Does your dog sometimes become very excited when you get down on the floor? How many times have you laid down on the floor to stretch out or do a yoga pose, when you suddenly felt the slobbery tongue of your pup as he licked your face? Or maybe you got down on your knees to retrieve a dog toy from under the couch and your rambunctious dog started to bark and pounce on you.
Dogs get very excited when we come down to their level! You may chuckle at their antics and wonder what all of the excitment is about. To begin with, it probably seems unusual to your dog that you are on the floor, and something is up. In most cases your dog probably thinks that being on the floor means play time!
However, there may be a few other reasons why your dog is excited. Also, in some cases, getting down on the floor with your dog may not always be a good idea.
Why Your Dog Gets So Excited When You Are on the Floor
First of All, You Are on Their Level!
Dogs love to be at the same level as their humans! That is why they try to jump on your lap, bed, sofa, or other places where you hang out. Think about how hard it might be to always be looking up at someone you adore who is usually towering several feet above you.
Your dog also likes to get your attention by making eye contact. So, you can only imagine how exciting it is for her to suddenly be eye to eye with you when you lay down on the floor. In fact, when you are lying down, your dog can easily tower over you and suddenly have an unexpected advantage!
Dogs Love to Lick Faces and Ears–Especially Ours
I have a daily routine of lying on the floor to do back, arm, and leg stretches. I play some gentle meditative music, close my eyes, and breath deeply. If I have forgotten to shut my bedroom door, my peace is quickly interrupted by one of my two little doggies happily licking my nose. Then the other one comes bounding in and goes for my ears.
Agh! As Lucy from Peanuts would say.
I don’t know what it is about licking the nose and ears that are so inviting to dogs. Perhaps the scent or do they think I need to be groomed? But they seem to love it. For more about nose licking, see my post, Why Does My Dog Lick My Nose Every Morning.
If You Are on the Floor, Your Pooch Sees this as a Play Opportunity
In addition to being licked or having my ears chewed on, if I am not on guard, I can easily get pounced on as well. This can be very painful especially when either one or both of my mutts decide to trounce on my stomach! Ouch! Again, I need to close the door when I do my stretches. Lesson learned!
Because it was my mistake to leave the door open, I often take a few minutes to roll around with them and gently play-wrestle. Then they get kicked out and the door gets closed, so I can go back to my stretches.
Dogs are often content to simply relax and keep a watch on things, but they can get bored especially if they have not had their daily walk. So, when your dog sees you get down on the floor, this signals something new and different! Maybe this is a new game! If your dog is really bored on any given day, they will literally jump at any opportunity to do something, anything that might seem fun.
Your Dog May Need More Exercise
Also, your dog may not be getting enough exercise, so they will look to you to entertain them. When you get on the floor, your dogs will get excited because they think something fun is about to happen. A February 2021 Quora forum question was posed regarding how much exercise a dog needs. The owner said that his dog was constantly begging him to play. The consensus was that it depends on the size, age, and breed of the dog to determine the optimal amount of exercise. But most of those who answered suggested a minimum of two to three walks a day for 20 minutes up to two to four hours. I think these responses assumed that the dog did not have much access to a large backyard or outdoor area.
My two dogs are medium-sized female siblings and a mix of Pug and Cattle Dog. So, it is a little hard to know how much exercise they need. Pugs love to sleep a lot and Cattle Dogs love to run and bark! The one who looks more like a Cattle Dog definitely loves to run more, and I find it a challenge to keep up with her exercise needs. I walk them of both for at least 45-60 minutes each day and longer hikes once a week.
But when the weather is bad or I am sick, I need to get more creative. So, I toss the ball around for them in the living room or play the “find the treats” game (one of their favorites). If I don’t keep up with their play and excercise needs, I find them more apt to jump on me whether I am sitting or lying down.
Your Dog May Think You are Doing a “Play Bow”
A doggie “play bow” is a direct invitation from one dog to another to engage in some light wrestling or play fighting. The dog will go down on his front legs with his rear and tail up in the air, and yip or bark at another dog to get their attention. So, if a human gets down on all fours, this could be interpreted as an invitation.
When I toss the tennis ball around the living room for my dogs, it invariably gets stuck under the couch, a lot! So, I end up on all fours, kneeling down with a stick in my hand to try to bat the balls out from under the sofa. It doesn’t seem to matter how many other balls, we have. The one under the couch is the one they want. If I don’t get it, the whines and stares can be unbearable!
But I digress. Not only do my dogs demand that I rescue their balls, but they are also excited that I am now on the floor on my knees. What a great invitation to jump on Mom’s back, growl, and try to play fight!
When You Need to be Cautious about Playing with Your Dogs on the Floor
Puppies learn how to safely play fight with each other at a young age. They learn how to be appropriately aggressive and how to inhibit their biting and not hurt the other dog. Play fighting is also a way for dogs to get stronger and hone their physical abilities–think soccer and football for kids and young adults.
Additionally, playfighting is a great way for puppies to learn how to socialize. They need to learn when another dog wants to play and when he wants to be left alone. Dogs also have to learn to stop play fighting from becoming real fighting. My dogs have sometimes turned a play fight into a real fight when one of them was having a bad day, and I had to quickly intervene.
Dogs also need to learn the limits of play fighting with humans which is quite different. Our skin is not as thick, and bites can penetrate. Also, our dogs may be a lot stronger than they realize and can hurt us. See this helpful article about roughhousing with dogs from smartanimaltraining.com about a 70-year woman who was terrified when her son’s large dog wanted to “play” with her. Be sure to also scroll down for the video about how to safely play with your dog.
Your dog can learn to safely play with you when you are on the floor. But make it on your terms, and be sure your dog understands the limits.
In summary, enjoy the cuteness of your dog if she gets excited to find you on the floor. Just make sure you protect yourself from being pounced on, licked, or wrestled with by an overzealous dog!