If you own a dog, you have probably experienced your dog choosing to lay on you from time to time. Most owners love this cute and cuddly behavior but don’t know why dogs do this. Knowing more about dog behavior can be a big help to interpret why your dog has decided to lay on your legs or feet.
Dogs are packed animals and part of the behavior of a dog pack is to lay together inside a burrow or den. Dogs will choose to lay down touching one another out of instinct. Your dog considers you part of their pack, so when they lay on your body or your legs, they are showing that they consider you part of their family circle. This is an affectionate behavior as well as an instinctual one for dogs of all breeds and types.
What if My Dog Does Not Choose to Lay on Me?
If you have a dog that does not ever choose to lay down on you, you might be feeling offended. You have to remember that dogs are individuals, just like people, and that some animals are not as eager to cuddle as others. This choice not to lay down on an owner can be related to how your dog views the social structure within your home. Dominant animals might not choose to lay down with other dogs, so if your dog views you as the dominant animal in the pack, they might not cuddle with you.
Some dogs also tend to get overheated when they are laying down next to another animal or a person. This can lead to them being unwilling to snuggle with you in this way. However, most dogs can be invited to snuggle with you if you sit on the floor and pat your lap and tell them to come over to you. Dogs who see humans as being outside of their species and not part of their pack might not elect to lay down on people. This is not anything to worry about, as some dogs are not inclined to treat humans like other dogs.
Even if you are sad that your dog is not choosing to cuddle with you, you cannot force the issue. You will just make your dog feel threatened if you try and make them come lay down with you. Allow your dog to choose to lay down with you on most occasions so that they do not feel like you are asserting dominance over them. Dogs that feel dominated will not want to come to cuddle with you until they feel like there has been a change to the relationship.
How do I Teach my Dog Not to Lay on Me?
If you are not a fan of your dog laying down on you, or you have a really big dog that is too heavy to allow this behavior, you will need to make sure that you politely discourage this behavior. Remember that your dog is showing you that they love you when they come to lay down on you. You will want to make sure that you are not scaring them or upsetting them when you tell them not to lay down on you.
You can choose a couple of different options when it comes to dealing with a dog laying on you that you do not want to show this behavior:
1. Get up Carefully and Move
This is the best way to handle a situation when your dog is really happy to see you and happy to share space with you. You can move and then invite your dog to go lay down on their bed or in another area if you want. This can be a good way to redirect your dog’s attention to another place to lay without making them feel sad or like you have rejected them. Most big dogs should be trained to lay on a bed anyway, to try and make sure that they will go somewhere out of the way when you need them to be out from under your feet.
Allowing your dog to have a safe and welcome place to lay down is a great way to make sure that their feelings don’t get injured when you just need them to move for a few minutes while you do something. This is a normal part of pack behavior as well, so you will want to invite this kind of solution for your dog to use to show that they love you and are listening to you.
2. Reprimand the Behavior Carefully
If your dog is headed toward you in a way that says they are going to lay down on you, you can tell them to lay down somewhere else before they get to you. This can help break the cycle of the behavior and teach your dog to lay down where they are asked to. However, this might not work in all cases since dogs view laying down with humans to be welcoming and friendly, and loving.
If your dog is really persistent in their attempts to lay down on you, you might need to use a firm, “no!” and tell you dog to go lay down somewhere else. You can also stand up and point to the place with a stern expression. Your dog might not feel very happy about this, but they will get used to your expectations when you are consistent in this pushback. Remember that the alpha dog in each pack can make choices like this and be careful to be firm when you say no and redirect so that your dog recognizes that you are asserting a new behavior that you expect.
Some dogs might pout for a while once they are told that this is not allowed, but they will learn to get used to the new plan that you have laid out. Making sure that you are consistent is really important in this situation so that your dog does not get hurt feelings and learns what you expect quickly.
Can Laying on Me be a Sign of Dominance?
In some cases, dogs will continue to lay down on their humans if they feel that they are the dominant pack member. These dogs will often lay down on you and then lick you, or try to press you down to the ground. While many people see this as sweet behavior, it is actually a dominant behavior within a dog pack. You will need to reprimand pushy behavior like this and redirect it toward better choices.
Your dog who thinks they are dominant over you might show this kind of behavior in many different ways. Laying on you might not be the only area where your dog asserts dominance in your relationship. Make sure that you are attending to all instances of asserted dominance when they crop up. Dogs who think they are in charge of their owners can actually become naughty dogs who nip and bite and show other unwelcome behaviors as well.
You can always secure the help of a skilled dog trainer if you are worried that your dog is trying to dominate you. There are many different methods that can be used to attend to this issue and you might need some expert guidance to establish new roles in your relationship with your dog. Making sure that you are taking care of this kind of dominant behavior before it is an issue is important. If you ever have small children in the house or people who are scared of dogs and your dog is trying to dominate them, a dangerous situation could take place.
Why Does My Dog Lay On Me at Night?
Remember that dogs are animals who go into dens at night for safety when they live in the wild. They will often lay together as a group for warmth, comfort, and safety. It is not uncommon for dogs to show this kind of behavior at night. This is an instinct, and since they view you as part of their pack, they might feel the urge to lay on you at night more often than they do during the day.
Your dog might also just like to be warm while they are sleeping. This is a common issue at night when temperatures cool down and your home might not be as warm as during the day. Your dog might just be chilly in the evening and want to be warm and cozy while they are sleeping. If you allow your dog on the furniture, they will almost certainly get up off the floor and onto the couch with you if they are interested in cuddling and getting warm.
Remember that having your dog on the couch with you or the bed can make this part of your home uncomfortable for you and for guests. Not everyone wants to have a dog on the furniture, especially a big dog. You should not feel bad for making your dog lay down on their bed if you don’t want to have them on the sofa. Your dog will learn that this is the denning behavior that you will welcome in your pack and they will get used to this version of their instinctual need to get close to you.
Why Does My Dog Lay on My Arm?
When dogs cannot get onto your lap or lay down on your body, they might choose to lay on any part of your body that they can reach. This is not always helpful if your need to use your arm for something, but your dog does not know that they are limiting your range of motion. They are just trying to show your love.
If your dog is laying on your arm, and you need to use it, just move it out from under your pet. Do not move abruptly, as this can scare your dog. You will want to just move out of your dog’s reach again and not make a big deal out of things. Some dogs can get really excited when their owner moves away like this, so you will want to avoid this kind of accidental training of your pet.
Your dog might need to be told not to lay on your arm if they do this a lot and you are not a fan. As with the other kinds of laying down behavior that you do not welcome, just discourage your dog firmly and redirect them to lay down in another place.
Why Does My Dog Lay on Me and Lick Me?
When dogs choose to lay on you and also lick you, they might be showing dominance or they could be showing excitement. You will need to be careful to discourage any dominant behavior that your dog wants to show toward you. You can do this by telling your dog to get up off of you and go lay down. Dogs should not be allowed to jump up and lick your face or even to lick your body parts very often as this can become a dominant behavior.
It might seem like your dog is showing this behavior only because they love you, but this is often a dominance display and you will need to discourage these actions. Dogs should only be allowed to lick you when invited. This allows you to remain in control of the relationship and it keeps your dog from being confused about their role in your “pack”.
Make sure that if your dog wants to lay down on you and lick you all the time, you pick and choose when you will allow this behavior. Also be sure that you are looking for other signs of dominance like growling at you when they are eating, or jumping up on you all the time. These kinds of small transgressions can lead to bigger issues over time if they are not addressed.
Why Does My Dog Lay on Me Every Morning?
If your dog only tends to want to lay on you in the morning, they might be trying to wake you up to feed them. You will want to be sure that you only allow this behavior if you welcome it. There are many reasons that letting your dog lay on you to wake you up might not be welcome behavior. If your dog has just eaten and they want to lay down on you, this is more likely to be den behavior which would be quite common in wild dog groups.
Dogs tend to get sleepy after they eat, and in the wild, they will den up together to stay warm and rest while they are digesting their food. You will find that dogs who have been fed in the morning almost always want to lay down with their humans right after they eat. This is normal and so long as your dog is not being impolite about how they lay down on you, you might welcome this kind of cuddling.
Are Different Breeds More Inclined to Cuddle Than Others?
Some dog breeds are more likely to lay on you than others. The size of your dog can have an impact on this because smaller dogs are often carried around a lot by their owners and are usually allowed on the furniture. You might also notice this behavior more in younger dogs who are not as secure and want your reassurance that they are safe and welcome into the pack.
If you are looking for a cuddly dog, you might want to consider getting a breed that is more inclusive to cuddling than others. Some breeds are not at all likely to want to lay on their owners, and you might want to avoid picking this breed of dog. You will need to be careful about allowing a large dog to lay down on you since they can always hurt you or someone else by accident. So long as the laying down behavior is handled correctly, you will be able to enjoy this kind of love from any breed of dog that you pick out.
|Breed||Cuddly or Not|
|Golden Retriever||Very Cuddly|
|King Charles Spaniel||Very Cuddly|
|Dachshund||Can vary-some are cuddly and some are not at all|
|Brussels Griffon||Very Cuddly|
|Afghan Hound||Not Cuddly|
|Shiba Inu||Not Cuddly|
As you can see, the size of the dog does not have much to do with whether or not it will like to cuddle with you. You will find that dogs that are bred for protection are much less likely to be cuddly. Dog breeds which were bred with a focus on loyalty are often much more likely to want to lay down on their owners than other breeds. Small dog breeds can go in many different directions with regard to cuddling. Many individual dogs are cuddly, but there are some breeds that are prone to biting behavior and being protective of their space. You will need to be cautious about getting a very small dog if you want to have a cuddly pet.
Can I Train my Dog to Lay on Me?
If your dog is not naturally interested in laying on you, you might not be able to teach them to do so. You can try to encourage the behavior by sitting on the floor, or even on your dog’s bed and inviting them over to lay down on you. Your dog might be resistant at first, but you can try rewarding them with treats if you want. You will probably be able to teach your dog to at least consider taking the step to lay down on you over time.
Remember as well, that not every dog is comfortable with doing this and you might be pushing your dog’s boundaries more than they are comfortable with. You will need to watch your dog’s body language carefully to be sure that they are not scared, or feel forced. Laying with pack members is an instinctual part of your dog’s interactions with you as part of their pack and forcing the issue can lead to problems that are better off avoided. For some animals, laying down as a pack is scary and not at all comforting. You need to be sure that you are not making your dog want to do something they are not happy with doing.
Dogs Lay on Their Owners As Part of Pack Behavior
If your dog loves to lay down on you, this is because dogs lay down together when they are part of a pack. This is for safety and also to show love and affection. Dogs who like to lay on their owners are more than likely just showing their attachment to their human partner. You will need to be careful that your dog’s behavior is not rude or pushy when they choose to lay on you, however. This can be a sign of dominance and you do not want to allow this kind of action to be taken in the name of cuddling.
If you want to encourage your dog to lay on you, be aware that you might make them feel pressured or uncomfortable. Not all dogs like to lay on their owners and welcome this kind of contact. You will need to be careful about training your dog to do anything that they are scared to do. Dogs often think of their human companions as part of their pack, and laying on you is likely a sign that your dog feels comfortable with you and loves being around you.
You might want to check:
- Your Dog Won’t Lie Down – Why and What To Do
- Your Dog is Barking at Nothing – Can She Sense Ghosts?
- What Does it Mean When My Dog Puts His Paw on Me?
- Do Golden Retrievers Bark A Lot? Not If You Do This
- Why Does My Golden Retriever Pant so Much?
- What if My Dog Does Not Choose to Lay on Me?
- How do I Teach my Dog Not to Lay on Me?
- Can Laying on Me be a Sign of Dominance?
- Why Does My Dog Lay On Me at Night?
- Why Does My Dog Lay on My Arm?
- Why Does My Dog Lay on Me and Lick Me?
- Why Does My Dog Lay on Me Every Morning?
- Are Different Breeds More Inclined to Cuddle Than Others?
- Can I Train my Dog to Lay on Me?
- Dogs Lay on Their Owners As Part of Pack Behavior