If your dog has been laying on your chest a lot, 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 to get your dog to stop doing it.
So, why does my dog lay on my chest? Possible reasons why your dog has been laying on your chest are that it finds it comfortable, it is anxious about something, it is being affectionate or that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded.
Since there are actually a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog lays on your chest
Below are a number of common reasons why your dog might be laying on your chest and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
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 on you.
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.
Encouraging 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 on your chest you or when it tries to do it, your dog will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Most dog breeds were bred to work alongside their owners and feel more secure when they are in a group. Laying on your chest could be helping it to feel safer since it will make it feel like it is in a group and less vulnerable.
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 on your chest at around the same time that you normally leave home and if it tends to show signs of anxiety when you are leaving.
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.
The reason why it does it 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.
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.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
When your dog first started laying on your chest
If your dog did not always lay on your chest, 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 it could be due to things such as learning that it gets rewards for doing it or separation anxiety.
What is different when it does it
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that your dog does it since the timing might also have 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 on your chest
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding ti when it does not. One of the ways you might be rewarding the behavior is by giving it extra attention when it does it. It would help to avoid rewarding it with extra attention when it behaves in an undesirable manner by ignoring it until it behaves the way you want.
Give it other places 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.
Train it not to
You can also train your dog not to lay on your chest 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:
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