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Understanding your dog’s need to lie on you

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If you’ve ever had a dog, then you know that they love to lie on their owners.

But why do dogs find such comfort in lying on us? What is it about having a human body as their bed that makes them so content?

Let’s take a look at the science behind this behaviour and explore why your dog loves to lie on you.

For most dogs, lying on top of their owners is an instinctive behaviour and provides them with security, helps to fulfil their need for companionship and is an expression of respect and love for their owner.

A feeling of security and comfort

It’s no secret that humans and animals have formed strong bonds over time, and dogs are no exception.

Dogs usually feel safer when they are with their owners and lying on them allows them to relax more fully, knowing that they are safe and secure.

It also reaffirms that bond between the dog and human.

Your dog wants attention

Your dog may also be trying to get your attention by lying on top of you.

It’s likely that when your dog lies down on you, they’re trying to tell you that they need something from you—whether it’s food, water, or just some extra love and affection.

So don’t be surprised if your pup seems extra clingy when they’re feeling neglected, chances are they’re just trying to show you how much they care.

Marking their territory

Another reason why your dog may be constantly seeking out the warmth of your body is because they’re marking their territory.

Dogs have scent glands located in various parts of their body, including the paws and muzzle, which can leave behind pheromones that help mark objects as theirs—including people.

By lying down on top of you, your pup is essentially saying “this person belongs to me”—so don’t be surprised if other dogs treat you like one of their own after spending some quality time with them.

In brief, dogs lie on their owners because… 💭

They enjoy the company and it helps them to feel safe

It keeps them warm when conditions are cold

It satisfies a natural instinct to be together

It is an expression of love and respect for the human

Dogs enjoy doing it

The science of dog affection 

When dogs show affection towards their owners, it triggers the release of oxytocin—the same hormone released when humans share an intimate bond with one another.

This chemical helps create a strong connection between humans and canines, proving that the bond between people and their pets is real.

Oxytocin also increases feelings of trust and relaxation in both parties, making it easier for dogs to open up and feel comfortable being around us.

So if your dog likes lying on you or snuggling up close, this could be a sign that they trust you implicitly and want to feel safe in your presence. 

Ancestral instincts 

Your dog’s need to snuggle also has deep ancestral roots.

Wolves, which are descended from wild dogs, live in packs where they rely on one another for safety and protection.

Many experts believe that dogs have inherited this pack mentality from their ancestors, so when they cuddle up close to you it’s their way of saying “I trust you enough to be vulnerable around you.”

It might sound silly but your pup is literally showing you how much they care about you. 

Thermal regulation 

It turns out there is also a practical reason why dogs like lying on us—thermal regulation.

Dogs create body heat just like we do so when they lie against us, it helps them stay warm during cold weather.

That might explain why some pups insist on constantly curling up against their owners.

Final Words

It’s clear that there are many reasons why dogs love to lie on their owners.

From providing comfort and security to marking their territory, dogs have developed a unique way of expressing affection for their humans—and it all starts with snuggling up close.

So the next time your pup curls up against you, take some time to appreciate the bond between you and your four-legged friend, and remember just how lucky you are to have such a loyal companion.

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