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11 Surprising Reasons Why Your Dog Sits Behind You + 3 Tips

Why Does My Dog Sit Behind Me

You’re worried that someone’s always with you.

Sitting behind you on the couch, and even outside. 

But no, it’s not your shadow.

They’re smaller, cuter, and furry… 

It’s your dog!

In this article, you’ll find out:

  • How to know if you have a ‘velcro’ dog.
  • 11 surprising reasons why your dog sits behind you.
  • 3 tips on what to do if your pooch is always sitting behind your back.
  • And much much more…

Why does my dog sit behind me?

Your dog sits behind you for reasons such as wanting to be close, rubbing their scent on you, being protective or sick, showing affection, looking for a safe zone, keeping themselves warm, having no space, lacking boundaries, or you’re reinforcing the behavior. 

People also ask: 

11 reasons why your dog sits behind you 

#1: They want to get close to you

“What a nice morning! I just wanna sit down on my couch today.”, you say.

“Ooh! Great idea hooman. Scoot over. Thanks.”, your dog agreed.

Your dog’s favorite sitting spot on the couch is behind you because they want to be close to you always.

“But why’s that?”

Dogs are pack animals. 

When they’re alone or living in isolation, they get lonely and sad. 

As much as possible, they always want to be with their dog parents and friends. 

But, there’s a thin line between having a healthy relationship with your dog. And them being overly-attached. 

Does your pooch sit behind you when they just feel like it? 

Or are they always sitting behind you because they can’t ever, EVER be away from you? 

You see, there are two types of attached dogs: a velcro dog and one who has separation anxiety. 

But what’s the difference between the two? 

And most importantly… which one’s your dog?

Velcro dogs

Your dog can manage to be alone, but they prefer to be around you always.

In this case, you may have a ‘velcro’ dog, a.k.a. clingy dog. 

These are loyal pooches who are always with their dog parents. 

Examples of these are working dogs. Like Border Collies who herd cattle. 

And the service dogs who assist their dog parents who have disabilities.

They’re with their dog parents when they’re on the job. And even at home as part of their family. 

Another example are lap dogs. 

Like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chihuahuas, Pugs, Poms, etc.

These dog breeds are more likely to become velcro pooches compared to others. 

And it’s because they always want to snuggle and get all cuddly with their dog parents.

So what are the other signs of a velcro dog? 

  • Following you everywhere. 
  • Wanting to be with you always. 
  • Always keeping watch on your actions. 

Dogs with separation anxiety

Does your dog sit behind you because they’re scared of being alone?

If yes, then you might be dealing with a dog with separation anxiety. 

So how common is this behavior in dogs?

Vet Naturals conducted a survey in the US recently. 

The results state that 61% of dog parents say that their dogs exhibit separation anxiety whenever they leave. 

So why would a dog have this behavior?

Dogs who have a traumatic past are most likely to develop separation anxiety. 

Like the pooches who came from shelters, puppy mills. 

And those who experienced abuse and neglect. 

They’re quite similar to the ‘velcro’ dogs. Both always want to stay close to their dog parents. 

But the only difference between the two is anxiety. 

When dogs with separation anxiety are left alone, they tend to do destructive things like:

If you want to know more about this topic, take a look at this article here.

#2: You’re their human shield

Your Dog Sits Behind You Because You're Their Human Shield

Another reason why your pooch sits behind you is because they’re looking for a safe zone.

Here’s a scenario.

“Help Mom/Dad!

The cat is bullying me again.”

Every time your cat’s being mean with your dog, your pooch pushes their way behind you to sit there instead. 

Somehow, your dog sees you as a human shield that would defend them from the wrath of your kitty. 


Okay, maybe you don’t have a cat. Instead, you may have children. And the kids keep on bothering your dog. 

They may be playing with your dog’s tail, but your pooch would rather sleep.

So to get away from them, your dog runs behind you for comfort. 

They know that you’ll stop the cat/kids from bothering them. 

#3: They’re rubbing their scent on you

You wonder why your dog sits behind you every time you’re outside. 

“Is it because they’re hiding from something?”

It could be. Especially if you’re in a crowded dog park or public plaza. 

But if your dog isn’t the shy type, then another reason why they do this is because they’re rubbing their scent on you. 

Dogs have an amazing sense of smell. It’s 50 times better than us humans. 

And according to research, their scent-detection skills are very useful in terms of security and human health.

They can sniff bombs in an airport. 

Smell cancer and diabetes in people. 

Or even detect cadavers lost in forests and lakes. (Yikes!)

Now back to your pooch. 

Your dog knows that other dogs can smell you too.

So it’s not surprising why they would want to rub their scent on you. They want to let other dogs know that you’re their human. And you belong with them.

In short, they’re ‘claiming’ you.

#4: They want to protect you

There are many other seats in your living area. But for some reason, your dog sits behind you on the couch. 

Why’s that?

It’s possible that they’re being protective of you. 

And by being close to you, they can easily ward off potential threats. Just in case something comes up.

Look around your space. 

Does your dog get a good vantage point of all the doors from where you’re sitting?

Or can they see everything from that spot? Including all doors and windows?

Some dogs are more protective of their territory and dog parents compared to others. 

Especially the guard dog breeds like: 

  • Akita.
  • Rottweiler.
  • Bullmastiffs.
  • Dobermans. 
  • German Shepherds.

#5: To show affection

Your dog sits behind you out of habit. They’ve been doing it since they were a little pup. 

Sometimes, they even lay down their head on your back. 

And they’re content with that. 

Awwww. That’s so sweet!

For your pooch, sitting behind you at home and even outside, is a comforting activity. It’s a way for them to bond and show their affection to you. 

#6: They’re scared/shy

Your Dog Is Scared Or Shy

Whenever you have visitors at home, your dog sits behind you. 

They’re like a scared kid hiding in their mother’s skirt. 

“Why is my dog like this?”

Your dog could be behaving this way because they’re scared or shy of other people. Possibly of other dogs, too. 

This is caused by a lack of socialization. 

They may not be exposed much because they’re always alone with you. 

Or as a pup, they were separated too early from their birth mother and siblings. 

#7: To keep themselves warm

During summer, your pooch avoids any physical contact with you.

But once winter comes, they become the most clingy and cuddly dogs in the whole world. 

They sleep beside you. And they always sit behind you on the couch. 

For them, sitting close to you is the coziest and most comfortable position. They do this to keep themselves warm. 

And at the same time, you’re being warmed, too. 

#8: Reinforcement

Your dog always sits behind you. It’s cute the first and second time it happened. 

But now you can’t even sit or stand anywhere without your dog doing this behavior.

Sometimes, they even make you move or scoot over. 

They take over your space until only half of your butt’s sitting on the couch.


This might’ve happened because you always allowed them to do this. 

Perhaps you’ve also given them some petting while they’re at it. 

That’s why they thought of sitting behind you as something acceptable to do. 

Your pooch may be thinking:

“Hey, I think my hooman likes it when I sit behind them. 

Must do this always.”

I get it. 

Whenever my dog initiates coming close to me, I feel honored as well. I feel like hey, I’m the chosen one.

But remember. Doggos are intelligent (and sneaky) animals. 

Once they’ve learned that a certain action or behavior will earn rewards like petting, they’ll continue doing it. 

Over and over again. 

#9: Lack of boundaries

“My dog sits behind me, on my lap, my foot, and my face…” 

Oh no!

Your dog’s invading your personal space. And it’s because there’s a lack of boundaries at your home.

Like this one in the video below. 

So what causes this kind of behavior in dogs?

Puppies are the best time to train your dog on how to behave properly. 

As early as possible, you must let them know the rules. And which actions are acceptable for you and the other members of the family.  

If you fail to do so, they may become unruly as they mature. 

Here’s what might’ve happened before.

You allowed your pooch to sit on your lap the first time. That’s why they thought it’s okay to sit behind you too. 

(You adore your dog, so you let this one slide.)

The next thing you know… your dog’s sitting on your face when you’re lying down. 

With their butts facing you. 


#10: They’re sick

Your dog might also sit behind you because they’re not feeling well. 

They may have found your presence comforting. So they want to stay close to you. 

In this case, you must observe your pooch. 

Vetstreet says you should look out for signs of sickness such as: 

  • Lacking appetite.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Decreasing energy level. 
  • Having a body temperature of more than 102.5 degrees. 

#11: There’s no other space

“Omgosh. No seats left? 

Okay, where my hooman sits, I sit.”

The last possible reason why your dog sits behind you is that… 

There’s no other space left in your place to sit on. 

Maybe you have a big family, or some relatives are staying with you for a while.

Your dog doesn’t have their own dog bed. That’s why they settle on the next best thing. 

Which is sitting behind you on the couch.

3 tips on what to do if your dog sits behind you

#1: Give them their own space

If you give your dog their own sitting area, they’ll refrain from sitting behind you. 

Especially if your couch gets crowded

So get them a dog bed. Place it beside your reading nook or couch.

It will be like a sanctuary they can go over when they just want to relax and spread out their legs. 

(Because sitting behind you isn’t really the most comfortable place to be.)

Not only that. 

By using different spaces, you’ll also train them to become more independent. 

#2: Let them socialize

Your dog shies away from visitors and other dogs by sitting behind you. 

In this case, you have to help them build their self-esteem. 

Organize playdates. But this time, invite just one dog. 

This is because you don’t want to overwhelm them with lots of other dogs. If you do this, your pooch will become anxious.

Do it slowly, and let them get acquainted with the other pooch in a safe environment. 

You can also do this with other people. Invite a friend of yours who loves dogs. 

Based on research, dogs can sense a human’s emotions and mood. 

So if your pooch senses that the person’s not afraid and means no harm, they’ll get along easier.

By letting your dog socialize, they’ll gain more confidence. And they’ll refrain from sitting behind you when they’re scared. 

#3: Move away or ignore them

But what if your dog sits behind you because they lack boundaries and respect?

Give them the cold shoulder. 

Yes, you’ve read that right!

Ignore them. Or move away from them when they sit behind you. 

At first, they’d wonder why you’re leaving. But when you do it repetitively, they’d get the hint eventually. 

“Oh, so that’s why my human leaves! 

They don’t want me sitting behind them.” 

Once they’ve learned this, they’d avoid sitting behind you. (Or on you.)