If your dog has been sitting under your chair or legs 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 under me? Possible reasons why your dog sits under you are that it makes it feel safer, it is waiting for something from you, it is being protective or that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by rewarding your dog when it does it.
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 or lays under you
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make each of them more likely.
It is waiting for something from you
The reason why it does it might be that it is waiting to get something from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at around the same time that you would normally feed it or give it a walk. It would also be more likely if it does it when you are eating because it likely wants some of your food.
It makes it feel safer
It could also be the case that it has been doing it because it feels safer there. This would be more likely if it has a submissive personality and if it tends to hide when you are not around.
It is being protective
It could be the case that it does it because it is being protective. This would be more likely if it sits under you mostly when other people are around and if it can get overly protective when other people are around.
The cause might also be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it tends to do it when you are about to leave home and if it tends to show signs of being anxious when you are leaving. In this case, it would help to try to reduce reasons why it might be anxious by letting it pee, eat and get exercise before leaving it for long time periods.
You have encouraged the behavior
It could be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for sitting under you. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, treats or food, when your dog does it, your dog will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. If you want it to stop, it would help to reward it when it sits where you want it to and to try to redirect it to sit elsewhere when it is about to sit underneath you.
It is being affectionate
The reason why it does it could just be that it is being affectionate. This would be more likely if it tends to touch you when sitting under you and if it gets you to do things such as give it belly rubs.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the most likely reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started sitting under you
If your dog did not always sit under you, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start. For example, if it started doing it after you gave it some of your food, it probably learned that, if it sits beneath you, it will be able to get some more of your food.
What is different when your dog sits under you
If it does not always sit under you, it would also help to consider what is different when it does it. For example, if it does it only when you have food, it would be more likely that it just wants some of your food. Whereas, if it does it when you would normally walk your dog, it might be waiting for you to give it exercise.
What you can do about your sitting under you
If you want to get it to stop sitting under you, below are some options that you have.
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.
Give it other places to sit
It would also help to give it a comfortable area where it can sit or lay down. The area should be cool, quiet, not too bright and there should be space for it to lay down comfortably.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might have learned that it gets rewards for sitting under you. It would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want, to avoid rewarding it when it sits under you and to try to redirect it to sit somewhere else when it is about to sit under you.
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.