It’s late at night, you’re in bed, possibly asleep when you feel a heavy lump on your chest, or maybe you get a smelly dart to the face because your sweet dog is lying on top of you. Why dog, why? Dogs lay on their owners for several reasons: some good, some bad.

In this article, we’ll drill down to why your dog lays on top of you and will offer some tips for getting your dog to sleep on its own. This is something you want, for both of your sakes. No one sleeps well in a lump.

Common Reasons Why Your Dog Lays on Top of You

At night or while you’re napping, there are several reasons your dog feels compelled to lay on top of you to:

Whatever your dog’s reason, the behavior isn’t necessarily the best. 

Related Link: How to Show Your Dog You Love Them

dog laying down on owner

How to Stop Your Dog from Sleeping on Top of You

Here are some solid strategies to stop your dog from lying on top of you at night:

Crate Train Your Dog

Crate training is the most effective way to get your dog off you at night. If your dog is happy to sleep in its crate or on a dog bed, it will stay off of you. So how do you effectively crate train a dog? (Especially an older dog with a bad habit of sleeping on your face.) You’ll want to use positive reinforcement strategies.

To do this, you’ll need to create a comfortable, desirable sleeping area or crate for your dog.

  • Ensure that their crate or dog bed is not in a foot traffic area so that they can have downtime without disruption. You do want to put it in a place where they can still keep tabs on the family.
  • Use dog treats as a reward if they go in the crate, stand by their crate, or on their bed.
  • Encourage your dog to lay down using a command and offer a treat when they obey.
  • Give them a treat every time they rest or relax in their crate or on their bed. Make it a positive place for your dog.

Crate training also helps dogs with separation anxiety because it makes their crate a safe place. That’s a twofer.

Don’t Encourage the Behavior

When it’s late at night, it’s real easy to give in to your dog and go back to a restless night of sleep. But this only encourages the behavior. You’ll need to be firm but fair so that your dog learns sleeping on top of you is not the desired behavior.

To discourage them without hurting their feelings, gently push them aside, or down by your feet, or better yet, take your dog to its dog bed. Don’t shout but firmly tell them: “No” or “Off.” This way, they learn it isn’t acceptable behavior.

Likewise, if you’re on the couch, don’t let them lay on top of you. Otherwise, it sends mixed signals. Clearly designate where they can snuggle and sleep near you. And then be consistent.

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Related Link: 25 of the Best Things to Do with Your Dog

Why Does My Dog Sleep on Top of My Chest?

Dogs love to sleep on your chest because they can feel your breath, which is a bonding behavior for dogs. They feel close and loved when they are on your chest. The downside is that it can be difficult or suffocating to breathe, depending on your dog’s size.

You’ll want to designate a clear sleeping space for your dog. Or, if you’re okay with them on your bed, create a defined space that is just for them that’s not on your chest. Give your dog lots of love to help them feel secure in your relationship.

Why Does My Dog Lay His Head Over My Neck?

A dog will lay his head over your neck to feel close to you. It is a sign of affection. So give your dog some love and then gently shift them away, so they learn that isn’t a permanent place to stay.

Why Does My Dog Only Sleep on Me and Not My Partner?

Some dog breeds are very protective of their owners. This protective instinct can manifest itself in many different behaviors, such as patrolling the house or yard, barking at strangers, or sleeping on top of you.

But why does your dog only sleep on you and not your partner? One reason may be that they feel more protective of you. Another reason might be out of jealously, and they are claiming you. Either way, you’ll want to gently move them off of you and designate a space where they are allowed to sleep.

Dog snuggled in blanket

It’s Best to Discourage Your Dog from Sleeping on Top of You

Whether you like your dog sleeping on you or not, you’ll want to create a safe and inviting space to sleep that isn’t on top of you. This is critically important for dogs with separation anxiety because they need to learn that having space is okay. And you’ll both sleep better from it.

All Paws Express is a domestic and international pet relocation and transportation company. We specialize in taking the headache out of traveling with your pet. If you want to bring your dog on your next trip, we can help. Unfortunately, we probably can’t stop your dog from lying on you in the hotel.

Are you relocating to a new home? Learn more about how All Paws Express can take the pain out of pet transportation.

Related Link: How to Stop Your Dog from Digging: A Complete Guide