Why Does My Dog Lay on My Clothes? Clean or Dirty…

Why Does My Dog Lay on My Clothes

Whether it’s on top of your clean clothes or on the pile of dirty laundry you’re about to toss in the machine, you’ve probably lost count of the times you’ve found your dog curled up on your clothes.

It’s strange behavior for sure, but why does your dog sleep on your clothes and not his bed?

Dogs like to lay on clothes and not their own bed because their owner’s scent is comforting to them, they want your scent on their body, your clothes give them a feeling of safety, they’re marking territory, and they want to keep warm, to name a few reasons.  

Read on as I take you through all the common reasons why your dog can’t seem to keep off your clothes. And if this habit gets on your nerves, I’ll share a few tips on how to curb it.

Why does my dog lay on my clothes to sleep?

It’s been the norm for as long as you can remember: your dog sleeping on your clothes as though their bed doesn’t exist.

What’s even more surprising is that dirt is a non-issue. They don’t care whether the clothing in question is your gym wear sprayed with Eau de Sweat. If they see it, they will gladly lay on it.

Almost every dog owner will tell you their dog has an inseparable connection with their clothes – some will even lick them.

So, if your canine pal’s habit of constantly laying on your clothes leaves you puzzled, you’re not alone. Many dog parents see it happening and wonder why.

Seriously, what’s up with our four-legged friends and their obsession with our clothes? Let’s see:

1. Laying on clothes as you’re the pack leader and they want to smell like you

Our furry friends have a pack mentality. They think that they and their human family make one happy pack.

In your dog’s eyes, you’re the pack leader since you always call the shots.

And because your furry friend knows they belong to your pack, they will want to have that “pack scent” on their body to maintain their identity as your pack member.

Your clothes are full of your natural body odor: what your dog considers the pack scent.

Remember, our furry friends’ sense of smell is out of this world. So even if there’s perfume on your clothes, your dog will still sniff the real you (your natural odor as the pack leader). They will lay on your dirty clothes to soak in the pack scent.

2. Laying on your clothes to “claim” you, before any other pet does

Our canine pals can be quite territorial. They will pull the silliest stunts to make the world know you belong to them — like laying on your clothes instead of their own bed.

Curling up on your clothes is your dog’s clever way of spreading their unique dog scent on you.

They think that if you have their canine smell, other pets in your home will sniff this scent and know you’re already taken.

It’s their way of announcing to other dogs nearby that you two have a relationship going on.

Your dog’s furry mind tells them that if you walk out of the house with that dog smell on your clothes, other dogs will know who you belong to.

3. Laying on your clothes to show love and affection

Your furry pal simply adores you and wants to be around anything that strongly smells like you and members of their human family.

It’s likely that laying on your clothes makes them happy. They do it over and over again because nothing beats the feeling of snuggling with their favorite person’s clothes – even the dirty ones.

Also, your innately curious dog likes to sniff the interesting smells on your dirty clothes.

They love knowing what their human best friend has been up to, and laying on your dirty laundry presents the perfect opportunity to know you more.

4. Laying on clothes makes them feel safe

Whenever your dog lays down on your clothes, they normally feel secure. This is why kennels recommend you give an item of your clothing to them when your dog stays overnight.

Your scent reminds them of your presence, and so they get to let their guard down and snuggle peacefully. In other words, your pile of clothes is the safest “bed” your furry friend knows.

They have nothing to worry about because curling up on your laundry makes them feel as though you’re close by.

5. Laying on your clothes if their bed feels a bit off

Let’s face it, our four-legged friends can be hard to please sometimes. Have you ever noticed how they scratch their bed to make it comfortable before lying down – fussy, springs to mind!

You may have spent good money getting them the coziest bed ever (and in the right shape and size). But if it doesn’t feel as snuggly as your clothes, they will spend less time in it, and more on your clothes.

6. Laying on your clothes because they miss you

If you’ve been gone away for a while, your dog will curl up on your clothes to cope with your absence. This is especially true if your furry friend struggles with separation anxiety.

Anytime you go away, snuggling with your clothes may be the only thing that helps them de-stress. They probably feel like they are cuddling with you, which keeps them at ease as they wait for your return.

7. Laying on your soft clothes for a comfy nap

Are there certain clothes you consider your favorites because of their soft texture? Well, your furry friend isn’t any different — they love the soft stuff too!

Curling up on some of your soft clothes probably feels like heaven. Your dog just can’t get enough of how comfy it feels.

8. Laying on your clothes to keep warm

When it’s chilly, there’s no way you’ll convince your dog that tucking in your pile of clothes won’t warm them up.

Your laundry is simply the perfect heat source, not even your stylish radiator comes close.

9. Laying on your clothes for the love of attention

Your furry friend has studied you long enough to know that you usually react when you find them on your clothes.

Whether you simply stare at them, laugh, or try to get them out of your laundry basket — any reaction from you means you’ve noticed them. So, mission accomplished!

When your bored dog wants you to engage them, they know the easiest trick to pull: head over to your laundry and lay there.

How to get your dog to stop lying on your clothes

Like every other dog, your dog has the purest intentions curling up on your clothes. It’s not a malicious move.

But as cute as it may seem, it can be annoying if your dog is dirty but proceeds to sleep on your clean clothes. Or worse, if they are the hairy type and leaves fur on your garments.

Luckily, there are easy solutions to resolve this:

  • Make your laundry isn’t accessible. If they are always on top of the clothes in your laundry basket, consider buying a basket with a lid. If they like chilling in your laundry area, always keep the door closed.
  • Make their bed comfy by placing a warm, soft blanket. You can add something you no longer wear, like an old t-shirt. This will help your friend spend more time curling up with their blanket or your t-shirt — and keep off your clothes.
  • Avoid leaving your clothes in places where your furry friend likes to hang out. Like on your bed or the couch. Always lock up your clean laundry in the closet.
  • Discourage the behavior and redirect their attention. Whenever you see them on top of your clothes, issue a cue like “leave it” as you call them to you. Toss a toy far away from the laundry so they can get busy playing with it.

Over time, they will learn that your clothes are out of bounds.


Why does my dog like my dirty laundry?

There are many reasons why: They want to smell like you since you’re their pack leader, they adore you and love being close to your scent, want to grab your attention, your dirty laundry is their source of warmth, and they feel secure resting on your dirty clothes.

Why do dogs rub their body on your clothes?

As stated earlier, this tactic is a dog’s way of “claiming” you. They’re simply spreading their unique dog smell on you so other pets can sniff it and know who you belong to.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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