Your dog sleeping on your head is likely a sign of boredom or attention seeking behavior. If your dog does this often, you can address the behavior by setting boundaries, practicing more play time, and incorporating positive reinforcement training into your daily routine.
While the habit is adorable when they’re small, having a big dog sleep on your head can make it hard to move, or breathe! No matter how cute the behavior is, if it’s become a habit you’re probably wondering “why does my dog sleep on my head?”
We’ve investigated the top reasons why dogs lay on their owners heads to help you figure out what’s going on with your furry friend.
The most likely reason for your dog laying on your head is boredom or attention seeking behavior. If your dog has figured out that when he lays on your head you think he’s cute and give him attention, he’s likely to do it when he wants a little extra love.
Even if you don’t react positively, your negative reaction is still a reaction, which is exactly what your dog wants if he feels like you’re not paying attention to him. He could even be interpreting your reaction as play — if you chase your dog around the house when he lays on your head, he makes the connection between “I lay on Mom’s head” and “I play the chase game.”
Analyze your reaction when your dog lays on your head. Chances are, if your reaction is in any way satisfying to him, that’s why he’s doing it. Instead of what you’re currently doing, try placing boundaries for your dog to prevent him from doing it in the first place. Make him his own area to sleep in, and enforce calm time there. Never ever reward unsolicited attention from your dog, even with pets. You should go to your dog for fun and love, and your dog should wait patiently until you do so.
It’s also important to make sure you’re giving your dog enough mental or physical stimulation to tire him out so he doesn’t feel the need to practice attention seeking behaviours. A quick game of fetch, a training session, or a couple brain games will have your dog sleeping peacefully by your side, not on your head.
Other Possible Reasons
If you think there’s more to it than attention seeking behaviour, other possible reasons could be separation anxiety, protectiveness, or dominance.
Separation anxiety occurs when your dog gets nervous being away from you, or even in a different room. Laying on your head could be a coping mechanism for them.
Protectiveness is a dog following his natural pack instincts to protect you, who he considers his pack-mate. Your dog could be trying to keep watch from danger by laying on your head, especially while you’re sleeping.
Dominance is when a dog lays on top of you to assert himself as the alpha of the pack, to show he’s in a higher position than you. While a dog laying on your head is unlikely to be a result of any of these possibilities, they are serious behavioral issues which should be promptly addressed. For more information on these behaviors check out our article about dog’s laying on top of their owners in general.
If your dog lays on top of your head, chances are he’s just bored. Whether or not you think it’s good, it’s important that your dog listens to you when you tell him no- plenty of positive reinforcement training and practicing boundaries can help you curb this behaviour with your snuggly pooch.
If you’ve got any more concerns about your dog laying on you, feel free to leave us a message in the comments below. We’ll be sure to answer your questions as best we can!