Updated: Mar 20
Most of us have our spot on the couch or in a comfy chair. It's the chair we, almost
unconsciously, always sit in, and it feels weird if someone else steals our spot.
You may not realise that your dog is watching this behaviour. They'll come to learn that
place is yours and want to snuggle in as soon as you've stood up.
Do you know that feeling?
Many dog owners ask, "Why does my dog jump into my spot as soon as I stand up?"
Generally, this behaviour is perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about. However,
knowing your dog to understand if this seat-stealing behaviour is good or bad is essential.
Let's explore why your dog may become the world's biggest chair hog as soon as you stand
The positive reasons your dog may jump in your spot when you stand up
One thing you need to remember is that dogs (although domesticated) are pack animals. As
the queen (or king) of your castle, you should be the alpha, and your fur baby should be
content as the beta.
Your dog may jump straight into your spot (in a positive manner) because:
You're their security, and they want to snuggle up into your warmth and scent
They respect you as their alpha, and they want to sit in your space to guard it while you're not there
They feel it's their safe space when you're not with them
They don't want anyone else (human or animal) stealing your spot
If your dog jumps into your spot super quickly, there's usually no reason for concern, so long as they move (happily) when you come back.
How do I know if my dog moves happily out of my chair?
The behaviour of your dog stealing your spot is not an issue. It's what they do when you return to move them out of your chair that matters.
A happy dog will listen to your command (if needed) and happily move aside to allow you to
sit back down in your favourite spot. They've done their protection job, felt secure, and know
it's your place.
If your dog starts showing signs of aggression, growling or refusing to move, you may have
deeper issues to deal with.
The not-so-great reasons your dog may instantly steal your spot
There can be many reasons why your dog instantly steals your spot that isn't as positive as security and protection.
Your dog may be showing dominance
You're the alpha, and it's your seat, so your dog may jump straight into your chair to
show their authority. This often happens if multiple dogs are in the household, with
one trying to be the alpha over the other. Your dog may also want to get in before
your child takes the spot. Watch out for signs of aggression such as barking, snarling
or standing defensively that may accompany this behaviour.
Your dog may be displaying signs of separation anxiety
When your dog prefers to spend more time cuddled up on your spot rather than in
their own bed, it may be a sign of separation anxiety. You'll notice this more when
you return home, always to find them cuddled up on your spot, near your clothes, or
on your bed. If your dog slips onto your chair (rather than happily jump up), trembling
or giving you the eyes, it may also be their way of expressing separation anxiety.
How to teach your dog proper chair-stealing etiquette
When your dog steals your spot and removes themselves happily, you have nothing to worry
As a puppy, you can teach them this behaviour is normal and reward them with pats and
treats when they do the right thing (i.e. moving without force or aggression).
If you've got an older dog displaying aggressive seat-stealing behaviour, you can employ a
dog behaviouralist or give these tips a try:
Don't yell at your dog (especially when they're being aggressive), as you may heighten their emotions
Make sure everyone in your house knows about your seat position training
Encourage your dog to move off your seat and into its own spot using treats and gentle encouragement
When they get off your chair to come to you for a treat, make them sit and wait to show them you're the boss
Buy them their own unique chair that no one else steals, so they know they also have a special spot in your family
Dog walking can help eliminate separation anxiety issues
If your dog becomes anxious while you're out of your house and shows signs of seat-
stealing aggression, I'm here to help you and your fur baby.
Going for a walk will keep them company and give them something else to focus on while
you can't be there with them. It also tires them out, so they won't care where they sleep
when they return home!
As a qualified, fully insured pet minder and dog walker with over 10 years of experience (and
many happy customers), I'm on hand to help you care for your dog – from house visits to
You can book a pet minding service online using my new online booking form – dog walks,
pet sitting, and house sitting.
Here's a reminder of all my services.
Please remember, if we haven't met earlier, book a meet and greet session so we can see
how your fur baby and myself interact. I love animals and wouldn't want your pet to feel
uneasy and stressed out at any stage.
Until next time, pat your fur babies for me!