Why Do Dogs Sit In High Places? (9 Causes and 7 Solutions)

Aside from being loving companions, dogs can also be a great source of entertainment! From playing fetch in the park to learning new tricks, dogs love being able to have fun with their humans.

And not only do they provide hours of fun and entertainment but they also stimulate our minds by challenging us to think creatively about how best to interact with them. Even better, dogs are excellent for our social lives too.

Interacting with your best friend regularly can help build strong social bonds between family members and the other dog people you meet when you bring your good girl out to play in the park.

With all these wonderful benefits comes some serious responsibilities for us pet owners. Like knowing if our dog’s strangeness should cause us concern or if it’s just part of their personality!

It’s important to understand what your dog might be telling you with her subtle behaviors so you know when something isn’t quite right or could even be symptomatic of an underlying medical issue.

So, what about when your dog keeps climbing up to a high perch? Why do dogs sit in high places?

The quick and easy answer is that dogs sit in high places for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Curiosity
  • To see outside
  • To escape something
  • Training
  • For safety
  • Very unlikely to be for dominance
  • To try to reach something
  • The spot happens to be excellent
  • Instincts

Why Does My Dog Like To Sit In High Places?

As you can see, there are many reasons why your dog might be trying to get to a higher spot to sit. I’ll take a closer look at each of these top reasons. Hopefully one or more resonates with you so you can work on trying to remedy the issue (covered below!).

She’s Curious

Your pup is naturally inquisitive and loves to see what’s going on. One reason why your pup could be sitting in high places is because of her curiosity. She wants a better view of what’s going on around her, either to understand or to be a vicarious part of the action.

She Wants To See Outside

Dogs have a great sense of hearing, able to pick up slight sounds humans can’t detect at all! If you knew your good girl heard something interesting out in the yard (or someplace else she can only see by getting up high) and decided to take a peek from a higher vantage point would it still be odd?

Probably not, though it might be annoying if she keeps knocking things off the window sill as she climbs up it!

To Get Away From Something

Sometimes your pup needs to get away from something that’s bothering her before she does something bad, like nip or bark. If you have small kids running around, or another dog that she doesn’t like too much, she may just have had enough and get up somewhere higher for some peace.

For example, my own dog Duke didn’t want anything to do with my kids when they were very young. In fact, he’d do almost anything he could to try to stay away from them.

You (Accidentally) Taught Her To

You may not even be aware of it but if you’re constantly giving your pooch ear scratches or head pats when she jumps up on her favorite higher spot then she (quickly!) learned that this behavior got her the best outcome result!

If your dog is being rewarded for a behavior, you can bet she’ll keep doing it!


For little dogs especially, being up in the highest place possible might make them feel more secure. With large dogs and kids running around, sitting on the floor might not always feel safe for them – so jumping onto a chair and climbing up its back might give them some reassurance that they won’t get squished.

(Probably Not!) Dominance Over You

It’s very unlikely that your pup is trying to dominate you by sitting in a high place…or at all! Dogs are savvy creatures and know who controls the food bowl… you do! So there’s no need for any power play here!

Trying To Reach Something Else

Is it maybe possible that your pup is trying to reach something else? A half-eaten burger or a drumstick would sure make a yummy treat!

Would something tasty that was left behind be within reach if she stands on her tippy toes? What if she climbed up on a dining room chair?

Going after what she wants is second nature to your dog. Dogs are natural scavengers after all.

It’s Where She Likes To Be

It’s quite possible your dog simply likes being up there – it’s comfortable for her and familiar too. Maybe she was allowed onto the furniture as a puppy and she chose that spot on the armrest of the couch where she could lay her head on your chest while you watch TV together – now it has just become part of her routine to jump up there every time. Especially if she thinks there will be cuddles involved!


It can be easy for pet parents to forget…after all, is your cute little doggie really related to big bad wolves?

But, in the wild canines having an elevated view means that dogs have a better sense of what is going on around them! Whether it be prey coming into sight or potential predators lurking in bushes…it pays off for wild canines to have a high spot to view what’s going on around them.

Of course, your sweet dog doesn’t face those issues, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the instincts ingrained in her.

Is It Okay For My Dog To Sit Up High?

Your furry friend may have her own reasons for wanting to enjoy the view from a higher spot, but at the end of the day, it is ultimately up to you as to whether this behavior is acceptable or not.

Personally, I don’t let my dogs on the furniture, so if that’s where my dogs went to sit up high, I’d work on changing their behavior.

You might be more tolerant than me, but in case you’re on the fence, here are some things to consider.

Does Your Dog Choose An Acceptable Place?

This might depend on the height and size of your dog of course. For example, there’s a big difference between a tiny toy and a golden retriever climbing up on the back of your couch!

Does She Damage Things?

Another factor worth considering is whether she is damaging things as she climbs up – specifically, does she scratch the furniture or any other items around your home? If there are any signs of damage when your pooch gets up and down then you’ll want to take steps to stop any future destruction!

How To Stop Your Dog From Sitting Up High?

If you’ve decided your dog shouldn’t be sitting high up on whatever perch she’s chosen, there are plenty of ways to change her behavior. Figure out your dog’s motivation and then use one or all of these methods to start encouraging your dog to sit somewhere more down to earth.

If There Is A Problem, Address It.

Before you jump to training your good girl to not sit up high, it’s important that first you identify any underlying issue. Perhaps your pup is trying to avoid being roughhoused by playful kids or she’s sitting up high as a symptom of something else.

Identifying and addressing this problem will help your good girl live a happier life and should lead to her staying off the furniture as well!

Basic Commands

For more reasons than sitting up high, it is important to ensure that your dog has learned basic commands like ‘off’. This command can be used to train her to go down from wherever she is sitting without fuss or confusion.

If you’re still working on training, remember, rewards in the form of pets and treats can be highly effective when teaching new commands. Just be consistent with what you’re asking of your dog! 

Stop Rewarding Your Dog For Sitting Up High

Don’t reward your dog for sitting up high…no giving pets and love when she does so. This sends mixed messages which may confuse your pup and end up prolonging her bad behavior more than necessary. 

Use Positive Reinforcement To Assign A New Spot To Sit

When training dogs, positive reinforcement is always the best approach! Reward your dog with pets, treats, and praise whenever she does something correctly such as sitting at her designated spot and not climbing up on furniture. Making sure it’s a place she likes helps too. So, pick a spot where she’s content and make the transition easier for everyone. 

Get A Comfy Dog Bed 

Having a comfy dog bed available for your dog will provide another incentive for her to sit where you want her to rather than climb all over the furniture. Like I mentioned above, be sure to put the dog bed in a spot your dog is okay with too. She’ll be much more likely to start using it then.

Don’t Tempt Her 

This may sound silly but try not to leave irresistible treats within reach of your canine buddy. No matter how well-trained she may be, sometimes even well trained dogs have moments of weakness when around tempting treats (my wife will tell you I can’t resist treats either!).

So prevent any chance of her getting into trouble with these goodies. Don’t leave unattended food on the table or anywhere else that is easy for your dog to get to.

Don’t Punish Her

Remember that punishing a dog doesn’t really teach much…except maybe fear! Dogs respond better when trained using positive reinforcement techniques such as rewarding good behavior with treats or petting sessions – just like the positive reinforcement I discussed above.

What Does It Mean When Your Dog Sits Higher Than You?

I already went over the primary reasons your dog wants to sit up high in general.

If your dog is sitting above you, it’s almost for sure for one of those reasons and it’s likely a coincidence your dog is higher than you because really, she just wants to be up but not necessarily above you.

Summary: Why Does My Dog Like To Sit Up High?

It’s not unnatural for your pup to want to sit in a high spot. Whether it’s to get a better view of what’s happening around her, look outside to see what’s going on, or even escape from something that might be annoying her, like puppies or small children!

It could even be because you have accidentally trained her to do so by rewarding her with treats and head pats when she gets up there. It’s also just as likely that your good girl is simply trying to feel safe and secure – especially if she is a small breed of dog.

And although it can appear like she may be seeking dominance over you, it’s highly unlikely – after all, she knows you’re the one providing food and taking care of things around the house. Sometimes your pooch just wants to reach something high up on the table or maybe lay her head on your chest while sitting on the armrest of the couch. Your dog may also climb higher because of instinct too – dogs can spot prey and predators easier if they are up higher.

If you’re okay with your dog sitting up high then it is okay for her to do so as long as the behavior isn’t rooted in something negative (like your dog fleeing rowdy kids) and your dog isn’t damaging things when she climbs up high.

Stopping your pup from sitting up high can be a tricky task – but it is doable! When addressing the root of the problem, use basic commands like ‘off’ and reward her good behavior with pets and treats.

Assign your dog her special spot that it’s okay to always be in. Then you can make the spot more attractive by getting a comfy dog bed and keeping tempting treats out of reach. Finally, remember to only use positive reinforcement techniques when training your dog – punishment won’t teach her anything apart from fear

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