There are very few things in life that can bring as much joy as your favorite furry four-legged companion manages to bring to our everyday lives. You would be hard-pressed to find another being with the unwavering love and loyalty that your pooch has for you.
It is not all belly rubs and scooby snacks, however, there are also certain peculiar behaviors, with one of those being his habit of sitting on you. There could be endless possibilities and places for him to park his rump, yet he still chooses to sit right in your lap. In addition to mentally planning his doggy diet, it might leave you wondering, why does my dog sit on me?
The mind of a dog is not that different from our own and their personalities vary just as considerably as well. Many dogs like to sit on people, usually their special humans, but the reason for the behavior is not always the same for each pooch.
When your dog sits on you, it could be that he is attempting to spread his scent, he is in need of something, or just wants a little attention. Other reasons could be that it makes him feel safer to be by your side and your unique scent makes him comfortable.
Digging in and getting our paws dirty will help to understand the many different explanations for Fido’s choice of booty rest. The following are the most common reasons your dog likes to sit on you (or people in general).
Why Does My Dog Sit On Me?
14. Anal Gland Situation
We are going to go ahead and get this one out of the way. Anal glands. It is gross but unfortunately dealing with them comes along with having a dog. Dogs have small grape-sized sacs on either side of their rectum. These sacs contain a fluid that dogs use to mark their territories and identify each other.
In digestively healthy dogs, the glands are naturally expressed during bowel movements, however, if they do not get emptied completely they can cause discomfort and possibly even lead to an infection. If your dogs’ anal glands are bothering him, it could be the reason he is sitting on you. Take him to the veterinarian or bravely do an anal gland expression at home.
13. He Is Being Protective
While you might be the leader of the house, Fido considers himself to be the protector. By sitting on you, he is putting himself in the line of fire so to speak and in the perfect position to protect you, his family, and his household should the need arise.
In this case, you have to regain some of the control in the relationship and let it be known that while he is a good boy for protecting his people and territory, you will be the one to let him know when and if it is needed. If he starts believing himself to be in charge, it could lead to other behavioral issues.
12. He Wants Something
Great Dane or Chihuahua, all dogs think that they are adorably cute lap dogs. If he is putting his bottom on you or in your lap, he probably thinks he’s being super cute and by being cute, he believes he will have a greater chance of getting whatever it is that he wants.
11. You’re A Comfortable Seat
Sometimes dogs are weird and sometimes they think that you appear to be more comfortable than any of their alternatives. He might like the warmth that your lap provides or his being intoxicated by your canine enticing scent, regardless, Fido has apparently decided that your lap is the newest thing in comfort.
10. He Misses You
Have you been working longer hours than usual? Have you recently been away on a trip? Even if you haven’t been gone for what you would consider an extended period of time, your dog might not see it the same way. He misses you when you go check the mail. If he has been sitting on you as of late, he could be expressing just how much he loves and misses you.
09. Staking His Claim
As far as Fido is concerned, you are his human, and that is that. By placing his bottom on you or in your lap, he is announcing his ownership over you and leaving his scent behind, effectively marking ‘his territory’ at the same time. This possessiveness can end up causing aggression in the future.
08. Injured Or In Pain
When your pet is in pain or injured, his first instinct is to find you so that you can fix it. By sitting on you, it could mean that he is trying to draw your attention to something or is seeking your help. There are usually, but not always, other signs and symptoms of injury or pain, such as whimpering, salivating, and tenderness. Do a once over and if you have any concerns contact your veterinarian.
07. He Is Feeling Unwell
If your boy is feeling a bit under the weather, it might make him feel a little bit better by sitting in your lap. It is just his way of feeling closer to you when he is needing you the most. This would probably be one of the few instances where you can let the behavior slide.
06. He Needs To Go Potty
When your dog really has to ‘go’, he can’t exactly verbalize his need to you. Many times they will sit by the door or even sit on you to let you know that it is, in fact, potty time. This behavior is typically accompanied by excited barking and/or yelping and general hyperactivity. Teaching your pooch an alternative way of alerting you of their ‘need’ will usually correct this particular acting out.
If your precious pup feels that he is not getting enough of his deserved attention and affection, he might use sitting on you as a reminder to this fact. You might be tempted to lavish him with hugs and kisses, but you must resist! (Ok, that may have been a bit dramatic but I digress) The way to combat this is by putting him in ‘doggy time out’. No attention, no eye contact, nothing, for about 10-15 minutes. You do not want to reinforce attention-seeking behaviors.
Jealousy can play a massive role in certain pet behaviors, this one in particular. If you have brought any kind of competition into the household lately then that could be why Fido has been sitting on you. This perceived competition could be another pet, a new human friend, or even a new gadget that he feels is taking your time away from him.
03. Fear And/Or Nervousness
Much like when he seeks you out when he is unwell or injured, he is also likely to do so when he is scared or nervous. You are the one who provides him comfort, love, shelter, and food, and you also protect him just as much as he does you. Correcting the situation is the key here, find out what caused the reaction and go from there. Sitting on you, in this case, can get a pass, after all everybody needs a safe space!
02. The Most Coveted Spot In The House
As the leader of the household, you are considered the ‘alpha’ and your lap is acknowledged as the most coveted spot in the house. If he is sitting in your lap, or on your leg/arm/head, then he is essentially sharing the throne. This is going to be even more common in a multi-pet house, as he has to compete with others that are also vying for the ‘alphas’ attention.
01. You Radiate Their Favorite Scent
A dog has one of the most powerful noses in the animal kingdom and where we identify each other by name, canines typically know you by your individual scent. With the exception of maybe steak, your is the scent that he cherishes the most and by sitting on you he is not only spreading his scent, but he is also taking yours in as well.
Should You Allow This Behavior?
Now a furry butt in your lap every now and then may not seem like such a big deal, that is unless that furry bottom is attached to a 150 pound Saint Bernard! Or if you happen to have company over to your home, that is allergic, scared, or just has a general interest in dogs, one that tends to enjoy sitting on people, might make for an awkward encounter. While you might not mind him sitting on you, it is in everyone’s best interest to curb the behavior.
How To Train Your Dog Not To Sit On You
Luckily, breaking the habit is not as hard as you would think. Typically it just takes some time and a lot of patience. Using positive reinforcement, that is conditioning the dog to not sit on you (or others) by praising and encouraging him when he successfully restrains from doing so. Also, consistently telling him no, in a firm, even tone, if he does happen to try to sit on you or someone else.
Until we build a machine that can effectively tell us what our beloved pets are trying to convey (why hasn’t this happened already???!!!), we are left to try to decipher their sometimes odd actions and complex body language. The bottom line is, only you know your dog, and they truly are furry little individuals, more so than we tend to give them credit for.
Literally no two are exactly alike with the same reasonings for their madness. It should be approached and assessed on a case by case basis, do what is actually going to work for you. And, if none of our advice helps, you could always show him how it feels by sitting in his lap. Ya know, as long as he isn’t a chihuahua (this is a joke, use your good judgment)! Cheers and good luck, it’s likely to be a ruff ride.