If your dog has been putting its head 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 about them.
So, why does my dog put its head on my chest? Possible reasons why your dog puts its head on your chest are that it is being affectionate, the behavior gets rewarded, anxiety, it’s spreading its scent onto you or that it wants something from you.
Since there are a number of possible causes, 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 a lot easier to figure out what you should do about it.
Why your dog puts its head on your chest
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 gets rewarded
The reason why it does it could be that your dog has learned that it gets things that it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, belly rubs or other rewards, when puts its head on your chest, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
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.
The cause could be that it has some anxiety and it puts its head on your chest because it makes it feel safer. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more in situations where it might feel anxious.
If it normally does it at around the same time that you leave home, it would make it more likely that it does it because it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it shows signs of being anxious when you are leaving.
Spreading its scent
It could be that your dog is trying to spread its scent onto you so that other dogs can smell it. This is its way of saying that you belong to it so that other dogs will steer clear of you.
To prevent this you’ll need to spend time training it to sit and lay down in certain places. Then you can discourage it from sitting on your chest by telling it to sit or lay somewhere else.
It wants something from you
The cause could be that it is trying to get something from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you are eating or at around the same time that you would normally give it something such as food.
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 put its head on your chest. 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.
Things to consider
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 putting its head on your chest
If your dog did not always put its head 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.
Some things that might have happened could include:
- You rewarded it one time when it did it
- You started leaving it alone for longer
- It started getting less exercise
If there is a certain time that it tends to do it
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to do it more and what is different when it tends to do it. For example, if it normally does it when you are eating, it would be very likely that it does it because it wants your food.
What to do about your dog putting its head on your chest
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that it gets rewards for putting its face on your chest.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is behaving the way you want it to and to try to redirect its focus when it seems likely to put its head on your chest.
Positive reinforcement training
One option would be to train your dog not to put its face on your chest by teaching it to stay on the floor when you’re sat down.
You can do this by getting it to sit or to lay down when it tries to put its face on your chest 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 throughout the day
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of exercise, training and by playing with it. By doing so you should help to reduce the amount of attention it feels the need to get from you.
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