Why Does My Dog Lay On Top Of Me? 8 Reasons 

Dogs have many behaviors, some weird and some funny. Some behaviors are sucking blanketsstaring in space, among others. One of the common questions dog owners have is why their dogs keep laying on top of them when watching movies, sleeping in bed, or relaxing outdoors. Read on to know why your dog lay on top of you and whether to encourage or discourage it.

Your dog lay on top of you to offer protection, jealousy, as a sign of affection, for physical warmth, for attention, fear, separation anxiety, or because you have encouraged the behavior.

8 Reasons Why Your Dog Lays On Top Of You

1. Protective Instincts

Before dogs were domesticated, they were a part of pack families. Protecting members of the pack is the job of every pack member. Your dog sees you as a pack leader; it is his work to protect you against any threat.

Even when your dog lays on top of you, he is alert to the surroundings, can detect danger from any direction, and feels like he is in control.

2. Jealousy

A dog can lay on top of you to mark you as his. This is most common in a house with other pets. He wants to ensure that there is no other animal that can get close to you.

You can know whether your dog is laying on top of you out of jealousy if he growls at other pets when they try to get near you.

3. As A Sign Of Affection

Obviously, your dog loves you; since he cannot talk, he will show you in actions. He shows how much he loves you by laying on top of you, strengthening your relationship.

This mostly happens at night when you have been gone the whole day, allowing you to spend quality time together.

4. Physical Warmth and Comfortability

A dog will only sit or sleep where he feels comfortable, which might turn out to be on top of you. Also, small dogs with fewer hairs will settle where they can feel the warmth.

If your dog chooses to lay on top of you rather than his bed, resting his head on you, and if it doesn’t appear to be acting strangely, then he feels comfortable and warm around you.

5. Attention

Dogs like attention; if it is not given to them, they can have behavior changes in an attempt to get your attention. During puppyhood, giving your attention is crucial for their survival. Your dog can have a hard time when he is grown up, and you cannot offer the same attention anymore. He can end up laying on top of you to get your attention.

Other ways dogs seek attention are;

  • Barking excessively.
  • Repetitive licking.
  • Nipping on the heel or foot of the owner.
  • Poking.
  • Feeding on trash
  • Clinginess

6. Fear

As stated earlier, dogs lived in groups for security before being domesticated. Therefore, he may feel safer laying on top of you since he will feel like he is part of a group and less vulnerable.

7. Separation Anxiety

It feels bad when you are going to work and have to leave your dogs behind, and it is not easy for dogs. Dogs with separation anxiety have a hard time when the owner is leaving them behind and might display the following behaviors;

  • Pacing
  • Excessive barking
  • Licking his paws excessively
  • Drooling
  • Destructive chewing

When the owner returns, the dog will be over-excited and can show it by sleeping on top of you.

8. You Have Encouraged The Behavior

You might have encouraged the behavior unknowingly. For example, watching a movie after a long day, your pooch lays on top of you, and you rub his ears or cuddle up. Your dog will get encouraged to do so another time.

Is My Dog Laying On Top OF Me A Problem?

Though it is a win-win thing for your dog to lay on top of you, it can be a problem if your dog does it constantly. It can get uncomfortable, especially for large breed owners.

Below are the cases when a dog sleeping on top of you is a problem;

a) Dominance

It is unacceptable if a dog is sleeping on top of you to show dominance. Your dog needs to understand his place in the family, which entails accepting your position as the leader. In addition, dominance can make him harm other pets when they get near you.

b) Separation Anxiety

If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, it means that he will be in emotional distress, which is not good for his health. You can work with a behaviorist to get the best way to handle separation anxiety.

c) Health Issues

When a dog has an underlying health problem, he can lay on top of you and soothe himself emotionally. However, if you do not realize that your dog is unwell, his health will deteriorate. This is why you should take your dog for checkups regularly.

How Can I Stop My Dog From Laying On Top Of Me?

i) Using The Crate

Use positive reinforcement to put your dog in a crate. Make the carte comfortable and warm. Train him to enter the crate instead of laying on top of you.

Ensure that the crate is in a strategic place, away from much noise but not isolated.

ii) Do not Encourage It

Dogs are intelligent and likely to repeat an action rewarded for. So let them know that you are in control, and he can only lay on you when you want.

Also, please do not be harsh on him as it will confuse him and get him stressed.


There is nothing wrong with your dog laying on top of you; it is a show of affection and strengthens your bond. The only exception can be when he does it out of dominance or has a health problem.

Train your dog that he can only sleep on top of you when permitted and that you are the pack leader.

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