Has your dog ever backed right up onto you when you were sitting on the floor or couch? Or, perhaps they sat down on your feet while you were sitting innocently at the kitchen table or outdoors.

While these behaviors may not have been alarming or all that rare, it surely made you pause and wonder: “Why does my dog constantly put his bum on me?”

The answer (as is the case with most dog-related questions) is a bit more complicated than you might think on the surface. Up ahead, we’ll take a look at why dogs seem to love to put their bums on their owners — and everyone else.  

Why does my dog put his bum on me?

There are several different reasons why your dog (or any dog) may show you their rear end or sit on your lap or legs. First, though, we have to discuss the importance of a dog’s butt.

While this might sound amusing, it’s actually a good place to start because — as you may have guessed already, dogs find their bums extremely interesting. This goes for their own bum and the bums of their dog friends and new acquaintances.

You see, dogs have special scent glands on their bums, beneath their tails. These glands give off all sorts of interesting information for dogs, all of which comes from special chemical scents called pheromones. For instance, if one dog smells beneath the tail of another new dog that they’ve never met or seen before, they can determine that new dog’s:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • General mood
  • Overall health
  • Usual level of exercise
  • Amount of current stress
  • And more

As you might imagine, all of this information is very interesting to dogs! And it’s quite useful too. Imagine if you could find out all of that information from a new person you just met — instantly, without having to ask any questions or do any personal digging.

For this reason, dogs naturally sniff each other’s bums when they meet. You’ve probably seen your dog do this more than once. It’s a typical way of saying, “Hi, how are you? I’d like to find out a bit about you.”

Now, let’s get back to your dog and their tendency to lead butt first when it comes to their interactions with you. Here are a few of the reasons your dog may do this:

#1 – They’re saying “you’re mine.”

Dogs are heavily into claiming territory, and this goes for people too. If your dog often comes up to you and sits on you, they may be doing this to show other dogs and/or people in the area that you are “their property.”

#2 – They’re saying hi.

Dogs are smarter than many people think, so many of them know that the bum-sniffing thing is something that only they do, and humans don’t. Still, some dogs may misinterpret humans and assume that we want to sniff their rear ends to get to know them.

Therefore, if a dog you just met or haven’t seen in a long time presents his bum to you, they are probably saying, “Here, have a sniff and get the information you need from me.” For this same reason, they may also end up trying to smell your back side.

#3 – They’re giving you a little “we’re on friendly terms” hip nudge.

If you’re just getting to know a dog, this may be what they’re doing when they sit on you, sit on your feet, or back up onto you. Basically, they are saying, “You’re chill with me.”

If this is confusing, let’s go back to trying to understand dogs’ anatomy. Naturally, dogs’ eyes and teeth are on the opposite side of their body as their bums. If they want to be aggressive or defensive with another dog (or human), therefore, they want their head and face to be pointed toward the being they have a potential conflict with. That way, they can see, bite, and/or scratch and attack them with their paws. Dogs that feel threatened in any way by another dog or human will avoid turning their backs on them at any cost.

On the other hand, if a dog purposely presents their back (bum) to a dog or human, it’s a sign of passiveness. It’s like they’re telling you that they don’t find you a threat and you’re okay in their book. It’s a friendly way of greeting a new person or dog.

#4 – They’re looking for some nice pets on their back.

This is a simple possibility, but it’s often the case when your own dog backs up onto you: They want you to pet them. Just as is the case when your dog lays down on the ground on his back and presents his belly, he or she may be telling you that they trust you enough to present their belly to you. Or, they may be saying, “Scratch my belly, please!”

Why does my dog put his bum on me when sleeping?

This is a bizarre act but one that you’ve probably noticed your dog doing at one time or another. Generally speaking, they are sort of guarding you and protecting you while you sleep. There’s probably no one else around when you’re sleeping, so they’re not exactly showing that you’re “on good terms” or that they’re claiming you.

Why does my dog back into me?

If your own dog backs into you, it’s likely because they want a nice scratch and pet down their back. This is usually the case if the two of you are alone or just with your immediate family. Alternatively, if you’re around other people and dogs, your dog might be showing that they “claim” you.

Why does my dog put his bum on my other dog?

If you have two or more dogs at home, you may notice them putting their butts on each other. At first, this may throw you off because you know that dogs tend to greet each other in this way for the first time, but your dogs already know each other. It’s possible, therefore, that your dogs are just presenting new information to each other. For example, let’s say one of your dogs went to the vet one day, but the other dog stayed home. Once the dog who’d left came home, they may have “new information” that they want to instantaneously relate to your other dog.

On the other hand, if one of your dogs hasn’t been anywhere recently, the behavior of one of them sitting on the other may simply mean that your dogs are communicating with each other and sharing some information or feelings. Perhaps they recently had a tiff (over food, a toy, or a human). If this happened and then one showed his or her bum to the other, they might simply be saying, “Hey, this isn’t a big deal. Let’s avoid this fight and be friends again.”

If one of your dogs does this to the other, and it didn’t appear that they’d just had a fight or anything, they may simply be acting playful together and having a good time. Sometimes, dogs just communicate more with their bodies than their voices (barks) or eyes.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.