Do you often find that while you’re lying on your bed or relaxing on the couch that your dog is suddenly looming over you or even decides to stand on you?
This may not be such a big deal when your pet is a puppy, but once it grows (especially if it’s a larger breed), it can prove inconvenient or even downright painful!
What is going on here?
There are actually a wide variety of reasons why your dog may participate in this behavior and it’s important to be perceptive as to when it happens in order to determine which reason is behind it.
We will take a look at many reasons behind this activity, so the next time you wonder, “Why does my dog stand over me like this?” you will have the information you need to determine that for yourself.
Reason 1 - Dominance
Canines can be aggressive creatures by nature (some more than others) and that does not merely correspond with their relationships with other dogs.
Sometimes they want you to know they are the boss. They can typically employ the same behavior with a human that they do with other dogs when wanting to demonstrate who is the dominant or stronger in the relationship.
Some signs of this behavior can be when your dog tries to keep his body higher than yours, especially his head, when you’re reclining or in a similar position. Also, if he puts one paw up on your shoulder, then it can be a sign that he’s trying to say that he is Alpha here.
Watch to see if he makes attempts to move you or nudge you out of the way as this can also be a sign he is attempting to show dominance over you. Also look for other dominant behaviors, with other dogs or in general, such as growling when anyone approaches his toys or food, or whether he tries to take down or stand over other dogs as well.
Reason 2 - Security
Sometimes his behavior is actually more for his own security and well-being than any attempt to show you who is in charge. If your puppy made a habit of climbing onto you (often trembling) when afraid, this may simply be the grown-up version of that.
You are just a security blanket and your dog feels safe when atop you.
To discover if this is the cause, watch your dog’s behavior when it stands over you and if possible, any stimuli that may have occurred just beforehand. That might be a clue that something has frightened your pet and he is looking for comfort.
Reason 3 - Need
Rather than having any emotional significance, your dog standing over you could just be an attempt to let you know that he needs something from you.
That may be a trip outside to potty, food, a walk outside, play time, or any number of different things. After all, when he climbs on top of you or stands over you, he earns your attention immediately.
If he tries to nudge or lick your mouth in addition to standing over you, this may be a clue that it’s food he’s after. The same may be true if he tries to climb on you when you’re trying to eat.
Monitor the times when this takes place to see if it corresponds with mealtimes or extended times without potty breaks, etc. That will help you figure out if this is just your dog’s way of letting you know there’s something he wants or needs.
Reason 4 - Protection
Believe it or not, your dog’s standing over you may simply indicate that he’s trying to keep you safe. There may be something nearby that he views as a threat and he is standing over you to keep that threat at bay.
If this behavior occurs when other dogs or around or other people, especially those he doesn’t know very well, this may be all he is doing. He values you and he wants to ensure that you are safe from harm.
Reason 5 - Rewards
It is possible that you have unintentionally trained your dog to do this behavior as a puppy or perhaps are in the process of training your canine companion to do this every day.
This usually involves you rewarding the dog for this behavior in some way, whether you meant to or not. This may involve giving him attention when he does this, affection, or even a treat.
Therefore, he may be trying to get some more. If your dog often craves attention, then this simply may be a way to get that attention from him.
Furthermore, he may be trying to make you happy if you have reacted in a way that makes him think you liked when he stood over you before.
Other Things to Consider
Take into account when the behavior first began and pay attention to when it tends to take place. This may be some clue as to which of the categories that this behavior falls under.
If you do not approve of this behavior, there are ways to retrain your dog to behave differently.
You may have to train the dog to lay down or sit in a specific place at your command, so you can give this order anytime he tries to stand over you. That may let him understand this is not appropriate behavior.
Redirection can also be a valuable tool to turn his attention to something else.
If nothing else, a professional trainer can work with your canine to train him so that he understands that this behavior is inappropriate.
Your dog is important to you, and you want to have the best experience in your relationship as possible. This may involve modification of his behavior, so even though it can be a difficult road, training your furry friend in how he should act is not only important for your sake, but can keep your pal safe.
For example, dominant behavior can put your dog at risk for fighting with other dogs, especially those who are considerably larger. As this often takes place outside, it might also be a good precaution to get a GPS tracking collar, such as those provided by Fi. Whatever the reason, it’s a good idea to be able to find your dog in the event that he is missing.