There you are, minding your own business and along comes your canine pal and lays their head on your knees or lap. It is one of the most adorable things your dog does.
This may make you wonder thought exactly why does my dog lay his head on me?
The answer is adorable (in most cases).
Dogs communicate their feelings through body language, expressions, their voice, by doing the most unexpected and cute things. There are many interpretations of their gestures. Mostly dogs lay their heads on us to show affection.
There are of course some exceptions so figuring out why your dog may or may not be communicating certain feelings or thoughts to you is essential in building a lasting bond between you two. (You want that, right?)
Possible Explanations For Dogs Laying Their Head On You
Let us try and interpret the sweet gesture as best we can.
As A Way To Show Their Affection
Dogs are very unselfish animals. The amount of affection they will demand will depend on their breed, history, and other things. Domesticated dogs often look forward to showering their humans with the utmost care and love.
By them laying their head on you, they might simply be showing you some love and demanding a pat. Its time to ask yourself if you have been neglecting your best friend.
As A Way To Communicate Their Stress
As relaxing as spending time and playing with our dogs is for us, the same must also apply to the dogs (we hope so, anyway). Studies are ongoing on the effects of what happens to our dogs or what they feel, when we pet them.
One of those studies strongly implies that petting a dog before separating from them, even for a short while, might lower their separation anxiety.
Facial cues are very important to recognize in this case. Look out for any anxiety, out of the norm behaviour, whining? This is where you realize how much you really know your dog.
Also pay close attention to them if they used to frequently lay their head on you but seem to have stopped now. This could be a symptom of depression in dogs. ☹
Take them to the vet in this case and have the appropriate steps followed. Nobody wants their ball of energy to lose that energy. Someone needs to be hyped up about this life, at least.
As A Way To Demand Attention
Dogs are, by nature, pack animals. This also makes them social animals.
Regardless of the fact that the social circle of domesticated dogs has whittled down to just them and you or your family. If we leave them for any amount of time, our dog is liable to get anxious. Maybe because, in their head, they do not know if you will be returning home to them and the thought of losing you is wreaking havoc on their mind and heart.
Separation anxiety has many ways of showing itself. It all depends on your individual dog. Make sure you spend plenty of time with them when you are home. You could even ask your friends and family to keep an eye out for your furry best friend.
Also be sure to take them to doggy parks on walks and have play dates with other dogs, too. Keeping them engaged and active and being active alongside them is an experience that builds bonds like no other.
Hunger / Cravings
“Are you really trying to eat that ooey-gooey-divine smelling slice of pizza without me?”, is probably what your pooch is trying to convey to you if you are indeed trying to eat an ooey-gooey divine smelling slice of pizza without them.
Depending upon whether or not you have already made it a habit of feeding them scraps from the table, they will most certainly expect this from you every time. Do not spoil them like that if you don’t want to continue doing that for a very long time and engage in further training to get them off of this habit.
Training is of prime importance to keep dogs from behaving out of line. This also ingrains in the dog’s brain that treats are only as rewards for good behaviour.
They Want To Snuggle With You
Do not make the mistake of assuming your dog is going to be warm enough because of their blanket of fur. Nope. No, sir. They are loving, sociable companions who also get cold (duh), who also enjoy a snuggle with their human (duh, why would they not?), they crave the body heat (also, duh).
If you have more than one pet in the same house, can you honestly tell me you have not seen them sleeping together, all cozy and cute? I can assuredly assume the answer is yes, you have seen them sleep all cute and cozy (if you are being honest, that is).
So let your dogs be cozy with you, too. They will love you forever more. Plus it feels amazing too!
Alerting You To Potential Danger
Based upon your dog’s breed and individual personality and preferences, they may be trying to alert you to something when they place their head on you. Some dogs bark and jump wildly out of nowhere at the smallest disturbance. Others may not react so aggressively and only mildly indicate an alert.
Training is key, as is learning to comprehend your dog’s behaviour and attitude at all times. Again, this is where it goes to show how well you understand your dog.
They Might Not Be Feeling Well
As sad as this fact is, it is true, and we need to accept it. Your furball of energy will not forever remain so.
Energy levels decrease as dogs age increases. They might not be as jumpy-licky anymore. Watch out for signs if they don’t respond well to petting or are experiencing a lack of appetite. These can signal an issue which must be spoken about with your vet.
Laying their head on your lap or your knee should definitely not be considered a problem as such. It is a perfectly normal and loving thing for dogs to do.
Dogs mostly rest their heads on you for affection or attention. As we touched upon there are some exceptions but as a general rule unless it’s out of the ordinary behaviour for your dog you should enjoy their love and companionship.