Why Does My Dog Lay On Me? Should I be Happy or Concerned?
Camille Bataille
Author: Camille Bataille
Camille, a dedicated veterinary professional, has a profound commitment to providing expert care, especially for German Shepherds.
Published date: March 24, 2023
Updated date: March 24, 2023
This article was reviewed and fact checked If you have found any errors, please contact us!

Why Does My Dog Lay On Me? Should I be Happy or Concerned?

Probably one of the cutest things we can ever experience in life is our best buddy cozying up next to us.

For centuries, dogs have been known as “man’s best friend,” and for a good reason: they offer us companionship, protection, and unconditional love. 

One way our canine companions show us affection is by laying on top of us or leaning against us. While this behavior may seem like a nuisance at times, there’s a lot of meaning behind it.

In this article, we will comb through the reasons why your dog likes to lay close to you.

Reasons Why Your Dog Lays on You

Reasons Why Your Dog Lays on You

There are several reasons why a dog would lay on their humans, some could be an inherent behavior of dog breeds, for warmth, to pass the time, or it could be emotional or need-based.

We’ve narrowed it down to these major reasons. 


When your dog lays on you, it’s a way for your pup to tell you that he loves and trusts you. He’s showing you that he feels safe and comfortable around you and trusts you to protect him.

If you think about it, your dog is in a vulnerable position when he sprawls out on top of you, so he can probably absorb some of your body heat.


Another reason why your dog is snuggling on top or near you is likely for protection. In the wild, dogs form packs with a strict hierarchy.

The pack’s leader, usually the alpha male, is responsible for keeping the others safe from harm.

When your dog lays by your side, he fulfills his natural protective instincts. He sees you as his pack’s leader and wants to ensure that you are safe and sound.

So, the next time your dog tries to climb into your lap, know that he wants to ensure you’re okay.

Sign of Respect

Dogs are pack animals, and in the wild, the alpha dog would often lay on top of the other members of the pack to show dominance and respect.

So, when your dog lays on or close to you, it means that they accept you as part of the pack and is trying to communicate their affection and respect for you.


Your dog loves you and likes nothing more than showing you affection. One of the ways a dog does this is by laying on you.

It might be a little inconvenient sometimes, but it’s your dog’s way of showing you how much he cares.

When your dog lays on you or next to you, he’s doing the same thing as a pack leader who gets to sleep in the most comfortable spot.

He is claiming you as his own and showing that he considers you part of his pack. It is an inherent sleeping behavior.

Laying on you is a way of offering physical support and letting you know that he’s there for you no matter what. It’s also a way of physically comforting you.

If you’re feeling sad or stressed, your dog will pick up on that and want to make you feel better.

Separation Anxiety

Many dog owners have experienced their furry friends following them around the house, even into the bathroom. But have you ever wondered why they’re always trying to stay close?

The truth is that dogs are social animals that form strong bonds with their owners. When we leave them alone, they can feel anxious and insecure.

One way they cope with this anxiety is by finding something that smells like you, like your clothes or pillow, and then lying on top of it.

A dog feels safe, comforted, and close to us, even when we’re not there. It can actually help a dog sleep.

Next time your dog jumps on the bed and snuggles up, remember that they are just trying to stay close to their favorite person.

Attention Seeking

Dogs are sociable animals that enjoy receiving attention from their owners. One of the ways they exhibit attention-seeking behaviors is by jumping or laying on their owners.

Dogs will often jump when they first see their owner to show excitement and happiness.

They may also lay on their owners when they are feeling sad or anxious as a way to provide comfort. While some people may find this behavior annoying, it signifies your dog’s love and affection.

Next time your dog jumps or lays on you, try to give them a little extra attention. It will mean the world to your dog.

Sensing Illness

As any dog owner knows, dogs tend to have a strange way of always being there when we need them most. They often snuggle up to us when we’re feeling under the weather or need some extra TLC.

While there are many theories about why dogs do this, one of the most likely explanations is that they can sense when we’re not feeling well.

Dogs can detect changes in our body chemistry, and they may be able to tell when we’re running a fever or fighting off an infection.

Many dogs have been known to detect critical diseases like cancer, and many hospitals now use therapy dogs to help comfort and support patients.

If your dog suddenly starts laying down on you more than usual, it could be his way of showing that he cares and wants to help you feel better.

Motivating Your Dog to Lay Down Somewhere Else

Motivating Your Dog to Lay Down Somewhere Else

Some dog parents may not like it when their dog is taking up too much space on the bed or couch, and there are a few things you can do to motivate them to lie down somewhere else.

First, give them a special cushion or blanket they can call their own. It will provide your dog with a comfortable place to sleep that is just for them.

You can put this cushion where you would like them to stay, next to the door, or in their crate.

Second, you can provide your dog with toys or bones they can chew on while lying down. It will help keep them occupied and distracted from trying to lay by your side.

Third, you can train your dog to lie down on cue. You can do this by offering your dog a treat and then saying the cue word or phrase (such as “down” or “stay”). 

Fourth, you may need to increase the amount of exercise your dog is getting. A tired dog is more likely to want to take a nap than one who is full of energy.

If your dog is constantly trying to lay on top of you, make sure he gets enough daily walks, runs, and playtime. It can help dogs sleep better.

Fifth, if your dog is laying down on you out of separation anxiety, you can try behavior modification techniques to help reduce their anxiety.

It may include leaving them with a Kong toy filled with peanut butter or teaching them to stay in their crate while you leave the house.


Our best buddies like to lay on their pet owners for many reasons.

Not all dogs may exhibit this constant behavior, but in general, dogs lay on us because they love and trust us, they want to comfort us, or they are seeking attention.

Of course, each time can have a different meaning, so it’s always best to observe their behavior to determine the exact cause.

Next time your furry friend snuggles up to you, enjoy the moment and cherish the special bond you share.


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

See latest posts