If your dog keeps sitting on your chest you might be wondering why and what can be done about it.

This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do to stop it.

So, why does my dog sit on my chest? Possible reasons why your dog sits on your chest are that it has separation anxiety, wants attention or exercise, is being protective, you have inadvertently rewarded the behavior, or that it is being dominant.

There are actually a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your dog sits on your chest. Once you have a good idea of why it might be the case it will become a lot easier to get it to stop.

Why your dog sits on your chest

Each of the different reasons that your dog sits on your chest will likely come with some clues.

Below, I will mention a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what would make them more likely.

Separation anxiety

The reason why it sits on your chest could be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where your dog does not like being left alone and being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely to be the case if it seems to become anxious when you are about to leave. Ways that it might become anxious could be by pacing or crying.

If it does seem to be the case that it has some separation anxiety then it would help to reduce it by getting it used to you being away from it for short periods and then to build up to longer ones.

Wanting attention

The reason why it does it could be that it is looking for attention from you. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.

If you do tend to give it more attention, when it tries to sit on your chest, it would help to train it to sit somewhere else and to avoid giving it attention when it misbehaves.

Related: why does my dog grumble?

Wanting exercise

Dogs are generally supposed to get a lot of exercise daily. Depending on the breed, they can require around an hour of exercise per day. When they do not get much exercise it can cause them to develop behavioral issues. If your dog hasn’t been getting much exercise then it would help to make sure that it does.

Related: why is my dog obsessed with my cat?

Protection

The reason why it tries to do it could be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it is a more protective breed such as a German Shepherd. It would also be more likely if it tends to follow you around and get overly protective when other people are around.

Reinforcing it

It might be the case that you have been inadvertently rewarding the behavior and causing it to learn to do it more. This would be more likely if your method of getting it to stop doing it is to give it things such as treats, toys or attention.

Instead of doing this, it would help to train it to sit somewhere else, to reward it for sitting there and to reward it when it is being well behaved.

Dominance

Dogs in the wild will display their dominance over other dogs by positioning themselves to be in higher positions. This could be the reason why your dog sits on your chest. This would be more likely if it tries to position itself to be higher than you in other ways and if it is also unresponsive to your command.

In this case, it would be important to give it lots of training and to avoid letting it position itself to be higher than you so that it respects you as its owner.

It’s just being affectionate

It could be the case that it is just trying to be affectionate. This would be more likely if it tries to get you to pet it or to rub its belly when it sits on your chest.

Spreading its scent

It could be that your dog is trying to spread its scent onto you so that other dogs can smell it. This is its way of saying that you belong to it so that other dogs will steer clear of you.

To prevent this you’ll need to spend time training it to sit and lay down in certain places. Then you can discourage it from sitting on your chest by telling it to sit or lay somewhere else.

Things to consider

Below, I will mention some particularly helpful things to consider when trying to figure out why your dog sits on your chest. Once you have a better idea of the cause it will be easier to take the appropriate action.

When your dog started sitting on your chest

Considering what happened at around the same time that it started sitting on your chest could be helpful.

Some things that might have happened could include:

  • You rewarded it one time when it did it
  • You started leaving it alone for longer
  • It started getting less exercise

When your dog sits on your chest

The timing would also be something to consider.

If you notice that it only seems to sit on your chest when you would normally feed or walk it then it might be trying to get you to do it. Whereas, if it seems to do it all the time then it would make it more likely to be due to being dominant or you have inadvertently rewarded it.

How to stop your dog from sitting on your chest

There are a number of things that you can do about your dog sitting on your chest. The best option for your dog will largely depend on the cause of it doing it.

Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do about it.

Train it to sit or lay somewhere else

One option would be to train your dog not to sit on your chest by teaching it to stay on the floor when you’re sat down.

You can do this by getting it to sit or to lay down when it tries to sit on your chest and then gradually teaching it to stay there over longer and longer time periods.

You can do this by applying the same techniques as in the video below:

Give it attention throughout the day

It would also help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of play, training and exercise. By doing so you will be able to make it less likely that it will start to look for attention from you.

Avoid giving it negative reinforcement training

It would also help to avoid rewarding it when it sits on your chest. Instead, it would help to train it not to and to reward it when it is being well behaved.

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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.