If your dog has been sitting in high places a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog sit in high places? Possible reasons why your dog sits in high places are that it is being protective, it finds it more comfortable in a certain spot that is high up or that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior. However, there is evidence to suggest that it is unlikely that it is doing it because it is being dominant.
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 should become easier to figure out what you should do about it.
Why your dog sits in high places
Below are a number of reasons why your dog might be sitting in high places and what would make them more likely.
It finds the spot more comfortable
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, as shown below, and to redirect it before it starts sitting there whenever possible.
You have inadvertently encouraged 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 in high places, 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 is being protective
It might be the case that it has been doing it due to being protective. This would be more likely if it tends to sit in a location that allows it to see the front door and if it tends to be overly protective around you.
It thinks it’s ok to sit there
If you have not given your dog much training, it will behave the way it wants and it will sit where it feels like sitting. The way it wants to behave is unlikely to be the way you would like it to, this is why it is important to give your dog training so that it learns how it should behave. It would help to start by training it to sit in a certain spot and to reward it when it sits there.
It’s not dominance
Many people jump to the conclusion that their dogs sit high up because they 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.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out what the most likely reason is why it has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started sitting in high places
If it did not always sit in high places, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
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.
What is different when your dog does not sit in high places
If it does not always sit in high areas, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not do 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 in high places
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Train it to sit elsewhere
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.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it learned that it gets rewards when it sits above you. Instead, it would help to reward it when it sits where you want it to, to avoid rewarding it when it does not and to give it positive reinforcement training to get it to sit where you want.
Give it another place to sit or lie down
It would also help to give it another comfortable place where it can sit or lie down so that it is more likely to choose to sit there than in high spots.