If your German Shepherd keeps sitting on your lap you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might sit on your lap and a number of things that you can do about it.
So, why does my German Shepherd sit on my lap? Possible reasons are that it wants attention, it is being dominant, you’re in its spot, it’s spreading its scent or that you have inadvertently reinforced the behavior.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to understand why your German Shepherd sits on your lap. Depending on the cause, there are also a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd sits on your lap
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd sits on your lap will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might do it and the signs to look for.
It wants attention
The reason why your German Shepherd sits on your lap 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 lap at around the same time that you tend to do things such as to take it for a walk or to feed it.
It is being dominant
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 lap 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. You can do this by not allowing your German Shepherd to position itself in higher positions than you and to spend time training it to listen to your command.
You’re in its spot
It could be that the place that you choose to sit is also where your German Shepherd likes to sit and that your German Shepherd is trying to get you out of it.
If it often sits or lays down in the same place that you normally sit then this could be the case. In this instance, it’s important to teach your German Shepherd that you’re the one that is in charge. You can do this by spending lots of time training it and especially by training it to sit in certain places.
To spread 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 lap by telling it to sit or lay somewhere else.
It has been reinforced
It might be the case that you have been inadvertently teaching it to sit on your lap. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things that it wants such as treats or attention when it sits on your lap.
Instead, it would help to avoid giving it attention when it sits on your lap and to train it to sit somewhere else and to reward it for that.
The reason why your German Shepherd sits on your lap 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.
Things to consider
Before trying to get your German Shepherd to stop sitting on your lap it would help to have a good understanding of what is causing it. Below, I will mention a couple of particularly helpful things that you can consider.
When it first started sitting on your lap
When trying to understand why it sits on your lap it would help to consider when it first started doing it.
If it didn’t always sit on your lap 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 lap.
If it only seems to sit on your lap 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 lap when you have not given it much attention.
How to get your German Shepherd to stop sitting on your lap
There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to stop sitting on your lap 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.
If your German Shepherd is sitting on your lap because it is looking for attention, which is often the case, then the best way to get it to stop is to leave and completely ignore it.
This means that you should get it off you, wait for it to calm down, reward it for behaving, then sit back down. If it tries to sit on you again then repeat the process.
Train it not to
You can also train your German Shepherd not to sit on your lap 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 lap 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:
Avoid encouraging it
It could be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving things that it wants when it does it.
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.
Give it distractions
Another option you have is to give your German Shepherd things to be distracted with. You can do this by giving it chews to chew on or toys to play with.
Most Recommended For German Shepherds
Best German Shepherd Training Program
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.
Best German Shepherd Guide
Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.