which fellow canine family is he going to show some dominance? 

To you, my friend, although you’re rather two-legged and not canine.

Now, don’t get it twisted. This does not necessarily mean your dog is involved in some kind of rivalry with you.

While this might actually be true for some dogs anyway, all your dog might be trying to show you is that he is caring and has got your back covered, even when there is no real danger in sight.

This is what alphas show to their packs. They must be able to prove why they are leaders by providing a sense of security and comfort to other members of the pack.

For some dogs, laying right on top of you might actually mean that they are showing dominance over you.

This is especially true if he becomes unprecedentedly and increasingly aggressive towards you. When this is the case, you, my friend, have got a rival in the house, and you should get the situation under control before it hits the roof.

2. To Protect Their Owner

Come to think of it:

You provide food, open the door, provide bedding space, to mention a few, for your dog. Without you doing all this, your dog is undoubtedly as miserly as someone thrown out into the winter frigidity over mortgage issues.

Being the sole provider for your dog makes him indebted to you, and he is, as a result, whelmed with the responsibility of protecting you in return.

While you might not particularly need any protection from a pet dog, he still feels the need to show you that you can count on him for protecting, even when there isn’t really much he can do when real danger presents itself.  

How more caring could your pooch possibly be!

3. For Assurance

Your dog might spread his scent on the sofa to register its presence. When this is not enough, he could simply spice it up by spreading his body across yours.

This is for assurance that he is yours.

You will notice this often if your dog has just come back from a playtime outside or when another dog visits your abode.

Your dog can feel threatened by another dog’s presence, thinking the other dog is there to take over his place.

As a result, he feels the need to rub his scent on you to send a warning to the supposed intruders to ward them off and send a signal that you’re his alone.

Dogs are jealous too, and it is more common in dominant males.

While the reasons for your dog sleeping on you when you lay down are more or less the same, each reason carries a meaning that could help you understand the relationship with your furry friend even better.

For this reason, you should read further for more reasons below:

4. Missing Their Mum

This is peculiar to puppies.

If a puppy that is just growing gets separated from his mum, it feels troubled, and the only person it feels can fill that void the mother left is you.

Although for this case, you’ll have to be pretty careful as puppies that are missing their mum can get aggressive and decide to chew just about anything in the house, some of which may be your blanket or sofa.

However, letting him sleep on your lap peacefully is the least you can profer to help him out of the situation he finds himself.

5. Simple Show of Love

Although it’s natural for a dog to want to show love to the one person he’s indebted to, note that the degree of how much they show the love differs from one dog to another

For dog breeds such as Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, you’ll be overwhelmed with so much love and affection now and then.

Such dog breeds are great to have around children. Be that as it may, dogs also believe cuddling, as well as wagging their tail against you, strengthens the bond they share with you.

If you’re not bothered about having some weight over you, especially from large-sized dogs, you can harness this habit to get closer to your dog, most especially if you acquired him when he’s all grown up.

6. Simple Fun

Sometimes, all your dog might be trying to do is have some fun, so easing up on him might become a necessity.

He will kiss, cuddle, and roll on you non-stop, and some dog owners love this cuddling with their canine, which in that case is a win-win situation for both parties; dogs love to kill loneliness themselves.

 You will notice more of this cuddling and laying on your body when you just returned from work, which ultimately means he has missed you very much.

How Can I Stop My Dog from Laying or Sleeping on Me?

If your dog resting his body on you doesn’t come off as a big deal, there’s no point discouraging the habit, as it has been proven to strengthen the dog-to-owner bond, unless of course he becomes headstrong and tries to be dominant over you.

However, if you’re not comfortable with your dog being all overzealous and wanting to lay on your body.

 I strongly recommend that you thread with caution, as being too harsh about it can make him feel rejected, and as a result, trigger some sort of aggressiveness.

Instead, I suggest that you hold still for some minutes and let him rest on your body; then, you can gently move him away or adjust your position so that he’ll be subtly forced to get up.

Again, ensure that you don’t do this immediately so as to assure that he’s still a member of the pack.

To stop your dog from laying or sleeping on your body in bed either in the morning or night, you should do the following:

Get Him a Professional Dog Trainer

Getting a professional dog trainer might not come off as a viable option for some people, but if your dog is increasingly becoming and rebellious and wanting to dominantly lay on you at every given opportunity, getting the help of a professional might be your best bet, because if not taken with all shades of seriousness, the frequent display of dominance can escalate and mar the behavioral pattern of your dog, hence giving you serious issues.

A dog trainer can train your dog on how to behave when around other people, as well as when around you.

Get Him a Dog Bed

It’s that simple!

A dog bed will go a long way in curbing this habit— the reason being that one of the core reasons why your dog rests on your body is because of the comfort and warmth cuddling provides.

A good dog bed can make your dog feel relaxed, and, if trained properly, he won’t need telling before crashing into his bed for a nap. You can check my review of the best dog beds to find the one that will be most suitable for your dog.

Rounding Up Notes

For the record, a dog lying right on his owner is completely natural, and except you are not comfortable with it or notice some odd behavior in your dog, it is not advisable to discourage the habit.

Although the reasons why they do this may seem almost the same, each one is driven by a different instinct, and knowing them could help you manage the relationship between you and your dog even better.

However, if you’re not bothered about that and just want your dog to give you breathing space, getting him a dog bed as suggested earlier will help a lot.

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