When you first got your dog, you probably got him all the things he needs to be comfortable such as a bed, feeding bowls, toys, and maybe even a window perch. But even though he has all these belongings, your dog still wants to sit on your chairs, whether he is at the dining table, in the kitchen, the office, or the dining room. In fact, most people don’t mind sharing furniture with their dogs and will even pull up a chair for Spot to eat together with the family. The same goes for watching TV or working in the office, where some consider their dogs to be good company. A lot of dogs behave like this and it is quite normal but while this is the case, how come other dogs don’t sit in chairs? Equally, is it the right thing to do, allowing your dog to sit on chairs that are meant to be for people? Read on below to learn more about this behavior.
The Root of the Behavior
There is little to no scientific evidence to explain why dogs like sitting in chairs, but observations made by dog experts and dog lovers may help to demystify this behavior. Deductions about the behavior can be made based on whether your dog has a bias for some chairs and when exactly he shows a preference for sitting in chairs. For instance, if your dog loves to sit in your chair after you get up, he could be looking for warmth or trying to get closer to your scent. You are likely to observe this in your home office where every time you leave your desk, your dog takes your place in the chair.
In the same vein, your dog will sit in a chair in your kitchen because he is attracted to food. A chair puts him at a level where he can see what is happening on the counter. It is also a great place for him to make eye contact with you in the hopes that you will feed him some treats. The same applies to your dog sitting at the dining table during mealtimes as he is hoping to share your meal. Additionally, some dogs have a bias for chairs that are close to windows as they provide a good view of the outdoors. Your dog may favor a window seat for various reasons such as being bored of the indoors and he is yearning for the stimulation that the outdoors promises. Two, he could be looking for other dogs or squirrels to chase around. Three, he is protecting his territory against human and animal intruders.A dog sitting in a chair is also thought to be about dominance. Researchers believe that dominance is a trait that develops in some dogs from when they are very young and that puppies that push other members of their litter off their mother’s teats are likely to become dominant dogs. If your dog is a dominant type, he will sit on a chair and may even mark it to show ownership, he will not comply when you ask him to get off the chair and he may even get aggressive if you insist.
Encouraging the Behavior
Personal preference and cultural dictates determine whether dogs can use furniture meant for humans. In some homes, dogs can share meals at the table while in others, dogs are not even allowed into the house. While this behavior is not dangerous, it can be an inconvenience in some respects, in which case you might want to discourage it. For instance, your dog shedding on your chairs may mean you need to clean more often. If you do not have the time to clean up more than you already do, it is best to stop him from sitting on your chairs. Otherwise, you will end up with hair all over your furniture. It also necessary to discourage it if your dog is showing aggressive behavior.
Through reward-based dog training and positive reinforcement, your dog can be taught to stay off chairs. To ensure the training has a positive outcome, you should do take the following steps. First, get everyone on board with your plan. Explain to everyone in the family that chairs are off limits to your dog and that you are getting him trained to discourage the behavior. Two, keep chairs tucked in to make them inaccessible when your dog wants to use them. Three, continuous correction during training is important as it will affirm the new behaviors that you want your dog to form. Correct your dog while he is in the process of sitting as doing so when he has already settled in a chair will not have the desired impact. Four, offer your dog an alternative such as a soft cushion. Lastly, create new rules for your dog during dinner time. For example, feed him before dinner to take away any craving for food, do not serve him scraps when eating, and if you must, keep him locked in a crate.
Other Solutions and Considerations
It is important to teach a dog discipline. However, no matter how much you want your dog to stop sitting on your chairs, this does not justify methods such as booby-trapping the chairs. A booby trap that is meant to scare your dog away, either by falling or making a loud noise, will do just that. Yet, such methods can also cause more harm than good by creating fear especially in dogs with a sensitive disposition.
It is also worth noting that some dogs get very agitated when watching the outdoors from a window chair and such times may coincide with other dogs passing by. If you notice this pattern, keep your dog in another room or take him out for a walk when you anticipate that other dogs will be in the vicinity. Your dog’s agitation arises from the fact that he feels his territory is being intruded upon. However, if the watching is non-aggressive, you shouldn’t be worried.
Dogs sitting in chairs is endearing and funny because it mimics human behavior. In fact, some of the funniest memes and videos on the internet are of animals doing things that humans do. Have a laugh but while you are at it, know that you will eventually have to set boundaries for your dog. But don’t worry, your dog won’t hate you; he will respect you more and relate to you better.
By a Golden Retriever lover Maryanne Gaitho
Published: 03/16/2018, edited: 01/30/2020