Do you have a dog who also sees you as a chair? You probably love the extra love and affection, but you might ask yourself: ‘why does my dog sit on me’ every now and then. Well, it’s less to do with your personality being close to one of an inanimate object, and more to do with reasons you like to hear. Ha ha, sorry for the harsh dig.
In this article, we’ll be going into all of the reasons we can think of as to why your dog sits on you, why your dog might sit on your chest, or on your head, and whether you should let your dog do it. If you have any concerns about your dog’s sitting preferences, we’ll also go through those. Spoiler alert, most likely, you don’t need to worry.
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Why does my dog sit on me?
Dogs sit on us to be close to us, to show affection, for security and warmth, and occasionally to protect or guard us. Your puppy’s body language will tell you your puppy’s reasons for sitting on you.
Here are some reasons why your dog might sit on you:
1. Dogs sit on us to show affection
Whether you have a small breed like a Pug or Chihuahua or a larger breed like a Labrador, given the chance, they will sit on you!
Here’s the thing: we can’t blame dogs for wanting to be close to us. We basically designed them to be this affectionate. It’s actually a trait we have specifically bred for in-companion and toy breeds.
2. Sitting on you for security
Some dogs like human touch to feel safe, so they’ll often sit on us to know we’re nearby and relish the comfort and protection you provide them with. This is something that often happens when a puppy is in a fear period, where they tend to get a bit more clingy.
Sitting on you doesn’t immediately scream separation anxiety though, don’t worry!
3. Sitting on you for warmth
You keep them warm, and in turn, they’ll keep you warm. It’s a fair exchange of body heat that nobody will complain about. Sitting on you and under a blanket? Oh, that’s the dream.
4. Resource guarding and sitting on humans
This can occasionally be why some dogs sit on you. They feel worried that other dogs (or even people!) might try and steal you away from them. This means they might act aggressively if another dog comes near when they’re sitting on you. Dogs don’t only resource guard chews, treats or toys. They can resource guard humans too.
Read our full guide to resource guarding to learn more.
5. Sitting on you to play
Some dogs will jump up, lay, or sit on you during a play session. Nothing to worry about, it’s all part of the usual bonding process.
6. Comfort for thunderstorms and fireworks
For some dogs, seeking additional comfort and support when it’s firework season or there is a thunderstorm is normal. This can be one reason your dog sits on you at certain times but not always.
For more information on how your puppy might deal with scary fireworks, read our full guide to how to help a dog scared of fireworks!
Why does my dog lay on my chest?
This is a cute one. Dogs lay on your chest to hear your heartbeat, to be closer to you, because it’s comfortable, to be close to your face for kisses and for security. Let’s take a deeper look:
To hear your heartbeat
If you have a small puppy who’s been used to sleeping next to their littermates and mother, then listening to a heartbeat is extremely comforting for them. This can be one reason why dogs like to lay on our chests. Even humans like it.
To be closer to you
Dogs are affectionate and like being close to us. Being on our chest is about as close to us as they can get, wouldn’t you agree?
Your chest is comfortable
Whether you have an ample bosom (ooerr) or you’re just lying on the couch with a nice flat surface, your chest is the best place for your dog to sleep.
To be nearer your face
If you have a dog who likes to lick your face or give you kisses, then lying on your chest is the perfect position for you to be in. Who doesn’t love a coat of slobby puppy love?!
Why does my dog lay on my head?
This is only possible if you’re laying down somewhere, or you’re pulling an unlikely balancing act; but essentially, dogs lie on your head to be as close to you as possible. It might help them get a better view, simply be more comfortable, useful for getting attention and be affectionate.
They want to be really close to you
Ok. Although we said laying on your chest was probably as close as your dog can get, they can go one further and lay on your head.
To get a better look at things
If your dog tries to lay on your head on the sofa or couch, they might just be trying to get a better view.
On your head is a comfortable place to lie
This is particularly true at bedtime. Laying on your head and pillow will be a comfortable place for your dog to lie on. They might seek it out!
To get attention
I don’t know about you, but if my dog were to lay on my head, it would certainly get my attention. Dogs do what works, and if the goal is to get your attention then chances are lying on your head will be hard to ignore.
To be affectionate
Dogs are often our little cuddle monsters, aren’t they? Lying on your head is just their way of showing us how much they love us.
Should I let my dog sit on me?
We don’t have a problem with dogs sitting or laying on us, but we do have a few rules for it. If you don’t want your dog lying or sitting on you, then try these tips:
1. Teach them to lay somewhere else
This should be an easy one to teach. Simply train them to settle on a mat or bed next to you instead of sitting on you.
2. Use plenty of treats
Dogs learn best with rewards and treats, so give them plenty of rewards for laying in the right place, and not on you. You’ll see how quickly they learn.
3. Use a blanket to mark out a lying zone
If you don’t mind your dog laying on you on the sofa but want your sofa to stay clean, simply teach them that when the blanket is there it’s their invitation to grab a seat.
4. Sit in a chair so they can’t sit on you
If you’re not lying on the sofa, then they can’t get on top of you to lay on your chest or head. Try sitting in an armchair for a few days and let them lay close by.
5. Watch their body language for anything unusual or worrying
If your dog is showing body language indicating they’re anxious or resource guarding, then it’s a good idea to call the behaviourist for advice.
Should I be worried that my dog is sitting on me?
It’s unlikely that your dog sitting on you is anything to worry about. They are probably just wanting to be affectionate. However, like other sudden changes of behaviour, speak to your Vet if it comes out of nowhere. Some keep a diary of any changes to detect any patterns.
There you go. We hope that’s helped you with the funny question of why does my dog sit on me. Now you know it doesn’t necessarily mean they have separation anxiety, which we know can be a worry for a lot of people. Mostly, it’s a dog’s way of saying they love you and want to be close to you. In some cases it can be a way of your dog guarding you.
Read our full guide to puppy separation anxiety if you think your dog has a problem being away from you, or how about learning why dogs sit on your feet.
Right. So all you have to do now is download the Zigzag app today and get cracking with training your four-legged friend. We have heaps of content, a personalised training programme for you, and access to a team of professional dog trainers to hold your hand on the journey – or not if hand-holding isn’t your thing, they’re there when you need them anyways!