If your dog sits behind you a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of reasons why your dog might be doing it and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog sit behind me? Possible reasons why your dog sits behind you are that it finds it more comfortable there, it is being protective, it feels safer there, it has some separation anxiety or that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it will become easier for you to decide on what to do about it.
Why your dog sits behind you
Below are a number of common reasons why dogs do it and what would make them more likely to be the reason why your dog has been doing it.
It finds that spot more comfortable
It might be the case that there is a particular place that it likes to sit because it finds it comfortable there. This would be more likely if your dog sits in front of you when you sit in a certain spot and if your dog always tries to sit in the same spot but less likely if it sits behind you even when you are in a different spot
It could be the case that it has some separation anxiety and it sits behind you so that it can see when you are leaving. This would be more likely if it tends to sit behind you at around the same time that you would normally leave and if it shows signs of being anxious when you are leaving.
It’s being protective
It could be the case that it does it because it is being protective. This would be more likely if it sits behind you in a location that allows it to see entrances to the room and if it tends to get protective around the home.
Encouraging the behavior
The reason why your dog has been doing it might be that it has learned that it gets rewards when it does it. If you tend to give your dog things such as extra attention, toys or treats, when it sits behind you, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it sits where you want it to and to avoid giving it rewards when it does not.
It feels safer there
It could also be the case that it has been doing it because it feels safer there. This would be more likely if it has a submissive personality and if it tends to hide when you are not around.
It doesn’t want to be bothered
The reason why it does it might be that it wants to avoid being bothered. This would be more likely if it does not always sit behind you and if it does it more when it wants to sleep. If it tries to sleep behind you, it would help to make sure that it is able to sleep easily at night since it could be the case that it is trying to get extra sleep during the day due to issues sleeping at night.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out why your dog has been sitting behind you.
What else happened when your dog first started sitting behind you
It would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since there might have been an event that caused it to start. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as learned that it gets rewards for doing it or the spot that it normally sits in no longer being available to it.
What is different when your dog does not sit behind you
If it does not always sit behind you, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not do it. For example, if it only sits behind you when you have not given it exercise, it might be waiting for you to give it exercise.
What to do about your dog sitting behind you
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop sitting behind you.
Train it to sit where you want it to
One option would be to train your dog to sit on command with the use of positive reinforcement training, in the area that you would like it to sit, then you could tell it to sit there a couple of times per day and reward it for doing so. By repeating the process, it should learn that sitting in that new location results in it getting rewards.
Give it another comfortable place to sit
It would also help to give it a comfortable area where it can sit or lay down. The area should be cool, quiet, not too bright and there should be space for it to lay down comfortably.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have encouraged it to sit behind you by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it sits elsewhere, to train it to sit somewhere else and to try to redirect its focus when it is about to sit behind you.