A dog will lay down his head on you occasionally. It is an interesting thing and we can see most if not all owners enjoying it. Why does my dog want to lay his head on me? It is a nice behavior but not one that we can explain in two sentences. As a matter of fact, there are many explanations for this matter. We are going to reveal all of them and also share some additional things dog owners should keep in mind.
The Psychology Behind the Behavior
When your furry friend lays its head on you, a myriad of emotions and instincts are at play. It’s a simple action that opens the window to the canine’s soul, illuminating the profound connection that exists between man and his best friend. So, why does this seemingly unassuming gesture occur, and what profound meanings are embedded within it?
First and foremost, when a dog lays its head on its owner, it is a clear and potent display of affection. Dogs, akin to humans, crave physical touch, warmth, and intimacy. When your canine companion rests its head on your lap, it’s expressing a level of affection that words – if dogs could speak – would hardly convey. It’s a dog’s way of saying, “I love you.”
Trust is a cornerstone in the dog-human relationship. By laying their head on you, dogs are showcasing a high level of trust. It’s a vulnerable position, one they wouldn’t assume amidst perceived danger or with someone they are wary of. In this act, dogs express a sense of safety and security they associate with your presence.
Dogs seek comfort, and the warmth and softness of their human companion provide just that. When your dog lays its head on you, it’s not just about physical comfort but also emotional well-being. Your proximity soothes and calms them, affirming the bond and the reassuring presence that you bring into their lives.
Each act of a dog laying its head on its owner is imbued with elements of affection, trust, and comfort. It’s a silent sonnet of love, a narrative of trust, and a testament to the serene comfort that your presence bestows upon your canine companion. Understanding these psychological elements is crucial to appreciating every moment your dog chooses to be that close, enhancing the unspoken bond that exists between you.
Every touch, every gaze, and every moment of rest upon your lap is a verse added to the ongoing narrative of a bond that is as ancient as time and as profound as the most touching tales of friendship and loyalty.
6 Reasons My Dog Lay His Head On Me
1. Your Dog Is There For You
Why does my dog want to lay his head on me? He wants to support you. He is trying to tell you that you are not alone and you have him as a friend. They can feel when something is wrong. For instance, they can feel when you are sad, ill, or similar. When a dog lays his head on you, it means that he wants to comfort you. It is an amazing reaction of dogs and one reason to love them even more. All of this means that a dog will try to tell you two have a strong bond.
2. Due to Separation Anxiety
Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety. It means that a dog is stressed and anxious because you are not there with him. It happens mostly in dogs whose owners spend a lot of time working or away from home. This can be a huge issue for some dogs and it is something that does require treatment and solution. But, a dog suffering from separation anxiety will lay down his head on you occasionally. He wants to tell you that he is there and you shouldn’t forget him if you are going somewhere.
3. He Wants To Mark You
Yes, a dog will want to claim you every now and then. He will leave his scent on you so when another dog smells you, he will smell the scent of your pet. It literally means ‘’he is mine owner’’ and most dogs will do this in one way or another. They will obviously mark other things and their territory for the same reason.
4. Your Dog Loves You
When a dog loves his owner he will do a lot of things. Keeping his head on the owner when he can is one of them. In simple words, this action is a gesture that tells you that your pet appreciates you and he loves you. Many contacts of this kind or similar ones mean the same thing. Yes, dogs love their owners more than anything and they will do a lot of things to show that every now and then.
5. Your Dog Was A Bad Boy
It is an interesting explanation. A dog will lay his head on you if he was a bad boy or a bad girl. He can feel that you are upset and he will want to calm you down. Laying his head on you should do it. Don’t think that this is guilt. Dogs can’t experience guilt!
6. He Wants To Protect You
Dogs have a natural instinct to protect their owners. They will keep their eyes on you or they will lay their head on you. One way or another, a dog will try to keep you safe from threats. A threat can be another dog, a person, or anything similar. We can also see that some dogs will sit next to their owners or sleep next to them. All of these behaviors mean the same thing. Even if you are not paying attention to the environment, your dog will and he will want to protect you.
Dogs Need To Get Warm Occasionally
Many dog owners believe that dogs can survive extremely low temperatures and are always warm. This is not the case. They need to get warm occasionally. In the wild, they will cuddle together to stay warm when the temperature is low. Dogs who live in the house cannot do this. But, they can lay down their heads on their owner. If this is the explanation, your pet will do it when the temperature is low.
What You Can Do About This Behavior
In 99% of cases, there is no need to do anything. This behavior is positive and looks great. Most people like to see it. But if you are one of 1% of people who don’t like it or there is another reason why you have to stop it you can.
The first thing you need to do is to understand why a dog does this. He can be cold or he wants to protect you. There are many other reasons why a dog will do this. Once you find the reason why a dog does this you can react. If he does it extremely rarely when the temperature is low, you probably shouldn’t try to eliminate this behavior.
Anyway, you can reward a dog when he does something nice or when you are satisfied with his action. This is positive reinforcement and it tells your dog that you like that behavior. When he lays down his head on you, you will not reward him and you will discourage to do this. Over time he will understand that this behavior is not acceptable and will stop.
You can also get a bed for your dog. He will sleep in his own bed and not with you. Hence, he won’t be able to lay his head on you. This is something many dog owners use and something that solves other issues as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why does my dog lay his head on me when he sleeps?
Dogs laying their heads on their owners during sleep is a sign of affection, trust, and seeking comfort. It’s a way for dogs to feel closer, safer, and more bonded with their owners.
2. Is it normal for all breeds of dogs to lay their heads on people?
While it’s a common behavior among many dog breeds, individual dogs have unique personalities and behaviors. The extent to which a dog seeks physical contact can depend on its breed, personality, and upbringing.
3. Should I encourage or discourage my dog from laying his head on me?
Encouraging this behavior fosters a stronger bond between you and your dog. However, if it becomes excessive or problematic, you might want to train your dog to be independent and confident even when alone.
4. How do I know if my dog’s behavior is a sign of separation anxiety?
If your dog becomes overly anxious or exhibits destructive behavior when you’re not around, it might be suffering from separation anxiety. Laying their head on you can be one of the ways they seek reassurance.
5. Can I train my dog to lay his head on me on command?
Yes, with consistent training, you can teach your dog this behavior as a command, enhancing your communication and interaction with your pet.
6. What if my dog is suddenly clingy and always wants to be close to me?
A sudden change in behavior, like becoming overly clingy, could indicate an underlying health issue or anxiety. It would be best to observe any additional symptoms and consult a vet.
7. Does my dog laying his head on me mean he sees me as the alpha?
While it can be a sign of submission and respect, it’s more commonly associated with affection, trust, and seeking comfort.
The Final Word
Why does my dog want to lay his head on me every now and then? Now you know why. Make sure to understand first why your dog does this and then react if you want to change the behavior. But, for most of us, there is no need for such a thing. Many dog owners like to see this and some will even train their dogs to do it.