If your dog has been standing on your chest, you might be wondering why and what you can do to stop it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog stand on my chest? Possible reasons why your dog stands on your chest are that it is looking for attention, it has learned that the behavior is rewarded or that it wants something from you.
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 main cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Reasons why your dog stands on your chest
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been standing on your chest and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
Many people jump to the conclusion that their dogs do it because they 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 shows signs of aggression or if it tries to make you move. 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.
The reason why it does it could be that it is looking for extra attention. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention or if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by playing with it, training it or exercising it and to avoid rewarding it with attention when it stands over you.
Encouraging the behavior
It might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewarded for standing on your chest. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it stands on your chest, it will likely do it more. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to stop rewarding it when it does not.
The reason why it does it might be because it is being protective. This would be more likely if it does it more in situations such as when there is another person nearby. It would also be more likely if it becomes overly protective when you are around other animals and people.
It wants something from you
The reason why it does it could be that it is trying 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 exercise. It would also be more likely if it tries to do it while you are eating.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when it first started doing it
It would help to consider when it first started standing over you since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.
If it started doing it suddenly it could be that it learned that it results in it getting rewards, that something happened that might have made it feel insecure or that it started looking for extra attention when its daily routine changed.
What is different when your dog stands on your chest
It would also help to consider the timing of when your dog does it since the timing could have something to do with it. For example, if it tends to do it at around the same time that you would normally feed it, it might be trying to remind you to feed it.
What to do about your dog standing on your chest
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop standing on your chest.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not stand on your chest and to get it off you and ignore it, when it does, until it calms down.
Redirect its focus
It would also help to notice when your dog is about to try to stand over you and then to redirect it to standing somewhere else. To do this you would train it to lay down in a certain spot when you say a certain command using positive reinforcement training and then you would tell it to lay down there whenever it starts trying to stand over you.
Positive reinforcement training
It would help to give your dog lots of training so that it learns how to behave and to see you as the leader.
If you have not given your dog much training it would be important to do so starting with the basics and building up from there. I have written about how to train your dog to stay here and how to lay down on command here.
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