It feels great when your furry friend lays on top of you and then falls asleep. Both of you feel a connection and comfort that will help in strengthening your relationship.
Dogs sleep or lay on their owners for five main reasons: protection, affection, attention, comfort, and anxiety. Dogs are pack animals that thrive on camaraderie and connection. Their connection with their pack and the strength and safety of that pack is strengthened by closeness.
Snuggling up with your pup is amazing but seriously sometimes you just want your pup to sleep in their own bed so you can get the rest that you need. Let’s dig into the behavior and psychology of what causes your dog to lay or sleep on top of you.
What drives this behavior?
For us to find the answer to this question, let’s examine what’s likely driving the behavior. Often times, knowing the backstory of something we don’t quite understand will help us to learn more about that behavior.
Dogs are pack animals through and through
Dogs, as you know, are descendants of wolves and both species grow up as part of a pack. The pack mentality of dogs is one of their foundational drivers. This means that they do most of their activities together within the group, which includes sleeping.
Since your dog sees you as a part of their pack, this means it will want to share its life with you. It is normal for pack animals to sleep not just with each other, but on top of each other. It just feels more comfortable for them and it preserves body heat.
So, now that you know what is behind your dog’s habit, let’s get into the details.
Five reasons your dog sleeps or lays on you
The reason why your dog sleeps on top of you might be that it is trying to protect you from something. Maybe you are laying close to the house entrance, or there are other people and even animals around. For your dog, this may present an opportunity to show you that they care for you by protecting you with their entire body.
Your dog loves you so much! And it loves showing you this. One of the ways for your dog to show their affection to you will be to lay and fall asleep on top of you, especially if it’s expecting to get some belly or back rubs out of it.
Because of those rubs, your dog might be taking advantage of the situation. It sees you laying down, or sitting comfortably and it knows you are not too busy. So, it will jump at the opportunity to get some of your attention and play with you, or simply be rubbed.
Remember dogs are pack animals and just simply enjoying sleeping together. It feels comfortable and natural. Not to mention the warmth that comes from sharing body heat.
This one differs from the rest as it stems from a more negative feeling. If you’ve been gone for a long time, or spent more days outside, leaving your doggy alone, then it might be experiencing separation anxiety. Your dog just got you back, and by laying on you they want to keep you there and be as close to you as possible.
How to manage your dog sleeping or laying on you?
If you love having your dog lay or sleep on you, then all is good and you don’t need to do anything. Enjoy the companionship and love that you and your pup share!
If you’d prefer that your dog slept or laid on the floor or in its own bed, then here’s what you can do:
- Stop petting it when it climbs onto you. This will only reinforce the behavior.
- Encourage your dog when it lays where you want it to lay, this way you will ensure it keeps doing that.
Now you Know
Having in mind all that you learned about why your dog sleeps on you, you will have an easier way of dealing with this. Be as it may, enjoy your pup’s company and stay comfy!