Pet Dogs

Why Does My Dog Lay On Top Of Me? Canine Psychology

Why Does My Dog Lay On Top Of Me


Dogs are some of the most loved pets worldwide, and you might wonder, why does my dog lay on top of me?

Dog breeds have different behavioral traits, but most are social and playful, especially with their owners.

You might notice that your dog is needier than you are used to, and you want to know the cause. Let us look at all the details about dogs’ behavior to see why they would lay on top of you, along with other traits and what they mean;

Why Does My Dog Lay On Top Of Me?

Understanding your dog is crucial to being a good dog owner; this is an important article. Proper communication between you and your dog depends on you to read your pet’s body language and interpret it correctly, so let’s get into the details;

  1. Seeking comfort and security. Dogs are social animals in packs; therefore, they often see physical contact with humans as a source of comfort. If your dog feels safe around you, it could lay on you for reassurance and closeness.
  2. Bonding and attachment. In this situation, the dog lying on top of you is similar to you cuddling your partner. Your dog may have a solid emotional bond with you, and they can feel closer to you by laying on top of you.
  3. Temperature regulation. Dogs can’t regulate their body temperatures as easily as humans; therefore, they use environmental elements.

Laying on top of you can be a way for your dog to keep warm or cool down, depending on the weather and their body temperature.

  1. Attention-seeking. Dogs are social and love to have direct attention from their owners. Your dog must have learned that laying on top of you ensures they get positive attention from you, so they do it for attention.
  2. Marking territory. Dogs have the instinct to mark their territory. By laying on top of you, your dog may claim you as their territory and reinforce their bond with you.
  3. Anxiety or insecurity. If your dog feels anxious or insecure, it may seek comfort by lying on top of you. Your presence and scent are familiar and calming if you have a good bond; therefore, laying on top of you is therapeutic.
  4. Learned behavior. Sometimes, dogs learn that laying on top of their human companions results in positive outcomes, such as attention or treats. As a result, they may continue the behavior to get the same rewards.

Common Dog Behaviors What They Mean

The priority of a pet owner is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for your pet, regardless of the type.

Dogs have a lot of behaviors that a good dog owner can translate to understand what they need. Here are some of the most common ones;

  1. Tail wagging. This is the most common trait, primarily positive, meaning the dog is excited, happy, or eager to interact. This doesn’t mean that all wags are happy, sometimes, it could be an indication of fear, anxiety, or agitation, depending on the context.
  2. Barking. Barking can serve various purposes for dogs, including communication, warning, fear, or anxiety. It is a dog’s way of getting your attention or alerting you to a situation. Most barks are aggressive, and you should be careful around a barking dog.
  3. Licking. Dogs may lick themselves, objects, or people for various reasons. It can be a way to clean themselves, show affection, or seek attention. However, excessive licking may also indicate stress, anxiety, or discomfort.
  4. Chewing. Chewing is a common habit in dogs, but it can be a way to relieve stress or boredom. Get enough chew toys and games to keep your dog occupied and stress-free.
  5. Jumping. Dogs may jump on people to greet them or seek attention. It mostly happens when the dog is excited to see someone or get something. It is a friendly gesture, but you can train your dog to stop it if it’s something you don’t want.
  6. Digging. Dogs may dig in the yard or other areas for various reasons, such as seeking shelter, hiding objects, or exploring scents. This is primarily destructive and a sign of too much energy or boredom, so you should provide alternate activities to check this.
  7. Chasing. Their playful nature, curiosity, and prey drive predispose dogs to chase moving objects naturally. This can be a form of exercise or playing, but it can be problematic if it is aggressive, especially towards people and other animals. 
  8. Body language. Dogs communicate through their body language, including their ears, eyes, tail, and posture. Understanding their body language can provide insights into their mood, comfort level, and intentions.

For example, a wagging tail, relaxed body, and soft eyes may indicate a happy and peaceful dog, while a stiff body, raised fur, and growling may indicate fear or aggression.

  1. Rolling over. Dogs may roll onto their backs to expose their belly, which can signify submission, trust, or an invitation to play. You must also look at this contextually since it can signify fear and discomfort.

What Are Some Factors That Influence A Dog’s Behavior

Understanding the root of any problem or actions in your dog is vital in controlling future behavior.

Dogs are sensitive, and there are a lot of factors that affect how they behave towards people or other animals, so let us get the complete picture;

  1. Breed. The breed of a dog goes down to its genetic makeup, and it significantly impacts the dog’s temperament. For instance, guard dogs have a stronger sense of territory, while hunting dogs will have a higher prey drive.

Understand the typical behaviors that come with a dog breed so you see the best ways to manage the behavior and keep them from becoming destructive.

  1. Genetics. Dogs inherit certain behaviors and temperaments from their parents and ancestors. Genetic factors can influence a dog’s temperament, energy level, trainability, and behavior patterns. 

Genetics are a big piece of the puzzle, but they can also be affected by the environment and other factors such as training.

  1. Early Life Experiences. Dogs have a good memory, and their upbringing during their early years has much to do with their behavior in adulthood. This includes socialization, training, bonding with humans, and more.

Proper socialization with people, other animals, and various environments can help dogs develop appropriate coping skills and reduce the risk of fear, anxiety, and aggression.

  1. Environment. The environment in which a dog lives can significantly impact its behavior. The environment includes access to mental and physical stimulation, routines, and social interactions, and they strongly affect the dog’s character.

A stimulating and enriched environment can help prevent boredom, anxiety, and destructive behavior, which will make for a more composed and easier-to-train dog.

  1. Training and Reinforcement. The type and quality of a dog’s training can significantly impact its behavior. 

Positive reinforcement-based training methods, where desired behaviors are rewarded and reinforced, can help shape desired behaviors and strengthen the bond between the dog and its owner.

  1. Health and Wellness. A dog’s physical health and wellness can also impact its behavior. Pain, discomfort, illness, or hormonal shifts can affect a dog’s behavior and temperament. Regular vet visits will help improve this aspect and illicit positive habits.
  2. Human Interaction. The way humans interact with a dog can also influence their behavior. Regular positive interactions with the dog will elicit a sense of security and positive habits.

Bad human interaction, especially at a young age, will make dogs shy or aggressive toward new people. They need more training and assurance to trust new owners and stop destructive behavior.

  1. Past Trauma or Negative Experiences. Dogs that have experienced past trauma, abuse, or negative experiences may exhibit fearful, anxious, or reactive behaviors. Learn your dog’s history to understand its need to stay mentally healthy.

Former military dogs or those that had abusive owners need a more delicate hand to help them create new bonds and feel safe around new people.

  1. Age and Life Stage. A dog’s behavior can change as they age and go through different life stages. Understanding your dog’s age and life stage will allow appropriate training, care, and socialization.
  2. Individual Personality. Dogs have unique personalities that might sometimes differ from what their breed is generally about. Recognizing and understanding your dog’s nature can help you tailor your approach to their behavior and training.


For those who were wondering why does my dog lay on top of me, you have your answer and more. Dogs are brilliant and emotional animals, and you must do your best to care for them in every way they need.

Dogs have a lot of behavioral traits that can indicate what they feel and need, and a good dog owner needs to keep up with them. Take time to understand your dog so you can create a strong bond and have a healthy environment for both of you.