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Why Does My Dog Lay On Me? 8 Reasons

Written by: Melissa Gunter

Last Updated on April 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

man sleeping on the sofa with his dog lying on him

Why Does My Dog Lay On Me? 8 Reasons

There’s nothing like coming home after a long day to cuddle with your faithful companion and forget about the day’s worries. Of course, there are some dogs out there that never lay with their owners and aren’t fans of it. Then again, there are also dogs out there that instigate the cuddle and love laying on their owners. This leaves us to question, why does my dog lay on me? While there are lots of reasons why dogs do this, the main answer is they are showing you affection. Let’s learn more about our four-legged companions and why some of them find our laps the best spot in the world.

Why Does My Dog Lay On Me?

If you have a dog that instantly targets your lap each time you sit down, you may feel like the luckiest person in the world. Then again, you may be wishing you could sit for 5 minutes without added weight in your lap. Either way, it helps to understand the why of it all. As we mentioned, it all boils down to your dog showing you lots of affection.

But why does lying show this? It’s a dog’s natural way of doing things. Being close to their pack is how a dog shows affection. Just look at the way puppies lay together when they are young. You’ll even see this laying-together behavior in the wild by wolves. This closeness forms a strong bond. By laying on you, your dog is trying to bond and show that you are part of their pack.

weimaraner dog sitting on owner's laps
Image Credit:, Shutterstock

The 8 Reasons Your Dog Lays On You

While being affectionate is the main reason your dog lays on you, it isn’t the only one. Here, we’ll take a look at a few other reasons dogs enjoy laying on their owners.

1. Protection

Another way dogs want to show us affection is by protecting us. Whether we’re in immediate danger or not, when dogs are laying on us, they feel as though they are looking after us. If something is happening around us where our dogs feel they need to jump in and rescue us, laying across us is one of the first things they do.

chinese crested dog lying on owners lap
Image Credit: Galina-Photo, Shutterstock

2. They Are Afraid

While our dogs are often the first to protect us, when something scares them, they expect the same in return. Whether your pooch is afraid of storms or fireworks, or hears a strange noise outside, they may lay on you when they want you to be the one offering protection.

3. Warmth

Small dogs are notorious for lying to their owners to seek a little extra warmth. This is cute when it comes to little pets, but don’t be shocked when even your bigger pals look for this same kind of comfort. When the weather outside is a bit cold or rainy and wet, dogs of all sizes enjoy laying with their owners to help warm them back up a bit.

dog resting his head on his owner
Image Credit: Vach cameraman, Shutterstock

4. Security and Comfort

There are times when our pets turn to us to feel more secure or seek comfort. Perhaps you’re on vacation with your pet and they aren’t familiar with their surroundings. Laying on you offers your pet reassurance and security about the situation. This can also happen at home when something is different around the home and your dog is feeling unsettled about things.

5. Jealousy and Resource Guarding

You are the most important thing in your dog’s life. You provide them with love, food, toys, and everything they need to be happy and healthy. In some cases, dogs become a bit guarded when it comes to sharing their owners with others in the house. These dogs often lay on their owner and show small signs of aggression when other animals or people get too close to what they see as theirs. While this kind of guarding may make you feel loved by your dog, it can be dangerous. Jealousy and resource-guarding often lead to people being bitten.

labrador dog resting its head on its owners lap
Image Credit: Erickson Stock, Shutterstock

6. Separation Anxiety

Unfortunately, all dog breeds can suffer from separation anxiety. This happens when your dog is fearful of you leaving and shows upsetting reactions when this happens. Often dogs with separation anxiety chew excessively, bark when alone, and compulsively lick themselves. When you are home, a dog suffering from anxiety will follow you everywhere. You’ll feel like you have a second shadow. More often than not, these dogs also lay on their owners when they are sitting or lying in bed. It’s the dog’s way of trying to be as close to their owner as possible while they can.

7. Wanting Attention

Work, kids, and social lives often take us away from our pets. This can also leave us unintentionally ignoring them. When our dogs feel a bit left out, they are good at letting us know. If your pooch wants a bit more of the attention that you’re offering, they will often lay across you to make you take notice.

dog laying on the lap of the owner who is typing on laptop
Image Credit: Mirjana Zidar, Shutterstock

8. Trying to Tell You Something

Wouldn’t it be nice if our dogs could simply walk up and tell us what’s wrong? Unfortunately, they can’t so they have to show us in other ways. Laying on us is one of the ways dogs communicate their needs. They can be hungry, thirsty, or need to go potty. You’ll also find that laying on you makes your dog feel more comfortable when they aren’t feeling good. If your dog isn’t one for constantly laying on you, pay attention when they do. This will help you determine what needs they are trying to communicate to you.

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Is Laying On You Bad Behavior?

It’s up to you whether you want to allow your dog to lay on you or not. If you enjoy the closeness, by all means, accept the cuddles when you get them. If you prefer not to have dog hair all over you, that’s also understandable. However, your dog may see it as rejection if you immediately push them away when they try to lay on you. Instead, offer them a few moments of cuddles, then readjust yourself. Once your dog is beside you, offer a few pets to show things are good. This will get your dog off of you while not hurting their feelings.

Final Thoughts

For dog owners, learning why our canines do certain things helps us understand them better. If your dog isn’t the normal cuddly type but they suddenly start laying on you, we hope this article has helped you determine why. Dogs that simply can’t cuddle enough, well, they are trying to show you the love and affection they think you deserve as part of their pack. Be thankful for it.

Featured Image Credit: DGLimages, Shutterstock

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