If your dog has been sleeping or laying on top of you a lot you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common causes and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog sleep on top of me? Possible causes are that your dog feels more comfortable there, your dog is being protective, your dog wants extra attention, your dog is being affectionate, your dog has some separation anxiety, or that it makes your dog feel safer.
Since there are many different possible causes, it would help to consider what would make them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become a lot easier to figure out what to do about it.
Why does my dog sleep or lay on top of me?
Below are a number of common causes and what would make them more likely.
Your dog is more comfortable when sleeping on you
The cause could be that it finds sleeping on top of you as being more comfortable. This would be more likely if it chooses to sleep there instead of in its bed, if it rests its head on you and if it does not seem to show any abnormal behavior.
Encouraging the behavior
It could be the case that you have encouraged it to do it by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you give it things such as back or belly rubs, when it sleeps on you, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to get it off you and to reward it when it lays down the way you want it to.
Your dog is 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 would also be more likely if it tends to do it when there are other people around and if it faces the main door when doing it.
Your dog wants attention
The cause could also be that it is trying to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it during the day, when you have not given it attention for a while and if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it.
Your dog feels safer
Most dog breeds were bred to work alongside their owners and feel more secure when they are in a group. Sleeping or laying on top of you could be helping it to feel safer since it will make it feel like it is in a group and less vulnerable.
Your dog is being affectionate
It could be the case that it is just being affectionate. This would be more likely if it tends to get you to rub its stomach or back before going to sleep.
Your dog has some separation anxiety
The cause might be that it has some separation anxiety and it wants to know when you are leaving. This would be more likely if it tends to show signs of being anxious when you are about to leave and if it tends to sleep or lay on you, during the day, only before you have left home and not after you have arrived home.
Your dog is waiting for something
The cause could also be that it is waiting to get something from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at around the same time that you would normally give it something such as food or a walk.
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 it first started doing it
If it did not always sleep or lay on top of you, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
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.
What is different when it does not do it
If it tends to do it more at certain times, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing.
For example, if it tends to do it more at around the same time that you feed it, it might be waiting for food.
What to do about my dog sleeping / laying on top of me?
If you want to get your dog to stop laying on top of you, below are some options that you have.
Positive reinforcement training
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 does it. Instead, it would help to train it to sleep where you want it to and to reward it when it goes to that spot.
Give it a comfortable 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 lie down.
Reduce its separation anxiety
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.
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