Top10 Reasons Why Does My Dog Climb on My Shoulders?

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why does my dog sit on my shoulder


Why Does My Dog Sit on My Shoulder? : Dogs are social animals, and they love to be close to their owners. Climbing on shoulders is one of the ways dogs show their affection towards their owners. This behavior is often seen in small dog breeds who want to be closer to their owners’ faces. However, it is not limited to small dogs and larger dogs also exhibit this behavior. Some dogs even prefer to sit on their owners’ shoulders instead of the floor or couch. 

why does my dog sit on my shoulder?

What to do about your dog climbing your shoulders

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

why does my dog sit on my shoulder?

1. You Encouraged the Behavior

You may not even be aware of it, but you might have encouraged your dog to climb up on your shoulders. If you give your dog toys, treats, or attention when he climbs on you, he will likely continue doing it. Read more: Top 10 Reasons Why Your Dog Climbs on Your Shoulders

2. Your Dog Wants Attention

Some people train their dogs to climb on their shoulders for a specific purpose. I love the following video of Kevin and his Golden retriever, Ellie. (Why Does My Dog Sit on My Shoulder?)

It may be your dog trying to catch your attention by jumping up on your shoulders. If they are behaving in this manner more often at a specific period, it’s possible that they are trying to get something from you. When you feed them or go on a stroll, for instance. If they have paws on their shoulders, it might mean they’re thirsty, want to play, or need to go outdoors.

Maybe the only thing left after barking, whining, and prodding have failed is to climb on your shoulders. But it’s the best technique your dog has discovered to express a certain need.

3. They Are Greeting You

One possible explanation may be that your dog wants to show you how much they care by jumping up on your shoulders when you get home. When dogs see their owners, they often leap up.(Why Does My Dog Sit on My Shoulder?)

While many dogs find “face-to-face” welcomes amusing, others find them bothersome. Dogs that jump have the potential to startle or harm humans. Try training your dog to settle down and relax first if you would want them to meet you informally.

4. Your dog wants to play with you

They could be climbing up on you to grab your attention so they can show you their toys, which is what they actually want!

You are encouraging your dog to climb on you if you play with them just after they have done so!  Your dog will eventually learn that jumping on you is the only way to get attention when they want to play. This is somewhat of a vicious cycle.  If this doesn’t excite you, simply remember to play with your dog all day long, not only when they start climbing all over you to want attention! Read more: Why Does My Dog Climb On My Shoulders?

5. Your dog is scared

If your dog trembles, growls, or pants, it might be terrified. A lot of things can terrify your dog. They could run for refuge beneath the table in the event of thunder, fireworks, or other loud disturbances. They could also be afraid of other animals.

6. Your Dog Is Excited

Dogs discover different methods to communicate with us when they are unable to do so verbally!  Dogs communicate with us in a few rather clear ways.   When dogs are attempting to communicate with humans, they may bark, snarl, or whimper.

Beyond the common noises they produce, dogs communicate in a variety of additional ways.  In actuality, body language rather than sounds is how dogs communicate most of the time. Your dog is communicating much more with their body the more times they cry out during the day!  (Why Does My Dog Sit on My Shoulder?)

7. Dogs Don’t Understand Personal Space.

It’s possible that your dog doesn’t realize that they shouldn’t be climbing up on you.  They really have no concept of personal space.  They might even just be trying to do their normal thing, by smelling your ears or breathing.  Dogs can get so much information from smelling our mouths. Read More: My Dog Killed My Cat

So, maybe your pooch doesn’t mean to offend you, they are just doing what feels normal to them!  They might even consider it polite to get so close to your head to say, hi, by hanging on your shoulders!

8. Your Dog Just Wants To Look Outside.

Similar to cats, some dogs enjoy climbing to the top of the space to get a clear view of their surroundings.  the dog may be attempting to see something if they consistently jump on you while you are seated on the sofa.

Smaller dogs, who would not ordinarily be able to view out of a window, will particularly benefit from this!  Imagine having to climb on your owner’s shoulders in order to see the outdoors.  All they desire is to be above everything and have a clear view of what’s happening. (Why Does My Dog Sit on My Shoulder?)

9. Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have been encouraging your dog to jump on your shoulders by rewarding the behavior. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not jump on your shoulders, to stop giving it attention when it does it, and to wait for it to be calm.

10. Training

You could also train it not to jump on your shoulders using positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward it when it does not jump up and stop rewarding it when it does.


Ultimately, your dog’s motivation for shoulder sitting likely stems from a combination of factors. It could be a way to express affection, seek attention, gain a better vantage point, or simply because they find it comfortable and enjoyable. Observing your dog’s body language and behavior in different situations can help you decipher their specific reasons and determine the most appropriate way to respond.


What not to do when your dog climbs you?

You may have considered using harsh training or punishment to educate a dog not to jump. A knee to the dog’s chest is one such. Leash correction is an additional alternative (preferred), in which the dog is asked to leave you alone by tugging on the leash. You should exercise caution while implementing any of these techniques to stop your dog from jumping on you. These methods might be harmful to your dog.

Why does my dog climb on my shoulders when I arrive home?

Dogs frequently exhibit a variety of behaviors when they are aroused, including headbutting, licking, climbing on your shoulders, and gentle biting of you by certain puppies. When you get home from work or the office and your dog usually jumps up on your shoulder, it might be because he missed you throughout the day and wants to play with you.

Why does my dog rest on my shoulder?

Some dogs want to be as close to their owner as possible that’s why they rest on their owner’s shoulder, which is a perfectly normal thing. Others show affection by resting their head on their knee, and some lean against you. This is the time to improve your relationship and appreciate the wonderful moments of love.

Why does my dog climb on my shoulders when I sit down?

If your dog climbs on your shoulders when you’re sitting, it’s possible that he’s attempting to persuade you to get up so he can get some exercise or food. This is more likely if your dog only appears to do it when you haven’t fed or exercised him.

It could also be related to your dog’s dominant nature, which is more likely if he wants to sit higher than you. If the behavior persists, seeking the opinion of a local dog behaviorist may be beneficial.(Why Does My Dog Sit on My Shoulder?)

Why does my dog put his paws on my shoulders?

Depending on the situation, your dog may try to place his paws on your shoulders. It’s frequently interpreted as a show of affection. An endeavor to get in close proximity to you. There are situations when this could be construed as an attempt to assert dominance.

Is it normal for my dog to climb on my shoulders?

 Yes, it is normal behavior for dogs to climb on their owners’ shoulders. However, if it becomes excessive, it may need to be managed.

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