There’s nothing quite as endearing as seeing your playful little puppy use your other dog’s head as its personal beanbag.
As odd and hilarious as it might seem, such behavior can leave you scratching your head in puzzlement.
There’s actually a world of canine communication unfolding right before your eyes.
Let’s dive deep into this display and decode what’s truly going on in your puppy’s mind.
The World Is My Oyster
If you have a kid at home or have interacted with children before, everything to them is new and worth exploring.
Human toddlers will be touching tasting and climbing on almost everything in sight.
Your puppy will use similar antics to explore their environment.
A puppy can be a nightmare as it starts to get acquainted with the world presented before it.
Your young dog will bite, chew, paw, climb and even sit on your other dog’s head to get a better idea of its world.
Attention seeking behavior can happen to any dog but it is more common with puppies.
Such behavior comes about when your dog does something to try and get your attention.
This can be in the form of barking, whining, jumping on you and even scratching in the crate the whole night.
Although your puppy might seem lost at times, it is very intelligent and always observant of its surroundings.
You might have been giving your puppy attention whenever it sits on your other dog’s head.
It now knows that the best way to get your attention is to use your other dog as its personal chair.
Play For Dominance
As dog owners, we always hear the word ‘dominance’ when it comes to dogs.
This is when one dog tries to act all ‘alpha” with your other dogs or with dogs that it encounters outside.
We tend to see dominant behavior in dogs due to them being pack animals as compared to cats which tend to live in solitude.
The dominant dog will have the first pick of the food and resting spots before the rest of the pack.
However, a study has shown that domesticated dogs weren’t overly aggressive in establishing who’s in charge
There are certain dog breeds such as Rottweilers, Huskies, Pit Bulls, etc that tend to be more dominant than other breeds.
What Is The Body Language Of A Dominant Puppy?
Puppies can start to show dominant behavior with other dogs when they are just a few months old.
This can be seen with behavior such as:
- Play fighting
- Herding another dog
- Resource guarding
These actions are typically exhibited by the ‘aspiring leader’.
It’s the dog who recognizes it isn’t in charge but remains cheeky and wishes to leave an impression.
Seeing your young dog sitting on another puppy’s or an older dog’s head is also another classic sign of trying to assert dominance.
Puppies Are Playful
There are times when such actions can be mistaken for being dominant.
But we tend to forget that puppies are extremely playful and can get into a whole lot of nonsense.
Puppies that are 2 months old can have boundless energy till they reach adulthood when they start to mellow down.
I once fostered a 5-month old puppy that was found in a drain.
The poor thing was so scared when he first arrived.
But it didn’t take him too long to settle in and start to make his presence known.
He had this thing about biting my older dog’s tail but it was more out of playfulness than trying to be the alpha male at home.
Quest For Closeness
Your dog is more than just an animal.
It is a living breathing furball that loves a sense of security and belonging.
Unlike my cat who prefers his own personal space most of the time, my dog will spare no effort to cuddle up to me whenever he has a chance.
As mentioned earlier, dogs are pack animals and wolves or wild dogs lay close together for warmth and protection.
You can also see this behavior in your puppy when it sits on your other dog’s head trying to seek comfort.
It’s Too Cold
In general, dogs have a higher body temperature than humans.
A human’s normal temperature ranges from 97-99F while for a dog it is, 101-102.5F.
When it comes to puppies, they don’t do a very good job of regulating their own temperatures especially when they are much younger.
This means that your dog requires more heat to stay warm.
A puppy reaches its adult temperature at 4 weeks of age but can only effectively start to regulate their own temperature when they are 7 weeks old.
This is due to your puppy’s small size and inability to generate sufficient metabolic heat to keep warm.
So if you find your puppy sitting on your older dog’s head, it could very possibly be that your little dog is feeling cold and wants some warmth.
For all you know, the reason why your puppy chooses to sit on your other dog’s head is because that’s the warmest part of its body.
There’s nothing more comforting than having a warm butt on a cold day.
When Should I Be Concerned About My Puppy’s Behavior?
Understanding your puppy’s quirks is part of the charm of having it in your life.
While sitting on another dog’s head might be social media worthy there are times when such behavior could lead to potential problems.
Escalation Of Aggression
It wouldn’t see the gesture as an issue if your puppy sits on another dog’s head once in a while.
That’s just being a puppy.
But if such an action is accompanied by growling, snapping or biting by either one of the dogs, that isn’t a good sign.
This means that your puppy has the intention of being more dominant towards your other dog which can escalate into a fight.
It wouldn’t bode well for your puppy too if the other dog doesn’t like this act of dominance and starts to retaliate back.
Stress And Isolation
Not all dogs will retaliate back when they are being dominated upon.
Dogs that are older or more timid in nature will tend to just ‘suck it up’ or bear with it.
Even though it may seem that the other dog is fine with such behavior, there can be a build-up of stress which can be manifested in other ways.
The ‘victim’ can start to eat less, be more withdrawn or less sociable, excess vocalization, avoiding the puppy, etc.
Similar to humans, dogs can suffer from obsessive behavior or obsessive compulsive disorder(OCD).
This is when your puppy engages in actions that are repetitive and extreme which can be difficult for the dog to stop.
Such actions can include:
- Pacing around
- Tail chasing
- Staring at nothing
- Snapping at nothing
For your puppy, its OCD could be sitting on another dog’s head which it is unable to control.
How To Train My Puppy To Respect Boundaries?
Puppies are like kids and when it comes to disciplining them, it is important to set boundaries.
One important thing that you should first do is to rule out any medical issues that could be causing this head sitting action.
If the vet gives your dog the all clear signal, at least you now know that it’s more of a behavioral issue.
Training your puppy to respect boundaries is essential for molding its behavior.
The process begins by setting boundaries early and maintaining consistency in your instructions.
Whenever you see your pup making an attempt to sit on your other dog’s head, a stern “No!” or ” Leave it!” can enforce limits in your puppy.
Quickly redirect your dog to something more interesting such as its favorite toy or a game of catch.
After your puppy does the right thing, immediately use positive reinforcements such as treats and praises to reward your dog.
As they become accustomed to the rules, grant them increased freedom but keep the training sessions regular.
If boundary training becomes too challenging, there’s no harm in seeking professional help from a good dog trainer.
Can A Puppy Be Dominant Over An Older Dog?
The young puppy is likely exploring its limits and attempting to assert itself as the dominant dog in the home.
This behavior isn’t uncommon especially if the other dog is much older and weaker.
In the animal kingdom, young adult lions will team up and dominate the older alpha male the moment they sense weakness.
It might seem cruel to us humans but it is the survival of the fittest for them.