Dogs can be funny; they have their own language and means of communication, so if owners pay close attention, you can understand what they are trying to tell you. Some behaviors exhibited by dogs include those that attempt to assert dominance over other people and pets.

For example, one thing that they may do is to sit on one-another. That is, if you have more than one dog, puppies may try to sit on the older dogs when they join the household. This is not necessarily an overt sign of aggressive behavior or dominance; in fact, it could simply be a form of playfulness among the pets.

Either way, owners should be wary of letting dogs sit, lie, and climb on each other when there is a significant size difference, as it could result in issues and injuries to smaller or vulnerable pets.

Why do my dogs sit on each other?

So, why do dogs sit on each other? It is often a behavior that formed in puppy-hood, and that is very common among dogs. Think of a litter of puppies: did you see how they climb, pile, and lie on one-another? Siblings play, snuggle, and sit on and around each other- but know that there are other reasons and rationales for dogs that sit on other dogs.

Sitting on each other could be a form of playing. Dogs are usually raised with siblings that could have a rough-and-tumble relationship with. Puppies roll, loll, and lay on each other when together; perhaps it is a canine version of sibling rivalry!

Watch how your other pets respond to this behavior: you may need to intervene if it seems to make other pets or older dogs uncomfortable and tense. If you are bringing a new dog into the home, and they try to sit on your pets, it could be their way of trying to assert dominance over the rest of the household. It may or may not result in aggression, but it does merit keeping an eye out for signs that your pets are stressed or anxious about the behavior.

If your dogs are attempting to show the others that they are dominant, it will require intervention. While in the wild, one dog will rise to become the pack leader, in your home, you lead the pack. If you let your new furry family member assert dominance, you will likely see behavior issues and a power struggle that can wreak havoc on your peaceful home. In these instances, you may need to resort to the expertise of a dog trainer or pet behavioral specialist to regain control of your pack.

Why do my dogs lay on each other?

On a lighter note, dogs are playful, and often they may lay on each other for fun and camaraderie. They tease, nip, and, yes, lay the other pets- and sometimes humans- in the home. There are some dog breeds that are more prone to this behavior, and surprisingly they are larger breeds of dogs including Great Danes and Boxers.

When your dog was born, he likely had littermates and siblings that he laid with and snuggled. This behavior provides them with comfort, warmth, and the reassurance of knowing their siblings are nearby. Many dogs will continue to do this into adulthood, especially if they live with at least one of their natural siblings. It provides them with a sense of safety and security.

As long as none of the dogs are at-risk of being injured due to this behavior, there is no reason to break them up or separate your dogs. Again, dogs have their own way of communicating amongst themselves; if they do not want to lay and play with the other, they will work it out.

Why does my dog sit on other dog’s heads?

Another similar behavior that could seem like cause for concern is when your dog tries to sit on other dogs’ heads. Basically, the underlying reason tends to be either play or dominance.

Do you know how to tell the difference? If your dog is sitting on other dogs’ heads, they likely are displaying some other signs of dominant behavior, like putting their paws on the other pet’s head or back. There is also the chance that your dogs are simply playing, sitting on each other, and rolling around are ways that canines socialize and play.

The key is to learn to spot signs of distress and anxiety among your pets, so that you can tell if the behavior is unwelcome or unwanted, and if a problem could possibly ensue. After all, you do not want other, older pets in the home to be stressed out by these interactions; it could cause behavioral issues among the pack later-on.

It is also not uncommon for dogs to try to sit on their humans’ heads, too. Again, this boils down to either loving horse play with their favorite people or they are trying to dominate you and take over your role as the leader of the household.

What does it mean when a dog backs into another dog?

You may have noticed that when your dog encounters or meets another dog, he turns his back and kind of backs into the animal. This is normally regarded as a kind of dog-to-dog greeting. The dog may even nudge into the other animal with their side or hip, which is part of canine socialization. In fact, there is a name for it: the hip nudge.  This is a common behavior for canines and, in the dog world, is considered acceptable etiquette when socializing among other animals.

This extends to dogs greeting their humans, too. Some owners may feel that their dogs do not love them, is being dismissive, or are ignoring them when they turn their backs to their people; they may misinterpret the hip nudging as pushy or rude behavior. A hip nudge should be considered a display of friendliness and should convey to humans and dogs alike that the dog has no intent of attack or aggression.

It should also be said that the hip nudge is a very-common and fundamental part of the mating ritual among canines- and some other species- in which the male dog nudges the female dog.

Why do dogs sleep on each other?

Dogs begin the behavior of sleeping on each other as puppies. A young puppy likes to sleep in a pile and snuggle their littermates for warmth and security. This is a very basic and inherent survival skill that dogs adopt at birth, and that they often continue into adulthood.

This is a practice that served dogs well historically as many dogs out in the wild had to sleep outside in cold temperatures and ward-off any predators nearby. Is your pet chilly, cold, or uncomfortable? If you observe your dog or dogs sleeping on each other, they likely are craving the warmth the other bodies provide or are simply seeking companionship and reassurance.

Provide each of your dogs with their own warm and snuggly bedding for comfort in your home. Make sure that they are not sleeping on one-another due to being chilly or cold. Pets are our furry family members; they should never be left to sleep outside in any kind of inclement weather.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.