If your dog has been laying across you a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog lay across me? Possible reasons why your dog lays across you are that it makes it feel safer, it is being affectionate, it likes the extra attention or that it is being protective.
Since there are a number of reasons why your dog might have been laying across you, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become easier to figure out what you should do about it.
Why your dog lays across you
Below are some common reasons why dogs do it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
Many people jump to the conclusion that their dogs do it because they are trying to be dominant. However, the alpha/beta dynamic has been disproven in studies showing that wolves take turns in taking the lead.
With that being said, it could be doing it due to bullying behavior which would be more likely if it tries to get you to move and if it shows signs of aggression when doing it. In this case, it would help to avoid giving it reasons to feel threatened and to get it to learn to behave the way you want it to with training programs such as NLIF (“Nothing in Life is Free) dog training.
You’re in its spot
The reason why it does it might be that it thinks that you are in its spot. This would be more likely if it only does it when you are sitting in a certain spot.
In this case, it would also be important to train it to sit or to lay down somewhere else so that it does not display dominance issues.
The reason why it does it could be that it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if you tend to give it extra attention or things such as belly rubs when it does it.
If you want to get it to stop it would help to give it attention throughout the day but to avoid rewarding it with attention when it tries to lay on you. It would also help to try to recognize when it is likely to try to do it and to redirect its focus onto something else.
Spreading its scent
The reason why it does it might be that it is trying to spread its scent onto you so that other dogs are less likely to approach you. This would be more likely if it gets protective when you are around other animals.
It could be the case that it has some separation anxiety and it wants to know when you’re leaving and to prevent you from leaving. This would be more likely if it tends to lay across you at around the same time that you normally leave home and if it tends to show signs of anxiety when you are leaving.
Reinforcing the behavior
It might be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it lays across you or when it tries to do it, your dog will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
It’s being protective
The reason why it does it might be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it also becomes protective when you are around other people or animals.
It’s being affectionate
The reason why it lays across you could be that it is just being affectionate. This would be more likely if it also tries to get you to do things such as give it belly rubs when it does it.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the most likely reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started laying across you
If your dog did not always lay across you, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as learning that it gets rewards for doing it.
What is different when it does it
It could also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to do it since it might be the case that the timing has something to do with it. For example, if it tends to do it at around the same time that you normally leave home, it could be the case that it has some separation anxiety especially if it becomes anxious when you are leaving.
What to do about your dog laying across you
Below are some things you can do if you want your dog to stop doing it.
Since your dog might be doing it for attention, one option would be to get it off you, to wait for it to calm down and then to sit back down. If it tries to lay across you again you would get it off you and wait again. Doing this should help to teach it that laying on you won’t result in it getting attention.
It would also help to recognize when it is likely to lay on you and to redirect its focus onto laying somewhere else with the use of positive reinforcement training.
Train it not to
You can also train your dog not to lay across you by teaching it to stay on the floor while you’re sat down. You can do this by getting it to sit or to lay down and then gradually teaching it to stay there over longer and longer time periods.
You can do this by applying the same techniques as in the video below:
Give it attention
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it is less likely to do things to get attention from you. Ways to give it attention would be to walk it, train it and play with it.
Give it another place to lay down
If there is not currently anywhere else for it to lay down comfortably, it could help to give it another spot that it can go to instead of laying on you.