Skip to Content

9 Reasons Why Your Dog Stands Over You + 5 Tips

Why Does My Dog Stand Over Me

You’re lying down peacefully on the couch watching your fave TV show.

But then your big pooch jumps over and squeezes their body close to you.

Everything’s fine and cute until…*groans*

They step and walk on you as if you’re a sofa bed.

And it hurts because they’re not a baby anymore.

Are they doing it on purpose? And how could you keep your ribs safe from frequent standing?

Well, hop on and read to discover:

  • What makes a dog assume that position.
  • Why they also do it when you’re fast asleep.
  • Whether it’s due to a positive or a negative reason.
  • 5 tips on how to handle your pooch if the behavior is persistent.
  • And many more…

Why does my dog stand over me?

Your dog stands over you because they want something, they’re clingy, it’s safer around you, they want your attention, there’s something off with you, or because you allowed them to. It can also be an invitation to play, a sign of protection, your pooch is hungry, or an expression of love.

People also ask:

9 reasons why your dog stands over you 

#1: To wake you up

“Come on, human. Rise and shine!

It’s time for something, remember?”

Do you often feel that someone’s looking at you while you’re sleeping?

And when you open your eyes, you always get startled seeing your dog’s face inches away from you?

If so, it might be because they want you to get out of bed and get those cold feet on the warm deck. You might be dozing off when it’s time for a usual activity, and they know it.

Your pooch might be waiting for you to walk them to the park. Or it’s time to go potty outside. 

And standing on you might be the only way to get your attention fast.

#2: Your dog wants to be near you

Your Dog Stands Over You Because He Wants To Be Near You

Is your doggo a velcro? One who wants to stick with their humans at all times?

Well, they might be going on top of you to stay close as much as possible.

For puppies, it’s only natural to be needy. They often get scared as they’re still young and adjusting. But for adults, it might be an innate behavior.

Some canines are naturally clingy, like Pugs. And they would have a constant need for physical connection with people.

And yours might also be on the ‘touchy’ side. So cuddling might be one of their favorite activities.

#3: To feel safe and comfortable

Sometimes, it’s also a sign that your dog is anxious or stressed.

Because what do you usually do when you’re scared?

You run and look for someone, right?

So if they randomly jump up on you while they’re shaking and with flattened ears, they might be nervous. And they stand over you to feel secure.

‘Safe-haven effect’

If dogs could improve a person’s well-being, is it also possible vice versa?

According to a study, yes, it can also happen.

It’s observed in dogs who have formed a bond with their parents.

Their humans are like a security blanket. So they run to them when dealing with stress.

And that might be the reason why they stay close to you.

Note: Dogs might also look for something warm when it’s cold. And for your pooch, there’s no place cozier than being snuggled up on you.

#4: Your dog loves and trusts you

Do they perch over you with intense tail-wagging, soft eyes, and a sweet smile?

If yes, they might be so excited to see you after being gone for so long. Or it can be that they’re only showing their affection towards you.

It can also be an expression of their trust and that they enjoy your company.

That’s definitely one of the best feelings in the world, right? So don’t worry. You’re doing fine.

Fun fact: Do you know that dogs also love kisses? Frequent smooching was reported to increase oxytocin levels in dogs. Those hormones are responsible for fuzzy feelings and forming trust.

#5: It’s playtime

Dogs may also stand over you when they’re asking you to play.

By doing it, they’ll get noticed by you in an instant.

Your dog might remember that you often play fetch with them at that specific time. Or it’s time for you to give them their favorite toys.

Loneliness and boredom can also be the roots of this. And maybe, your doggo wants you to bond with them even for a few minutes.

#6: Your dog only wants to protect you

Does your dog assume that position while their eyes are wide open and their ears are twitching? It’s as if they’re trying to hear something?

If so, that stance might mean they’re guarding you. And it doesn’t mean they’re trying to gain dominance over you.

They’re not acting like an ‘alpha.’ They only have the urge to protect you as you’re their dog parent.

That theory was debunked years ago by trainers and behaviorists as recent studies show that dogs deviated in origin from wolves 35,000 years ago.

They’ve already evolved and adapted their behavior while coexisting with humans. So it’s like comparing a circle with a square – which is two completely different things.

That’s why being on top of you doesn’t translate to them wanting to be ‘top dogs.’

But, they might also do it when they feel insecure and threatened by other people or hounds.

Also, have you been stressed lately? Or you’re always scared of something? Like bugs or a sudden gush of the wind?

Because your anxiety can also be a factor as they can pick it up too. They can sense that you feel vulnerable. And that’s why their protective instincts might be kicking in.

Note: If they’re protecting you aggressively, you can see the hairs on their back are raised with a wrinkled nose and exposed teeth. They’ll also growl as a warning.

#7: It’s a learned behavior

You're Encouraging Your Dog's Behavior

Dogs are smart. And they’ll do things their humans are going to like.

So with that reasoning, your pooch might do it because you’re encouraging the behavior. And it’s very often because you didn’t correct it.

In their minds, they think that standing over you will grab your attention. It can also be your reaction that gave it away.

What do you do when they put their feet on top of you?

Do you laugh and react excitedly? Well, no one can blame you for that.

After all, the behavior can be somehow funny and surprising for people.

So if your reaction is positive, they might’ve thought you liked it very much. And they may do it again.

#8: Your dog wants food

Does your dog do it while also licking your face, particularly your mouth?

If that’s the case, they might only be telling you, “Excuse me. I’m hungry. Where’s my dinner?”

And they’re urging you to stand up and prepare for it at once.

They may also do it while whimpering and showing their puppy eyes. And those are clear signs of begging for food which you couldn’t resist.

So check their bowl if there’s no water or not enough food in it. They might be hungry or thirsty.

#9: To examine you and make you feel better


My human seems blue. Let me get a closer sniff.”

Have you caught your pooch perching over while staring intently at you?

It might be scary at times because they do it for no apparent reason.

Well, dogs are very curious. They want to investigate and know everything. They do this through sniffing. And sometimes, even by licking.

So, they might’ve noticed you aren’t feeling well. And they’re eager to know what’s wrong with you.

That’s why they jump over so they can analyze you closely.

Your dog might be worried about you. And they also know that staying right next to you makes you happy.

5 tips on what to do if your dog stands over you

#1: Redirect your dog

This is training your dog to forget the behavior by teaching them to do something else.

To do this, you must only reward good behaviors while ignoring the bad ones.

For example, you may teach your dog a “go to the mat” command.

  1. First, prepare a rug and place it near you.
  2. When it seems like they’re going on top of you, slowly stand up.
  3. Get some treats. And say the cue word while tapping on the mat.

You can also make them sit beside you instead.

  1. When they keep on standing over you, ignore them. Keep away the treats.
  2. But if they stopped doing it and went to the rug or beside you, quickly reward them. Say praises in a high-pitched voice. That’ll put them in a good mood, and they will anticipate the command more.
  3. Repeat these several times.

You’re free to do other commands similar to this, as it might differ depending on the situation.

Note: Don’t resort to punishments or yelling, as those may cause fear to your dog. Harsh training will never be as effective as a fun and positive one. 🙂

#2: Control your affection

This is for dogs who became extra clingy, especially for puppies who feel the need to be with their fur parent every time.

Too much of something is always bad. And you can tell whether your pooch’s neediness is normal or not.

If it happens very often and causes problems like separation anxiety, you may need to correct the behavior as early as possible.

You can do this by maintaining a distance from your dog. You may want to avoid being with them for most parts of the day. Providing an area for them can be helpful.

Leave them in a room. But make sure you’ve left them their favorite treats and toys inside. And keep your things out of reach.

Also, avoid showing them too much affection in the meantime. It’s not that you need to be very cold.

You can express your love, but only do it when they do the trick or obey a command.

Note: It can be tough to resist your dog. But this is for their sake, so don’t give in easily.

#3: Reduce their stress

If your pup is doing this because they’re jumpy, you need to soothe their nerves first.

Figure out what causes the problem. It can be your neighbor, the sound of a car honking, strangers, or even you.

Observe them for a while. And when you already have a list, avoid them as much as possible.

Your anxiety may also cause your dog to be skittish and protect you because they can also sense if you’re afraid of something.

So, control those nerves as well to help them relax.

#4: Give them what they need

Just make sure that you’re providing them their basic needs – food, exercise, care. And you should do it according to a routine to avoid confusion.

Keep feeding your dog on time. Also, bond with them as much as you can.

They also need enough daily exercise. But this will depend on their breed.

For example, Huskies may need longer walks while shorter walks are enough for a Chihuahua.

You must also keep them occupied with interactive toys like puzzles. Those will help improve and activate other parts of their brain.

While you’re outside, you should also go for a ‘scent walk.’

It’s letting your dog sniff to their heart’s content. They’ll surely enjoy it. And it’s a good challenge for their minds too.

#5: Socialize your dog

This is for dogs who have become overprotective. They need to get used to meeting strangers to get rid of insecurity.

But how?

You can do this by taking them for a walk outside every day. By doing that, they’ll be familiar with things they don’t usually experience.

Like the scents of different animals and individuals. Or the sounds of a busy street at night.

It’ll be an enjoyable and tiring activity at the same time. And it’ll also help them become well-adjusted in their surroundings.