Why Does My Dog Stand on Me?

In films, photographs, or sketches, you may have seen a wolf climb to the summit of a mountain and howl its heart out in delight. 

Wolves do this to demonstrate their dominance over a specific territory. Dogs are subject to the same rules as humans. 

When some dogs see you approaching, they may instinctively leap onto your shoulders to demonstrate that they are the dominant member of the household. 

Some dogs, however, do it for a variety of reasons, including to show affection. 

Despite the fact that this is not a cause for concern, it can become irritating when your dog does it on a regular basis. 

In this section, we’ll go over why dogs do this and what you can do to keep your dog from doing it too frequently or at all.


5 Reasons Your Dog Stands on You

1: Dominance

One of the most prevalent causes is to demonstrate dominance over its owner. 

Dogs are naturally very dominant animals, as this is an essential trait for their wolf ancestors, and this is reflected in their behavior. 

The type of dominance in question, however, is not a bad one. 

If your dog is standing over you, it is most likely just trying to play out its instincts in a fun way rather than in the protective manner that it would normally use. 

Consider it the action of a child yelling “victory” after completing a race and crossing the finish line. He’s well aware that he’s just playing, but he’s doing it for the sheer enjoyment of it. 

Dogs rarely take a dominant position over humans and assert their dominance aggressively.

2: Affection

Probably the most common reason why dogs tower over their owners is that they are afraid of something. 

Dogs have learned to be affectionate toward their owners through experience. 

This evolution may include them standing directly in front of you in order to get your attention. They may also do this if you are not paying attention to them. 

Furthermore, dogs that stand guard over their owners may do so to demonstrate that they are there to protect them.

No matter the case, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. As long as your dog doesn’t show aggressive behavior, then it may not be worth training to prevent. 

3: Playtime

Many dogs enjoy standing on their owners’ shoulders to demonstrate that they are ready to play. 

Dogs are playful creatures, and if you don’t immediately give them the attention they crave, they may believe that simply standing on top of you will be sufficient to pique your interest. 

It’s similar to how puppies will stand over their mother while she is lying down, hoping that she will engage in play with the puppies.

4: It’s Hungry

When my dog is hungry, he will come up to me and stare at me intently. 

In the event that I don’t immediately jump up, he will jump up and tower over me, demanding that I feed him. 

Because domesticated dogs do not hunt like their wolf ancestors, this characteristic is common among dogs of all breeds and can be found in the majority of domesticated dogs. 

Additionally, this could be a sign that your dog prefers a treat rather than regular food.

5: Feeling Unwell

Occasionally, when a dog is not feeling great, he’ll climb on top of you in order to get your attention

This attention-seeking behavior could be them requesting a belly rub or simply cuddling with you while they work on feeling better on their own. 

In the event that this has been occurring frequently recently, it could be a symptom of something more serious. 

The odds of this happening are very low as if your dog is feeling unwell, he will be less likely to attempt to climb over you.

How You Can Help

1: Play With Your Dog

Because the most common reason for a dog to jump on top of you is essentially a case of boredom, playing with him may be just what you need to prevent this from happening. 

If he’s doing it on a consistent basis, pick up one of his toys and play tug of war with him to tire him out. 

In the event that it occurs only occasionally, keep a toy tucked away near your couch or bed for when this occurs so that you can toss it and provide a pleasant distraction.

2: Train Him

If your dog is doing this on a regular basis, it may be time to train your dog to do so. An outstanding way to achieve this is to keep a stash of treats nearby for when he stands on you. 

When your dog tries to climb up on you, tell him to back off. 

When he pays attention, reward him with a treat. It could take numerous hours to complete this type of training. 

On the other hand, your dog will eventually learn that if he avoids standing on you, he will be rewarded with a delicious treat.

3: Provide Fun Distractions

Distractions are a great way to avoid this from happening in the first place. 

If your dog behaves in this manner while you are reading, watching television, or working from home, provide him with a distracting activity. 

For example, a toy that has a compartment in which a treat can be placed can be considered this. 

These toys can often provide hours of entertainment while the dog attempts to extract the treat from the toy’s compartment.


Dogs that jump on top of you are frequently doing so because they want affection or because they’re jaded and need to be entertained. 

A strong distraction or training them to stop are the most effective ways to keep this from happening again and again. 

When your dog does this, be on the lookout for any signs of being lethargic or otherwise unwell. 

If this is the case, I suggest that you consult with your veterinarian to rule out anything serious.

Written by Brian Rucker

Brian Rucker has been a dog lover since childhood. He has had his Lab Mix with Hound for over 10+ years now! They enjoy playing outdoors together. Brian loves sharing his knowledge about all things dog on this website. Read more of Brian's articles.