If your dog has been laying its head on 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 to get yours to stop doing it.
So, why does my dog lay its head on me? Possible reasons why your dog lays its head on you are that it wants attention from you, it is being affectionate, laying its head on you makes it feel safer, your dog finds it comfortable or that it wants something from you.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started doing it. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become a lot easier to figure out what you should do about it.
Why your dog lays its head or chin on you
Below are a number of reasons why your dog might have been doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It wants attention
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 its head 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.
It is being affectionate
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.
It makes it feel safer
The reason why it does it could be that it makes your dog feel safer. This is because, by touching you, it will know that you are there and it won’t feel like it is alone. This would be more likely if it also tends to follow you around the house and if it can have a timid personality.
Encouraging the behavior
It might be the case that you have encouraged your dog to do it by giving it things it wants when it lays its head on you. If you give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it lays its head on you, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it behaves in a way that you do not want.
It feels more comfortable
The reason why it does it might be that it finds it more comfortable than alternative options. This would be more likely if it chooses to lay with you instead of sleeping in its own bed and if it tends to go to sleep when it lays it head on you.
It wants something from you
The cause could be that it is hoping to get something from you. It could be the case that it wants some of your food or that it wants you to give it exercise or to feed it. This would be more likely if it touches you with its head in a way that encourages you to move, if you normally give it things it wants when it does it and if it does it when you are eating.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started laying its head on you
If it did not always lay its head on 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.
For example, if it also started showing signs of separation anxiety and you started leaving it alone for longer time periods, it could be the case that it has been doing it due to separation anxiety and it wants to know when you’re leaving.
What is different when your dog lays its head on you
If there is a certain time that your dog tends to lay its head on you, it would also help to consider what is different when it does it. For example, if it does it more when it has just gotten exercise, it might be the case that it wants to sleep and it finds it comfortable sleeping with its head on you.
What to do about your dog laying its head on you
If you do not want your dog to lay its head on you, below are some options that you have.
Train it to lay elsewhere
One option would be to train your dog to lay somewhere else with the use of positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage it to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.
To use it to get it to lay or sleep in a certain spot you could do something such as the following:
- Make the location, you want it to sleep in, comfortable.
- Get your dog to stand there and reward it
- Encourage your dog to lay down by giving it a treat
- Continue to repeat the process a few times daily until it realizes that laying there results in it getting rewards
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards when it lays its head on you. Instead, it would help to try to redirect its focus when it is about to lay its head on you and to reward it when it lays down where you want it to.
Give it another place to lay down
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 lay down.