Why Do Dogs Sit On You?

If you are a dog parent with a particularly clingy pooch then you have probably at some point been used as a chair by your fur baby. Whether you find it absolutely adorable or you prefer your personal space, it is one of those things that you sort of sign up for when you get a dog.

There are many reasons why your dog may sit on you, from heartwarming ones like affection to worrisome reasons like fear. While most dog owners may not mind serving as furniture for their doggies, it is undeniable that it is always best to set some boundaries with your dog. A practical method to do this is to walk away whenever your dog tries to sit on you.

In the sections below, we shall take a look not only at why your dog sits on you but also at how to teach them to respect your personal space. That way, they donโ€™t end up embarrassing you by invading the personal space of your guests and random strangers outdoors.

Why Does My Dog Sit On Me?

Image from 1-800-PetMeds

The most common reason why dogs sit on their human companions is to show affection. This is a strong display of their love and trust for you, especially if they end up taking a nap in that position.

However, this is not the only reason why our doggy may choose to use you as a chair. Here are a few more common reasons why dogs sit on their human pals.

For Warmth

To your dog, you are a natural heater that they can use to warm up on those chilly nights or rainy days. Your dog may therefore choose to sit on you simply as a way to steal a bit of your heat.

This is especially common with small dogs or dog breeds not naturally built for cold weather.

For Comfort

You are more comfortable in your dogโ€™s point of view than you may realize. As such, your pooch will likely choose to sit on your soft lap, as opposed to laying down on the hard or cold floor all by themselves.

In these cases, your dog will snuggle up to you and twist themselves into whatever position it takes to make the most of the cozy real estate that is your body.

To Protect You Or Themselves

Dogs are typically very protective of their human families. One way they choose to offer security is by literally coming between you and whatever they perceive as threats to your well-being. This includes things like sitting on you.

On the flip side, your dog may sit on you as a way to seek security when they feel threatened. Here, the dog most likely views you as the alpha of their small pack and its protector.

If your dog is sitting you as a way to seek security, you may notice other signs of distress like shaking and increased vocalization.

Out Of Instinct

When your pooch was a young puppy, it probably spent a lot of time sitting on or cuddling with its litter-mates as well as its mother.

This lack of physical boundaries develops into an instinct for the dog, especially when they view you like family.

For Your Attention

Finally, your dog may just be sitting on you as a way to get your attention. For this particular reason, the dog might also do other things to get you to engage them, from love bites to barking and staring at you.

What Does It Mean When My Dog Sits On Me?

Image from Bissell

If your dog is comfortable enough to sit on you, it could mean a number of things, including the fact that they trust you. Here is a bit more on how dogs show their trust by sitting on their humans as well as other messages they may be passing with this action.

Trust

While dogs are generally very trusting, it takes a bit of effort to get your dog fully comfortable and feel safe enough to be physically vulnerable around you.

It is, therefore, a great honor if your dog feels that they can trust you enough to sit on you. This means that they know you will keep them safe and adequately supported whether they are settling into a chill or for a nap.

Love

Another possible message your dog may be trying to pass to you when they sit on you is that they love you. They just want to spend time around you, even if that means violating your personal space completely.

Boredom

Being a dog parent is a very active experience as dogs require a lot of engagement to stay happy and healthy. Sitting on you is likely your dogโ€™s way of letting you know that they are bored and that it is time to go play or to go outside.

Is It OK To Let My Dog Sit On Me?

The answer here is both yes and no. There are a few good reasons why it is ok to let your dog enjoy using you as a seat, including the opportunity to bond.

However, there are also a few pretty fair reasons why it may not always be a good idea.

Letโ€™s take a quick look at both arguments so that you have a better idea of what you are getting into or missing out on with whatever decision you make.

To Sit

Perhaps the biggest perk of allowing your dog to sit on you is that it allows you and your pooch to bond. Studies have actually shown that physical contact between you and your dog will increase the levels of a hormone called oxytocin in both of you.

This hormone intensifies the bond for a stronger pet and pet parent relationship.

Another great reason to let your dog sit on you is that it is reassuring whether they seek comfort or security. This is especially important for dogs that are in a new home and need as much reassurance as they can get to facilitate their settling in.

Image from Bissell

Or Not To Sit

On the flip side, letting your dog comes with a few negative consequences as well.

The most important of these is the fact that it teaches your dog to disregard personal boundaries.

And while you may not mind having your doggy jump onto your lap or sit on you as you sleep, your guests and other strangers that your dog will interact with may not appreciate the ambush.

Furthermore, allowing your dog to sit on you may compromise your health, especially if you are sensitive to pet dander and saliva.

This compromise could also come in the form of infections from bacterial infections caused by contact with the dogโ€™s dirty coat to pest infestations if your dog is carrying ticks, fleas, or mites.

How Can I Stop My Dog From Sitting On Me?

If you want your dog to stop sitting on you, you have to be firm and consistent when it comes to setting boundaries. Find ways to let them know that you love them, and you will also protect them while also protecting your personal space.

To help you out, here are three ways you can stop your dog from sitting on you.

Stand Up And Walk Away When They Sit On You

Dogs are very sensitive to body language. You can use this to your advantage when trying to establish personal boundaries if your dog loves sitting on you. Just make sure to stand up and move when they sit on you.

You could either walk away fully or simply scooch on over to a different position on the couch or bed.

With time, your dog will get the hint that you donโ€™t like them sitting on you, as every time they do so, you move away. Just make sure to be consistent with this.

Image from 1-800-PetMeds

Make Yourself An Uncomfortable Chair

You could also discourage your dog from sitting on you by making yourself an uncomfortable option. This could be done in a number of ways, including sitting in positions that leave no room for your pooch to sit on you.

You could also try wearing fabrics or even scents that your dog does not particularly like to discourage them from getting too close.

Give The Dog A More Comfortable Alternative

Finally, make sure that your dog has a comfortable spot to use as an alternative to sit when they need to relax.

While your dog sitting on you typically means that it is trying to show you affection, the other reasons like seeking warmth, comfort, and security can all be addressed by a comfy dog bed.

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Pete Decker