I still remember fondly to this day when my dog was still a little puppy. He would come running to me just to lay on me or beside me. That gave me a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that he likes my company.
Fast forward a few years later, my 54 lbs doggie still thinks he is a small little puppy when he tries to lay on top of me or should I say jump on me. It usually results in me getting the air knocked out of my lungs and pushing him off. But don’t get me wrong, I still love it when he does that until he farts.
But why do our dogs like to lay on us or beside us? Most dogs like to huddle close to each other or with their owners due to their pack mentality. Your dog wanting to be close to you is also a sign of love and affection. However, there are some dogs that tend to stick very close to their owners due to behavioral issues.
Let us take a look at the possible reasons that can explain such behavior from your dog.
You Are Part Of Your Dog’s Pack
Dogs are pack animals which means that they tend to live, hunt, sleep and socialize in a group. You see the same behavior in wolves which dogs evolve from. Another good example would also be the Hyenas.
This is very different from the next most popular pet, the cat. They are solitary animals that have to fend for themselves once they leave their mother’s nest. However, there are cats that live together to form a colony but most of the time they prefer to roam alone.
When a dog sleeps next to you or lays on top of you, rest assured that you have already been accepted and acknowledged as part of your dog’s pack member.
Studies have shown that dogs do not necessarily regard us as a dog but they sure do see us as family.
Your Dog Loves You
Dogs are known to be one of the first few animals that were domesticated by man. That is why domesticated dogs are known to be a man’s best friend and loyal companion.
One big question that has been in the mind of pet owners is “Does my dog or cat love me?” You’ll be surprised to learn that they actually do and it all boils down to the hormone called ‘oxytocin’.
Oxytocin is a hormone that bonds us together. It is higher in romantic relationships than between strangers. Oxytocin is also high between mother and child which explains the unconditional love that mothers have for their kids.
In the same vein, petting and spending time with our dogs cause oxytocin to increase in both parties. This explains the tendency why many pet owners tend to refer to their pets as ‘furkids’.
In 2015, a study was conducted in Japan to determine how the bond between humans and dogs affects oxytocin levels in both parties.
The scientist found that dogs who gazed at their owners longer had higher levels of oxytocin.
And the reverse also holds true.
Claremont Graduate University In California did a study that showed an increase in oxytocin in humans who interacted with dogs.
These studies do indeed show that our dogs do grow in love and affection with us over time. Your dog sleeping next to you is a sign that it just wants to be close to you.
Your Dog Is Protecting You
As mentioned earlier, dogs are packed animals which means that they tend to look after each other’s backs.
Dogs in the same pack will sleep or lay close to each other. There definitely is safety in numbers and as members of the same pack, they do feel the natural need to protect you.
There are some dog breeds that tend to be more protective in nature and are bred for their protective nature.
- German Shepherds
- Bull Mastiff
- Cane Corso
Not only will these dogs guard your property but they can also be very protective of your kids and fellow pets.
Your Dog Likes To Feel Protected
Besides protecting you, dogs in a pack like the feeling of knowing that they are protected too. When dogs lie next to their owners, they feel a sense of security that you are around in case something jumps out from under the bed or from the closet to attack your dog.
Your Dog Is Feeling Cold
Our dogs have a higher normal body temperature compared to us. Their body temperature can range between 101-102.5 F. This means that they need more heat to stay warm.
Even if your dog has a thick coat, it is still possible for them to feel cold when the room temperature is cold.
Our dogs can also suffer from frostbite and hypothermia so it is best to try and keep them warm.
If you notice your dog laying on and around you more these days and it is cold outside, there is a high chance that your poor dog is feeling cold.
This is even more likely for puppies who can’t regulate their body temperatures as well as adult dogs.
There is nothing more comforting for your dog than using your warm body as a human heater. But if that isn’t enough there are a few things that you can do to keep your doggo warm.
Turn Up The Heater
This would be the fastest and easiest method to warm up your dog. But some dog owners I know aren’t too keen on this method as it makes the house too hot and it incurs a lot more in electricity bills.
But if you are able to control the temperature of each room independently, put the dog in a room that has a higher temperature.
Heated Dog Bed
If you can’t bring the heat to the dog, the next best option would be bringing your dog to the heat.
Letting your dog lay in a heated dog bed is a good way to save on your power bills and keep your dog warm. Buy one that comes with a thermostat that allows you to control the temperature.
As with all appliances that come with a heating element, get one from a reputable brand that won’t end up burning your house down.
Dress Your Dog Warmly
I have to admit that this is one of my favorite things to do for my dog when it starts to get chilly. It is a lot easier to dress my dog than my cat who will fight tooth and nail to not look like a Christmas elf.
A dog sweater or coat will provide an extra layer of insulation for your dog when it is cold. When choosing dog clothing, get one that protects the dog’s neck and belly as these areas tend to lose the most body heat.
Your Dog Feels Insecure
Each dog has its own unique personality. Some dogs are more boisterous than others and there are some dogs that are less confident than others.
These dogs may be suffering from some form of phobia or post traumatic stress disorder that makes them more clingy toward their owners.
Loud noises, strange odors and wild animals outside the house can trigger a stress response from your dog and make it want to seek comfort and security from you.
For example, if you find your dog lying next to you whenever it hears a car horn, it could be that it was involved in a car accident before. When dogs respond the same way to the sound of a running lawn mover, something bad involving a lawn mower must have happened too.
Dogs with separation anxiety also tend to exhibit the same clingy behavior. This can happen when there is a big change in the dog’s life like:
- Moving house
- Change of family
- Addition of a new pet
- New family member
Don’t forget that dogs are pack animals and when they lose that sense of comfort, they can start to experience separation anxiety.
This behavioral problem also comes with other issues like:
- Excessive barking
- Destructive behavior
- Improper elimination
- Trying to escape
If your dog is currently being very clingy by not leaving you alone, and showing some of the above behaviors, it would be good to have a word with your vet.
Most dogs can get better after a few sessions of behavioral therapy but for dogs with very bad anxiety, anti-anxiety medication might be prescribed to help take the edge off.
You Could Be Pregnant
Our dogs have an amazing sense of smell and their noses can pick up on odors that we can’t even smell. Some scientists believe that a dog’s nose is 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than ours.
This is why dogs are used for jobs that we humans can’t do like search and rescue, detecting narcotics and bombs.
Given that a dog’s brain is largely tuned to analyzing and deciphering odors, dogs are also able to detect chemical and hormonal changes in humans.
There isn’t much concrete evidence or studies to determine at what stage of pregnancy can trigger a dog’s senses. Even if your dog can detect it early, it wouldn’t be able to comprehend what is happening.
But the chemical and hormonal changes in your body are definitely piquing your dog’s interest. Many pregnant dog owners have claimed that their dogs won’t leave them alone and are more affectionate and protective.
If you find your dog laying more around you and resting its head on your tummy, it might be a good time to get tested.
As weird as it might sound, your dog can also be obsessed with your belly button if it likes the scent that is coming out from that dent in your belly.
Why Do Dogs Sleep With their Bums Facing You?
Waking up to see your dog’s bum a foot from your face isn’t the best view in the world. But some dogs do so out of being protective. When dogs sleep together in a pack, they will face different directions which allows them to react to dangers coming from all sides. This is because dogs are vulnerable to attack while sleeping.
By facing away from you, it would mean that your dog is protecting your back while you are protecting his.
I’ve yet to meet a dog owner who doesn’t like it when their dogs want to get all snuggly and cuddly with them. I usually hear more complaints when the dog stops doing so. If you have a dog that likes sleeping on top of you or near you, you should feel honored to be part of the pack.
Iggy Thorne, also known as ‘Iggy the Explorer,’ is a seasoned writer with a flair for adventure and a deep love for animals.
Not only does he craft captivating stories often set in the great outdoors, but he’s also a dedicated pet owner who has owned and fostered both dogs and cats.
His expertise in animal care extends to volunteering at local shelters, making him a credible voice in pet ownership.
With a unique blend of humor and adventure, Iggy’s writing is as engaging as it is informative.