Woman laying on grass with her dog laying on top of her.

Why Does My Dog Lay on Me?

Someone once said that if you don't own at least one dog, there might not be anything wrong with you. Still, there could be something amiss with the quality of your life.

While a dog should not necessarily be the center of your entire life, it can make your life feel whole. And whoever said that you couldn't choose your family members never owned a dog.

A dog will love you more than itself. However, every relationship takes time to develop fully. 

And many breeds of dogs love to communicate via closeness and proximity with their owners.

Closeness is Communication

A primary way that dogs communicate is through closeness and huddling. 

Researchers believe that every domesticated dog on Earth is the genetic descendant of ancient and wild wolves.

Wolves survived by hunting, eating, and existing in packs. Wolves huddle together for warmth and security. The alpha dog may lay on others to assert dominance. Or betas may huddle and lie as close as possible to the alpha to express their respect and loyalty.

Dogs also communicate with each other by scent. The loudness, tone, and frequency of their barking and other canine vocalizations are also another form of communication.

Dogs also communicate via visual signals. Widening eyes, perked-up ears, wagging tails, and aggressive stances, for example, all telegraph a dog's emotion. When a dog is playfully lying on its back and wagging its paws, it wants to have fun.

However, the entire scientific understanding of how dogs communicate with humans is still being debated.

A 2018 scientific research study showed that dogs might understand humans a lot more than they get credit for. 

Unfortunately, while many dog owners believe that their dogs verbally understand them, dogs intuit their owners' actions, mannerisms, gestures, and facial movements and combine them with the associated verbal commands.

In other words, dogs usually communicate with their owners via visual commands, while dog owners mistakenly believe they understand the verbal commands.

Another study astonishingly suggests that dogs may understand human speech like human beings. But that study also indicates that dogs may have an internal compass that allows them to always find their way, even when lost, by following Earth's magnetic field.

Another study found that dogs can't and never will have the capacity to understand human words.

The point is that you should never take it for granted that your dog understands you. Know for sure through obedience training, trial, and error, and by being very observant.

The most optimal way to intuit your dog's thoughts and moods is to watch its actions and observe if it likes to get close to you.

For a dog, closeness is communication.

What does it mean if your dog likes to lay on you or prominently sit on your lap whenever it gets an opportunity to do so?

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Related: Why Do Dogs Like To Be Pet?

Why Does My Dog Lay on Me?

Is your dog always in the habit of lying on you? 

The reason for this may be highly innocent, related to fun or goofiness, or maybe a symptom of a potentially underlying problem.

Here is why this could be happening and what you can do about it.

Scent Marking

Cute dog laying on couch near owner.

As previously mentioned, dogs communicate via scent. Untrained dogs stain areas with bodily fluids to inform other dogs of their territory or impress other messages.

Of course, your domesticated and trained dog wouldn't do that in your house, so they may resort to other methods of spreading its scent.

Your dog may be sitting on you as a way to spread its body scent on you. Understand that it is not applying its scent for itself. Your dog assumes you and any other pets in the house will smell the smell and get the message.

Why your dog is doing this may not be obvious. It may be doing it for territorial reasons. Your dog may be suffering from insecurity and maybe using its scent spreading to get confirmation from you that you cherish it.

A promising sign of that theory is if your dog is in the habit of rolling around on your favorite spot on the bed or sofa. Laying on you may be its way of marking you with its scent.


Your dog may lay on you as a way of protecting you. It may be an action spurred by territorial feelings or genuine concern.

Usually, visual miscommunication may feel that it needs to protect you from other people or animals for one reason or another.

Fun and Bonding

Your dog may be extremely friendly and enjoy a gag and laying on top may be its way of having fun, relieving stress, and trying to make you happy.

And it's a dog, so that this action may become routine. Every day when you arrive from home, or get settled and get comfortable, it may lay on you to make itself and you happy.

Many breeds of dogs, like the Great Dane, are very friendly and love being close to their owners.

Laying on you may also be a way of your dog trying to bond with you.


Unfortunately, your dog may be trying to assert territorial dominance over your body, your home, and everything in it when it lays on you.

If you are laying down and your dog lays on you, it is higher than you are. It may seem trivial, but to the dog, it means that it is in charge.

A dog laying on your lap hinders you from getting up unless you forcefully remove it. And the longer it takes you to remove the dog from on top of you, especially if it ignores commands to move, the more it will believe that it is an alpha in charge.


Dog on leash playing in grass and smiling at camera.

As long as the behavior is innocent and your dog always follows commands to move when told, your dog laying on you shouldn't be a problem.

Closeness is communication to a dog. Your dog laying on you is its way of communicating with you. Precisely what it is saying to you is something that must be discerned between you and your dog.

If you think your dog is lying on you to impress its territorial plan, then make sure to stop it. Employ an obedience trainer if needed. 

Try to reinforce positive behavior with treats and affection.

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Related: Why Do Chihuahuas Bark So Much?