If your Labrador sits on your lap a lot then you might be wondering why. In this post, I will show you common reasons why they do it and what you can do about them if you want yours to stop.
So, why does my Labrador sit on my lap? Possible reasons are that it wants attention, you’re in its spot, you have inadvertently rewarded the behavior or it might be 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 a number of things you can do about it and there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the main cause.
Why your Labrador sits on your lap
Below are some common reasons why Labradors sit on their owner’s laps and what would make them more likely to be the main reason why yours does it.
It wants attention
The reason why your Labrador sits on your lap could be that it is trying to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely if you tend to give it more attention when it sits on your lap and if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention.
If you want to get it to stop, it would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it does it and to train it to sit somewhere else.
It is being dominant
In the wild, dogs will display their dominance by positioning themselves to be higher up than the other dogs. The reason why your Labrador sits on you might be that it is actually being dominant. This would be more likely if it is unresponsive to your command.
In this case, it would help to give it lots of training so that it sees you as the leader.
You’re in its spot
The cause could be that you’re sat where it likes to sit. If that is the case then it would be important to train it to sit somewhere else when you tell it to. Otherwise, you run the risk of it learning that you are not the one in charge which could cause it to become difficult to manage.
To spread its scent
Another possible cause is that it is trying to spread its scent onto you so that other dogs can smell it and so that they are less likely to approach you.
To prevent this you’ll need to spend time training it to sit in certain places and to discourage it from sitting on you by ignoring it when it does and rewarding it when it doesn’t.
It has been encouraged
It could be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it.
Instead, of giving it things that it wants, when it sits on you, it would help to train it not to sit on you and to reward it when it is being well behaved.
The reason why it does it could be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely to be the reason if it starts to get anxious when you are about to leave and if it sits on you at around the time that you normally leave.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why your Labrador sits on your lap.
When it first started sitting on your lap
If your Labrador did not always sit on your lap, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
Things that might have happened could be that you rewarded it when it did it once, you stopped giving it as much attention or it stopped getting as many walks.
When it does it
It might also be the case that the timing of when it does it also has something to do with it.
If it does it when you would normally walk it then it might be trying to make you get up to walk it. Whereas, if it does it when you have not been giving it much attention then it might be doing it because it is looking for attention from you.
How to get your Labrador to stop sitting on your lap
There are a number of things that you can do about your Labrador sitting on your lap. The best option for your Labrador will largely depend on the most likely cause of it doing it. Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do about it.
Since the reason why it sits on your lap is likely to be that it is looking for attention it would help to avoid giving it attention when it does it. You can do this by getting it off you, standing up, waiting for it to calm down and then doing it again if it tries to sit on you again.
Train it not to
You can also train your Labrador not to sit on you 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 and then gradually teaching it to stay there over longer and longer time periods.
You can see how it is done in the video below.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead, of giving your Labrador things that it wants, when it sits on you, it would help to avoid doing so and to train it not to do it like mentioned above.
Give it distractions
In addition to training it not to sit on you, another thing that you can do is to give it lots of things to be distracted with so that it is less likely to seek attention from you. Things that you could give it would be toys, puzzles or bones.