Dogs have some weird behaviors. Some we can explain, others we can’t. I had this dog who could always hide my left leg shoe. How he could tell it’s the left side, I have no idea, but he did.
Many people complain about how their dogs always lie on their legs. Some people love it while others, not so much. Here are eight reasons why your dog lies on your legs.
1. To bond with you
Research has shown that dogs are more like infants. The same way a baby wants to be close to the other as they feel safe, the same case with the dog.
Laying on your legs makes him feel safe and loved. We have seen cases where a dog gets separated from its caregiver, and it later finds its way back. They can do that due to such bonds developed when they were lying next to you. When they sleep next to you, they learn your smell. With the scent, it’s easy to trace you.
2. To protect you
Dogs tend to bond a lot with their caregivers. The same way he feels safe next to you is the same way he also wants to protect you.
Especially when there is a stranger near you, your dog will insist on lying on your legs. When the person tends to get close to you, the dog may even growl. That is a sign that he is trying to protect you.
3. For the comfort
Your dog is comfortable on your legs. The legs are warm and not like the floor or the seat you would wish him to stay. Also, the legs are soft and spongy, it’s the perfect lying position.
I know you’re thinking, “what about the fur blanket I bought him? It’s pretty comfortable.” That might be true. But, when they’re lying on your legs, they get to not only bond with you but also get some warmth
Your Pet has fears just like you. So, when he is scared, he will go to his ‘safe place’. This could be on your legs. When he fears something or someone, he might rush to your legs for safety.
An example is when there is someone new in the house, also if there is loud noise like thunders. A dog is very sensitive, and that is one reason we keep it close.
Some fears may seem unreasonable to you, but help it deal with them. Fears come from traumatic experiences, and the much we can do is comfort and keep him calm when we realize he is afraid. Hug him when he runs to you when there is a thunderstorm.
Remember we said that dos are sometimes like babies? Well, just like babies, they too develop separation anxiety. And, just like a toddler becomes clingy, the dog might also want to lay on your legs in fear that you might leave.
Maybe you started leaving him alone at home for an extended period. You see, dogs are pack animals; they live in groups. When it’s you and the dog, you are part of its pack. For it to adapt to being left alone, it will take time and training.
How exactly do you help your dog deal with separation anxiety?
- Before leaving the house, take him for a walk or let him accompany you when you’re jogging. The aim is to get him exhausted so he can rest when you leave. This way, he will not suffer from separation anxiety.
- Try feeding him when you are almost leaving. It’s in the dog’s nature to take a nap after feeding. So when the dog takes a nap, you can leave.
- Start by leaving it for a few minutes. You can start by five minutes and then increase with time. This way, it will slowly learn how to deal with the anxiety.
6. Marking its territory
The dog is trying to mark its territory to other dogs and other people by marking its territory. This way, the dog feels less anxious.
To some extent, the dog will go as far as urinating in the house to mark its physical territory. Help it to relax by assuring it you are not going anywhere. It’s the same pack concept. Its nature is staying together with other dogs. In this case, you are part of the pack.
7. You may have trained it to do so
Possibly you give it snacks or food when it is in that position. It will think you are rewarding it for doing so, and hence reinforcing the behavior.
Or maybe when it gets to that position, you start to pat it and even hug it. There is nothing wrong with your dog lying on your legs unless it is uncomfortable for you. If you want it to stop doing that, you will have to train it to stop.
How exactly do you train your dog to stop lying on your legs?
- Start by not rewarding or giving anything when it is at that position
- Avoid touching it
- Take it to another close and comfortable position so it can lay there. If it lays there for a while, award it.
Conclusion on Why does my dog sleep between my legs
I bet you can tell why your dog is now lying on your legs. This might not be a bad thing since you also get to feel warm, bond with the dog, and feel protected.
But again, if you are uncomfortable and you have tried the few ways above, and it’s not working, get a professional trainer to help you train your dog to lay elsewhere.