Why Does My Dog Sit Behind Me On The Couch?

dog sitting behind the owner on a couch

There are several reasons your dog sits behind you on the couch. They may simply enjoy spending time with you, looking to you for protection, find it comfortable, or are trying to protect you. Remember, dogs are pack animals. They don’t view personal space the same way humans do.

Have you ever gone to sit on the couch, only to have your dog crawl in right behind you? Although this behavior may seem odd, it’s completely normal. Dogs demonstrate a lot of behaviors that might seem bizarre at first, but when you learn the reason behind why they do certain things, it begins to make sense.

There are several reasons your dog may sit behind you on the couch. We will go into each of those below. To figure out which reason is responsible for your dog’s behavior, it’s important to pay attention to their body language. Do they seem excited? Anxious? Scared? Analyzing their body language is crucial when getting to the bottom of this behavior.

Comfort and Safety

Being between you and the couch may make your dog feel safe and protected. We need to remember that dogs are naturally den animals. They feel safe and secure in tight areas. That’s not to say they don’t like running around in an open field, but when they’re seeking safety, they want “tight corners.”

That’s why some dogs are obsessed with their crates. The crate is a safe area they can retreat to.

Protection

Along the same lines, your dog may sit behind you on the couch because they are afraid of something and want you to protect them.

Analyze the situation. Is there something out of the ordinary going on? Maybe a thunderstorm, a new kitchen appliance, or even something as small as a new plant? Is there an unknown visitor in the home? All these things (as small as some may appear) can cause fear.

When your dog sits behind you, they’re looking to you for protection.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is the inability for a dog to cope with their owner’s absence. Dogs with separation anxiety tend to stay as close as possible to their owners. When walking, your dog will be right at your feet. When you sit, your dog will sit as close as possible to you.

When your dog sits behind you, it could be their way of expressing their separation anxiety.

Illness

When dogs are less active and suddenly become attached, it may be a sign that they are sick. This attachment could be expressed by sitting near or behind you on the couch. Many things can trigger illness, even a swift change in their diet.

Watch for other signs of illness, including a dry nose, loss of appetite, and diarrhea or vomiting. If you notice any of these, contact your vet ASAP.

Protecting You

Have you ever heard the term “watching over your shoulder”? That’s exactly what your dog could be doing.

If your dog seems alert as they sit behind you, they may be in a position to protect you. Dogs are possessive of many things, including their owners. When they sit behind you, they may be positioning themselves to react fast in a time of trouble.

Assuming your dog is not showing signs of aggression, this is typically harmless.

Claiming The Spot

When your dog sits right behind you on the couch, they may be claiming that spot as theirs. Dogs are possessive over what they believe is “theirs.” If they’ve made a habit of sitting in that spot, they may think it belongs to them.

The good news is you can train this belief out of them. However, it will take a lot of time and patience.

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Sitting Behind You

Dogs are creatures of habit, so the best way to end a behavior is to break the habit. Redirection is the key to success when trying to break a habit.

Start by providing your dog with another comfortable spot in the room (or on the couch). You can place their favorite blanket, bed, or toy in that area to entice the dog.

When your dog attempts to sit behind you, direct them to the place you have set up for them. Reward your dog with treats and praise when they go to the desired area. Consistency is crucial. Continue doing this until your dog breaks the habit of sitting behind you.

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