If your dog has been standing over you this post will show you a number of possible reasons why and what you can do about it.
So, why does my dog stand over me? Possible reasons why your dog stands over you are that it is trying to get you to do something, it’s being protective, it is looking for attention or you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior.
There are actually a number of reasons why your dog might be doing it and it could be a combination of reasons. Despite that, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason.
Why your dog stands over you
Each of the different reasons why your dog stands over you will likely come with a number of clues.
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.
It’s being dominant
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.
Related: Why does my dog circle me?
It’s being protective
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.
You have inadvertently trained it to do it
It could be the case that you have trained it to do it by giving it things that it wants when it does it. If you give it things such as treats, extra attention or toys when it stands over you then it will do it more in order to get more of those things.
Instead, it would help to give it rewards when it is well behaved and to try to redirect its focus onto something else when it seems like it is about to try to stand over you.
It is looking for attention
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.
It makes it feel safer
The cause could be that it makes it feel more secure. This would be more likely if it does it when it might be feeling insecure such as when there are fireworks outside or construction works.
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 you can consider when trying to figure out exactly why your dog stands over you.
When your dog first started standing over you
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.
If it has been doing it since a young age then it could be that you rewarded it for doing it when it was young or that it has been doing it due to being dominating especially if you didn’t give it much training as a puppy.
If it stands over other people or dogs
It would also help to consider whether or not it does it to other people or animals or it just does it to you.
If it also stands over other people or animals then it would make it more likely to be because it is being dominating.
Whereas, if it just does it to you then it would be more likely that it is looking for attention from you or that it does it for the rewards.
When your dog stands over you most
It would also help to consider the timing of when it does it since the timing could also have something to do with it.
For example, if it only does it when there are noises outside like sirens then it might be because it is feeling insecure due to the noises.
What to do about your dog standing over you
Below are a number of things you can do about your dog standing over you.
Give it lots of 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.
Avoid allowing it to do so by noticing when it is about to stand over you
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.
Get help from a dog behaviorist
If you can’t figure out why your dog does it, you can’t get it to stop or it does it aggressively then the best option would be to get help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so you will be able to see how to train it in a secure manner.