Skip to Content

Why Do German Shepherds Sit On You?

Have you ever been sitting down on the couch, just trying to enjoy some television or a movie, and out of nowhere your German Shepherd decides that it would be a great time to just sit on you?

It can be quite disorientating to suddenly have another 70 pounds on top of your lap.

Why Do German Shepherds Sit On You?

German Shepherds don’t sit on you to be mean. Instead, sitting on you is one way that they both show their affection and mark their territory. They are saying, “you are mine and I love you.” These dogs demonstrate their affection and dominance in ways that are odd to us but are completely normal to them. 

There are some other reasons why your German Shepherd will suddenly appear in your lap. However, the most common reason is to claim you as their territory. 

They Need Some Extra Attention

Sometimes a German Shepherd needs some extra love. 

Your dog might appear in your lap because they miss you and want to be near you. 

Much like how a child will want to snuggle with their parent, a German Shepherd will sometimes feel the need to snuggle with its owner. 

Their like fur-covered children in this way. 

If your German Shepherd is stressed, afraid, or has social anxiety, you can expect your German Shepherd to show up in your lap whenever they aren’t feeling their best self. 

Being close to you is how they calm down because, in their eyes, you are the most important and most comforting thing to be around. 

They Love You!

As mentioned above, German Shepherds will sometimes sit on their owners simply because they love their owners.

It can be a bonding experience between dog and owner and all they want is to be close to you. 

If you have been gone for a while, they will show that they are happy you are back by sitting on you as soon as you try to rest. 

Some dogs get super excited and jump around while this breed waits until you’re down to commence snuggling.

Your German Shepherd Might Be Cold

It’s ironic considering how German Shepherds thrive in the cold and snow because of their double-layered coats. 

However, they enjoy being warm and toasty more than anything.

If you live in a cold area and it is snowing outside, don’t be surprised when your German Shepherd jumps in your lap to steal some of your body heat.

If you find that your German Shepherd sits on you more often in the wintertime or after being outside in the cold, it is safe to say that they want your body heat. 

They’re Being Territorial (But Not for You)

German Shepherds are territorial dogs and they like to protect their items and their space. 

While it may seem as though they are trying to claim you by sitting on you, they actually may be sitting on you because you stole their spot.

Yes, German Shepherds will claim a spot around the house or on the couch (if they are allowed) and may become a little annoyed when someone takes that spot instead. 

They show that they are trying to reclaim their territory by sitting on anyone who is in their spot. 

It Has Become Habit

German Shepherds are very intelligent dogs and pick up on learned behaviors quickly. 

However, not every behavior they pick up is one that you may want. 

You may have accidentally trained your German Shepherd to sit in your lap.

This could have been done by giving them pets and love after they have hopped up or by you encouraging them to come up to your lap when they were a puppy. 

No matter how it happened, it is probably a habit that your German Shepherd is just used to doing now. 

What Do I Do If I Don’t Want My German Shepherd Sitting on Me?

While it may be cute, not everyone wants a 70-pound dog in their lap whenever they sit on the couch or a chair. 

Since German Shepherds are super intelligent, they can unlearn behaviors almost as easily as they learn them.

However, it will take some determination, patience, and willpower from you.

Ignore Your German Shepherd

One way to show that your German Shepherd is no longer welcome on your lap is to ignore them.

Many dog owners have experienced the hand nudging that comes with your dog wanting some attention, but you must ignore that. 

Ignoring your German Shepherd when they hop up onto your lap will send a message that they are no longer welcome on your lap. 

Stop Encouraging It

This goes with ignoring your German Shepherd when they sit on you.

Usually, unintentional rewarding of this behavior goes with you giving your dog pets when it hops onto your lap. 

However, you need to stop rewarding this behavior with attention if you want this behavior to stop. 

Train the Behavior Out

You don’t have to stop giving your German Shepherd love and attention through this process. 

Instead of rewarding the behavior of your dog hopping up onto your lap, reward them when they are off of your lap. 

If you have to tell your German Shepherd to get off of you, reward them with a treat or attention when they are off of your lap.

Only give them attention when they are on the ground and off of your lap. 

That way, they will learn that they will get the attention that they want without having to get into your face

Again, ignore them or tell them to get off when they are on your lap, only giving them what they want when they are doing what you want. 

An easy way to get your German Shepherd off your lap is to distract them with a toy.

Gain their attention with a squeaky toy or something else that they like and keep that on the floor. 

Be careful with this method, however, as you may accidentally train them to get on your lap for you to play with them. 

Give Them Their Own Space to Go To

This will be helpful if your German Shepherd has claimed their place on the couch.

Even if you want them to stop sitting on you when you are in their spot, you need to remove the association that the spot on the couch is theirs. 

You can try to give them their own area that is just theirs, such as a dog bed or a couple of folded blankets.

That way, they can show their territorial instincts by protecting that area instead of that area on the couch. 

Persistence is Key

Remember to be persistent during this process.

If you break and start petting your German Shepherd when they are on your lap, they will once again be rewarded for that behavior. 

This will send mixed signals and confuse your dog which will make training away the behavior much harder to do. 

Are German Shepherds Affectionate?

By now you should know that German Shepherds love to show love as much as they like to receive love. 

German Shepherds do or allow a lot of behaviors that are meant to show affection and bonding between them and their owners. 

Here are some affectionate behaviors that your German Shepherd might participate in:

  • Jumping up to hug you or allowing you to hug them
  • Wanting to play all the time (this breed has a lot of energy)
  • They will lean on you, even if it means you lose your balance
  • Give you lots of kisses
  • Snuggle up with you on the couch (or sit on you)
  • Following you around

Even though some owners may consider these actions annoying, these dogs are just trying to show how much they love and appreciate you. 

Besides, they probably don’t even realize that what they are doing is getting in the way of what you are doing. 

While through training you can have them learn better manners so they won’t get in the way as much, there is no doubt that they will still be super affectionate. 

They love their owners and always want to show it.

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds may be known for their movie roles of being super aggressive attackers, yet most of the time they are super affectionate cuddle-bugs. 

This “aggressive breed” only is aggressive when they aren’t properly trained or are trained to be aggressive.

Otherwise, the most aggressive thing these dogs will do is attempt to hug you, even if it means knocking you down in the process.

Dog owners need to take time to learn the behaviors of their dogs to have an established and close bond with them. 

This means learning how they like to show their affection and how they learn the best. 

When dog owners take the time to learn the personality of their dogs, they can better make sure that they are happy and well taken care of.