There are fewer things as heartwarming as cuddles with your dog. But if they constantly want to be by your side and have physical contact, it might get you wondering—why does my dog always have to be touching me?
Dogs always want to touch their owners for several reasons, ranging from wanting to shower you with love to suffering from separation anxiety.
Luckily, such a situation is rarely a cause for medical concern. I’ll help you understand its many facets. Read below to find out the answer to “Why is my dog always touching me?”
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10 Reasons Why Your Dog Always Touches You
Studies show that having a dog lowers blood pressure and improves cholesterol levels. While these are admirable benefits, having your dog underfoot 24/7 isn’t as practical for you as it is for them.
So, read on to pinpoint why your dog is constantly touching you.
1. Sign of Love
Researchers believe you’re onto something if you think your dog loves you when they gaze into your eyes. In a study conducted in Japan, owners and dogs who stared into each other’s eyes had higher amounts of oxytocin in their urine than those who gave each other quick glances.
So, your dog might want to always touch you for the chance to have more encounters gazing into your eyes. The burst of oxytocin they receive helps them with their bond and feeling of love towards you.
2. Craving Cuddles
Did you know that oxytocin has the nickname the “cuddle hormone?” Your dog might always want to be touching you because they love you and because the oxytocin boost they get when gazing at you causes them to want to cuddle even more.
So, if you feel your dog lean into your leg more or they’re trying to crawl into your lap constantly, there’s a good chance they might simply be looking for more cuddle time.
3. Feels Safe
Dogs are pack animals by nature. So, they rely on each other for protection and security from predators.
Therefore, if your dog is always touching you, particularly when they sleep, it could be because you give them a sense of security that you’ll protect them from threats when they’re in their most vulnerable state.
4. Wants To Protect You
Going off the point above, your dog might want to be always touching you as a means to protect you, their prized pack member.
There isn’t anything inherently wrong with your dog wanting to touch you for this reason. But if your dog is protective to the point where it causes them to lash out at strangers, you should enlist the support of a dog trainer.
5. You’ve Encouraged It
If you’re wondering, “Why does my dog always have to be touching me?” it might be worth looking inward. For example, do you coo at your dog when they curl up beside you? Or do you reach down and scratch their ears when they sit against your leg while you work?
I know I’m guilty of this. We do these activities without thinking about them, but they can mean the world to our dogs. So, your dog might always be touching you as a way to get extra attention and repeated behavior from you that they love.
6. You’re Pregnant
If you’re a woman and have noticed that your dog is always wanting to touch you since you became pregnant, it could be because your dog knows it.
Many researchers believe that dogs can tell that humans are pregnant before even the woman knows. They attribute this to a dog’s keen sense of smell, believing that dogs can detect hormone changes.
7. Canine Separation Anxiety
Just like humans suffer from anxiety, dogs can too. When your dog always wants to be touching you as a trigger from canine separation anxiety, it often looks different than the other scenarios we’ve covered here.
Your dog might shake, bark, pace, and show other signs of nervousness when situations don’t allow them to be right next to you. Even taking a trip to the bathroom could cause your dog to spiral into anxiety.
8. You’re in a Comfortable Spot
When was the last time you bought your dog a new bed? If your bed, sofa, or any place else where you sit and they want to be touching you is comfier than your dog’s sleeping space, they might touch you to try and get comfortable.
It’s also important to wash your dog’s bed occasionally. Although dogs aren’t notorious for being as clean as cats, they still want a clean place to sleep. So, they might always be touching you to join in on the fun of enjoying your fresh sheets.
9. Internal Clock Trigger
Like humans, dogs have circadian rhythms, helping them know when to be awake and when to sleep. But modern science also reveals that dogs can judge time based on neurons in their brain.
Therefore, if you notice that your dog always touches you during a specific time during the day, it could be because their internal clock tells them that it’s time to eat or go for a walk. So, what you might construe as your dog resting their head on your thigh as cute could be them trying to tell you it’s time for whatever routine you do with them at that specific time.
10. Feeling Ill
Although it’s uncommon for dogs to always touch their owners because of an illness, I’d be remiss not to mention that this scenario is possible. Dogs are intuitive and may start touching you excessively to get your attention and alert you that they’re feeling unwell.
There isn’t a specific illness that you can pinpoint by your dog always wanting to touch you. Instead, look for symptoms such as:
- Reduced appetite
- Changes in bowel movements
If you suspect your dog might always want to touch you because of a medical problem, take them to the vet.
Should I Be Worried About My Dog Always Touching Me?
You may worry, “Why is my dog always touching me?” but there’s little cause for concern. Over the years, breeders have designed dogs to work closely beside humans and offer companionship. In almost all cases, dogs that always want to touch their owners are doing so out of instinct.
Another item to consider is that some dog breeds have higher tendencies to want to always be beside their owners than others. Some breeds that are notorious for their clingy ways include:
- Golden Retriever
As you can deduce, size doesn’t impact whether or not a dog always wants to be touching you; a Newfoundland will be just as happy to climb into your lap as a Pomeranian.
In contrast, certain dog breeds have more independent tendencies. The Basenji, Scottish Terrier, and Irish Wolfhound are a few examples.
That said, every dog is unique with its own personality. So, you may end up with a traditionally independent dog breed that always wants to be at your side.
How To Reduce Your Dog’s Need To Touch You?
Some owners love that their dogs always want to touch them and don’t want to fix the situation. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as your dog isn’t sick or lashing out at others from protective tendencies.
But if you’d like more personal space than your dog allows, below are some strategies you can implement.
Establish Consistent Boundaries
Many people have an issue with their dog always wanting to touch them if it disturbs their sleep. If this is the case, place your dog’s bed on your bedroom floor. Then, use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage them to sleep there.
Using this training technique will take time and consistency. But it’ll pay off in the long run, and you’ll benefit from better sleep.
Use Baby Gates
Whether you believe the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” or don’t have the time to train your pooch, putting baby gates up around your house is an effective strategy.
For example, if you have a home office and don’t want your dog always touching you there, you can set up a baby gate at your office door to keep them out. The advantage of doing so versus closing the door is that your dog will still be able to see you. So, it’s an especially great option for dogs with anxiety.
If your dog is always touching you because they’re afraid, try to identify their fear and find a workaround. For example, playing soft music can often help fearful or anxiety-prone dogs.
Similarly, uncomfortable environments, such as an old or dirty bed, can make your dog want to stick closer to you than the space you designate for them in your home. A new bed and some favorite toys can do wonders for resolving this issue.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know the many answers to the question, “Why does my dog always have to be touching me?” it’s up to you whether you want to make changes or let your dog continue being beside you all the time.