Have you just found your dog sitting in a high place? Makes you wonder just what he's doing up there, doesn't it? Did he have his head held high as if he were pretending to be the king of the castle or was he having a good old sniff of the air? Does your pup like to sit on the back of the sofa as high up as he can get or does he climb up onto the roof of your car? It's strange the way some dogs give the impression they're just above everyone else and like to look down on the world around them, including you. Makes you wonder just what he's up to, doesn't it? So why do dogs sit in high places?
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The Root of the Behavior
Dogs are territorial animals and when they consider a space to be theirs, they're going to protect it to the very best of their ability. To be able to do a proper job of keeping his territory safe from predators and unwanted invasions by other dogs, your dog needs to have an advantageous viewpoint from where he can survey the boundaries of his grounds. If he can climb up somewhere high then he will do it because when you're as short in stature as a dog, a lot of things tend to get in the way of your field of vision. With a clearer view, he'll be able to see if there's trouble brewing on the horizon and be ready for action if need be.
When the high spot your dog chooses to sit on is you when you're on the sofa, he may well be letting you know that he considers himself to be a notch above you. If your dog clambers onto your knee without invitation then crawls up until he's practically sitting on your head, he's basically expressing his dominant nature and letting you know who he thinks is the boss. Yes, you guessed right. He thinks he is. By sitting on top of you, he's communicating, in his own canine way, that you belong to him and that he is in charge.
It has to be mentioned that some dogs just love to sit or even sleep in some very unusual places. It's one of their little quirks which makes them such great characters to have around. Sometimes, the same as with people, there really is no explanation or logical reason for the things they do. It may be your dog chooses to sit in a particular high place because he finds it comfortable, has used that same spot a few times and it's now impregnated with his scent, so he's claimed it for his own.
Encouraging the Behavior
When your dog decides he's in charge of the household, it's not a good sign. It's also pretty uncomfortable when your dog is trying to sit on top of you all the time no matter how much you love his company. While it may initially appear as if your pup is just being over friendly, if you don't take charge of the situation it can escalate and he could become aggressive toward you if he considers you to be challenging his authority.
Yes, dogs are territorial, but they can also take their need to look after their domain too far and become over protective. That's great if you're worried about getting your home broken into, but not so good if you're expecting visitors and your pup won't let them in the yard because he thinks he needs to guard it. Your dog could become aggressive toward anyone he thinks is trespassing on his property and in the worst case scenario, apart from barking like mad and growling, could even bite them.
Although they do like to sit in high places, dogs are not like cats and are not really natural climbers. Depending on what or where your pet decides to sit, he runs the risk of falling off. If he chooses to sit on the roof of the car and accidentally slides off, he could hurt himself quite badly and even break a leg.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If you think your dog has decided he's the dominant factor in your relationship, you might want to consider taking him to a few training sessions with a professional dog handler. They'll be able to show you some simple techniques which will quickly help you to restore your proper authority. Dogs who aggressively protect their territory can be a serious menace. If your pup has got carried away with his guarding, try consulting a qualified dog handler. They'll be able to show you the right way to teach your dog when to be protective and when not. If you think your dog might have hurt himself after falling from a high spot, the best thing to do is get him checked out at the vets as as soon as possible to make sure he hasn't broken anything.
Yes, dogs do like to sit in high places and there are some good reasons why they do, but it can put them in danger of hurting themselves. If your dog likes to climb up high, you might just want to try convincing him that life for canines is really much safer when he keeps his four feet on ground level.