Our dogs are faithful companions. Many follow us around and rarely let us out of their sight. However, some dogs go out of their way to touch or even climb up on top of us. If you have a dog like ours, you’ve likely asked yourself, “Why does my dog lay on me?!” We ask this practically daily, so we decided to get some answers. Some of them made sense, while others honestly surprised us.
Join us as we dive into the question to determine dogs’ insistence on touching humans. Let’s get started!
Why Does My Dog Lay on Me?
There are many reasons why your dog might lay on you. Mostly, it loves you and wants to be close by. But it’s also part of a canine’s natural instincts. Dogs are pack animals that want to be close to their pack members. From the time they were puppies in a litter, they slept on top of each other for warmth and security. When your dog lays on you, it’s a way of showing you that it trusts you, and that you are part of its pack. You become a calming presence for the pup.
Dogs don’t have as much body fat as humans, so they can get cold more easily. Laying on you provides it with a source of warmth. You may also find your dog will lay on you or sit next to you when you’re sad. It could be its way of trying to comfort you, as a study showed that dogs can detect changes in psychological stress through chemosignals by smelling the slight changes in human sweat or saliva.
Dogs also have a natural instinct to mark their territory, and they may do this by laying on you. Particularly if there’s a new dog nearby, yours may be trying to exclaim, “this is my human, paws off!” Or if your pup is not getting enough attention, it may lay on you as a way of making sure you only have eyes for it.
Should You Encourage Your Dog to Lay on You?
You can certainly encourage your dog to lay on you. It’s a great way to bond with your dog. In fact, studies show that cuddling with your pet can reduce your stress, elevate your mood, and lower your heart rate.
If you don’t like your dog lying on you, simply move it off. Or you can also try training them not to do it. You might want to consider training the “off” command especially if your dog is social and may try to climb on other people who may not like it as much as you.
We think it’s also important to mention that if your dog is continually jumping on you against your wishes, or even getting bossy and borderline aggressive about his space, you should get some professional training help.
Why Does Your Dog Lay in Your Spot When You Get Up?
When you get up from the couch or bed, your dog may notice and instinctively take advantage of the warm and cozy spot you left behind. Why do they do it? Well, it’s likely not that they are stealing your spot like a rival sibling. It’s more likely that it has your scent and provides a sense of security and comfort in your absence.
Dogs are highly attuned to their humans’ behaviors, and your bond makes them want to stay as close as possible. When your dog takes over your spot, it can be seen as a way of maintaining a physical connection with you, even when you’re not there. Canines have an acute sense of smell and can detect the scents you leave behind. By occupying your spot, they surround themselves with it, alleviating the potential separation anxiety they may experience when you’re away.
So, the next time you find your dog lounging in your spot, you can see it as an endearing behavior showing their love and affection for you.
How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Imprinted on You?
Imprinting is the process in which young animals form strong attachments to a caregiver. It’s typically associated with birds, such as ducklings following their mother. However, dogs develop strong attachments to their human companions as well.
Have you seen the episode of the TV show Modern Family when the ducks imprint on Claire? Dogs are different, but their behavior has similarities. Check out this clip from the episode.
There are several signs that your dog may have imprinted on you. Let’s take a look at each.
They Lay on You or Right Beside You
When your dog lays on you or right beside you so there’s touch, you know it’s developed a strong attachment to you. It displays that you’re safe, familiar, and trustworthy.
Julie, from our team, has a Miniature Schnauzer named Oliver. He insists on cuddling up next to her leg on the couch or laying on her when possible.
They Follow You Closely
Does your dog follow you in the bathroom? Once your dog has bonded with you, it’s likely to follow you everywhere unless you ask it not to.
Oliver follows Julie so closely when she walks that he sometimes licks her calves while in motion. If she’s walking briskly and stops suddenly, he’s been known to crash into her legs. The phrase “following me around like a puppy dog” definitely applies here.
They Check On You
You know your pup has bonded with you when it checks on you. It’s a nice feeling to know you’re being looked after by a furry family member.
If Oliver’s sleeping and Julie goes into a different room, he comes to check on her as soon as he wakes up. He feels particularly concerned about keeping tabs on her if she goes outside and leaves him indoors. This is evident from his slobber on the windows.
They Make Eye Contact with You and Are Happy to See You
Can you relate to that wonderful feeling when your dog greets you at the door after you’ve been gone? The wagging tail and excitement are sure signs your dog has bonded with you. If only everyone in our lives would be as happy to see us as our pups!
Oliver often sits and stares at Julie. You can feel the unconditional love in the room. And when she comes home, even after a short time, he wags his tail and runs around with glee.
How Do Dogs Choose Their Favorite Person?
Dogs choose their favorite person based on a variety of factors, including how often they interact with the person, how much attention they’re given, and how the individual makes the dog feel. They typically attach to the person that feeds, plays, walks, and cares for them the most, but this is not always the case. But they’re also drawn to someone who’s patient with them and has a consistent, positive, or protective presence.
For example, our rescue dog Luna immediately chose my husband Tom as “her person” the day we met her at the animal shelter. While she likes me just fine and loves on me, too, there is no mistaking the adoration and special excitement she gets when he walks into the room.
Do Dogs Know We’re Not Dogs?
Dogs likely know we’re not dogs, although it’s difficult to say for sure. But it’s evident they view us as part of their pack and want to bond. Being your dog’s pack leader is a great privilege that should be taken seriously. Things like encouraging one to lay on you can help them feel safe, especially for rescue dogs who may need to overcome past trauma. With them, it usually takes from 3 months to a year to settle into their new pack completely.
Fun Fact: Do dogs think humans are cute? Click here to find out!
Pet Your Dog When It Lays on Your to Show Love Back
Dogs love to lay on you to show their admiration. So, be sure to pet your fur baby to show your love back. Bonding with your dog is good for it and your emotions.
Does your dog lay on you or follow you around the house? Share your dog tales in the comments below.
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