If your dog has been sitting on your knee 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 on my knee? Possible reasons why your dog sits on your knee are that it wants attention, it is being affectionate, it is waiting for something from you, it is being protective or that you have encouraged it to do it by rewarding the behavior.
Since there are many possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the most likely cause, it should become easier to figure out what you should do about it.
Why your dog sits on your knee
Below are common reasons why dogs do it and what would make them more likely.
It wants attention
The reason why your dog comes and sits on your knee could be that it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if you tend to give it more attention when it sits on your knee and if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention.
If you want to get it to stop, it would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it does it and to train it to sit somewhere else.
The cause might also be that it has some separation anxiety. It might be sitting on your lap so that it knows when you are leaving. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at around the same time that you would normally leave home and if it tends to get anxious when you are leaving. In this case, it would help to try to reduce the reasons why it might be anxious by doing things such as feeding it, exercising it and letting it pee before leaving.
It is being protective
It might be the case that it does it because it is being protective. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when other people are around and if it tends to get overly protective around other people.
Encouraging the behavior
It might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for doing it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it sits on your knee, 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 try to redirect it to sit somewhere else when it is about to sit on your knee, if you don’t want it to do so.
It is waiting for something
The reason why it does it might be that it wants something such as a walk or to get fed and it is waiting to see when you are going to give them to it. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at around the same time that you would normally walk or feed it.
It wants something from you
The cause might also be that it wants something from you such as food. This would be more likely if it tends to do it in situations such as when you are eating. To prevent this, it would help to avoid giving it your food while you are eating so that it does not learn that it can get rewarded by bothering you when you have food.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider in order to help figure out the most likely reason why it has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started sitting on your knee
It would help to consider the timing of when it first started to sit on your knee since it could be that there was an event that triggered it to start doing it.
Things that might have happened could be that you rewarded it when it did it once, you stopped giving it as much attention or it stopped getting as many walks.
What is different when your dog sits on your knee
The timing of when it does it could also give you some clues.
If it does it when you would normally walk it then it might be trying to make you get up to walk it. Whereas, if it does it when you have not been giving it much attention then it might be doing it because it is looking for attention from you.
What to do about your dog sitting on your knee
If you want to get it to stop, below are some things you can do about it.
Train it to sit somewhere else
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 has learned that it gets rewards for sitting on your knee. Instead, of giving your dog things that it wants, when it sits on your knee, it would help to avoid doing so and to train it not to do it like mentioned above. It would also help to try to redirect it to sit somewhere else when it is about to sit on your knee.
Give it another place to sit or lay down
It might also help to give it another place where it can sit or lay down so that it is more likely to sit there than on your knee.
Give it a daily routine to get used to
Dogs generally like having a set schedule that they can follow. If you give your dog walks and food at random times, it will not know when you are going to give them to it and it will likely bother you more in order to get those things from you. Whereas, if you always feed and walk it at the same time, it will know when it can expect to get those things.
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