When you sit down to relax, do you have a shadow? Or maybe it feels more like a growth on your side now. It seems like whenever you sit down, your dog has to sit right next to you!
But, why is this happening? Is there an explanation for why your dog is sitting so close to you?
Yes, your dog could be sitting by you because they are protective or they’re marking their territory. They might also be feeling anxious or begging for food. Or, maybe your dog is just cold and is looking for the comfiest spot in the house, right next to you!
Whatever the reason might be, below we discuss some possible causes and solutions for a dog that always needs to sit right next to you.
Reason 1: Your Dog Could Have Separation Anxiety.
One of the biggest reasons your dog is sitting so close to you could be that they have anxiety. Have you ever heard the of term, “velcro dog?” A velcro dog is a dog that literally is attached to you like velcro. A velcro dog stays right next to their owner while they are doing almost anything, including sitting down!
One of the reasons a dog becomes a velcro dog and sits so close to you is that they have separation anxiety.
Anxiety is a real disorder that dogs can develop, just like people can! For dogs, the most common form of anxiety is separation anxiety. But, why would separation anxiety cause a dog to sit close to their owner?
Well, one of the ways dogs seek out comfort is through physical touch. For most dogs, being touched or pet is a very calming experience. As you can imagine, this creates the cycle of the velcro dog! This dog needs to be in physical contact with their owner at all times.
If you sit down and your dog always sits right next to you, you may be dealing with an anxious velcro doggy!
Reason 2: Your Dog Is Being Protective.
Maybe your dog doesn’t have anxiety but is actually trying to guard you when they sit close to you.
Something special to note about your dog’s behavior is that your dog is sitting next to you, not laying next to you. The fact that they are sitting shows that they are alert, and not completely relaxed. This alertness could be because your dog is trying to protect you.
Although we might dress our dogs in costumes, paint their nails, and get their teeth cleaned, when it comes down to it, dogs are still animals. Dogs are animals who follow their instincts. One quality or instinct that many dogs have is to be protective of their family.
Some specific breeds of dogs that were bred to be protective are German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers. Even if your dog isn’t one of these, it’s still possible that they have guard dog-like tendencies!
In this video compilation, you can see some examples of how dogs protect their own puppies. You can see that they use their bodies and are usually sitting up and alert, or standing.
So we can see that dogs are protective by nature. IF your dog considers you to be a part of their pack or family, this could be why your dog always sits next to you. They want to make sure they are ready for anything that might happen to you.
Reason 3: Your Dog Is Begging!
If you don’t know what begging is, consider yourself lucky! You would be a part of the minority in this case. Many dog owners deal with dogs begging for treats and food multiple times throughout the day (especially treats they shouldn’t be eating like lunch meat).
When dogs beg, they sit close to you, make their eyes big and stare at you. Scientists think that by making their eyes bigger, dogs are trying hard to communicate something to you. The closer they sit to you, the more urgent this message may seem!
If your dog is sitting close to you and they’re also staring at you they’re probably begging.
In most cases begging is not an ideal behavior and we will talk about some ways to deal with this down below!
Reason 4: Your Dog Is Marking Their Territory.
No! We’re not saying that your dog wants to pee on you! Instead, there are many ways that dogs mark territory from sitting super close to laying right on your face or even something like sleeping by the front door.
When your dog sits uncomfortably close to you, they might be doing this to send a message to other dogs. This message is that you are part of their territory and they should not approach you. The way that they can do this is by leaving their scent on you.
This is a little bit different from your dog protecting you. By sitting so close to you that they are touching you, they can leave their scent behind. This way, if another dog has any question to who you might “belong” to, all they need to do is take a little sniff.
Certain breeds of dogs are known for their tendency to sit right next to or even on their owners. Great Danes are a great example of a dog who likes to claim their territory by sitting on it! If you’ve never spent time with a Great Dane before, the video below should show you what we’re talking about.
As you can see these big not only sit by their owners but they are sitting right on them. This is a clear communication to other dogs that your territory has been claimed and many Great Danes also do it as a way of showing affection and love!
Reason 5: You’ve Got the Best Seat In the House!
This last reason is almost so obvious that you might not even have thought about it!
Usually, when we sit down, we pick a comfy spot, like a couch or a bed. Well, your dog also likes to be comfortable. It’s possible that your dog is sitting close to you because you’ve chosen the best spot in the house!
If you’re not on the couch and your dog still has to sit next to you, maybe there are other comfy spots they like too! Another place dogs might enjoy sitting close to you is on a yoga or workout mat! Many owners report that their dogs come and join them while stretching or working out. Dogs seem to like joining humans on the floor so much, there are even yoga classes now for owners and their pets.
While this might make things a little difficult for you, your dog is probably just excited! They enjoy being at the same level as you, whether that’s on the ground or on the couch. They just want to be as close as possible!
Reason 6: You’re Warm and It’s Cold Outside!
Did you move to a colder area? Or is it winter? If so, your dog might decide to sit close to you so they can steal some body heat!
It is very normal for dogs to experience negative effects from the weather just like we do, and they want to be warm and cozy too! By sitting right next to us, dogs are able to share our body heat.
Even though most people think of heat when they think of dangerous weather and dogs, the cold can be just as problematic! Smaller dogs are more negatively affected by harsh weather, but all dogs can get cold. If you know your dog’s weight, you can refer to the table below. If they have short hair they are all more likely to become cold easily. So if your dog is small with short hair, odds are good they get cold easily!
This table from Petplan shows how the cold can affect your dog! On the right side you can see temperatures, and the top shows the size of the dog. Any red, orange, or yellow areas indicate some risk for your dog.
You can see that small dogs are more susceptible to effects from the cold. If it’s wet outside the risks can even increase further!
Now, you might be thinking that your house is never this cold! But, even if your house is warm but you went outside for a walk, your dog could still get very cold from this.
Sitting extra close to you could be a sign that your dog is not warm. If this is the case with your dog, we can only hope that this is a mutually beneficial relationship and that by sitting next to you, your dog is also warming you up! Who doesn’t like a good snuggle buddy when the weather is bad outside?
How Do I Know Why My Dog is Sitting So Close To Me?
Now that we’ve defined a few key reasons why your dog sits so close to you, hopefully you can start to understand which reason it is. If your dog seems to be a velcro dog, this could explain their proximity to you.
If your dog seems alert, they could be protecting you. Maybe your dog is even sitting on you, in this case they could be marking their territory. Perhaps your dog is sitting close and staring at you, while begging for treats. And if none of these reasons make sense to you, maybe your dog just wants a comfortable seat or to warm up from the cold!
If you still don’t have your answer, below we’re going to discuss some things that probably wouldn’t explain why your dog sits right next to you.
Your Dog Probably Isn’t Sick Or In Pain
Although your first instinct might be to worry about your dog when they’re acting a little odd, your dog is probably just fine. Some people might think that when their dog sits close to them it’s because the dog is sick or injured.
Usually, if a dog is sick or injured they tend to stay away from the action. This behavior actually comes from natural instincts. To put it simply, dogs like to be alone when they’re not feeling well. You can usually find them quiet and secluded in a corner when they’re sick.
This being said, if your dog is sitting alert right next to you, don’t worry that they might be sick. If they weren’t feeling well, their instincts would tell them to go and hide, not to sit next to you.
Sitting By You Isn’t Your Dog’s Way of Asserting Dominance.
We talked about the idea that your dog could be protecting you or acting territorial if they sit near you. But, is it possible that they are trying to assert dominance, or act aggressively?
Our honest answer is, no. When you have a large breed dog, like a Great Dane sitting right next to you, it can feel a little aggressive. They’re large, strong and maybe even taller then you on the couch. These things aren’t their way of bullying you though.
Signs of dominance aggression are different depending on the dog. These signs also change depending on whether the dog is aiming them at a human or another canine companion. Asserting dominance towards a human can look like disobedience, resource guarding, and biting.
If all your dog is doing is sitting close to you, they are not trying to act aggressively or to dominate you.
Should You Worry?
Let’s go over the reasons why your dog is sitting next to you and see if any of them are a cause for worry!
If you think your dog has separation anxiety, this is something that you can easily help with. Separation anxiety comes from a fear of being alone or separated from an owner. Some ways to help this are to give your dog rewards when you leave, and give them something to entertain them while you’re gone. Bones, antlers and treats are a great start. With this handy little Furbo dog camera on Amazon, you can also you can see what your dog is doing, talk to them, and even throw them treats while you’re gone! A great option for anxious dogs.
If you think your dog is sitting by you as a protective measure, this is not a bad thing. As long as your dog doesn’t take their job too seriously and turn towards aggressive behaviors, this should be fine. This is also true if you think your dog is marking their scent on you. If this behavior doesn’t escalate there is no need to worry and you can actually take it a s a compliment.
However if you’ve decided that your dog is begging, this is a problem you can work on. Having your dog next to you is nice, but not while they’re staring at your food. One of the easiest ways to stop a dog from begging is to never reward them for begging. As in, never give them food when they’re sitting right next to you.
Instead, think about redirecting your dog to their bed or to a spot on the floor before rewarding them with a treat. This positive reinforcement technique should help to teach your dog that they get snacks on the floor, not when they’re seated right next to you!
If your dog is sitting next to you to be comfortable or warm, this might be nice for both of you. But, if you want a little space from the cuddle, try getting your dog a comfier, warmer bed. This will encourage them to spend a little more time there instead of right by your side.
Our Last Thoughts
We hope that you figured out why your dog is sitting so close to you. We also hope this is something that you and your dog both enjoy, and that if not you have the tools to fix this behavior.