Why Does My Dog Lay Under My Desk

dog laying under a desk

There is no doubt that our dogs enjoy being wherever we are. Whether we are reclining on the couch, sitting at the table enjoying dinner, or even spending some time in the bathroom, our pooches want to be in the center of the action. Still, since dogs do enjoy at least a little action in their daily lifestyle, it can be very perplexing to some owners when their dog perches himself underneath their desk while they’re working.

What Makes Laying Under a Desk Attractive to Dogs?

Since many desks offer a dark, enclosed space in which to lay, they are naturally very attractive to dogs. Why is this? The inside of your desk may remind your dog of a den, making it a comfortable place for your dog to take a snooze while still enjoying the closeness of your presence.

However, it’s not just the den-like atmosphere or opportunity to be near you that makes your desk very compelling to your dog. Here is a list of the some of the possible reasons your dog chooses your desk as his fave resting locale:

  1. It feels like a den

Of course, it cannot be denied that anything that resembles a den has a distinct appeal to a dog. Many dogs build their own den-like conditions in which to raise their offspring until they are independent enough to assume their position in the pack hierarchy. Some dogs search for caves made from rocks while others will dig holes in the earth in which to hide their young. This nesting behavior is very common, particularly amongst female dogs. It helps them to feel safe and secure.

But my dog has never been a mother; in fact, my dog is not even a female!

Denning behavior is not just restricted to female members of the canine family. Sometimes dogs will search for den-like spots in which to rest because they associate spaces of this nature with the comfort that came from lying near their mother as a young puppy. 

  1. Your dog may desire to be close to you

If you don’t have the time to play fetch or go for a walk, Fido may decide the next best thing is to lay at your feet underneath your desk. Sometimes your dog just craves the connection that comes from being near you even if the two of you aren’t actually doing anything together. Your dog loves your company. Some dogs are naturally more independent and prefer to leave some space between themselves and their owners. Yet others are most content when as close as possible to the ones they love.

Why does your dog pick your desk when he wishes to be near you? Since dogs are big observers of human life, your pooch will memorize your daily routine in no time. If you normally spend a lot of time at your desk during certain hours of the day, your dog will take note of that and make that spot his favorite place to unwind when you are most likely to be there too.

  1. Your dog is a “Velcro dog”

Some dogs become overly attached to their owners, finding it very difficult to be separated from them for any amount of time. If this sounds like your dog, you’re not alone. There are several reasons why your dog may have such an intense need to be near you all the time. These can include genetics, personality, and even specific things that you do that encourage the behavior.

Some dog breeds are hardwired to bond deeply to their humans and to look to them for direction. This is particularly true of herding breeds such as the German Shepherd, a dog type that innately possesses a desire to please its humans and to seek their guidance in all things.

Lap dogs can be particularly clingy since their primary role is to be a family companion. These types of dogs crave close human companionship at all times.

Research indicates that when dogs and humans spend time together, oxytocin, the feel good hormone, increases. Something as simple as a shared glance boosts oxytocin while cuddling and petting causes this hormone to rise even more substantially.

  1. It’s your dog’s comfort zone

Some dogs only feel secure when in the presence of their loved ones. This nearness to each other helps to relieve stress and provides comfort when unusual noises occur or strangers visit your home.

If you notice your dog retreats under your desk when you are not there, it may be that your dog finds comfort in that spot and will choose to go there when feeling anxious or stressed. When overwhelmed, the den-like atmosphere of your desk is a quiet place where your dog can remove himself from the distractions and noise in other areas of your home. 

  1. It’s comfortable

Sometimes, a dog chooses a place to lay simply because he finds it to be the most comfortable spot in your home. If it’s hot, windy, or rainy outside, having a lay down under your desk provides respite from the objectionable elements found outdoors.

  1. It’s the canine version of nagging

Sometimes your dog hangs out with you because he is trying to indicate he wants something from you. If your dog has become your constant shadow and this is not normal for him, this could be his version of nagging. By accompanying you everywhere you go and asserting his presence when you are at your desk, your dog is able to get your attention. Since a dog that has his head on your foot or that is pawing at your leg is difficult to ignore, it’s an easy way for Fido to ensure he gets noticed…and hopefully…gets what he wants.

  1. You’ve dropped some of your lunch under there

If you happen to be a little on the messy side when you enjoy your lunch each day, this will not go unnoticed by Fido. Since dogs love people food, your dog will soon learn that if he bides his time while you enjoy your breakfast, your lunch, or even a simple snack, there will be some crumbs that follow in time.

  1. Your dog is feeling poorly

It is not at all uncommon for a sick dog to try to find a dark, confined space in which to hide.

  1. Your dog is responding to your physical or emotional cues

Dogs are intuitive and are easily able to detect if you are feeling unhappy or unwell. When this occurs, your dog may choose to rest under your desk in an attempt to provide some comfort to you.

If your dog laying under your desk is keeping you from getting your work done or proving to be a nuisance, there are some things you can do to change the behavior.

How Can I Keep My Dog from Laying Under My Desk?

  • Train your dog to view another spot as his

Choose a spot in your home and make it as comfortable as possible for your dog. Several times a day, lead your dog to the spot where you want him to lay. Ask your dog to sit or lay there and praise him and reward him with treats when he does as you ask. Over time, your dog will learn that when he goes to that spot of his own accord, he will be rewarded for it. Eventually, you will be able to phase out the treats entirely as your dog will begin to view this spot as the best place in the house. 

  • Prepare a spot that is specifically for your dog

Select an area in the house where you want your dog to lay during the day. Prepare this place by placing items in it that your dog will find comfortable. This could be a luxurious dog bed or a crate lined with blankets, crate mats, and toys. Make the spot as inviting as possible, so your dog will voluntarily make that area his resting place.

  • Avoid rewarding the dog when under your desk

If your dog is rewarded for being in the place you don’t want him to be, even if only accidentally, the dog is going to continue to gravitate towards that spot. Avoid doing this. 

  • Eliminate any reasons for anxious behavior

If something is causing your dog to seek refuge under your desk, it is important to find out what the trigger is and eliminate it if possible. 

  • Seek professional help

If your dog is truly suffering from separation anxiety, this is a serious matter that is best addressed by a qualified animal behaviorist. Your veterinarian may be able to provide you with a referral to someone who can assist you and your dog with this issue.

Why do dogs like to lay under our desks? There are many reasons why this may be so, but most often, your dog finds it comfortable under there or simply likes it best when he can be wherever you are.

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