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Why Does My Dog Sit Behind Me? 13 Weird Reasons + 5 Tips

Why Does My Dog Sit Behind Me

Coffee? Check.

Book? Check.

Soft warm couch? Check.

My baby pooch?

Uhm… where is…

“Oh! Why are you sitting behind me, baby?”

Has this happened to you several times??

You are not alone!

Read on to learn:

  • 13 reasons why your dog sits behind you.
  • If you should be concerned about the behavior.
  • 5 tips to stop your pooch from sitting behind you.
  • What this says of your relationship with your canine.
  • And a lot more…

Why does my dog sit behind me?

Your dog sits behind you because they are showing you love and affection. Or they want to be near you, need warmth, feel anxious, have no space to sit, and get positive reinforcement from you for this behavior. They could also be sensing danger and are trying to be protective.

13 reasons why your dog sits behind you

#1: They are comfortable sitting behind you

We love finding perfect sitting spots.

Check how you’re sitting or lying down right now.

You’ve probably been in this position for a few minutes now.

Maybe even hours!

Once you find that good spot, you release the biggest sigh in the world.

But you know what?

If we humans experience this, dogs do, too!

Dogs love finding comfort in the things they do.

This includes their sitting position.

If you notice this behavior in your pooch, it could mean that you’ve provided a space for them that is comfortable and safe.

It doesn’t matter what the texture of the seat is.

You could even be standing in your kitchen, and they’d happily sit behind you.

If your dog finds it comfortable sitting behind you, they just go and do it.

Check out this article: Why does my dog sit so close to me?

#2: They are trying to be protective

It would be cool if we had eyes on the back of our head, right?

This is where your fur baby comes in!

A cute and fluffy set of eyes looking out for you.

If you notice that your pooch is in an alert position, they could be protecting you.

They probably sense something that is potentially going to harm you.

This includes other humans, pets, and inanimate objects.

Prof. Van Bourg’s research shows that dogs are instinctively wired to protect their owners.

In the study, 84% of the dogs who knew how to open the door (to rescue them) did so!

Think of them as your guardian angels.

Only they’re cuter and fluffier!

Reading tip: These 13 Signs Show That Your Dog Is Protective Over You

#3: You are reinforcing the behavior

Another reason why dogs like to sit behind you is because you’re training them to.

Huh? I can’t remember that I did that.”

Well, it can happen involuntarily.

Dogs can learn just by watching you.

They look at your reactions.

The way your voice sounds.

The way you treat them when they do something.

If they notice a positive reaction from you, they tend to repeat those actions.

It’s true that genetics and your dog’s environment greatly affect them.

However, a study indicates that humans can unwittingly train their dogs.

This applies to negative behavior, too!

“Wait. Really? How am I doing this?”

If your fur baby sits behind you and you give them attention and treats, they see it as a positive reaction.

To you, it might seem like nothing out of the ordinary.

But to your furry companion, they’re thinking, “Oh, I git pets if I sits here? I sits here all da time!”

#4: They have separation anxiety

Dog Sits Behind You Due To Separation Anxiety

“Dogs feel that, too?”

Yes, sadly, yes.

Separation anxiety can be caused by hyper-attachment.

What happens is that your pooch finds it hard when you’re not around.

Your fur babies can also feel separation anxiety even if you’re within their vicinity.

They get lonely and crave interactions with you, and try to grab your attention.

One of the things they do when they feel this is sitting behind you.

They want to be around and see where you’re going and what you’re doing.

A certified professional dog trainer, Stephanie Gibeault, says that puppy training, socialization, and crate training can help dogs with separation anxiety.

Teaching them alone time is also essential.

Note: According to research, dogs should start socializing when they are 6 weeks of age. If you start socializing your pooch too early, it could make them oversocialized to people.

You may also wonder: Why does my dog take my clothes when I leave? & Why does my dog sleep by the door?

#5: Marking you with their scent

It’s no secret that dogs love smelling things.

Dr. Buzhardt, explains how dogs explore the world using their noses.

When they smell something, they don’t just smell the scent.

They analyze, assess, and act based on what they smell.

There are even dogs who can smell diseases in people.

Human scents can tell dogs who have cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses.

This study shows how amazing dogs’ noses are that they can even detect COVID-19 in humans.

Amazing, right?

Dogs never cease to amaze us.

You see, scents are important to dogs.

They can also smell the scent of another dog on you if you were in contact with one.

This could be why dogs sit behind you sometimes – to put their scent on you.

They want other dogs to know that you are part of someone’s pack.

Basically, marking you with their scent is their way of saying, “This hooman is mine and mine alone!”

But, even if we smell a little bit like them, we really don’t mind.

We know it’s their cute little way of saying they love us!

#6: They’re attracted to your warmth


We love getting hugs and cuddles from our pooch, right?

Doesn’t matter how big our canines get. If they sit on our lap, we let them.

They even jump on our beds and give the sloppiest kisses in the world!

Our furry babies are the best cuddlers in the world, and for a good reason, they are warm and lovable!

This is how your dogs see you, too!

Humans are warm-blooded beings, and dogs find that attractive.

They like sitting between their hoomans if they have more than one.

In the same manner, dogs sit behind you because of the warmth you give off.

Especially during cold weather – ooohhh, how they love being near you

#7: They feel safe in that spot

When dogs feel overwhelmed, they tend to sit closer to their hoomans.

You are a source of comfort and love. That’s why they find it easy to go to you.

If you are consistently there for them and show them care, it’s easy for them to feel secure around you.

They know that you are there for them and will not do anything to hurt them.

As long as you build a loving and trusting relationship with your dog, they’ll come to you to feel safe.

This also happens when they feel swamped with new experiences.

Do you have a shy dog?

How often do you find them behind you?

If meeting new people or dogs becomes too much, they sometimes hide and sit behind you.

Read next: Quiz: Does My Dog Trust Me? Test It With These 17 Signs

#8: No more spaces left!

Sometimes the answer is the simplest one out there.

They could have no comfortable spaces left to sit in.

This could happen if you have a small space.

Or if you live with a lot of people under one roof.

Look, your house might be huge, but not every space is a good spot for sitting.

Also, dogs prefer to be near you.

Where you sit, there your dogs will be, too!

It’s in their nature.

If you are sitting in a cramped space, you’ll most likely feel your pooch sliding in to sit behind you.

Do you think cats are the only ones that can squeeze in?

Nah. Clingy dogs can too!

#9: Zero concept of boundaries

“Who is this sitting so close to me?”

As you roam your eyes to find who it is, you see a big smile from your pooch.

You can’t get mad! 

They’re too cute! Ever experienced having your pooch stick to you like a magnet at random times?

Other fur parents can also relate.

And this is because some dogs do not understand boundaries.

It could be because they weren’t trained while they were younger.

The best time to train your babies is when they’re still young.

You need to teach them calmly and lovingly about the rules when it comes to sitting.

Let them know where they can and can’t stay.

Don’t wait until your sitting positions are unruly.

Well, it’s up to you, really.

Some might love getting wrestled by their dogs.

Especially huge ones!

But as a general rule, if you don’t want them sitting behind you, train them early on.

#10: They feel unwell and want you to take care of them

Dog Feeling Unwell

Do they look tired?

Are they not as energetic when you try to get them to play?

Your fur baby might not be feeling at their best.

One way to test this is to give them treats.

You probably already know how they would react to treats.

If they don’t show the same level of enthusiasm for treats, there could be something wrong.

While they’re lying down behind you, check for wounds.

Make sure you comb through their fur.

This might be harder if your dogs have thick hair.

Another indicator that your pooch is not feeling well is if they show a sudden change in their behaviors, for example:

Since the cause of this behavior could be serious, you should go to your vet to have them checked.

#11: Feeling threatened or scared

Dogs feel scared and threatened by numerous things.

Just like us humans, some of these fears come from past experiences.

Especially dogs who have been adopted.

It is common for some adopted dogs to be scared of anything in their surroundings.

“Why does my pooch feel scared, then?”

The simplest reason is that they might have been abused in the past.

Hurtful memories can affect how a dog interacts with others.

Even if we already treat them with all the care in the world, those fears can still manifest.

In this case, sitting behind you.

Another reason for this fear is that other animals may have attacked them.

Bigger, aggressive, and untrained pets could have hurt your pooch.

This behavior is seen when they’re at the park.

If they’re meeting other pets, they sometimes cower behind you and refuse to socialize.

Loud noises could also trigger your dog’s fears, say:

  • Screaming people.
  • Large objects dropping.
  • Fireworks and thunder.

If you notice your pooch getting scared, assure them that they don’t have anything to worry about.

Calm them down by gently petting them and calmly talking to them.

#12: They don’t want to be disturbed

“Ugh. I don’t wanna reply to any of your messages. Not now. I’m sorry.”

Have you thought of this when you’re chilling in your bed?

Or maybe while de-stressing at a coffee shop?

We love our friends.

But sometimes, it could be draining to interact constantly.

Your dogs feel this way sometimes, too!

And it’s not that they don’t love you.

Or not want to play with you.

They do!

They just don’t feel like doing so at the moment.

This is usually the case if they didn’t frequently sit behind you before.

Not wanting to be disturbed could also be caused by a lack of sleep at night.

They sit and rest somewhere you might not be able to disturb them.

Sleeping issues could be happening at night which causes them to be tired in the morning.

#13: They are being playful

Dogs love to play and run around.

This isn’t news to fur parents.

I mean, c’mon…

How often have you found your footwear being chowed down by this cute furry beast?

Or how often have you had to chase them around the house while they’re biting on something?

“Drop it… drop it… drop it!”

Then they run around all crazy like Usain Bolt himself personally trained them.

All you can do is just laugh while wheezing from chasing your pooch around.

Is your dog a candidate for the Doglympics? Cuz they sure seem they can classify if not even win it. But, then, while they’re taking a break from running, they sit behind you.  

You may notice the more you try to keep them away from that spot, the more they sit in it.

They could be doing this to get your attention. Which might be caused by a lack of playtime.

Dogs are very active pets.

They require a certain amount of activity every day.

A good estimate would be 5 minutes of playtime for every month of your pooch’s age.

Playing around with them will help them become healthier and happier.

Make sure you provide enough playtime with your pooch.

Note: The quality of your playtime also matters! Be attentive and focus on playing with your furry companion, so they get the most out of it.

Don’t miss out on: Why does my dog nibble my ears?

Should you be worried?

Are you worried that this behavior is an indicator of something bad?

Generally speaking, it is perfectly fine if your dog sits behind you.

As long as they don’t show any sudden behavior change, it’s okay.

Also, always keep an eye out for things like aggressiveness and unnecessary growling.

If this occurs, it could be because your dog is resource guarding the couch. Or they might be in pain and hide behind you to avoid human touch.

You need to check them out or bring them to the vet if this happens.

As discussed above, most of the reasons why your dogs sit behind you are harmless.

It is a form of love and trust between you and your pooch.

Sitting close to you, sometimes behind you, is a good indicator of being comfortable and feeling safe around your presence.

However, if this behavior is something that you don’t want, you can change it.

5 tips to stop your dog from sitting behind you

Do you find it intrusive?

Does this behavior interfere with you doing important tasks?

Fret not!

It’s normal to want to alter your dog’s behavior regarding this.

#1: Start altering this behavior ASAP

Train them about boundaries and teach them what they can and can’t do.

Much like any behavior, sitting behind you can also be altered.

Use verbal cues to communicate and be stern.

But remember to not be harsh in your words.

Some people tend to have short patience when it comes to training their dogs.

This may result in a broken relationship between them and their canine.

But this isn’t going to be you!

The fact that you’re reading through this article is a sign that you want the best for your fur babies.

Training and behavior-altering should always come from a place of love and understanding.

According to Dr. Loos, you can start to train dogs when they are 8 weeks of age.

You can start by teaching them commands and other verbal cues.

Whenever you notice them sitting on the couch, you can tell them “down”.

Pointing to where you want them to go may also help.

Dogs are incredibly smart creatures.

They can also detect positive emotional cues and respond to them.

#2: Designate a sitting spot for them and train them to sit there

As mentioned above, your dogs sit behind you because they don’t have their own spot.

There are indeed times when your dogs would want to be near you, but they could want a comfortable seat by themselves, too!

“Okay. Now, what do I need when it comes to their spot?”

Nothing fancy, really.

A nice dog bed to keep them warm and cozy during cold nights would do.

Make sure that your dogs wouldn’t have an allergic reaction to the material used on the dog bed.

Don’t forget to also be mindful of your dog’s size.

If you want an estimate regarding the size of your bed’s dog you can do so by measuring them.

Take the length of your dog from the tip of their nose to their tail’s base.

From there, add approximately 6”-12” (15 cm. – 30 cm.)

The resulting measurement should be enough for your dog to have a spacious place for sitting.

When the sitting spot is ready, start training them to sit there.

The best time to train your babies is when they’re still young.

You need to teach them in a calm and loving manner about the rules when it comes to sitting.

Let them know where they can and can’t stay.

Don’t wait until your sitting positions are unruly.

Well, it’s up to you, really.

Some might love getting wrestled by their dogs.

Especially huge ones!

But as a general rule, if you don’t want them sitting behind you, you need the patience to train them.

Introduce them to the bed and slowly teach them to sit there if they want to relax instead of positioning themselves behind you.

#3: Make sure you aren’t encouraging sitting behind you

Don’t pet or cuddle your dog when they sit behind you.

Instead, ensure your pooch knows what you want them to do when they try to sit behind you.

Calmly tell them to go down, move away, and sit somewhere else.

You can try leading them or carrying them at first.

If your fur baby is big, you can start by redirecting their attention.

You can try putting a treat in their bed or mat with a treat.

This way, you are not encouraging their behavior. Plus, you’re training them to sit at their designated spot.

“But I don’t want to make them feel like I don’t want them near me.”

You won’t!

Dogs can easily understand cues and instructions.

As long as you deliver them in a manner that won’t scare or hurt them.

Who are we kidding? You love your pooch too much! So you won’t even raise your voice at them!

#4: Socialize with your dog

As I’ve mentioned earlier, anxiety and fear are one reason why your dogs prefer to sit behind you.

“Yeah. What can I do?”

What you can do is slowly introduce them to other dogs, and humans could help!

Bring them to doggy cafes where they can find highly friendly dogs and other pets. 

Here are some examples of dog or dog-friendly cafes:

You can also introduce them to other humans.

Start with family members who aren’t living near your home.

You can also bring them to your friends.

If you feel safe and comfortable with certain people, it’s likely your pooch will be, too!

#5: Just let them

Lastly, this is the next best thing you can do.

Just let them sit there.

I mean, if they aren’t interfering with anything you’re doing, it’s probably okay.

If you can also ensure that this behavior isn’t a result of an underlying issue in their health and well-being, you and your fur baby will be fine!