If your dog sits on your lap a lot then you might be wondering why.

This post will show you a number of reasons why it might sit on your lap and what you can do about it.

So, why does my dog sit on my lap? Possible reasons why your dog sits on your lap are that it wants attention, you’re in its spot, you have inadvertently rewarded the behavior or that it is waiting to get something from you.

There are actually a number of nuances that you can consider when trying to figure out why your dog sits on your lap. Once you have a good idea of why it is doing it, you will be able to get it to stop much more easily.

Why does my dog sit on my lap?

Each of the different reasons why your dog sits on your lap will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.

Below, I will mention a number of reasons why it might sit in your lap and what would make them more likely.

Your dog wants attention

The reason why your dog comes and sits on your lap 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 lap 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.

Related: Why does my dog grunt?

It is unlikely to be due to dominance

Many people jump to the conclusion that their dogs sit high up or on their las 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.

You’re in your dog’s spot

The reason why it sits on you could be that you’re sat where it likes to sit. If that is the case then it would be important to train it to sit somewhere else when you tell it to. Otherwise, you run the risk of it learning that you are not the one in charge which could cause it to become difficult to manage.

Related: Why is my puppy lazy?

To spread its scent

The reason why it sits on you could be that it is trying to spread its scent onto you so that other dogs can smell it.

To prevent this you’ll need to spend time training it to sit in certain places and to discourage it from sitting on you by ignoring it when it does and rewarding it when it doesn’t.

The behavior has been reinforced

It might be the case that you have inadvertently trained it to sit on you. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things that it wants, when it sits on you, such as attention, treats or toys.

Instead, of giving it things that it wants, when it sits on you, it would help to train it not to sit on you and to reward it when it is being well behaved.

Separation anxiety

The reason why it does it could be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely to be the reason if it starts to get anxious when you are about to leave and if it sits on you at around the time that you normally leave.

Your dog is waiting for something

The cause might be that it is waiting to get something from you such as food or exercise. This would be more likely if it tends to sit on your lap at around the same time that it would normally get those things or if it does it when it has been a long time since it has gotten fed.

Things to consider about your dog sitting on your lap

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

When your dog first started sitting on your lap

It would help to consider the timing of when it first started to sit on your lap 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.

When your dog sits on your lap

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.

How to get your dog to stop sitting on your lap

There are a number of things that you can do about your dog sitting in your lap. 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.

Ignore your dog

Since the reason why it sits on your lap is likely to be that it is looking for attention it would help to avoid giving it attention when it does it. You can do this by getting it off you, standing up, waiting for it to calm down and then doing it again if it tries to sit on you again.

Train your dog not to

You can also train your dog not to sit on you 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 and then gradually teaching it to stay there over longer and longer time periods.

You can see how it is done in the video below.

Avoid encouraging your dog

As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for sitting on your lap. Instead, of giving your dog things that it wants, when it sits on you, it would help to avoid doing so and to train it not to do it like mentioned above.

Give your dog distractions

In addition to training it not to sit on you, another thing that you can do is to give it lots of things to be distracted with so that it is less likely to seek attention from you. Things that you could give it would be toys, puzzles or bones.

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Author

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.