Dogs do many strange things, one of which is sitting on their owners. If your pup spends more time in your lap than anywhere else, you must wonder why does my dog sit on me?
Dogs love to sit on their owners for several reasons. Sitting on your lap can be your dog’s way of showing how much it loves you. A dog may also sit on you to assert dominance, spread its scent, initiate playtime, comfort you, or stop you from getting up.
These are some of the most common reasons why dogs sit on their owners. Read on to find out why your dog likes to sit on you and how to stop this behavior.
Reasons Why Your Dog Sits on You
When trying to understand why dogs like to sit on their owners, it’s important to remember that dogs are social animals that enjoy physical contact. Dogs use touch to express affection as well as to strengthen social bonds.
Here are the most common reasons why dogs love to sit on their owners:
To Show Affection
Dogs sit on their owners to show affection. People-oriented and affectionate dog breeds may choose to sit on their owners to form a deeper bond. Some dogs love to spend time with their owners so much that they’ll do anything to stay close, including sitting on their owners.
To Spread Its Scent
Dogs communicate with other dogs using scent markings. Dogs mostly use scent markings to claim or mark another dog’s territory.
When your dog sits or rubs on you, it transfers its scent to you, who it considers its territory. This type of behavior usually happens when other dogs are present. In these situations, your dog will sit in your lap to spread its scent all over you.
To Assert Dominance
A dog may sit in its owner’s lap to show other dogs or members of the family that its in charge. In this case, your dog may consider your lap a perch that serves as a position of power.
Dominance-related lap-sitting usually happens around new people or unfamiliar dogs. Some dogs may even act aggressively toward anyone who comes close while they are sitting in their owners’ lap. Do not encourage this type of behavior and seek professional help if necessary.
Some breeds like Chihuahuas, Maltese, and Bichon Frise are selectively bred as lap dogs. These breeds love to show affection and snuggle with their owners.
Sitting in a lap gives these dogs added height and helps them feel more secure, especially if there are any dogs or new people who make them feel intimidated.
Sitting in a lap isn’t only reserved for small dogs, though. Large dog breeds, like Great Danes and English mastiffs, are known to sit in their owners’ laps, regardless of their giant size.
To Initiate Playtime
Initiating playtime is another reason why dogs sit on their owners. If you are sitting on the floor, your pup may sit in your lap as a way to coax you into playing a game of chase or hide and seek.
Dogs who want to play will also whine, nuzzle or lick your hand to entice you to get up and play with them.
To Comfort You
Dogs know how to read human moods and emotions. If you’re feeling blue, your dog might crawl into your lap to offer you comfort and support. Cuddling and spending quality time with your dog will help you feel better and strengthen the bond you have with your pup.
To Feel Safe
It’s not uncommon for smaller dogs and puppies to climb in their owners’ laps when they feel scared or worried. In this situation, your dog is confident that you’ll protect it from whatever its afraid of.
This behavior is acceptable as long as your dog uses your lap to build up confidence instead of spiraling into fear aggression.
Should You Let Dogs Sit on You?
It’s perfectly normal for dogs to sit on their owners. As long as your dog doesn’t show any signs of aggressive behavior, you have nothing to worry about. Take the fact that your dog is sitting on you as a compliment and encourage this behavior.
How To Prevent Your Dog from Sitting on You
There’s no need to discourage your dog from sitting on you if you don’t mind this behavior. However, if you don’t like it or have a large dog you don’t want to sit on you, you’ll need to stop your dog from sitting on you.
You should prevent your dog from sitting on you if it’s using the sitting position to take part in aggressive behavior towards other dogs or people.
The easiest way to prevent your dog from sitting on you is to stand up whenever it tries to sit in your lap. Do not try to push your dog off, as it can interpret that gesture as an invitation to play, which will only encourage it to keep trying to sit in your lap.
To avoid this scenario, it’s better to stand up and keep on standing until your dog learns that your lap is off-limits.
Another thing your can do is train your dog to sit in your lap on command. This way, you can decide when and for how long your dog can sit in your lap.
Start training your dog by using the command “up” or “lap” and bring it up into your lap. Use treats, praise, and other forms of positive reinforcement to reward your dog.
Suppose your dog has a bad habit of sitting on you and acting aggressively towards other dogs or people. In that case, you might need to work with a professional trainer or a behavioral specialist.
Dogs use a variety of different behaviors to communicate with their owners. Sitting on you or in your lap is just one method of communication.
Sitting on you might be your dog’s way of saying that it feels safe in your company and loves you. This behavior doesn’t pose a problem as long as your dog isn’t aggressive towards other people and animals, and you don’t mind having a dog in your lap.