If your Golden Retriever keeps laying on you, this post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do about it.
So, why does my Golden Retriever lay on me? Possible reasons are that it wants attention from you, separation anxiety, you have inadvertently reinforced the behavior, you’re in its spot or that it is just being affectionate.
There are actually many reasons why your Golden Retriever might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are also a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Golden Retriever lays on you
Below are common reasons why Golden Retrievers lay on their owners and what would make them more likely to be the main reason why yours has been doing it to you.
The cause could be that it is trying to get extra attention from you. 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 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.
You’re in its spot
Another possible cause 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.
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 could also be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and the prospect of being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely if it tends to lay on you at around the same time that you tend to leave home and if it becomes anxious when you are leaving.
In this case, you could try to train it to be less anxious when you are leaving home.
To do this you could do as follows:
- Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
- Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
- Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
- Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
- Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your Golden Retriever
- Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer
Reinforcing 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 tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats when it lays on you then it might be doing it more in order to get more of those rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not lay on you and to try to recognize when it is likely to do it and to redirect its focus onto something else such as laying down in a different area.
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’s being affectionate
The reason that it lays on you 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.
Things to consider
Below are a number of things you can consider when figuring out why your Golden Retriever has been doing it.
When your Golden Retriever first started to lay on you
If your Golden Retriever did not always lay on you, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
Some things to consider would be:
- If you moved home
- If someone else moved away
- If its schedule changed
- If you started working different hours
When and where it lays on you
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that your Golden Retriever tends to do it since it might be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it tends to do it more when you would normally leave home it would be more likely to be due to separation anxiety.
How to get your Golden Retriever to stop laying on you
Below are some options you have when getting your Golden Retriever to stop laying on you.
Since it might be doing it for attention, one option would be to get it off you, to wait for it to calm down and then to sit back down. If it tries to lay on you again you would get it off you and wait again. Doing this should help to teach it that laying on you won’t result in it getting attention.
It would also help to recognize when it is likely to lay on you and to redirect its focus onto laying somewhere else with the use of positive reinforcement training.
Train it not to
You can also train your Golden Retriever not to lay on 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:
Avoid encouraging the behavior
Instead of giving it things it wants when it lays on you, it would help to reward it when it does not do it and to follow the tips above to train it not to do it.
Give it attention
In addition to the above, it would also help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of exercise, play and by training it so that it is less likely to feel the need to get attention from you.
Best Dog Training Program
Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now. You can get the first month free using This link