After a fun day at the dog park, you and your precious pooch come home to take a much-needed rest. You sit on the sofa with your furry friend laying right next to you. You can’t help but notice Fido laying his head on you. Why is that? Why does my dog lay his head on me?
Just like humans, no dogs are alike, so the motive behind this behavior varies.
When a dog lays his head on you, he is showing affection, trust, and appreciation he has for you. It provides him a sense of security and comfort being close to his favorite human. It’s also one of his ways to communicate his needs, such as to tell you that he is hungry.
To answer the question more completely, we compiled a list of possible reasons as to why they display such behavior.
Why Does My Dog Lay His Head On Me?
06. For Warmth
If your dog feels cold, he will sometimes rest his head on you for warmth. Doing so will help regulate his body temperature. Puppies and dogs alike will snuggle upon each other for warmth as part of their pack mentality. Since you are his special human and pack leader, it makes sense for him to lay his head on you.
05. Increase Love Hormone
Just like cuddling and any positive interactions with dogs, studies have shown a spike in oxytocin. These love hormones are the same ones in humans when mothers gaze at their babies. This natural response will further solidify the bond between you two and promote even more love and happiness.
04. You Are Needed For Something
Laying on you can signal your furball needs you for something. Perhaps he’s telling you it’s time for dinner, in need of a nice message, or needs to potty. Maybe you are eating something delicious, and with his adorable and sensitive snout, he smells it, wanting to have some too. Whatever the reason, it sure is hard to resist especially when he gives you the puppy eyes.
03. For Protection
Laying close to you makes your pooch feel secure and comfortable. Again, this is part of their pack mentality. In the wild, dogs sleep and lay close to each other, not just for warmth, but to feel safer and alert each other in case anything goes wrong. On the flip side, he’s doing it to protect you, whether it be from physical or emotional harm. You got yourself a furry security guard on active duty to protect his special hooman.
02. He Trusts You
It’s a sure sign your dog trusts you if he’s laying his head on you. Whether they are sleeping or resting, dogs will choose a spot where they feel safe. By laying next to you, just like the above reason, gives him the protection as he trusts you during his vulnerable time. This is also why dogs like sleeping with humans.
The most likely reason is that he loves you! Simply put, your fur friend is appreciative of the shelter, food, and any other essentials of life you provide for him. He’s being loyal to you because he views you as the alpha. When Fido’s close to you, he is able to soak up your distinct scent which makes him feel joyful and promotes the increase in love hormones we mentioned earlier.
Should You Allow This Behavior?
If it is not causing any problems, allowing this behavior will only promote stronger bonds between the two of you. It does more good than harm. You know it is a positive sign of affection when he only does it to you. However, if you notice your pooch is becoming overly clingy and exhibits behaviors such as preventing you from leaving the house, then he might have separation anxiety.
In this case, if laying his head on you is one of his ways to prevent you from leaving, then it should be fixed as it can cause some behavioral problems. Whether it is because of separation anxiety, personal preference, or larger breeds, there are ways to get your dog to stop this behavior.
How To Stop The Behavior
When trying to correct a behavior, never be physical or yell at your pooch as not only is it not effective, but it will also damage the bond between the two of you. It takes time and patience. Below are some of the methods you can apply to break the habit:
- Ignore: Simply ignore him. Don’t show any reaction or even look at him when he starts to display the behavior. Stand up or go into another room if needed to. He should eventually know, by doing so he will not be praised or receive what he wants.
- Be Firm: Saying “No” or “Enough” in a firm tone should alert your dog what he is doing is not welcome. He would eventually stop laying his head on you out of concern for you.
- Redirect: When he starts to lay his head on you, redirect his attention to a place you prefer him to lay instead. Call his name in a happy tone to get his attention. Then direct him to lay on his bed or next to you by using commands such as “bed” or “down”. When he complies, use positive reinforcement by giving him treats or praise. Repeat several times until he responds on command. Once he has it down, slowly increase time before giving any positive reinforcements so he can get used to the command.
Below is a helpful video on how you can teach your precious furball to go to a spot:
One of the ways dogs communicate with humans is through body language. It is a common behavior for them to lay their heads on their owners to seek and give affection as well as the several reasons listed above. You know your furball best and if you are just curious as to why hopefully you found the answer. If the behavior is not bothersome, take his action as a compliment because he wants to be next to the person he cherishes the most (that’s you!).
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