Do dogs lay on you to assert dominance?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

In my experience, I’ve found that dogs may sometimes lay on you as a way to assert dominance or claim you as their own. It’s a behavior that can be seen as a form of guarding territory. When a dog snuggles up on your legs or sits on you, they are essentially marking you as their own and preventing anyone else, whether animal or human, from getting too close.

One possible reason for this behavior is rooted in a dog’s natural instincts as a pack animal. In a pack, there is typically a hierarchy with an alpha leader at the top. By sitting on you, your dog may be trying to establish herself as the alpha and assert her dominance over you. It’s her way of saying, “This human belongs to me, and I’m in charge here.”

Another reason could be a dog’s instinct to protect their resources. Dogs are territorial creatures and may feel the need to guard their space and possessions, including you. By physically claiming you as her own, your dog may be trying to ensure that no one else can come near you or take you away from her.

It’s worth noting that not all dogs exhibit this behavior, and it can vary depending on the individual dog’s personality and upbringing. Some dogs may be more prone to asserting dominance, while others may be more laid-back and less concerned with claiming territory.

In my personal experience, I’ve had a dog who would always lay on me whenever I sat down. It didn’t matter if I was on the couch, in a chair, or even lying in bed. She would always find a way to position herself on top of me, almost as if she was staking her claim. It became clear to me that she saw me as her territory and wanted to make sure no one else could come near me.

To discourage this behavior, it’s important to establish boundaries and teach your dog appropriate behaviors. This can be done through consistent training, positive reinforcement, and providing them with their own designated spaces and resources. It’s also important to remember that dogs thrive on structure and routine, so maintaining a consistent schedule can help them feel secure and less inclined to assert dominance.

While dogs laying on you can be seen as a way of asserting dominance and guarding territory, it’s important to understand that this behavior can vary from dog to dog. It’s essential to establish boundaries and provide consistent training to ensure a healthy and balanced relationship with your canine companion.