How to Train Your Small Dog to Sit on Your Lap

Medium
2-4 Weeks
Fun

Introduction

Having a lap dog is only fun if you can actually train your dog to sit in your lap. Small dogs love being held and cuddled. However, they don't always know to jump in your lap, circle around to get comfortable, and lie down. Training your dog to sit in your lap can be a command you can teach your little guy to increase and improve the bond you two have together. Spending time with your small dog in your lap can improve your mood, calm your little guy down, and turn into an evening of cuddle fun. Training your little guy to greet you when you get home from a long day at work is one thing, but teaching him to cuddle and sit in your lap can turn your stressful day into a day filled with love and compassion. We own dogs for that unconditional love. Train your small dog to sit in your lap and give you just that. 

Defining Tasks

Before you begin to train your small dog to sit in your lap, be sure you have a safe way for him to get up into your lap. For instance, if you're sitting on a couch and you want your little dog to come to the couch to sit in your lap, be sure you are offering him a safe way to get up onto your couch. Training your small dog to sit in your lap will be a matter of conditioning him to recognize how to get in your lap, when it is okay to be on your lap, and how to settle down while he's on your lap, so he's not constantly licking your face or running around across the couch instead of settling down. You can teach puppies and older small dogs to do this. Just be sure to keep them safe if they are on furniture.

Getting Started

To prepare for training, put yourself in the same seat each time you ask your little dog to come sit in your lap. This could be a kitchen chair, an office chair, a couch, or even on the floor so your small dog does not have to do any acrobatics to get up to your lap. Be consistent with his training and offer lots of treats to your small dog, so he knows he's doing a job you expect him to do and doing it well.

The From the Floor Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Treats
Be sure to have treats handy and close by but not where your small dog can get to them during training.
Step
2
Sit
Sit on the floor with your legs criss- crossed. It might be easier for your small dog if you lay a blanket across your lap. This will give him a soft place to sit without falling through to the floor.
Step
3
Call your dog
Call your small dog to you by using his name and patting the blanket in your lap.
Step
4
Lap
When your small dog comes to you, show him a treat and encourage him to sit down on your lap. If necessary for the first few times, you can place the treat in your lap for your dog to see. If he needs help climbing up to your lap this first time, you can place him there.
Step
5
Reward
As soon as your dog gets into your lap and sits, give him the treat.
Step
6
Repeat
Remove your dog from your lap and repeat this several times. Over time, you can give the action a command such as ‘lap,’ so your dog knows when you say the command, he is to climb in your lap and sit. Be sure to keep giving him rewards each time he sits in your lap. This is what will condition him to remember the task.
Recommend training method?

The With a Partner Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Position
Have one person sit on the floor or in a safe place for your small dog to access and have the second person standing nearby with treats.
Step
2
Command
Place your small dog in the lap of the person sitting and give it a command such as ‘lap.’
Step
3
Treat
Walk a few steps away from the person in the seated position and the small dog sitting in their lap. Once you have separated from them, offer the dog a treat. This will force the dog to move off the lap and go to the person standing for the treat.
Step
4
Repeat
You may need to take your dog to the person sitting a few times before he begins to go on his own. Repeat taking him to this lap using the command word, take a few steps away, and then offer the dog a reward for sitting in the lap.
Step
5
Practice
Keep practicing with your small dog using the command to sit in your or your partner’s lap. This will take several times, but eventually, by repeating the command word and placing the dog in the lap, he will begin to understand the command means he should go sit in your lap. He will always expect a treat for this.
Step
6
Without a partner
Once your small dog understands the command and begins to go sit in you or your partner’s lap without setting him there, try to ask your dog to sit in your lap without the partner. Sit in the same place and say the command. Once he obeys, offer him a treat.
Step
7
More practice
Again, without a partner, place your dog on the floor and sit down. Use the command you’ve taught your small dog to ask him to come sit in your lap. If he obeys, be sure to give him a treat. If he doesn’t get it, repeat the steps above several more times until he is able to do this on his own without being placed in your lap.
Recommend training method?

The Treat Lure Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Sit
Place yourself in your favorite spot. Be sure, especially if you are sitting in furniture, your small dog can safely jump up to you or has pet stairs to access you.
Step
2
Treat
Hold a treat up over your lap and call your small dog. This should get his attention and lure him up to you.
Step
3
Sit
Once your little guy jumps into your lap, ask him to sit. When he is sitting, give him a treat.
Step
4
Practice
Keep practicing this so your dog knows to sit in your lap when you ask him to. If he jumps in your lap if you do not ask, be sure to reward him anyway.
Step
5
Repetitive training
The repetitive training of asking and rewarding will help his develop this new trick and improve your cuddle time together.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Hunter
Samoyed
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Hunter
Samoyed
3 Years

He keeps biting me

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
150 Dog owners recommended

Hello, When he bites, does he break the skin? If he is breaking the skin, then you need to hire a professional trainer who is very experienced dealing with aggression and has the proper resources, like another trainer to assist him if needed, to help you. Biting can happen for a number of reasons. It can be play mouthing- which is far less serious, is done in play and excitement and does not break the skin. It can be resource guarding or possessiveness around food, toys, or certain people. It can be dog-related aggression. It can be dominance/rudeness -typically a dog who simply thinks that he is in charge and has learned that he can get what he wants by using his mouth. It can be fear-biting. It can be due to injury, illness, or chemical imbalance. It can also be for another reason. A good trainer can assess why he is biting by asking a series of questions and having a safe consult with Hunter to evaluate him and decide on an approach to train him. Expect your dog to have to be restrained safely or muzzled for the consult until Hunter gets used to the trainer. If Hunter is not breaking the skin, is only biting during play and times of excitement, and seems to be having fun when he does it - and does not look stiff, tense, or proud, then he is probably mouthing, which is far less serious. To address mouthing, check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Leave It" method. You may also need to work on other training to improve Hunter's impulse control, obedience, and general calmness. A good obedience class, private lessons with a trainer, or following one of the methods from the second article that I have linked below can help with that part too. Mouthing biting: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Respect and listening: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Do not address the biting using the linked puppy biting article if it is not puppy mouthing but is dangerous biting - hard-aggression-related bites need to be taken much more seriously and addressed with a trainer present in a different way. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Hunter's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd