Why Does My Dog Lay His Head Over My Neck? (7 Common Reasons)

Categorized as Why Does My Dog
dog laying his head over my neck

My dog is always laying his head over my neck. I’m not sure why, but it’s starting to get really annoying.

Maybe he’s trying to suffocate me with love or maybe he’s just trying to get some attention. Who knows! All I know is that I can’t take it anymore and I need some answers.

Do you have a similar experience with your dog?

There could be numerous reasons why your dog might be laying his head over your neck. While some of these reasons may be relatively benign, others could indicate that your dog is experiencing pain or discomfort.

Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the various reasons why your dog might be exhibiting this behavior and to take appropriate action if necessary.

So, without further ado, let’s explore seven of the most common reasons why your dog might be laying his head over your neck.

1. It’s Comforting for Him

Your dog is likely taking a break from all the stimulation and stress of the day, and where is better to relax than on the person who they trust and feel safest around?

Not only your neck is, quite frankly, soft, but it also feels warm as it generates a lot of heat. This combination of softness and warmth is what makes our neck a prime resting spot for our furry friends.

It’s also comforting for your dog to be close to you. When you and your dog are snuggled up together, both of you release oxytocin, which is sometimes called the “love hormone.”

Oxytocin is associated with happiness, stress relief, and calming sensations. So, by being close to you, your dog is getting some of the benefits of oxytocin release.

2. He May Be Trying to Show Affection

Dogs can do some pretty wacky things to show their affection for us. They may jump up and put their paws on our shoulders, lick our face, or lay their head over our neck.

In many cases, this behavior is simply a way for your dog to express his love for you. He may be trying to tell you that he’s happy that you’re his owners. To confirm this, you can watch his body language.

If your dog is relaxed or stares at you with those adorable eyes while he’s resting his head over your neck, then it’s likely that he’s just trying to show his affection.

On the other hand, if he’s tense or has a low tail wag, then it’s possible that there’s something wrong and he’s trying to tell you that he needs help.

3. He’s Seeking Attention from You

Some dogs are quite needy and always want a little bit of attention from their owners. They can do all sorts of things to get your attention, such as whining, barking, or in this case, laying their head over your neck.

If your dog is constantly trying to get your attention by lying his head over your neck, it’s possible that he’s doing this because he craves the interaction.

A little bit of attention goes a long way for your dog and can help to reinforce the bond between you and your pet. Even if you’re busy, try to set aside a few minutes every day to give your dog some attention.

Here are a few activities you can do with your dog to show him some attention:

Go for a walk

Grab the leash and go out the door. The best way to start is by taking a quick walk around the block. This will help your dog burn off some energy and will also show him that you’re ready to spend some time with him.

Play fetch

If your dog is a bit hyper, try playing fetch or tug-of-war with him. These games are a great way to get him excited and will keep him occupied for a while.

Do some obedience training

If you have the time, consider training your dog some basic commands. This will help to strengthen the bond between you two and will also give your dog a sense of purpose.


If you’re feeling particularly energetic, grab your bike and take your dog for a ride. Biking while your dog runs alongside you is a great way to get some exercise and keep him entertained the whole time.

However, be sure that you have trained your dog properly before taking him out on a bike ride. This is because dogs can easily get distracted and may run into traffic.

Taking him to a dog park

If there’s a dog park in your area, take your dog for a visit. This is a great way to let him run around and socialize with other dogs. It’s also a great way for you to meet other dog owners.

4. He May Be Trying to Protect You

Believe it or not, your dog may see you as their pack and feel a sense of responsibility to protect you.

By laying closely against you and resting his head over your neck, he’s essentially putting himself in a position where he can see everything that’s going on around you and is ready to defend you if necessary.

This behavior is often seen in dogs who are considered “guard dogs” such as Rottweilers and German Shepherds. Even without training, these dogs know right from birth that it’s their job to protect their pack, which in this case is you and your family.

5. He May Be Sick or in Pain and Need Comfort

If your dog has never exhibited this behavior before and is suddenly laying his head over your neck, it’s possible that there’s something wrong and he’s trying to tell you that he’s in pain or isn’t feeling well.

Just as humans do, dogs often seek comfort from their loved ones when they’re feeling sick or in pain. However, resting his head over your neck alone is not a clear indication that your pup is feeling unwell.

You should watch him carefully and look for other signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, reluctance to eat or drink, changes in behavior, and lethargy. If you notice any of these signs, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

6. You Have Inadvertently Encouraged the Behavior

It’s possible that you’ve inadvertently encouraged your dog to lay his head over your neck by petting him, feeding him treats, or praising him when he does it.

This behavior can be quite rewarding for dogs and they may start to see it as a way to get attention or rewards from you.

Remember that everything you do affects your dog’s behavior in some way, so be careful about how you interact with him. If you don’t want him to lay his head over your neck, make sure you don’t pet him or give him any treats when he does it.

7. It’s a Sign of Submission

In some cases, a dog may lay his head over your neck as a sign of submission to you. They may see you as the alpha dog and this is their way of showing you that they are vulnerable and subordinate to you.

Some experts believe that this behavior is rooted in the dog’s ancestral past when the alpha dog would have been the one in charge of leading the pack.

The subordinate dogs would have shown their respect by lowering their heads and placing them close to the alpha dog.

Should You Be Concerned If Your Dog Lays His Head over Your Neck?

While there are several possible reasons why your dog might be laying his head over your neck, it’s important to remember that not every instance of this behavior is cause for concern.

If your dog is just resting his head calmly over your neck, there’s no need to worry.

However, if your dog is constantly trying to get your attention by putting his head over your neck and you’re seeing other signs of illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, then you should take him to the vet.

The bottom line is that if you’re concerned about your dog’s behavior, don’t hesitate to speak with your veterinarian. They can help you determine whether or not there’s a problem and what you can do to help your pup feel better.


If you’ve been wondering why your dog lays his head over your neck, we hope this article has helped shed some light on the matter. While there can be many reasons for this behavior, we’ve discussed seven of the most common ones.

As to whether you should allow or discouraged the behavior if you like it or not, that is really up to you to decide.

Some owners might enjoy the behavior because it shows that their dog is attached and protective of them, while others might find it annoying. It ultimately comes down to what the owner prefers and is comfortable with.

Related Questions

1. Why Does My Dog Lay On Top of Me?

There are a few reasons why your dog might be laying on top of you. It could be that he’s trying to show you how much they love and trust you, that they feel comfortable and safe near you, or that they’re seeking warmth and comfort.

2. Why Does My Dog Lay Down To Eat?

Dogs may lay down to eat because it makes them feel more comfortable and secure. In some cases, this may be a learned behavior that your dog has picked up from watching you or other dogs eat.