If your dog has been laying against you, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about them.

So, why does my dog lay against me? Possible reasons why your dog lays against you are that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded, it has separation anxiety, it’s waiting for something from you, you’re in its spot, or it is just being affectionate.

There are actually multiple possible reasons why your dog might lay against you and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there is a number of things you can do about it.

Why does my dog lay against me?

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog might be laying against you and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

Encouraging the behavior

The cause could be that your dog has learned that it gets rewards for laying against you. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats, or extra attention, when it lays against you, then it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.

Separation anxiety

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 your dog tends to lay against you at around the same time that you normally leave home and if it tends to show signs of anxiety when you are leaving.

Nature

Most dog breeds were bred to work alongside their owners and feel more secure when they are in a group. Laying on you could be helping your dog to feel safer since it will make it feel like it is in a group and less vulnerable.

It is waiting to get something from you

The cause might also be that your dog is waiting to get something from you. This would be more likely if it does it more at a certain time such as when you have not fed it or exercised it yet. It would also be more likely if lays against you when you are on the couch it gets excited whenever it seems like you are going to get up. It would be less likely if it does it when you are in bed.

Fearfulness

The cause could also be that there is something that it is being fearful of. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it more at a certain time such as when there is thunder and lightning or another pet or person around that it does not like.

Dominance

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 your dog 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 your dog’s 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.

To spread 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.

Protectiveness

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 and if it tends to lay against you when other people or animals are around.

Affection

It could just be the case that it is being affectionate. This would be more likely if it wants to sleep when it does it and if it does not try to get you to do anything or to give it anything. 

Things to consider about your dog laying against you

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

What else happened when your dog first started laying against you

If your dog did not always lay against you, it would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be the case that it learned that the behavior is rewarded, something might have caused it to start being anxious, or that you started sitting in the spot it likes to go to.

What is different when your dog lays against you

If your dog does not always do it, it would also help to consider what is different when your dog does it. For example, if it only does it before getting exercise, it would make it more likely that your dog is waiting to see when it will get exercise.

What to do about your dog laying against you

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Avoid encouraging it

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

As mentioned above, it could be doing it because it has some separation anxiety. It would help to try to reduce how anxious it gets by giving it exercise, letting it pee and feeding it before leaving so that it does not have to wait so long.

Give your dog another place to sleep

It would also help to encourage it to sleep or lay where you want it to by making the area comfortable. It should be cool, not too bright at night, quiet and there should be space for it to lie down.

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:

Why does my dog lay against me in bed?

If your dog has been laying against you, when you are in bed, it would make it more likely that your dog does it because it makes your dog feel more secure.

However, it could be due to having learned that the behavior is rewarded which would be more likely if you give it things such as belly rubs when it does it.

Another possible cause is that it is being dominant and it thinks that you are in its spot. This would be more likely if your dog sometimes gets aggressive when you sleep in its spot. In this case, it would be best to stop allowing it to sleep with you and to get it to sleep on the floor.

Why does my dog lay touching me?

If your dog does not completely lay against you and it just touches you, it would make it more likely that your dog is doing it because it makes it feel more secure, it’s waiting to get something from you or because it has learned that the behavior is rewarded.

Why does my dog lay against me when I’m sat down?

If your dog only does it when you are sitting down, it would make the cause more likely to be because it is waiting to get something from you such as food or a walk. It might also be because of any of the reasons mentioned above. It would help to consider the timing of when your dog does it.

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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.