Why Does My Dog Sit On Me? [5 Common Reasons]

Dogs make life so much better!  Playing, hiking and many other activities are tons more fun if your best friend is with you.  Some things dogs do will make you wonder what the heck they are thinking.

Like sitting on you.  Have you ever found yourself asking: ‘Why does my dog sit on me?’.  There are a variety of reasons your dog will sit on you.  Some of them cute and some of them not so cute.

Your Dog Loves You

Sometimes the simplest answer is the best answer.  Your dog could be sitting on you just to show his or her affection for you.  If they had a rough (sorry for the pun) day or you’ve been gone for a while, your dog could need some bonding time too. 

Sitting on your lap or on your feet while you watch TV or do some other sedentary activity can be very comforting and loving to a dog.

Claiming You

You mean the world to your dog.  You love them, feed them, house them, play with them.  If you abandoned them for another dog, they wouldn’t know how to function on their own. 

Obviously, none of us intend to replace our pets, but your dog doesn’t always know that.  Especially if you come home smelling like a different dog or (even worse!) with a new dog. 

Your dog might be attempting to spread his scent onto you as a way to tell the other dogs you belong to him.

Looking For Pets Or Treats

Most dogs love a good scratch behind the ears or long pets across their backs.  If you’ve done this when your dog plopped down on you before, they are probably hoping to get the same thing again. 

This is also true of treats, especially some of that delicious human food!  If you don’t mind a dog that sits on you to tell you they want a good pet or a treat, then there probably isn’t any harm in this behavior.

However, if you don’t like your dog sitting on you, it is best to avoid rewarding them when they do.  Otherwise, you are basically training them to sit on you.


Who is protecting who?  This goes both ways.  A lot of it will depend on the breed of your dog and the perceived threat.  There are stories of dogs who have sacrificed their lives protecting their owners by sitting or laying on them, keeping danger at bay. 

There are also dogs who get scared.  Little dog breeds, for instance, are much more likely to be looking for protection from you than they are looking to protect you. 

You’re The Leader Of The Pack

Dogs are very pack oriented, which explains many of their behaviors that seem odd to us.  In the world of your dog, you are the leader of the pack and dogs want to be close to the leader. 

This could be part of the claiming you behavior mentioned before, or it could be because they want recognition from the head honcho.  The motivation will likely vary, but the results are still the same.  A dog plopped right on top of you.

What About Dominance?

While not impossible, it is unlikely that your dog is sitting on you to establish dominance over you.  You’ll need to take into consideration the dog’s other behaviors.  If this is the only thing your dog is doing that makes you thing he or she is trying to dominate you, there probably isn’t much to worry about.

If your dog is exhibiting other behaviors that make you think they are trying to dominate you, then it is probably time to talk to a professional dog trainer or your vet to come up with a plan that works for your dog.

Summary: Why Do Dogs Sit On You?

Dogs are our best friends, but they can do some really odd stuff.  Your dog likely sits on you because one or a combination of these reasons:

  1. They love you want to express it.
  2. He or she is claiming you as theirs.
  3. They are out to get some good pets or treats.
  4. They are seeking protection or trying to protect you.
  5. You’re the leader of the pack and it feels good to be close to the top.

Your dog most likely is not sitting on you to establish dominance.  If this is their reason for sitting on you, you’ll also see it come out in other behaviors.

If you’re okay with your dog sitting on you, and for the reason, then there isn’t a reason to try to change your dog’s behavior.  If you don’t want to be sat on though, you’ll have some work to do. 

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