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Why Does My Dog Lay On Me?

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18 Reasons Why Does My Dog Lay On Me

Dogs will sleep with their owners for many reasons. Most pet parents love the bonding time, but there are other reasons your dog likes to lay on you. Below are reasons why dogs lay on you. The benefits outweigh the negatives if your dog doesn’t disrupt your sleep pattern. Each dog is different. One of my dogs lies at the foot of the bed. My girl dog paces between me and my husband’s side of the bed. So she goes in the crate at night. If your dog is restless at night, you should use a crate to put your dog in at night. Other than that, here are the 19 benefits for your dog to lay on you. 

1. Bonding and Companionship

Being close to their people makes your dogs feel safe. Sleeping together can make your dog feel safe. They feel safe because they don’t need to worry about stressors. Stressors could be intruders or scary sounds. Something they might wake up to at night unless you are around.

2. Security

Our bodies give off warmth. Sleeping together is very common in the animal kingdom, not just dogs. Sleeping together helps regulate body temp. However, the same can be said if your dog is hot. He might avoid you.

3. Warmth

Our bodies give off warmth. Sleeping together is very common in the animal kingdom, not just dogs. Sleeping together helps regulate body temp. However, the same can be said if your dog is hot. He might avoid you. 

4. Scent and Familiarity

We all know dogs can smell like crazy. But what we underestimate is that dogs will create associations with smells. They will determine if your smell has been associated with food, playtime, and comfort. They can get the feel-good hormones just from sitting next to you.

5. Pack Instinct

This reason is similar to the warmth reason. Dogs are naturally inclined to sleep in packs due to the warming effect. The difference between this and the warmth example is habit. One is a habit; one dog does because they are cold.

6. They Have Anxiety

Dogs who have never been left alone while young are prone to anxiety. With COVID-19 dogs, anxiety is growing like crazy. Being close to their human reduces the anxiety and makes them feel good.

7. Health and Safety

Sick dogs or dogs just out of surgery will seek comfort from their owners. Remember that you make them feel better. So, they seek to mitigate the pain or stress in times of discomfort.

8. Attention and Affection

Dogs like attention. It makes them feel good because they were bred to enjoy human companionship. Those whose brains did not light up when we pet them were not kept for future breeding.

9. Routine

Dogs love routines. If you establish regular nighttime cuddles, they will request for them consistently. My dog gets frustrated if I work too long. He does barkatantrums at my desk because it’s TV time.

10. Your Sick

Dogs can smell sick. They can smell seizures, high blood pressure, cancer, and COVID-19. Your dog might know you are sick and are trying to comfort you by lying on top of you.

11. You Are Feeling Anxious

Just like they can detect if you are sick, they know if you are anxious. Your stress hormones elevate, and your dog can smell it. Dogs will lay on you to provide reassurance and reduce stress levels.

12. You Just Got Home

Alot of owners accidentally train their dogs to be super excited when they first get home. They usually do this by being excited themselves. Your attention reinforces the behavior. It might cause a dog to want to bond with you. They do this by laying on top of you when you get home.

13. They Are Lonely

Dogs are animals who like to be around other animals. They will become velcro dogs if you leave them home for a long time or go on vacation. Dogs become afraid because they are afraid you are going to leave again. Dogs don’t have the best sense of time, which causes them to be anxious-excited when you return.

14. There Was a Strange Sound

Dogs are super aware of their surroundings. They have amazing peripherals compared to humans. Loud noises, quick movements, or strange smells might cause a dog to lie on you. Your dog is looking for either protection or to be protected.

15. Jealousy

Jealousy is a human emotion. It’s usually frowned upon to apply human emotions to animals. There was once a study about two monkeys. One Monkey was given a banana for completing a task. The second Monkey was given a cucumber for the same task. After a couple of sessions, the cucumber monkey was not happy and “went bananas” over the injustice. So, while animals do not get jealous like humans, they do understand fairness. 

16. They Want Something

Dogs use pawing, lawing, and barking as a way to communicate. If they’re hungry, thirsty, or want something else, they might lay on you to get your attention and signal their desire.

17. They Have to Go to the Bathroom

Many owners notice their dog is annoying and might remember to take them out for potty. They learn that being annoying or laying on you gets them a potty break. So they do it more.

18. You Encouraged It

Don’t reward your dog for something you don’t like. So, if you pet them while they lay on you, expect it to occur more. Don’t give them attention, food, or playtime if you don’t want that.

12 Reason Why You Should Let Your Dog Lay On You

Taking time out of your day to cuddle your dog has massive health and emotional benefits. Many pet owners wonder, “Why does my dog always lay on me?” Learning why your dog does this can strengthen your bond. The reasons why your dog lays on you will give you some insight into your canine behavior.

1. Lowers Your Blood Pressure

Petting and cuddling your dog can reduce both of your blood pressures. When you pet your dog, you release oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone associated with emotional bonding and relaxation.

2. Lowers Your Stress Hormones

Spending quality time with a dog reduces the secretion of cortisol. Cortisol is a primary stress hormone. Lowering your cortisol levels is excellent for your health, especially your mental health. Lower cortisol levels make you and your dog more relaxed and less anxious.

3. Reduces Depression

Being loved unconditionally by a dog can increase your serotonin and dopamine levels. Both of these hormones regulate mood. They are also important in causing and preventing depression.

4. Promotes Brain Waves

Physical contact stimulates alpha brain waves. Alpha brain waves are linked to relaxation.

5. Eases Insomnia

Those who can’t sleep at night might benefit from having a dog nearby. Dogs can help owners fall asleep sooner. Dogs’ presence relaxes their owners and can speed up the falling asleep period. 

6. Decreases Loneliness

Physical closeness reinforces the bond between you and your dog. A strong bond will make your dog want to listen to you better. A high level of boding makes training more accessible.

7. Improves Sleep Quality

For some, sleeping with their dog can lead to deeper, more restful sleep. Their rhythmic breathing can act as a real-life lullaby.

8. Strengthens Bond Which Makes Training Easier

Physical closeness reinforces the bond between you and your dog. A strong bond can make communication more effective, facilitating training.

9. Promotes A Healthy Heart

Many owners want to lower their cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Having your dog lay on you does this and can contribute to heart healt

10. Reduces Allergies Later In Life

Early exposure to dogs has reduced children’s risk of developing allergies. This is because they are near them alot. A study emerged about how free-range chickens with cats can help prevent cat allergies.

11. Increases Sense Of Security

Just like dogs benefit from being near a packmate, humans benefit, too. They can be more alert and relaxed. Instead, they have a dog close by that is attentive to any unusual sounds or changes in the environment.

12. Keeps You Warm

The physical warmth of a dog can be comforting on cold nights, acting as a natural heater.

12 Reasons Why A Dog Laying On You Is Good

11 Reasons Why You Should NOT Let Your Dog Lay On You

The bond between humans and dogs is unique, but sometimes boundaries are essential. Pet owners often ask, “Why does my dog always lay on me?” Recognizing the concerns behind this behavior can inform decisions about personal space with pets.

1. Resource Aggression

Dogs that display signs of resource guarding or aggression might growl, snap, or bite if they feel threatened by their space (like a particular spot on the couch). Allowing such a dog to lay on you could trigger an aggressive response. Learn about possesive aggression. 

2. Dirty Dog

Dogs that have been outdoors might be muddy, wet, or carry allergens like pollen. Allowing them to lay on you can transfer this dirt or allergens to your clothes or skin.

3. Ruin Furniture

A dog’s nails, fur, or body oils could potentially damage or stain certain types of furniture. For those who are particular about maintaining their furniture’s pristine condition, allowing a dog to climb on it might not be a good idea.

4. They Lick Too Much

Some dogs have a habit of excessive licking. This can become annoying or even unsanitary, especially if the dog licks your face, hands, or any wounds you might have. Learn about why dogs lick when you pet them. 

5. Back Issues

Just like with hip issues, certain positions might not be ideal for owners with back problems. Especially if the dog weighs more than 25lbs. 

6. Dominance (debunked)

While dominance theory in dog training is debated, some believe allowing a dog to lay on you can encourage feelings of ownership or dominance. Similarly, a dog becoming too attached or overly dependent could lead to separation anxiety.

12. Keeps You Warm

The physical warmth of a dog can be comforting on cold nights, acting as a natural heater.

7. Potential for Accidents

If a dog is not entirely housetrained or has a medical condition that leads to incontinence, there’s a risk of accidents happening while they’re laying on furniture or beds.

8. Can Overheat

In warmer temperatures, both the dog and the owner can become too warm when in close contact, leading to discomfort or overheating.

9. Disrupts Sleep

If you allow your dog to lay on you or your bed during the night, their movements or sounds might interrupt your sleep cycles, leading to a less restful night.

10. Risk Of Being Hurt

For tiny dog breeds or puppies, there’s a risk of accidentally getting squished or pushed off if they lay on or beside someone, especially during sleep.

11. Allergies

People with dog allergies might experience flare-ups if they have too close contact with their pets, including letting them lay on them.

Reasons why a dog laying on you would be bad

What Does It Mean When Your Dog Lays On You

When your dog lays on you, it means they trust and care for you. You are their caregiver after all. The most common reasons, according to the AKC are usually positive. This behavior is typically about bonding, seeking comfort, or providing warmth. But, i have had cases where the dog is being protective or possessive. You need to look at the specific circumstances of why your dog is lying to you. Once you know the reason you can either encourage or discourage it.

Dogletics Case Studies

Below are a list of all my case studies that relate to “Why does my dog sleep on me?”. Feel free to read our case studies but the names of the owners and dogs have been changed. Hopefully, it will offer insights into what you are looking for. 

The Golden That Got Too Big

 Answering: Why does my dog sleep on me?

My experience with Mr. Roberts and his Golden Retriever, Charlie. Charlie got too big to be a lap dog and Mr. Roberts hated pushing him off him and wondered why he developed such a clingy behavior .

The Client

Charlie, a Golden Retriever, was adopted by Mr. Roberts when Charlie was just a puppy. He was just eight weeks old. Charlie loved lying on Mr. Roberts’ lap whenever he got the chance.  Mr. Roberts loved the cuddles at first, which is why it continued during Charlie’s puppyhood.  

When Charlie grew to full size, he would still want to sit on Mr. Roberts Lap, like he did as a puppy.  However, Mr. Roberts started feeling a sharp pain in his hips.  He saw a Chiropractor who said his hips were tilting when the dog was sitting on him.

The doctor told Mr. Robert that he couldn’t let the dog sit on his lap anymore. So Mr. Robert asked me why his dog liked it in the first place. Once he understood, he was able to do other activities with his dog that provided similar comfort and bonding. 

The Fix

Teach the dog to lay next to you. This can be done by getting up every time they lay on you and rewarding them when they are to the left or right of you.  Provide the dog with a different bonding activity, like Geo-Sniffing. 

Buddy Who Would Pee On His Owner

Many dog owners wonder, “Why does my dog sleep on me?” While this often signifies trust and affection, in Buddy’s case, post-hike exhaustion brought its own set of challenges. The following case study delves into these unique nighttime habits.

The Client

Buddy, the Labrador, loved going on hikes with Ms. Thompson,  which included long, arduous trails, allowing Buddy to unleash his boundless energy.

Buddy would drink a lot of water after their long hikes.  He would also be exhausted and lay all day on the couch with Ms. Thompson.  However, despite his tiredness, his increased water intake meant he needed to go potty more frequently. She started to notice that multiple times, Buddy was too fatigued to indicate his need to go outside, leading to unfortunate nighttime accidents on Ms. Thompson.

Ms. Thompson recognized a pattern: the combination of exhaustion from the hike and the significant water intake disrupted Buddy’s usual nighttime potty routine. It became evident that while Buddy was worn out, his body’s natural response to the water he consumed required attention.

The Fix

Ms. Thompson learned to pay more attention to how much water Buddy would drink. If he drank a lot, she would force him to go outside, even if that meant picking him up and plopping him in the grass. She learned that when Buddy would scout over towards her, its because he wanted to go outside but was too tired to get up. 

Bella The Restless Shih Tzu

While we all love when our dogs sleep with us, some dogs can really mess up our own sleep cycle.  Answering: “Why does my dog lay on me?”

The Client

Bella, a tiny Shih Tzu,  was very affectionate since she was a puppy. She loved sleeping with her owners at night. 

As Bella grew older, the Johnsons started to become irrated because she would pace back and forth between Mom and Dad. Waking them both up. 

Smaller breeds typically have different sleep patterns than humans. Their sleep can be more fragmented, with periods of being awake or restless.  Bella’s natural sleeping pattern was very different than her humans, which caused them to lack quality sleep. 

The Fix

Bella now sleeps in her crate. Sometimes, her owners let her out on weekends so they can still get their bonding time without disrupting their work life. 

Gidget The One Eyed Yorkie

Its important to understand that sleeping together may not be the best answer to bonding with your dog. Answer “Why do dogs lay on you?”

The Client

Gidget, a tiny 4lb Yorkie, was my friends mom’s best friend. Her mom was an empty nester so her bond with her dog was incredible. She loved sharing a abed with her because she would sleep on top of her moms rib cage when she was on her side. 

One night, Ms. Parker, unaware of Gidget’s position beside her, rolled over in her sleep. The pressure exerted on Gidget’s small frame was catastrophic. By the time Ms. Parker realized what had occurred, Gidget’s eye had suffered severe trauma, leading it to become dislodged from its socket.

Emergency veterinary assistance was sought immediately. The veterinarians confirmed that the weight and pressure from Ms. Parker rolling over had caused Gidget’s injury. Given the petite size and delicate anatomy of smaller breeds like Yorkies, they are particularly susceptible to such accidents, especially in shared sleeping arrangements.

The Fix

Gidget underwent a surgical procedure to address the injury. While her vision was compromised, the veterinarians alleviated her pain and discomfort. After the traumatic incident, Ms. Parker established separate sleeping arrangements for Gidget’s safety. A comfortable, plush dog bed was placed close to Ms. Parker’s, ensuring closeness without the risks of shared bedding. The incident served as a sobering reminder of the dangers tiny pets might face in seemingly harmless situations.

Alternatives To Your Dog Laying On You

To keep a dog from laying on you, you need to give them an alternative behavior. This behavior could be: ‘Kennel Up,’ ‘Go To Spot,’ or ‘Off.’ But, if your dog is laying on you to demand something like food, water, or play. You need to withhold the reward until they are no longer laying on you.

1. Crate Training

Teach your dog to lay in his crate when you are not feeling up for cuddles

2. Teach Go To Spot

For dogs who hate the crate you can teach a dog to lay on a bed, couch, or blanket. 

3. Stop Encouraging The Behavior

When your dog lays on you, stop petting them, playing with them, or feeding them. Ignore your dog. If your dog is trying to communicate that they want to be fed, or given water, wait until they get off you. Then you can take care of your dog’s needs. Do not forget. Otherwise, this is cruel. Telling you is one thing; demanding is another.

4. Teach Off

Teaching your dog to get off of you is a valuable skill.  You can use with jumping and counter surfing as well. 

5. Stand Up Game

To prevent my dog from sitting on me I stand up every time he sits on me. After the third  or so try, he lays down next to me. Starting off you may be doing squats for a while. My dog is use to this game and understand it means I do not want to be sat on at that moment.  

6. Invest In Other Ways To Bond

Play hide and seek, go for walks, go on a car ride. If they have nothing else to look forward to besides TV nights, they are going to be insistent on getting their bond time. 

How To Stop It: Why Does My Dog Lay On Me

Many pet think that a dog who is bonded to them are dogs that want to cuddle.  However, this is not the case. So if you need your dog to no longer sleep on you (such as the case of Bella) below is your answers. Answer “why does my dog sleep on me?”

Step 1: Choose a Comfortable Spot

Start by choosing a comfortable spot for both of you, like a couch, bed, or floor mat.

Step 2: Get Your Dog's Attention

Use a treat or toy to get your dog’s attention. Hold it in your hand to ensure they’re focused on you.

Step 3: Command and Lure

Use a command such as “come” to get your dog to approach you. Once they’re close, use a treat or toy to lure them into a laying position on or beside you. You can use a specific command like “lay on me” or simply “lay.”

Step 4: Reward

Once your dog lays down on or beside you, immediately reward them with the treat and verbal praise like “good dog!” This will help them associate the action with positive reinforcement.

Step 5: Increase Duration

Once your dog is comfortably laying on you for short durations, you can encourage them to stay longer by periodically treating and praising them for remaining calm and relaxed. Use a command like “stay” to get them used to the idea of staying put for more extended periods.

Step 6: Respect Their Choice

Some dogs might naturally prefer not to lay on people, either due to their size, past experiences, or personal preference. If your dog seems uncomfortable or hesitant, don’t force the issue. You can try again another time or focus on strengthening other aspects of your bond.

Breed Specific: Why Does My Dog Lay On Me:

Lap breeds are popular for a reason. Humans like dogs sleeping on them. It provides a sense of security. However, not all dogs were bred to be lap dogs. That said, it is true that some dogs who were not bred to be lap dogs like to think they are.

Don't push your dog off or yell at them.

Dogs Sleeping Positions

Our sleeping positions are an insight into our comfort level. This is just as true for dogs. Below are all the different types of sleeping positions dogs have. Answer: “why does my dog sleep on me?”

16 Dog Sleeping Positions

There are various dog sleeping positions, each with its unique characteristics and meanings. Remember that while these positions can offer insights into your dog’s comfort and emotional state, individual dogs may vary, and their sleeping preferences can change over time. Monitoring your dog’s sleeping habits can help you better understand their needs and overall well-being. Here are some common dog sleeping positions:

1. On Their Side

If your dog is laying sideways on the ground, this position leaves the vital organs exposed. Therefore, dogs that sleep like this are comfortable in their environment. In addition, this position allows their limbs to move while they sleep. So that you may observe more twitching and leg kicks from a dog resting on its side.

2. Ball Of Fur

When a dog lays crumpled in a ball of full, this position protects all the vital organs. It also restricts movement so that you will see less twitching. This position conserves heat. Sleeping in this position is more common in the winter months and insecure dogs.

3. Over Your Neck

Dogs do this to protect your neck from danger because the neck is a vulnerable place for most animals. Female dogs do this because the female covers the male during the conflict. 

4. Underneath Blankets

Sleeping underneath blankets is an instinct for certain dogs like the dachshund. They are seeking comfort and security. Therefore, you should provide them with a den-like crate.

5. Dog Sploot On Their Tummy

The dog sploot is also known as the superman position. Usually, a dog who is in this position is those who are overheated. Dogs laying down in this position will typically seek tile floors to cool down. This position differs from the belly-up position because it allows the dog to get up quickly. Usually, active and unsure dogs will lay in this position during the summer months.

6. Dog Sleeps On Back

Dogs who sleep in this position are usually hot and inactive. Your dog is exposing their stomach, which allows them to cool down. However, it does not leave much room for romping and playing, unlike the dog sploot position.

7. Back-To-Back

Dogs who sleep in this position are usually hot and inactive. Your dog is exposing their stomach, which allows them to cool down. However, it does not leave much room for romping and playing, unlike the dog sploot position.

8. Sphynx Down

The sphynx position is the most alert and least comfortable position for a dog. Most dogs do not sleep in this position but are awake. They usually sit in a corner facing the outside and can launch in any direction at a moment’s notice.

9. Place For His Snoot

Your dog places his head or snoot on a surface. This position could mean that your dog has breathing issues or their neck is fatigued. 

10. Twitching, Barking, Whining, Running, Digging

Dogs will act out the day they had. For example, if you take your dog to the dog park, they will run, bark, and twitch in their sleep. You should expect these behaviors after a long and enriching day.

11. Snoring

A dog will snore if they have limited breathing. This behavior is expected with the smushed-nose dogs known as brachycephalic breeds.

12. Eyes Rolled Back

Some dogs’ eyes will roll back and only show the white. Rolling their eyes back is normal, and you should not be alarmed. It is unlikely they are having a seizure. If you are unsure, you can tap them to wake them up.

13. Puppies

Puppies, on average, sleep 18-19 hours a day. The average adult dog sleeps 12-14 hours a day. Puppies sleeping on their back is very common since most puppies are very trusting of their environment due to their lack of life experience. 

14. Curling Up

Dogs will curl up into a small ball. Their tail sometimes might be covering their nose. This is a sign they are cold. This position helps them stay warm by insulating their vital organs. 

15. Tucked Paws

Dogs that tuck their paws under their body while sleeping might be trying to stay warm or conserve energy.

16. Head on Paws

A dog resting its head on its paws is often in a light sleep or a state of alertness, ready to wake up quickly if needed.

6 Reasons Why Do Dogs Sleep On Back

Dogs can sleep in various positions. One of the most common ones is sleeping on their back. Below is a list of 7 reasons a dog will sleep on its back. 

1. Comfort

Comfort for their joints and muscles. 

2. Temperature Regulation

Sleeping on a dogs back will allow cooler temperature to reach their stomach which can reduce their overall body temp. 

3. Trust and security

Dogs who feel relaxed will sleep on their back. This is because they are secure in their environment. 

4. Playfulness

Some dogs roll onto their back when they want to play. 

5. Genetics and Breed Tendencies

Some breeds usually sleep on their back, like the greyhound and whippet which are known to sleep in the roach position with their legs in the air. 

6. Health Issues

Some dogs have tummy aches and don’t want to lie on their stomach. 

22 Dog Sleeping Positions When Sick

When dogs are sick, their sleeping positions will change because they are trying to get comfy. Pay attention to your dogs sleeping position because it can indicate if something is wrong if it changes randomly. Answer “why does my dog sleep on his back with his legs open”.  Here are some common dog sleeping positions when sick:


1. Curling Around the Abdomen

Dogs will lay on their back if they are having tummy issues. 

2. On Their Side

Dogs that sleep on their side will usually have their legs tucked in. They might even be slightly curled. This position can indicate a dog is looking to relieve pain they might feel somewhere else. 

3. Stretched Out

Stretching out releases joint and muscle pains. 

4. Head Resting on Paws

Dogs who have neck issues will rest their nose on something. 

5. Tucked Paws

Dogs will tuck in their feet as a way to protect them. Try tickling your dog’s feet and see what happens. 

6. Sleeping On Their Back With His Legs Open

Dogs that sleep on their back when sick, could have gastro issues. Humans do the same thing. They don’t lie on their stomachs when it feels off. 

7. Burrowing Under Covers

Dogs that are feeling under the weather may seek warmth and comfort by burrowing under blankets or pillows.

9. Lay Near Their Owner

Dogs will seek comfort through petting. This is why they lay next to their owner when they are sick. 

10. Shallow Sleep

Dogs that are sick will have a lower quality of sleep. They will be more restless and prone to not going into deep sleep. 

11. Laying Low

Dogs will seek low and hidden positions if they are sick. 

12. Guarded or Protective Position

Some dogs will tuck in their tail when they are sick. This is a protective position. 

13. Hiding

Almost all dogs will try to hide when they are sick. It’s a natural behavior because sick animals are easy pickings in the wild. 

14. Sleeping More

Just like humans, dogs will sleep more when they are sick. Its the bodies way of fighting off infection. 

16. Panting

Painting is a sign of an overheated dog or a stressed dog. Painting is the only way a dog can truly cool itself down. 

17. Paw Licking or Chewing

Paw licking can be a self soothing behavior similar to biting nails in humans. 

18. Whimpering or Crying in Sleep

Vocalization is normal in sleep, but they might be in pain or confused. It’s common for dogs to whimper after surgery because of the drugs. The drugs disorientate the dog, which causes the whimpering (and the pain). 

19. Clutching Their Toy or Comfort Object

Many dogs will hold their favorite toy for comfort. Many dogs will prefer their human socks because of the smell as well. 

20. Grooming or Licking Themselves Excessively

Sick dogs might excessively groom or lick themselves, which can be a coping mechanism or a response to discomfort.

21. Shivering or Trembling

Shivering and trembling is very common for sick animals. 

22. Kneading or Pawing

Dogs may knead or paw at their bedding or the area around them when unwell.  However, they do this even if they are not unwell. So this is more about noticing a strange behavior form your particular dog. 

Why Do Dogs Curl Up: Why Does My Dog Lay On Me

Dogs curl up due to instincts, comfort, and security, although their sleeping positions can vary. While many dogs favor curling, some sprawl or choose other postures based on individual comfort.

1. Warmth and Comfort

Curling up provides a sense of security. In the wild, dogs and their ancestors curled up to protect their vital organs while sleeping, making them less vulnerable to potential threats.

2. Security

Dogs may knead or paw at their bedding or the area around them when unwell.  However, they do this even if they are not unwell. So this is more about noticing a strange behavior form your particular dog. 

3. Comfort

Dogs often curl up when they feel relaxed and comfortable. It’s a natural sleeping position that allows them to rest easily.

4. Less Vulnerability

When dogs curl up, they minimize their exposure to their environment, reducing the chances of getting bumped or stepped on if they are sleeping in a busy or crowded area.

5. Instinctual Behavior

This behavior is deeply ingrained in a dog’s instinctual repertoire. Wild canines, like wolves, would curl up in dens or sheltered areas to stay warm, safe, and hidden from predators.

6. Ease of Movement

Curling up allows dogs to quickly transition from sleep to an alert state. This position is conducive to getting up and reacting to any potential threats or stimuli.

7. Less Space

Smaller spaces often encourage dogs to curl up. This is why you might find your dog curling up in a smaller dog bed or cozy nooks around your home. They do this even if they are not unwell. So this is more about noticing a strange behavior form your particular dog. 

8. Pain or Discomfort

In some cases, if a dog is experiencing pain or discomfort, they may curl up to protect the area causing them discomfort. For example, if they have an upset stomach, curling up might help ease the discomfort in their abdominal area.

8 Reasons Why Does My Dog Move From Spot To Spot While Sleeping

There are many reasons why a dog will be restless when they sleep. The most common reason is that they are not wired to sleep 8 hours like humans. However, you can read the other examples below. 

1. Comfort

Dogs might be uncomfortable and want to adjust. 

2. Temperature Regulation

Changing sleeping positions to either cool down or retain heat is very common in dogs. Some positions are better for retaining heat (like curled up) and other positions like sleeping on the back are better for cooling down. 

3. Physical Discomfort

If your dog is older or has a underlying condition such as muscle soreness they will become restless. 

4. Environmental Factors

Some dogs will change positions just to avoid a specific trigger in the environment, like a loud T.V. 

5. Instinctual Behavior

Moving around is a way to avoid predators. 

6. Age and Health

Older dogs are usually achey which makes them more prone to moving around. 

7. Psychological Factors

Dogs may change positions during sleep due to emotional or psychological factors. Anxiety or stress can affect their sleep patterns, causing them to move around as they react to these emotions.

8. Attention-Seeking Behavior

Some dogs will move around because you notice it. They like attention and will continue behaviors that get them what they want. 

Training Guide

How To Teach A Dog To Lay Down

Teaching a dog to lie down is a fundamental command in dog training. It’s essential for their safety, your control over their behavior, and their overall obedience. Here’s how to teach a dog to lay down:

Prerequisite: Sit

  1. Grab a high-value cookie or a peanut butter stuffed kong (IDEAL)
  2. Ask the dog to sit
  3.  Get face level. 
  4. Put cookie between thumb and finger. So dogs can not take cookies but can lick them.  Or just hold kong.
  5. Put cookie/kong to dog’s nose. 
  6. Go straight down (not an angle). Go slowly, if nose is not touching the cookie or kong,you went too fast. 
  7. Once you get to the bottom. Drag the cookie or kong towards you and your knee. The pattern is an L. First down then right. Not a \ shape. 

The Kong is better because it rewards the dog throughout the process. If you are using the cookie method, then you have to let them get a bit every so often.


Dogs under 8 lbs struggle with the lure method. Try shaping instead.   

  1. Leash the dog (really important)
  2. Sit in chair
  3.  Ignore the dog
  4. When they sit, throw a cookie on the ground.
  5. Ignore the dog again. If they lie down, throw a cookie. 

This one takes patients. You have to ignore the dog and let them wander on their leash. You can not have them off leash for this activity. 

Have treats on you while you walking in the house. When the dog lays down. Reward with a cookie. 

Teach The Dog Laying Down Settle Position

Teaching a dog to lay down is vital because it helps them learn self-control and calm behavior. This command allows you to manage your dog’s actions and keep them safe in various situations. It also fosters a stronger bond between you and your dog. To teach a dog to lay down, follow these steps:

Prerequisite: Down

  1. Once your dog is in the down position.  Take a cookie and put it on one side of his nuzzle. Push backward until they move their shoulder so they lie on their side. 
  2. Reward
  3. Try both sides as one is usually easier than the other. 

Teach The Dog Laying Down Sploot Position

By teaching your dog to lay down, you can ensure better behavior and safety while strengthening your relationship with your canine companion.

  1. Teach the down trick first
  2. Once the dog is laying down. Take the cookie and drag it towards you. You must be very slow and watch the back legs. The minute you see the sploot, release the cookie. 

This adds the extra step from 

Down, Settle To Sploot.

Some dogs need to reposition their hips and the settle gives them better ability to do so. 

  1. Once the dog is on their side. You take the cookie and drag it towards you. Just like you would in the first version. 

Teach The Dog To Go To Crate or Spot

Use the lure technique. Throw a treat, and then the dog goes to the spot. 

  1.  You must start feeding your dog in the crate with the door open. Place the food in the back of the crate and walk away. Grab the bowl later in the day and refill it. You do not need to wait now to retrieve the bowl.
  2.  There will be a point when your dog runs to his crate at food time. Once this happens, start shutting the door but not locking it. Keep doing this while you move on to the next stage. Never stop feeding your dog in the crate until they thoroughly learn the exercise. 
  3.  Have a special jar with cookies that are for crate training only. Throughout the day, grab a cookie from that jar. Start throwing a treat in the back of the crate. Say ” Kennel Up,” and walk away. The goal is for them to go in and out without worrying that you will lock the door.  Do not shut the door.
  4.  Your dog should start running into the crate whenever you get a treat from that jar. If this is the case, wait until your dog gets in the crate and reward. You can stop throwing the treat in at this point. You moved on too quickly if your dog was not going in without throwing the cookie.  Repeat this for about a month.
  5.  Shut the door and lock it. Give the cookie after you shut the door.

Stop Encouraging The Behavior

When your dog lays on you, stop petting them, playing with them, or feeding them. Ignore your dog. If your dog is trying to communicate that they want to be fed, or given water, wait until they get off you. Then you can take care of your dog’s needs. Do not forget. Otherwise, this is cruel. Telling you is one thing; demanding is another.

Teach The Dog "Off"

To teach off, we use shaping and then luring. First, we shape the on behavior, lure the off behavior, and then shape the off behavior. To learn more about the shaping technique, visit here.


  1.  Ask for two paws, do not reward with food. Say “Good”
  2.  Throw a treat and say off.
  3.  Once the dog is jumping off right away, change to shaping.


  1.  Say off, then throw a treat


  1.  Pick a new object
  2. Say two paws, wait, reward.
  3. Say off, wait, reward.

Teach The Dog To Not Jump On You While Sitting

To prevent my dog from sitting on me I stand up every time he sits on me. After the third  or so try, he lays down next to me. Starting off you may be doing squats for a while. My dog is use to this game and understand it means I do not want to be sat on at that moment.  

Invest In Other Ways To Bond

Play hide and seek, go for walks, go on a car ride. If they have nothing else to look forward to beside TV nights, they are going to be insistent on getting their bond time. 

FAQ: Why Does My Dog Sit Or Lay On Me?

Dogs attach to caregivers. If you want your dog to spend more time with someone, have that person become their primary caregiver. Caregiver activities include doing the following daily.

  •  Feeding Them
  •  Training Them
  •  Walking Them
  • Playing With Them

It just means that they find you comforting. Just like humans dogs can attach to multiple people in the same household. 

Give Communication Signals To The Dog

Dogs have ways to communicate with each other that they are uncomfortable. For example, do the following behaviors to indicate to your dog that you do not want them to lick or smother you.

  1. Excessive
  2. Blinking
  3. Turning Head Away
  4. Lip Licking
  5. Lean Away

Reward Good Positions

If your dog tries to sit on you and give those calming signals, they will most likely sit down beside you. If this is the case, begin petting them. Petting will reinforce this is the correct position.

  1. Smell
  2. Feel
  3. Association (gym clothes means a walk)
  1.  Labrador Retriever
  2.  Greyhound
  3.  Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  4.  Golden Retriever
  5.  American Pit Bull Terrier
  6.  Old English Sheepdog
  7.  Irish Wolfhounds
  8.  Collie
  9.  English Bulldog
  10.  Great Dane
  11.  Bichon Frise
  12.  American Eskimo Dog
  13.  Miniature Schnauzer
  14.  Irish Settler
  15.  Dachshund
  1.  Bichon Frise
  2.  Bolognese
  3.  Havanese
  4.  Tibetan Spaniel
  5.  Pug
  6.  Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  7.  Affenpinscher
  8.  Japanese Chin
  9.  Brussels griffon
  10.  Chihuahua
  11.  Pomeranian
  12.  Pekingese
  13.  Chinese Crested
  14.  Shih Tzu
  15. French Bulldog

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