If your Labrador keeps sitting on your chest you might be wondering why and what can be done about it. In this post, I will show you common reasons why Labradors do it and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my Labrador sit on my chest? Possible reasons are that it has separation anxiety, wants attention or exercise, is being protective, you have inadvertently rewarded the behavior or that it is being dominant.

Your Labrador might be doing it for many different reasons and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of options you have when getting it to stop.

Why your Labrador sits on your chest

Below are some common reasons why Labradors sit on their owner’s chests and what would make them more likely to be the reason why your Labrador does it.

Separation anxiety

The reason why it sits on your chest might be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where your Labrador does not like being left alone and being left alone causes it to become anxious.

This would be more likely to be the case if it seems to become anxious when you are about to leave. Ways that it might become anxious could be by pacing or crying.

If it does seem to be the case that it has some separation anxiety then it would help to reduce it by getting it used to you being away from it for short periods and then to build up to longer ones. It would also help to try to let it pee, eat and get exercise before leaving it.

Wanting attention

Another possible cause is that it is trying to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.

If you do tend to give it more attention, when it tries to sit on your chest, it would help to train it to sit somewhere else and to avoid giving it attention when it misbehaves.

Wanting exercise

Labradors are meant to get a lot of daily exercise. When they do not get enough, it can cause them to behave abnormally and it might be a part of the reason why it sits on your chest. This would be more likely if it tends to do it when it has not gotten exercise and if it does it at around the same time that you would normally give it exercise.

Protection

It could be the case that it does it because it is being protective. It would be more likely if it tends to follow you around and get overly protective when other people are around.

Reinforcing it

It might also be the case that you have encouraged it to do it by giving it things it wants when it does it. This would be more likely if your method of getting it to stop doing it is to give it things such as treats, toys or attention.

Instead of doing this, it would help to train it to sit somewhere else, to reward it for sitting there and to reward it when it is being well behaved.

It’s just being affectionate

It could be the case that it is just trying to be affectionate. This would be more likely if it tries to get you to pet it or to rub its belly when it sits on your chest.

Spreading its scent

Another possible reason is that it is trying to spread its scent onto you so that other dogs can smell it. This is its way of saying that you belong to it so that other dogs will steer clear of you.

To prevent this you’ll need to spend time training it to sit and lay down in certain places. Then you can discourage it from sitting on your chest by telling it to sit or lay somewhere else.

Things to consider

Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why your Labrador has been doing it.

When your Labrador started sitting on your chest

If your Labrador did not always sit on your chest, 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.

Some things that might have happened could include:

  • You rewarded it one time when it did it
  • You started leaving it alone for longer
  • It started getting less exercise

When it does it

It would also help to consider the timing of when it tends to sit on your chest since the timing might also have something to do with it.

If you notice that it only seems to sit on your chest when you would normally feed or walk it then it might be trying to get you to do it. Whereas, if it seems to do it all the time then it would make it more likely to be due to being dominant or you have inadvertently rewarded it.

How to stop your Labrador from sitting on your chest

Below are a number of options you have when getting your Labrador to stop sitting on your chest.

Train it to sit or lay somewhere else

One option would to be train your Labrador not to sit on your chest 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 when it tries to sit on your chest and then gradually teaching it to stay there over longer and longer time periods.

You can do this by applying the same techniques as in the video below:

Give it attention throughout the day

It would also help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of play, training and exercise. By doing so you will be able to make it less likely that it will start to look for attention from you.

Avoid giving it negative reinforcement training

It would also help to avoid rewarding it when it sits on your chest. Instead, it would help to train it not to and to reward it when it is being well behaved.

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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.