Why Does My Dog Lay on Me? Should You Let Them?

| Updated: May 30, 2023
english cocker spaniel dog laying on bed under a blanket

If you have a dog, you probably know the feeling of having your furry friend snuggle up to you on the couch or in bed. Some dogs even like to lay on top of their owners, making them feel like a warm and cozy blanket. It may not be bad as long as it isn’t a German Shepherd or other large dog breed. But why do some dogs do this? Is it a sign of affection, dominance, insecurity, or something else?

In this article, we will explore the various reasons why your dog lays on you and what it means for your relationship. We will also give you some tips on how to deal with this behavior if it becomes problematic or uncomfortable for you or your dog.

Why Does My Dog Lay on Me? The Possible Reasons

Dogs are social animals that have evolved from wolves, which are natural pack animals. In the wild, wolves sleep together in a tight group to keep warm and protect each other from predators. They also use body language and physical contact to communicate and reinforce their bonds.

Dogs have inherited some of these instincts and behaviors from their ancestors, and they still see their humans as their pack members. Therefore, when your dog lays on you, it could be for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Affection: One of the most common and obvious reasons why your dog lays on you is that he loves you and wants to show it. Dogs express their emotions through physical contact, just like humans do. By lying on you, your dog is telling you that he trusts you, feels safe with you, and enjoys your company. He is also seeking your attention and affection in return. This is a positive sign of a strong and healthy bond between you and your dog.
  • Comfort: Another reason why your dog lays on you is that he finds it comfortable and relaxing. Dogs have a higher body temperature than humans, so they may seek out warm places to sleep or rest. Your body heat provides them with a cozy and soothing sensation that helps them calm down and fall asleep. Your dog may also like the smell of your skin, clothes, or bedding, which reminds him of you and makes him feel secure.
  • Security: Sometimes, your dog may lay on you because he feels anxious or insecure about something. This could be due to separation anxiety, fear of loud noises, unfamiliar situations, or other stressors. By laying on you, your dog is seeking reassurance and protection from you. He is also trying to cope with his negative emotions by being close to his favorite person.
  • Dominance: In some cases, your dog may lay on you to assert his dominance or control over you. This is more likely to happen if your dog has not been properly trained or socialized or if he has a strong personality or territorial tendencies. By laying on you, your dog is trying to show that he is the boss and that he owns you and the space around you. He may also do this to prevent you from moving or leaving him.

How to Deal with Your Dog Laying on You

Depending on the reason why your dog lays on you, this behavior can be either cute and harmless or annoying and problematic. If your dog lays on you out of love, comfort, or security, there is nothing wrong with enjoying some furry cuddles with him. However, if your dog lays on you out of dominance or aggression or becomes too clingy or needy, you may need to take steps to correct this behavior.

Here are some tips on how to deal with your dog lying on you:

  • Establish boundaries: If you don’t mind your dog laying on you sometimes but not all the time, you need to teach him when it is okay and when it is not. For example, you can allow him to lay on you when you are watching TV or reading a book but not when you are eating or working. You can also designate certain areas or furniture where he can lay on you and where he can’t. You need to be consistent and firm with your rules and commands to do this. Reward your dog when he follows them, and gently but firmly remove him when he doesn’t.
  • Provide alternatives: If your dog lays on you because he is bored or lonely, you need to provide him with other ways to entertain himself and keep him company. Make sure he gets enough exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day by playing with him, taking him for walks, and giving him toys, puzzles, chews, etc. You can also provide him with a comfortable bed or crate where he can sleep or rest when you are busy or away.
  • Seek professional help: If your dog lays on you because he is anxious or dominant, you may need to consult a professional trainer or behaviorist who can help you address the underlying issues and teach your dog how to behave appropriately. Some signs that indicate that your dog needs professional help include the following:
    • He growls, snaps, or bites when you try to move him or get up.
    • He displays other signs of aggression or resource guarding towards you, other people, or animals.
    • He follows you everywhere and becomes distressed when separated from you.
    • He shows excessive fearfulness or nervousness in general.


Dogs are wonderful companions that can enrich our lives with their love and loyalty. However, they can also have some quirks and habits that may puzzle us or cause us some trouble. Sometimes one of these habits is laying on us.

As we have seen in this article, there are various reasons why dogs lay on us: affection, comfort, security, dominance, etc. Depending on the reason and the situation, we may enjoy this behavior or we may want to change it.

The key is understanding our dogs’ motives and emotions behind their actions and responding accordingly. By doing so, we can ensure that we have a happy and harmonious relationship with our furry friends.

Kayla Stewart Author Image
Kayla Stewart
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