If your German Shepherd keeps sitting on your chest you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you why your German Shepherd sits on your chest and what you can do to make it stop.
So, why does my German Shepherd sit on my chest? Possible reasons are separation anxiety, wanting attention, being protective, you’ve been rewarding the behavior, dominance or that it is just being affectionate.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd sits on your chest. Depending on the cause there are also a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd sits on your chest
Each of the different reasons that your German Shepherd sits on your chest will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons that your German Shepherd might be doing it and the signs to look for.
The reason that your German Shepherd sits on your chest could be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where your German Shepherd does not like being left alone and it gets anxious when it is alone.
This would be more likely to be the reason if your German Shepherd tends to get very anxious when you are going out. Ways that it might show anxiety would be pacing, crying or being destructive while you are away.
If your German Shepherd does seem to have some separation anxiety then you can watch the video below to see a number of tips on what you can do about it.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd so anxious?
The reason that your German Shepherd sits on your chest could be that it is looking for attention.
This would be more likely if it does it when you have not been giving it much attention for a while. It would also be more likely if it sits on your chest at around the same time that you tend to do things such as to take it for a walk or to feed it.
German Shepherds are supposed to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis. The reason that your German Shepherd sits on your chest might be that it wants to make you get up and give it exercise.
This would be more likely to be the reason if it does it when you would normally give it exercise or it does it when you have not given it much exercise.
Generally, it is recommended that a German Shepherd get at least an hour of exercise per day. If your German Shepherd is not currently getting that much exercise then making sure that it does should help reduce any behavioral issues.
Related post: Ways to exercise your German Shepherd.
German Shepherds are natural guard dogs and they are commonly used as guard dogs for that reason. Your German Shepherd might tend to lay on your chest because it is being protective. This would be more likely if it also tends to follow you around.
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
The reason that it sits on your chest might be because you have been rewarding it.
This would be more likely to be the reason if you tend to give it things that it wants when it sits on your chest. For example, you might give it more attention or toys to play with. This would teach it that sitting on your chest will get it things that you want.
If you do not want it to sit on your chest then it would help to avoid giving it things that it wants. Instead, you can reward it when it does not sit on your chest.
One way that dogs would assert their dominance over each other in the wild would be to raise their elevation above the rest of the pack. If your German Shepherd is trying to assert its dominance over you then it might be doing this by sitting on your chest or laying down in higher positions than you.
This is something that you’ll need to prevent from happening so that your German Shepherd continues to see you as its leader. This will help to make it easier to control and reduce disobedience.
It’s just being affectionate
It could be the case that it was just being affectionate when it sat on your chest. This would be more likely if it only did it once and if it was trying to get you to pet it or to rub its belly.
Spreading its scent
It could be that your German Shepherd is trying to spread its scent onto you so that other dogs can smell it. This is its way of saying that you belong to it so that other dogs will steer clear of you.
To prevent this you’ll need to spend time training it to sit and lay down in certain places. Then you can discourage it from sitting on your chest by telling it to sit or lay somewhere else.
Things to consider
Before trying to get your German Shepherd to stop sitting on your chest it would help to have a better understanding of what is causing it to happen. Below, I will mention a couple of particularly useful things that you can consider.
When your German Shepherd started sitting on your chest
When trying to understand why it sits on your chest it would help to consider when it first started doing it.
If it didn’t always sit on your chest and it started doing it suddenly it would help to consider what else happened at around the time that it started doing it.
Some things to consider would be:
- If you moved home
- If someone else moved away
- If its schedule changed
- If you started working different hours
When it does it
It would also help to consider the timing of when it sits on your chest.
If it only seems to sit on your chest in certain situations and at certain times then it could be that there is an external cause for it.
Some things to consider would be if it only does it when you would normally feed it or if it only sits on your chest when you have not given it much attention.
How to stop your German Shepherd from sitting on your chest
There are a number of things that you can do about your German Shepherd sitting on your chest that I will mention below.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
Train it to sit or lay somewhere else
You can also train your German Shepherd not to sit on your chest 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 when it tries to sit on your chest and then gradually teaching it to stay there over longer and longer time periods.
You can do this by applying the same techniques as in the video below:
Give it attention throughout the day
One way to get your German Shepherd to stop seeking attention from you is to give it attention when it’s not sitting on your chest.
By doing this it will not need to do things like sitting on your chest to get your attention since it will be getting enough of it anyway.
You can give it attention by walking it, training it or play games such as tug of war with it.
Avoid giving reinforcing the behavior
If you tend to give your German Shepherd things that it wants in order to get it to get off your chest, it could be the case that you have encouraged it to do it more.
Instead of giving it things that it wants you could try teaching it to sit or lay down somewhere else and then to reward it for that instead.
I have written about how you can teach your German Shepherd “down” in the past here.
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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.