why does my australian shepherd sit on me

Why Does My Australian Shepherd Sit on Me? Lap Habits!

If you’re an Australian Shepherd owner, you’ve probably experienced this unique behavior at least once: your furry friend decides to take a seat right on top of you. You might be wondering, why does my Australian Shepherd sit on me? Is it a sign of affection, or is there more to it?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a look into the psychology behind this peculiar habit, its various interpretations, and how to respond appropriately. Understanding your Australian Shepherd’s behavior is more than just a curiosity; it’s essential for building a strong bond and ensuring a healthy relationship with your pet.

Whether your Aussie is sitting on you for affection or trying to assert dominance, knowing the reason can help you respond in a way that reinforces positive behavior and strengthens your bond. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of why your Australian Shepherd chooses you as their personal chair.

The Behavior Explained

You’ve noticed your Australian Shepherd sitting on you and you’re filled with questions. Let’s break down what this behavior could signify.

What Does It Mean When an Australian Shepherd Sits on You?

When your Aussie takes a seat on you, it’s not just a random act. This behavior can have multiple meanings, ranging from a simple display of affection to a more complex psychological signal. It could be your dog’s way of saying, “I love you,” or perhaps it’s a method of marking territory.

Understanding the Context

Context is everything when it comes to interpreting your Australian Shepherd’s actions. Are they sitting on you when you’ve just returned home, or is it happening when you’re trying to leave? The timing, setting, and even your own emotional state can offer clues into why your Aussie chooses to sit on you.

Pack Mentality in Australian Shepherds

Australian Shepherds are descendants of working dogs and have a strong sense of pack hierarchy. This instinctual behavior can influence why your Aussie decides to sit on you. They might see you as the leader of the pack and want to establish their rank, or they could be testing boundaries to see how you react.

Why Does My Australian Shepherd Sit on Me?

So, you’re still puzzled about why your Australian Shepherd loves to sit on you? Let’s explore some of the most frequent reasons behind this behavior.

1. Seeking Affection

Your Aussie might just be looking for some love and attention. Sitting on you can be their way of getting closer, both physically and emotionally. It’s a direct form of contact that many dogs use to show they care.

2. Asserting Dominance

If your Australian Shepherd is sitting on you, it might be more than just a cuddle session. Some dogs use this action to assert their dominance over their human companions. It’s a way for them to say, “I’m in charge here.”

3. Marking Territory

Dogs have a natural instinct to mark their territory, and your Australian Shepherd is no different. By sitting on you, they might be sending a signal to other dogs that you are their human, and they don’t want to share.

4. Stress or Anxiety

Last but not least, emotional factors like stress or anxiety can also be a reason. If your Aussie is feeling uneasy or anxious, they might find comfort in sitting on you. It’s a familiar action that can provide them with a sense of security.

How to Respond

Now that we’ve looked at why your Australian Shepherd might be sitting on you, let’s discuss appropriate ways to respond to this behavior.

Positive Reinforcement

Rewarding your Aussie for good behavior is a tried-and-true method. If you want to encourage or discourage the sitting behavior, using treats or verbal praise can be effective. Positive reinforcement can help you communicate what you want from your dog in a loving way.

Asserting Your Dominance

If you suspect that your Australian Shepherd is trying to assert dominance by sitting on you, it’s important to establish your role as the pack leader. Simple commands like “off” or “down,” followed by a reward when obeyed, can help set the boundaries.

Providing Comfort

If you think your Aussie is sitting on you due to stress or anxiety, offering comfort is a good approach. A gentle pat, a soothing voice, or even a short cuddle session can go a long way in making your dog feel secure and loved.

Training Your Australian Shepherd

Training is an ongoing process that helps you and your Aussie understand each other better. Let’s look at some effective strategies for training your Australian Shepherd, especially when it comes to the sitting behavior.

Establishing Rules and Boundaries

Setting clear rules is the first step in any training regimen. Make sure your Australian Shepherd knows what’s allowed and what’s not. For instance, if you don’t want your Aussie sitting on you, a firm “no” can help convey this.

Reinforcing Good Behavior

When your Aussie follows a command or behaves the way you want, make it a point to reward them. This could be with a treat, a toy, or simple verbal praise. Positive feedback encourages your dog to repeat the desired behavior.

Redirecting Bad Behavior

If your Australian Shepherd insists on sitting on you and you’d rather they didn’t, redirection is a useful tactic. Guide them to a designated sitting area or offer an alternative like a toy to distract them.

Consistency in Training

Being consistent is vital for effective training. Make sure everyone in the household is on the same page when it comes to commands and rewards. This ensures that your Aussie doesn’t get mixed signals, making the training process smoother.

Professional Help

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might need external help. If you’re struggling to manage your Australian Shepherd’s sitting behavior, consider seeking advice from a professional dog trainer.

Common Misconceptions

Misunderstandings can easily arise when it comes to interpreting dog behavior. Let’s clear up some common misconceptions about why your Australian Shepherd might be sitting on you.

It’s Just a Habit

Some people might dismiss the behavior as a mere habit without any deeper meaning. While it’s true that dogs can develop habits, it’s often a reflection of their emotional or psychological state. So, it’s worth taking a closer look.

It’s a Sign of Affection

While sitting on you can indeed be a sign of affection, it’s not always the case. As we’ve discussed, the reasons can be varied, from marking territory to asserting dominance. So, don’t just assume it’s all about love.

Punishment is Effective

Contrary to popular belief, punishing your Australian Shepherd for sitting on you is not the best approach. Negative reinforcement can lead to stress and confusion, making it harder for you to communicate effectively with your pet.

Preventative Measures

Prevention is often better than cure, especially when it comes to managing your Australian Shepherd’s behavior. Let’s explore some proactive steps you can take.

Creating a Positive Reinforcement Plan

A well-thought-out plan using positive reinforcement can go a long way in shaping your Aussie’s behavior. Rewarding them for not sitting on you, for example, can help them understand what you expect.

Providing Alternative Behaviors

Instead of just discouraging the sitting behavior, offer alternatives. Teach your Australian Shepherd to sit next to you or lie down on a specific mat. This gives them another way to interact with you that’s acceptable to both parties.

Using a Dog Crate

A dog crate can be a useful tool for managing your Aussie’s sitting habit. It provides a designated space for your dog, helping to establish boundaries and offering them a secure place to relax.

Using a Fence

If your Australian Shepherd tends to sit on you in specific areas like the garden or patio, consider installing a fence. This physical barrier can help define spaces where sitting on you is not acceptable.

Importance of Bonding

Bonding with your Australian Shepherd is more than just spending time together; it’s about understanding each other’s needs and behaviors. Let’s look at how this bonding can be beneficial for both you and your Aussie.

Benefits for the Dog

A strong bond with their owner provides a sense of security for your Australian Shepherd. This emotional connection can reduce stress and anxiety, making your Aussie more relaxed and happier overall.

Benefits for the Owner

On the flip side, a well-bonded relationship with your Australian Shepherd can bring you immense joy and emotional well-being. Your Aussie’s companionship can be a source of comfort, and understanding their behavior can make your interactions more rewarding.

Frequently Asked Questions

You’re not alone in your curiosity about Australian Shepherds. Many people have questions about this breed, especially when it comes to their suitability for families and training. Let’s address some of these common queries.

Are Australian Shepherds Good With Kids?

Australian Shepherds are generally known for their friendly and playful nature, making them a popular choice for families with children. However, it’s always a good idea to supervise interactions between your Aussie and young kids to ensure everyone’s safety.

Are They Easy to Train?

Training an Australian Shepherd is usually a straightforward process, thanks to their intelligence and eagerness to please. However, their high energy levels can sometimes make them a handful, so patience and consistent training methods are advised.

Are They Good Family Dogs?

Australian Shepherds are often considered excellent family pets due to their loyalty, intelligence, and versatility. They enjoy being part of family activities and are usually good with other pets as well.


So there you have it! We’ve journeyed through the ins and outs of why your Australian Shepherd might choose you as their personal sitting spot. From seeking affection to asserting dominance, the reasons can be as varied as they are fascinating.

And remember, understanding your Aussie’s behavior is the first step to a happier, healthier relationship for both of you. Thanks for sticking with us through this comprehensive guide. We hope it helps you and your Australian Shepherd live your best lives together!

Up Next: Are Australian Shepherds Good With Other Dogs? Dog Dynamics

Scroll to Top