Sometimes, dogs display behaviors that leave us scratching our heads in confusion. Have you ever been watching a movie or laying down, and your dog hops up just to stand over you? In this article, we’ll be discussing this bizarre phenomenon of why dogs stand over their owners. You’ll gain knowledge on the following:
It can be quite uncomfortable to deal with your dog standing on you especially if your dog is large or has overgrown nails. Below you’ll find the most common reasons why your dog keeps standing on you.
Act of Dominance
Canine experts have reason to believe that a dog standing over its owner, or another dog, is doing so as an act of dominance. Let’s not forget that domesticated dogs still have traits in common with their wolf and fox cousins, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that their primal instincts still show through now and then.
When wild animals stand over another member of the pack, it’s to show that it is the alpha and ultimately is in charge. Obviously, we want our dogs to know that we are in charge since we take care of them. If you have reason to believe that your dog is standing over you to show dominance, you’ll want to retrain the behavior as soon as possible.
Dogs can be very protective over their pack members. If you own a dog, you are their pack. Your dog may stand over you when it senses danger or has heightened awareness for one reason or another. If you see your dog standing over you while staring elsewhere intently or barking at the door, it may think it is protecting you from harm (even if there is none).
Looking for Attention
If your dog is lacking the attention it needs, it may stand over you because it knows that this act will get your attention. If other methods don’t work to get your attention, your dog may have learned that getting directly into your space is the only way to get you to notice them
Security and Reassurance
Similar to your dog standing over you as an act of protection, your dog may behave this way if it senses danger and wanting reassurance. Standing over you is the only way for a dog to be as close to you as possible without being in a relaxed position like sitting or laying down.
To Get Pets
We all know that dogs can exhibit some interesting behaviors in the name of pets. If a good scratch is what your dog is after, it may stand over you so that you’ll pet their stomach or chest.
The chest is a very overlooked area that can be very soothing for dogs when they receive physical touch there. The belly is another spot that most dogs love to be pet, so it’s convenient if it’s right in your reach while standing over you.
Take Notice of Other Characteristics of Your Dog
It’s essential to pay attention to other characteristics that your dog exhibits to find the underlying reason behind why they stand over you. For example, if you notice your dog displaying acts of aggression such as a fixed stare toward you or growling, it would make sense that the reason they’re standing over you is to show dominance.
If your dog is always on high alert and anxious, it could be standing over you to protect you and for reassurance. Or if your dog is constantly seeking attention, standing over you is most likely just another method to receive attention.
Actions You Can Take to Stop It
Now that you know the reasons behind your dog’s inclination to stand over you, below are a number of things you can do to deal with this behavior.
Don’t Overreact or Respond With Aggression
To dogs, leading the pack means being assertive. Bear in mind that assertion does not equal aggression, so you should lash out at your dog because it will only make things worse. If you’re overly aggressive to your dog, they will have trouble trusting you, which doesn’t help when it comes to training.
Act Pre-Emptively and Be Consistent
The best way to retrain an unwanted behavior is to pre-emptively correct it and be consistent with it. Try and have treats handy so that when you suspect that your dog is going to jump up on you, direct it to sit next to you and give it a treat when the direction is obeyed. This only works if you’re consistent, so you’ll have to be on guard every time you’re lying down.
Reward the Behavior You Want
As mentioned, it’s important to reward good behavior so that your dog understands the benefit of doing those acts. When your dog comes up to you but sits or lays instead of stand over you, be sure to reward it with lots of praise and treats, if appropriate.
Invest in Professional Training
If your dog escalates the situation when you try and retrain them yourself, the behavior may be a more severe issue that necessitates professional help.
Any scenario where your dog reacts aggressively or even snaps at you should not be overlooked. Having an unruly dog that doesn’t trust you is bound to have an endless cycle of problems, so the sooner you invest in correcting this behavior, the better.
Don’t know where to start in getting professional training for your dog? Call up your local veterinarian. Veterinary offices usually have a network and can put you in contact with a professional that specializes in pet behavior therapy.
If your dog is still a puppy, the time is now to get them into obedience training so that you can avoid more serious aggression issues when they’re an adult. Puppy kindergarten classes are a great way to start your dog on its training journey.
In conclusion, companionship with your dog is a two-way street. To make sure we have the best relationship possible with our dogs, it’s important that both their needs and yours are met. If you don’t like that your dog stands over you, it’s your responsibility to let them know by taking action.
Has your dog ever had the inclination to stand over you? Let us know in the comments your perspective and ideas. And don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family. Let’s get the conversation going about this odd behavior coming from our canine friends.