If your dog keeps sitting above you, this post will show you some common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog sit above me? Possible reasons why your dog sits above you are that it is bullying behavior, it likes the spot, you have reinforced the behavior or that it does it for extra attention.
There are multiple reasons why your dog might be sitting above you and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are things you can do to stop it and there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause.
Why your dog sits above you
Below are some common reasons why dogs sit above their owners and what would make them more likely to be the reason why your dog has been doing it.
It’s unlikely to be dominance
Many people jump to the conclusion that their dogs sit above them because the dogs are trying to be dominant. However, the alpha/beta dynamic has been disproven in studies showing that wolves take turns in taking the lead.
With that being said, it could be doing it due to bullying behavior which would be more likely if it tries to get you to sit elsewhere and if it shows signs of aggression when doing it. In this case, it would help to avoid giving it reasons to feel threatened and to get it to learn to behave the way you want it to with training programs such as NLIF (Nothing in Life is Free) dog training.
It likes the spot
The reason why it does it could be that it just likes that spot. This would be more likely if it always sits in that particular spot even when you are not around.
If you don’t want it to sit there, it would help to train it sit somewhere else and to redirect it before it starts sitting there whenever possible.
Reinforcing the behavior
It might be the case that you have encouraged it to sit there by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it sits above you, then it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is behaving the way you want it to, to avoid rewarding it when it is not, to redirect its focus when it is about to misbehave and to give it positive reinforcement training.
It wants attention
It might be the case that it does it because it is trying to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by exercising it, training it and playing with it. However, it would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it sits above you and to try to redirect its focus before it starts sitting there.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when trying to figure out why your dog has been sitting above you.
When your dog first started sitting above you
If it did not always sit above you, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely that it started doing it because it learned that it gets rewards when it does it but it could also be that it learned that it likes the spot.
When your dog normally sits above you
It would also help to consider the timing of when it tends to sit above you since the timing could also have something to do with it.
For example, if it tends to sit there at around the same time that you give it exercise, it might be doing it in order to get you to give it exercise. Whereas, if it always sits there, even when you’re not around, it might be the case that it likes the spot.
What to do about your dog sitting above you
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop sitting above you.
Train it not to
The first option is to train it to stop with the use of positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage it to behave the way you want it to by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.
You can do this by getting it to sit or to lay down and then gradually teaching it to stay there over longer and longer time periods. I have written about how you can teach your dog the “down” command here.
You can also watch the video below to see how it is done.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have encouraged it to sit above you. Instead, it would help to reward it when it sits where you want, to try to redirect its focus from sitting up there and to train it to stop doing it.
Redirect its focus
It would also help to redirect its attention when it seems like it is about to sit above you. Ways to do this would be to train it to do certain commands such as to sit when you say so or to give it things such as toys or bones before it has a chance to sit up there.
When training your dog it is important to be consistent. It is not likely that you will be able to get it to change its behavior, by a large amount, with just one training session. However, if you train it consistently, you can get much better results over the course of weeks and months.
Give it attention throughout the day
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it does not feel the need to seek it from you as much. Ways to give it attention would be to train it, exercise it and to play with it. However, it would also help to stop rewarding it with attention when it stops behaving the way you want and to give it attention when it starts behaving the way you want again.
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