If your German Shepherd keeps sitting on you this post will show you why and what you can do about it.
So, why does my German Shepherd sit on me? Possible reasons are that it wants attention, is bored, is being dominant, has separation anxiety or you might have inadvertently reinforced the behavior.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd does it. Depending on the cause, there are also a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to stop sitting on you as well.
Why your German Shepherd sits on you
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd does it will likely come with some clues.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might sit on you and the things that will make them more likely.
It wants attention
The reason why your German Shepherd sits on you could be that it wants attention. This would be more likely if it does it when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does things such as sit on you.
Instead, it would help to try and give it attention throughout the day by playing with it, giving it exercise and training it and to avoid giving it attention when it tries to sit on you.
German Shepherds are meant to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis. When they don’t get much exercise it can lead to issues with their behavior and health. Generally, it is recommended for them to get an hour of exercise per day.
If your German Shepherd is not getting that much exercise then it might be that it sits on you because it is trying to get you to give it exercise. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you have not given it any exercise.
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
You have inadvertently rewarded it
It might be the case that it has been sitting on you because you have been inadvertently rewarding the behavior. If you tend to give it things that it wants, when it sits on you, such as toys, treats or attention then it might be that it has learned that sitting on you will get it those things.
Instead, of rewarding it 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.
A way that dogs assert their dominance over each other in the wild is to raise their elevation above the rest of the pack. If your German Shepherd is trying to be dominant then it might be doing this by sitting on you or sitting down in higher positions than you.
This is something that is important to prevent from happening so that your German Shepherd continues to see you as its leader which will help to make it easier to control. You can do this by training it to sit or to lay down in certain places that are lower than where you sit.
The reason why it tends to sit on you might be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and the thought of being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely if it tends to show signs of being anxious when you are leaving such as to cry, pace or whine.
You’re in its spot
It might be that it likes sitting where you choose to sit. If that is the case, then it will be important to train it not to sit where you sit so that it does not see itself as being more dominant than you.
Things to consider
There are a number of things that you can consider that will help you in figuring out why your German Shepherd sits on you. Below, I will mention a couple of particularly helpful things to think about.
When it started sitting on you
If your German Shepherd didn’t always try to sit on you then it would help to consider what happened when it started doing it.
If, for instance, you rewarded it one time when it was sitting on you then it might be that it learned that doing so would get it rewards.
If it has always done it then it could be due to separation anxiety, dominance or wanting attention. In any case, it would help to train it to lay down or to sit in other places.
When it does it
The timing of when it lays down would also be helpful to consider. If it tends to sit on you more at certain times then it could be that there is something causing it.
For example, if it tends to sit on you when you have not walked it or fed it then it might be reminding you of that.
How to get your German Shepherd to stop sitting on you
There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to stop sitting on you that I will mention below.
Train it not to
You can train your German Shepherd 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. I have written about how you can teach your German Shepherd the “down” command here.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
You can do this by applying the same techniques as in the video below:
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned earlier, it could be that your German Shepherd has learned that sitting on you gets it things that it wants.
Instead, of rewarding it when it sits on you it would help to train it not to do it and to reward it when it is being well behaved.
Give it attention throughout the day
Since it might be the case that it sits on you because it is looking for attention it would help to give it attention throughout the day. By doing this it will not need to do things like lay on you to get your attention since it will be getting enough of it anyway.
You can give it more attention by walking it more, training it, playing fetch with it or playing games such as tug of war with it.
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Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.
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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.