Your dog has its own high-end bed and is allowed to snooze on your stylish sofa and memory foam mattress. However, out of all those special places, your dog’s favorite sitting position involves you. Yes, most dogs love sitting on their owners.
So, why does my dog sit on me? Well, there are several possible reasons why your dog loves sitting on you. Some dogs have breed predispositions towards the behavior, while others are doing it just for fun. Plus, some dogs may decide to sit on your lap in an attempt to seek attention, while others do it to leave their scent all over you.
The dog’s preferred sitting position can say a lot about its character. As a responsible dog parent, it is your responsibility to understand what your dog’s trying to tell you by sitting in your lap.
WHY DOES MY DOG SIT ON ME?
As mentioned, there are several reasons why your dog’s favorite place in the world might be your lap or chest. These are the top most common reasons.
When someone says lap breeds, the first dogs that come to mind are Chihuahuas, Maltese dogs, Shih Tzus, and Yorkshire terriers – basically any tiny dog likely that fits in the comfort of your lap.
However, certain large and giant dogs like to think of themselves as lap dogs too. For example, English Mastiffs and Great Danes love spending time in their owners’ laps.
Lapdog breeds enjoy sitting on you because they feel loved and secure when in your proximity. This behavior can be constantly present or emphasized when they feel threatened by another dog or child.
If your dog comes and sits on you while holding a toy or innocently showing you its belly, it means it seeks your attention and simply asking to spend more quality time with you.
As pack animals, dogs are very social – they need frequent affectionate displays and are willing to show their love for us too frequently. Considering they cannot verbally say “I need more attention,” they decide to give you some subtle hints.
Sometimes, instead of toy bringing or belly showing, your dog may decide to whine when it sits on you. In such cases, all you need to do is get up and engage in some interactive game or simply cuddle with your dog.
To your dog, you are the primary source of food, water, and affection. Therefore, it is your dog’s job to know your every move.
While some dogs sit on their owners to seek security, others do the same to offer their protection. Once again, this might be due to the dog’s pack ancestry. Dogs know they are strongest and safest when together.
When a dog wants to mark a fire hydrant as its property, it pees on it, and when it wants to mark a person as its own, it sits on it and spreads its scent. This is not a form of exerting dominance over you. It is your dog’s way of telling other people, dogs, and pets that you are taken.
Dogs that love sitting on their owners to scent mark them are more likely to do so when there are other pets or children present and in cases when the owners smell like other animals.
If your dog thinks you are spending too much time separated and not enough time cuddling, chances are it will sit on your lap and try to initiate some high-quality cuddle time.
Physical contact is particularly important for dogs. It has a soothing effect and keeps them emotionally fulfilled.
This is the only bad reason why your dog might be sitting on you. If your dog sits on you and starts acting up – growling, snarling, barking, or showing teeth, it means it is trying to assert its dominance over you or other pets in the surrounding area.
This is considered a serious behavioral issue and warrants quick and efficient management. If your dog follows this behavior pattern, lift it off of you. It would be best never to give your dog treats to distract it, as this will only encourage the behavior. If you think the situation is getting out of control, do not hesitate to ask for professional help.
ENCOURAGING YOUR DOG SITTING ON YOU
If you enjoy spending quality time with your pup sitting on top of you, there are many ways to train the sitting behavior. However, dog trainers and behaviorists warn there is one caveat – your dog must understand that the siting should occur under your terms and only when you allow it.
To do this, if you are not ready for your dog sitting on you and it jumps anyway, you should simply get up and walk away. There is no need to talk or push your dog. Just stand up and do something completely unrelated to your dog. If your dog follows you around trying to initiate interaction, you should ignore it and keep doing what you started.
Once your dog learns it should not try to sit on you without your permission, you can start inviting it to jump on you. You can say the words “lap” or “chest,” If your dog obeys, reward it with a nice treat or praise.
Allow your dog to spend some time on you and then say “off.” Knowing when the invitation ends is just as important as knowing when it starts. If your dog gets off of you once again, it deserves a reward.
Training your dog to sit on you and leave on your command can be time-consuming and challenging at times. However, like any other training, it requires consistency and patience.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN YOUR DOG SITS ON YOU
If your beloved pooch seems to sit on you exclusively to assert its dominance over you or other household pets, you should be more observant and closely follow the situation.
If it turns out to be an accidental occurrence or an isolated case, there is nothing to be worried about. However, suppose you notice other red flags like snapping or growling at you while sitting on top of you, humping you, or trying to lead while walking. In that case, you might need to invest some time and money into adequate training and behavior modification for your dog.
Your dog needs to understand who is in charge and the pack leader. Imposing yourself as a pack leader can be challenging, especially if you are a first-time dog parent or owning a stubborn and dominant dog.
It is essential to be consistent and never fall for your dog’s begging. Whatever it does, you must not let it sit on you unless that is what you want, and you were the one who gave the clearance.
Then if your dog refuses to move away from you, do what we already explained – stand up, walk away, and ignore your dog for some time.
All in all, we can assume there are many reasons why your dog might decide to sit on you. Some reasons are cute, and some are rather cunning. However, they all come from love.
Understanding your dog’s love for you is easy when you have a 3-pound Chihuahua sitting in your lap, but it is more challenging when dealing with a 120-pound Great Dane trying to squeeze its butt into your lap.
Wanting to sit on you is not considered a behavioral issue in dogs. However, if you want your dog to spend more time in its bed instead of in your lap, you should start teaching boundaries from an early age.
Why does my dog want to sit on me all the time?
As pack animals, dogs crave companionship. If your dog wants to sit on you, it is because it sees you as a loving pack member and wants to be close to you as much as possible.
Is dog sitting on you a sign of dominance?
Some dogs feel more powerful when sitting in the laps of their protective and beloved owners. If your dog sits on your lap and then starts acting snappy and snarky to other dogs or pets in your house, it means it is trying to show its dominance over them.
What does it mean when a dog takes your spot when you get up?
If your dog rushes to take your spot as soon as you get up, there are two possible options – your dog loves you immensely, or it prefers that particular spot. In both cases, more often than not, the dog will get up without showing signs of discontent as soon as you come back and try to sit down.
Why does my dog sit on my chest?
Your dog might be sitting on your chest for the same reasons it is sitting in your lap. Sometimes it can be something as innocent as sharing cuddles or offering protection, and other times something as cunning as asserting its dominance or marking you as its property.
Why does my dog sit on me with its back to me?
If your dog is willing to turn its back to you, it means it completely trusts you. In the animal kingdom, turning the back is considered a vulnerable position. Therefore, if your dog sits in your lap with its back turned, it is positive you are a true friend and will never do anything harmful.