Why Does My Dog Sit On Me? Pet Behavior Explained

Why Does My Dog Sit On Me? Pet Behavior Explained - June 2024 - Two Tails Pet Company

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Dogs sit on their owners for various reasons. Some dogs show affection this way. Others do it for protection or to mark their territory. Dogs can become fond of sitting on you if you reinforce the behavior during playtime. Smaller dog breeds are more likely to sit on you as you cuddle and pet them, but larger dogs love extra affection, too. Here's a look at our answers to the question: why does my dog sit on me?

Showing Love and Affection

Small dog breeds like Teacup Yorkie, Pug, Chihuahua, Shih Tzus, and Maltese will sit on you whenever possible. These dogs are bred to be loving companions closely bonded to their owners. Larger dogs like Labrador, Irish Setters, Mastiffs, and Golden Retrievers are also affectionate breeds that will try to sit on you. Even Great Danes love to cuddle.

Another popular question we get is why does my dog sit on my feet? Larger dogs may sit on your feet because it's more practical or because you discourage them from sitting their full weight on you. Sometimes, the dog loves the tile's cool texture or the carpet's comforting feel but still yearns for physical contact. The contact is comforting and allows the pet to feel safe.

Seeking Safety and Protection

Dogs may sit on you because they feel protected. The contact reminds them of your presence, allowing the dog to relax. Many dog breeds experience separation anxiety and feel more comfortable when you're home. Dogs with separation anxiety want you around them all the time.  They may try to prevent you from leaving by barking, whimpering, resorting to destructive behavior, or sitting on you.

If your dog displays anxiety signs like excessive panting and drooling, you can involve an experienced trainer. The trainer can help your dog stay calm while you're away. Puppies are more likely to sit on you during their fear period. Big dogs will also trust you more than anything, especially if you've had them since they were pups. They know you'll protect them and recall how you've comforted them.

Displaying a Learned Behavior

Your dogs will naturally pick up traits and behaviors you encourage. If you pet your dog and snuggle with them when they sit on you, they'll take it as positive reinforcement for the behavior. Dogs treat positive reinforcement as a reward for the behavior and become comfortable repeating it. Positive reinforcement is a vital pup training tool experts use to cultivate good behavior.

Your dog may also sit on you when it wants to initiate play. These attempts are probably learned over time, so your dog anticipates playtime or cuddling when they jump up and sit on your chest. The dog might attempt to sit on you when you're on the ground or floor, seeing it as an invitation to play. You can tell it's a learned behavior if your dog tries to sit on you during the same event or when you take a specific posture.

Other Reasons Your Dog Sits On You

Dogs may try to sit on you for other reasons, including resource guarding, territory marking, and comfort during thunderstorms and fireworks. Resource guarding occurs when dogs protect toys, food, or space in the presence of other pets. The dog may also guard their owners. Territory marking happens when the dog sits and rubs on you to spread its scent. The dog may also sit on you to show dominance over other animals, jumping on your lap whenever other pets come near. 

Below are more answers for why dogs sit on their owners:

  • Puppies fond of sleeping next to their littermates and mothers may sit on your chest to hear your heartbeat
  • Your chest is a perfect spot for dogs that like to lick your face
  • Some dogs like to be as close to their owner as possible
  • Your dog may sit on you to escape boredom or when you're in his favorite spot

Final Verdict

Dogs can sit on their owners for many reasons, from showing affection to seeking protection, initiating play, and resource guarding. You can use this time to play, cuddle, and strengthen your bonds. Make sure you involve an experienced trainer if your dog displays signs of fear, aggression, or concerning anxiety. Otherwise, we encourage healthy contact between pets and their owners.

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