If your dog has been sitting close to you this post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about it.
So, why does my dog sit so close to me? Possible reasons why your dog sits close to you are that it is looking for attention, it makes it feel more secure, separation anxiety or you might have rewarded the behavior.
There are a number of possible reasons why your dog might be doing it and it could be a combination of factors. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason.
Why your dog sits so close to you
The different reasons why your dog sits so close to you will likely come with some clues.
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.
Looking for attention
The reason why it does it could be that it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention, it tries to get you to give it attention when it does it and if you do tend to give it more attention when it does it.
Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by training it, playing with it and exercising it. But, it would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it sits close to you if you don’t want it to do it.
The cause might be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it does it more when you are about to leave home and if it becomes anxious when you are leaving home.
In this case, you could try to train it to be less anxious when you are leaving and when you are away.
To do this you could do as follows:
- Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
- Reward your dog for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
- Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
- Reward your dog for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
- Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your dog
- Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer
Related: Why does my dog always touch me?
Rewarding the behavior
The reason it sits next to you could be that it is looking for rewards. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it does it then it might do it more in order to get more of those things.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is behaving the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.
Dogs evolved as pack animals so it is natural for them to want to be around other people and dogs in their pack. The reason why it always sits next to you could be that it makes it feel safer. This would be more likely if it doesn’t try to make you do things when it does it.
It could be the case that it does it because it is being protective. This would be more likely if it is a breed that is known for being overly protective and if it tends to be overly protective around other people or pets.
Things to consider
When your dog first started sitting close to you
If your dog did not always sit very close to you, it would help to consider what else happened when it started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as learning that it gets rewards when it does it, suddenly getting less attention or a change in its daily schedule.
Whereas, if it has always done it then it might be that it makes it feel safer but it could also be that it learned that it gets rewards when it does it.
When your dog sits close to you
It would also help to consider the timing of when it sits close to you since it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it tends to sit next to you when you would normally leave home then it would make it more likely that it does it because it has some separation anxiety.
How to get your dog to stop sitting so close to you
If you want to get your dog to stop sitting so close to you, here are some options you have.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you reward your dog for doing things you want it to do and avoid rewarding it when it does not.
To use it to get it to stop sitting close to you try rewarding it when it does not sit close to you but it normally would and training it to lay down somewhere else as discussed in this post.
Redirecting its focus
Another option would be to redirect its focus to be on something else whenever it looks like it is about to sit close to you. By doing so you should be able to get it out of the habit of doing it.
Avoid negative reinforcement training
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it learned that sitting close to you results in it getting rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not sit close to you and to avoid rewarding it when it does.
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