Reasons Why Your Dog Wants to Lay on You

Pet Care


July 18, 2022

For dog owners, cuddling with the dog is one of the biggest highlights. In the majority of cases, the dogs lay across you or on your feet. So, when the dog starts laying on you, they might be seeking security and comfort. However, there are other reasons why your dog could be laying on you.

Your Dog & Its Instincts

One of the common reasons behind your dog laying on you is its instincts. These are basically personality traits that are embedded into its genes as they evolve. In addition, the instincts also depend on the breed and overall training.

For instance, the smaller hound dogs have territorial instincts, which means they will lay on top of you to mark their territory.

why your dog could be laying on you?

Safety & Comfort

Another reason behind your dog laying on you is their need for safety and comfort. Generally, these dogs are scared of loud noises and unusual events, such as parades, fireworks, loud music, blender and grinder, shouting, and explosions. In fact, some dogs get scared by cars’ backfiring. So, if there are loud noises, the dog will lay on you.

Secondly, the dogs can sense when you are upset or crying, and they will lay on top of you to comfort you. This is because dogs can detect mood changes through hormonal scents. Having said that, there are chances that your dog is laying on you to provide comfort.


Just like humans, dogs also go through mental health issues. For this reason, a dog could lay on you when they are dealing with anxiety or are feeling stressed. Generally, the dogs that come from puppy mills, rescue homes, and shelter homes tend to show signs of PTSD and trauma.

PTSD is a post-traumatic stress disorder that impacts animals after a traumatic and taxing event. In addition, PTSD could be a result of a hard childhood. The anxious dogs are prone to various violent outbursts and show anger towards loud noises, other dogs, hats, and tall people. So, when the dog lays on you, there are chances that they need physical interaction and a sense of calm.

Another reason could be separation anxiety. If it’s separation anxiety, the dog will come and lay on you when you start preparing to go out. In case the dog is showing behavioral issues and lays on you regularly, it’s best to take your dog to the veterinarian. This is because a vet can prescribe anti-anxiety and antidepressants, which helps them feel better.

Need for Warmth

When the dog lays on you early in the morning or at night, it could be looking for warmth. So, when the dog is cuddling for warmth, you don’t need to worry about it unless there is uncontrollable shivering and shaking.

However, if you don’t like such acts, invest in a warm blanket for your dog to make sure their sleeping area is warm and comfortable.

Showing Respect & Initiation

If you have adopted a street dog or a wild dog, they lay on top of their owners as a sign of respect and initiation. For instance, if the dog is laying on top of you in a docile and calm manner, it simply means that they have accepted you and are showing love. In such cases, they will put their head down, slowly wag the tail, and will breathe slowly.

In addition, the dog’s eyes will be half-closed or closed, and their ears will be relaxed. Secondly, when the dog lays on you and sleeps, it’s a sign of trust and love as they feel relaxed and protected.

Detecting Illness

It’s a rare yet possible reason behind your dog laying on you, especially if your adult dog starts laying on you suddenly. In the majority of cases, when a pet dog has a strong bond with their human owner, they are able to detect illnesses in their owners, such as Parkinson’s disease, malaria, diabetes, and cancer. Even more, some dogs can detect seizures.

For this reason, when your dog suddenly starts laying on you, it’s best that you pay your doctor a visit. Honestly, it’s less likely to be the reason but being careful is always a better idea.

Reinforcement by Dog Owner

There are times when dog owners are too tired and ask the dog to crawl on top of them and rub their ears. In addition, when you kiss them and give them cuddles in this lying position, it reinforces that you are fine with this behavior, and it will eventually become their habit. So, if you don’t like them laying on you, stop reinforcing such behaviors.

Dogs Laying on Other Dogs

If you got your answer to why does my dog lay on me, but your dog has started laying on other dogs, the reasons could be quite similar. For instance, your dog could be comforting the other dog or they might be looking for a safer space. In addition, it could mean that the dog is asking the other one to play because playing tackle is their favorite activity.

Some dogs also lay on other dogs to exhibit their dominance. For instance, when a big dog, such as a German Shepherd and retriever, lays down on the smaller dog, they are definitely showing dominance.

How to Encourage Your Dog to Lay Somewhere Else?

If you aren’t comfortable with cuddling and physical touch, it is fine to encourage your dog to lay somewhere else. To begin with, you shouldn’t be aggressive. In case your dog is trained, gently shaking your head or finger will give them an idea that you aren’t comfortable. In addition, you could point towards the ground for them to hop off.

Another idea is to entice them with dog treats but put the dog treats somewhere else. While you are training your dog, it’s best to train them to sit in their crate or on a mat. You must remember that dogs are emotional and sensitive, which means they seek attention and love. For this reason, you should always treat them with empathy and kindness.

Another apt way of stopping your dog from laying on you is crate training. In simpler words, you have to train your dog to sleep in their crate rather than on you. For this purpose, you have to ensure that the bed is comfortable and put some delicious treats in their crate. In addition, it’s better to put their crate near your sitting area, so the dog doesn’t feel alone.

The Bottom Line

Dogs are clever yet emotional and sensitive. For this reason, when your dog starts laying on you, it’s suggested to remain gentle and show direction to their crate. However, if they don’t listen, they could be struggling with anxiety or stress, which is why a visit to the vet would be a better choice.