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Why does my Labrador lay its head on me?

Why does my Labrador lay its head on me?

If your Labrador always lays its head on you, this post will show you why and how you can get it to stop when you want it to.

So, why does my Labrador lay its head on me? Possible reasons are that it wants attention from you, it makes it feel more secure, it has separation anxiety or that it does it to spread its scent.

There are actually many reasons why your Labrador might be doing it. However, there are also a number of things that you can consider that will help you in figuring out the exact cause.

Why your Labrador lays its head on you

Below are some common reasons why Labradors do it and what would make them more likely to be the reason why yours has been doing it.

Security

The reason that your Labrador lays its head on you could be that it makes it feel more secure. Labradors were bred to work alongside their owners and the other members of their pack for hours on a daily basis. So, laying its head on you could make it feel like it is around other pack members.

Separation anxiety

It might be the case that it does it due to having some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it lays its head on you before you normally leave home and if it starts getting anxious when you are leaving.

In this case, it would help to train it to be less anxious when you are leaving and when you are away.

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 Labrador 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 Labrador 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 Labrador
  • Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer

Also, it would help to avoid leaving it alone for long periods and to periodically check up on it if you can.

It wants attention

The cause could be that it is trying to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it.

To spread its scent

The reason why it lays its head on you might be to rub its scent on to you. By doing so, it will be able to let other dogs know not to approach you.

Things to consider

Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why it has been doing it.

When it first started laying its head on you

If it started laying its head on you suddenly, it would help to consider what happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that something happened that caused it to start.

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 it does it

If it lays its head on you more at certain times it would also help to consider what is different when it does it.

For example, if it tends to lay its head on you shortly before you leave home, it would be more likely that it does it due to having some separation anxiety.

How to get your Labrador to stop laying its head on you

If you want to get it to stop doing it, a number of options that you have are mentioned below.

Ignore it

Since your Labrador might be doing it because it has learned that it gets attention from you, one option you have would be to get it to sit somewhere else and to ignore it. By doing so you will be able to teach it that laying its head on you won’t result in you giving it attention.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

It might also be the case that it has learned that laying its head on you results in it getting rewards. Instead of rewarding it when it does it, try to redirect its focus onto something else and to reward it when it is behaving the way that you want it to.

Give it attention

It would also help to give it attention throughout the day by training it, playing with it and giving it exercise. By doing so you will be able to reduce how much it feels the need to get attention from you.

Train it not to

Another option would be to train your Labrador not to lay its head on you by teaching it to go somewhere else. You can do this by teaching it to sit or to lay down somewhere and then by gradually training 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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