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7 Reasons Why Your Dog Sits Next To You On The Couch + Tips

Why Does My Dog Sit Next To Me On The Couch

Picture this:

You’re sitting on your couch and your dog pops up to sit next to you.

Do you ever wonder why they do that?

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How you can effectively regulate your dog’s couch access.
  • 9 real reasons why your dog sits next to you on the couch.
  • 5 tips on what you can do when your dog repeats this pattern.
  • And so much more… 

Why does my dog sit next to me on the couch?

Your dog sits next to you on the couch to feel your comfort and security. They also do this as a way to spread their scent. Another reason is that they can sense your emotions, making it their way of comforting you. But also, they could be waiting to receive something. 

7 reasons why your dog sits next to you on the couch

#1: To spread their scent

Does your dog rub their body on your couch? This could be their way of scent marking that area. 

This is similar to urine marking on new areas. 

They do this to send a message to other dogs or when they encounter a new scent.

Usually, they sit on the couch and rub themselves against the cushions. This means that they notice your scent on it as well and they want to mark theirs too. 

With that, they’d also want to claim the space on the couch as theirs – by leaving their scent there.

It’s best to allow them to scent mark so they can relieve themselves.

Although if this leads to urine marking on the couch, it would be time to start creating boundaries. 

Interesting fact: This has no relation to dominance. Spreading their scent is a natural and common behavior, especially if the dog is brought to a new place. 

#2: For comfort and security

Your Dog Sits Next To You On The Couch For Comfort And Security

Providing comfort and security is the best way to show affection for our pups. 

When your dog hops on the couch and squeezes themselves closer to you, this is so they could feel your warmth.

At times, you may even be wondering why they’re so close when there’s plenty of room left. 

This all traces back to their behavior of cuddling. 

It’s most common with puppies because they need their mother figure to comfort and keep them safe. 

And in this case, you’re the replacement of that mother figure!

You may give them a bed, but when they see that you’re far from them, they’d want to move closer so they could feel you beside them. 

This feeling provides, even more, love and safety.

It’s your job to form a loving bond as early as you can with your dog.

#3: They feel your emotions

It’s amazing how your dog can sense how you feel. 

You could be feeling down and worried. This would make your dog jump on the couch to sit next to you. 

Moving closer to you means that they want to communicate or create a bond to understand what you’re feeling.

They may even lay there, on your lap, and start licking your hands or arms.

A similar study explains that a dogs’ act of licking is to display affection or a form of greeting.  

Your dog also wants to support you when they notice something different.

It could be a change in your movements or even facial expressions.

They’ll end up showing you they care in their own ways.

Fun fact: Dogs and their dog parents can experience synchronized emotions.

#4: They want to protect or guard you

Your dog would consider you as part of their pack. 

And with that, they’d watch out for any harm they sense coming your way. 

If you’d also notice, some dogs would be protective over their food bowl or favorite toys.

This is because these things are important to them, like how you are.

For example, let’s look at a Doberman Pinscher. 

They’re natural guard dogs who’ll do whatever it takes to protect their pack.

So if your dog sits next to you on the couch, it can also be because they’re ready to defend you from danger.

#5: They want something from you

They could be asking you to bring them out to urinate. They could also be hungry since it’s almost time for them to eat.

Aside from that, you should also think about what you and your dog did before they decided to sit next to you on the couch.

Did you give them a treat? Did you play fetch or go for a walk? 

If they see that you’re sitting on the couch, they could also sit with you because they’re trying to tell you something.

They could want another treat or still want to play. 

What’s the best thing to do here? Retrace what you both did and communicate with them. 

There was interesting research about humans’ communication with dogs. 

It showed that the tone of a human’s voice is the main factor that your dog would understand. 

So when your dog sits next to you on the couch, try to communicate with them and figure it out together.

Remember: You have to change the whole tone of your voice if you want your dog to understand.

#6: They want attention

This is a reason that all dog parents can relate to. 

There are times when you want a break and a moment for yourself to relax on the couch. 

But sooner or later, your dog jumps on it to sit next to you.

This is because they have no one to play with or they realize that you’re not focused on them. 

We all know that dogs need our attention because they can get bored. 

The best way to fix this attention-seeking problem is to balance their time on and off the couch.

Don’t worry! I’ll discuss more tips for this as you continue reading.

#7: They have separation anxiety

This issue is what makes us dog parents weak for our loving little dogs. 

Being away from them can cause this type of anxiety and attachment issues. 

If your dog realizes that you often leave your home, they’d be anxious when the time comes that you’d leave them again.

They sit next to you on the couch because they want to be able to see you and be by your side until the moment you leave. 

While you’re away, expect that they’ll continue sitting on the couch because that’s where your scent lies. 

Separation anxiety is something that you have to manage with your dog. 

And simple routines would help.

Note: You have to make your pup understand that there will be times when you’re not around. 

Reading tip: How to tell if your dog has anxiety? 18 signs

5 tips on what to do if your dog sits next to you on the couch

#1: Notice their behavior

You have to notice the way they act the moment they sit next to you on the couch.

This is where you have to be alert because when they sit with you, it doesn’t always mean affection. 

Notice if they’re wagging their tail, letting out short cries, or moving to different areas of the couch. 

They could be uncomfortable or asking you for help.

Remember that their body language is always a useful indicator.

So, if they come up to the couch and sit next to you, they could be needing your attention.

From there, you have to do what you can to help them. 

Don’t forget: You can tell a lot about their expression and the tone of the sounds they make. 

#2: Regulate their couch access 

You have to remember to set boundaries. 

If you only want your dog to sit on the couch during specific times, train them with cues.

These cues will be helpful. They’ll act as signals for them to know when they can sit on the couch with your permission. 

As mentioned in reason #5, this will also help regulate the attention your pup gets. 

There’ll be times when you’ll see them acting out because they weren’t allowed to sit on the couch. 

This is where you have to respond to their behavior. 

This will make them settle down and prepare them for the time they’re allowed up on the couch. 

Remember: Don’t rush your dog in understanding the cues. Give them time and they’ll soon get the routine. 

Watch here how Mikkel trains her dog to get on and off the couch on cue!

#3: Show another comfortable area for them

Introducing a new area for them will help redirect their attention from sitting on the couch. 

Yes, it’s good for your dogs to have a strong bond with you. 

But keep in mind that they also need their own space at home. 

It’s good to set up a dog bed so they know they have an area that’s for them. 

This would also help manage the issue of separation anxiety. 

When you show them that it’s fine to not always be beside you, this will relieve them of their worry.

And soon, you’ll notice them sitting on their bed while you’re on the couch!

Keep in mind: It’s alright to change the location of your dog’s bed. You have to make sure it’s in a safe place in your house.

#4: Give them a new toy

Giving your dog a new toy will help get them off the couch. 

This can also be your tool in creating a routine for them. 

If you see your dog sitting on the couch, show them the toy and place the toy on the floor. 

This will make them attracted and jump off the couch. 

Although, there might be a moment when they’ll bring the toy on the couch. 

When they do this, you have to act right away with a firm “No” and motion to transfer to the floor. 

You may also slowly get their toy and show them you’re transferring it off the couch. 

Doing this often will help them understand what you’re trying to do. 

Know this: Don’t grab their toy too fast. Move slowly to avoid potential aggression from your dog due to resource guarding.   

#5: Try some treats

Treats will never fail!

But you have to control yourself on how much you give. 

If you want your dog off the couch, you can put a treat on the floor so they’d jump off. 

But if I were you, I wouldn’t give it that easy. 

You can use this opportunity to teach him how to wait. 

You can follow these helpful steps:

  1. Hold the treat near the floor.
  1. When your dog notices it, they’d jump off the couch.
  1. Instead of giving it right away, raise the treat up and ask them to sit. 
  1. Be firm with the way you say “sit” and don’t give it until they sit down.

Keep in mind here that you can’t always give treats.

You could substitute this with his favorite toy. 

This will also help them understand that it’s not always going to be treats. 

Reminder: Don’t give treats that are too big or valuable. You have to manage the amount and importance of each treat to a bigger problem that may happen later on.