Why Does My Dog Stand Over Me? Dog Dominance

Ever wondered why does my dog stand over me? This behavior is more than a quirky canine habit—it’s deeply rooted in primal instincts from their undomesticated ancestors.

In this article, we’ll help unravel the mystery behind your dog’s domineering stance by delving into the psychology of dominance in dogs and sharing practical tips on how to manage it.

Get ready to gain some insightful knowledge about your furry friend!

why does my dog stand over me

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs may stand over their owners to establish dominance, seek protection, or ask for reassurance.
  • This behavior is rooted in their primal instincts from undomesticated ancestors and can still be present despite domestication.
  • Understanding the reasons behind the behavior can help dog owners address it effectively through proper training, setting clear boundaries, and seeking professional assistance if necessary.

The Root of the Behavior

Primal instincts drive dogs to exhibit dominance, while domestication has also played a role in shaping their behavior.

Primal instincts of dominance

Dogs come from wolves. Both are pack animals that show who is boss with actions. Dogs do this too, even when they live with people instead of other dogs. The dog that stands tall over others in the pack shows he’s the boss.

This is a primal or old impulse, like how we humans have impulses to eat and sleep. Sometimes dogs will stand over you because they want to feel like the boss or top dog at home. Some experts believe this deep-seated urge can still flicker within our pet pals today, making them act out these old roles again.

Domestication and its effects

Dogs have been domesticated for a long time, but some experts believe that their primal instincts are still there. This means that even though they live with humans, they may still act in ways that show dominance or hierarchy.

It’s important to understand this when trying to figure out why your dog stands over you. The process of domestication has had an impact on dogs, but it hasn’t completely erased their natural behaviors.

why does my dog stand over me

Reasons for Standing Over

Dogs may stand over their owners for various reasons, including establishing dominance, seeking protection, needing reassurance, or displaying clinginess.

Establishing dominance

Dogs may stand over people as a way to establish dominance. This behavior can be seen when they position themselves higher than the person, showing their authority and asserting their higher rank in the relationship.

It is important for dog owners to understand that this behavior can occur regardless of the gender of the dog. By recognizing this display of dominance, owners can take appropriate steps to assert their own leadership and establish clear roles and boundaries with their dogs.

Seeking protection

Sometimes, a dog may stand over you because they are seeking protection. Dogs can sense when something is wrong or if there’s danger nearby, and they might feel safer being close to their human.

They may also see you as their protector and want to be near you for comfort and security. This behavior shows that your dog trusts you and looks to you for safety. It’s important to provide reassurance and make them feel secure during these moments while also addressing any underlying anxiety or fear they may have.

Needing reassurance

Sometimes, when a dog stands over you, it may be because they need reassurance. Dogs can feel anxious or insecure just like humans do. When they stand over you, it’s their way of seeking comfort and security from someone they trust.

They might want you to pet them or give them attention to help them feel better. It’s important for dog owners to understand this behavior and provide the reassurance that their dogs need.

By giving them love and attention, we can help our dogs feel safe and secure in our presence.

Remember, every dog is different, so it’s essential to pay attention to your individual dog’s body language and cues. If your dog is standing over you frequently or showing signs of anxiety or fear, consider seeking professional assistance from a veterinarian or a certified dog trainer who can provide guidance on how best to address the behavior.


Some dogs stand over people because they are clingy and don’t understand boundaries. They want constant attention and may feel anxious when separated from their owners. This behavior can be a sign of insecurity or fear, as the dog seeks reassurance and comfort by being close to you.

It’s important to address this clinginess through training and socialization, helping your dog develop independence and confidence. Establishing clear roles and boundaries can also help them feel secure in their place within the family hierarchy.

If necessary, seek professional assistance to address any underlying behavioral issues contributing to the clinginess.

why does my dog stand over me

Should I Be Concerned?

Understanding the behavior and recognizing signs of dominance aggression is crucial for dog owners. Read on to learn how to address this behavior effectively.

Understanding the behavior

Dogs standing over people can be a sign of dominance or a need for something. It could mean that they want attention, food, or reassurance. Some dogs may also do this because they are clingy and don’t understand boundaries.

This behavior can happen regardless of the dog’s gender. It’s important to understand why your dog is behaving this way and take steps to address any dominance or boundary issues.

Recognizing signs of dominance aggression

Signs of dominance aggression in dogs can include:

  1. Growling or snapping when their boundaries are crossed.
  2. Pushing their body against you to assert dominance.
  3. Curling their lip or baring their teeth to show aggression.
  4. Stiffening their body and staring intently at you.
  5. Mounting or humping people as a display of dominant behavior.
  6. Refusing to obey commands or resisting training efforts.
  7. Showing possessiveness over toys, food, or other resources.
  8. Resource guarding, such as protecting their bed or food bowl aggressively.
  9. Raising their hackles (the hair on the back of their neck) when feeling threatened.
  10. Taking a guarded stance by standing tall and tense.

How to Address the Behavior

Addressing the behavior involves proper training, setting clear boundaries and seeking professional assistance if needed. Learn effective techniques to establish a balanced relationship with your dog and create a harmonious environment.

Don’t miss out on essential tips to address dog dominance – read more now.

Proper training and socialization

To address the behavior of a dog standing over you, it’s important to focus on proper training and socialization. Here are some key steps:

  1. Establish clear roles and boundaries: Set consistent rules for your dog to follow. This helps them understand their place in the pack and reduces any confusion or dominant behaviors.
  2. Use positive reinforcement: Reward good behavior with treats, praise, or playtime. Positive reinforcement encourages your dog to repeat desirable actions and reinforces your position as the leader.
  3. Provide mental and physical exercise: Regular exercise is crucial for a healthy dog. Engage them in activities like walks, runs, or puzzle toys to keep them mentally stimulated and prevent boredom-related dominance behaviors.
  4. Socialize your dog: Introduce your dog to different people, animals, and environments from an early age. This helps them become more comfortable in various situations and reduces potential anxiety or dominance issues.
  5. Seek professional assistance if needed: If you’re struggling with addressing the behavior on your own, consider consulting a professional dog trainer or behavioral specialist. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Establishing clear roles and boundaries

To address the behavior of a dog standing over you, it is important to establish clear roles and boundaries. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Be consistent: Set clear rules and expectations for your dog’s behavior and stick to them consistently. This helps establish your authority as the pack leader.
  2. Provide structure: Dogs thrive on routine and structure. Establish a daily routine for feeding, exercise, and playtime. This gives your dog a sense of stability and helps them understand their place in the family hierarchy.
  3. Use positive reinforcement: Reward good behavior with treats, praise, and affection. Positive reinforcement encourages your dog to repeat desired behaviors and strengthens your bond with them.
  4. Set boundaries: Teach your dog the meaning of “no” by redirecting unwanted behaviors and providing an alternative that is acceptable. For example, if your dog tries to jump on you when you enter the house, redirect their attention to sitting or lying down instead.
  5. Practice obedience training: Enroll in obedience classes or work with a professional trainer to teach your dog basic commands like sit, stay, and leave it. Obedience training reinforces your role as the leader and helps prevent dominant behaviors.

Seeking professional assistance if needed

If you’re having trouble addressing your dog’s standing over behavior or if it seems to be getting worse, it may be a good idea to seek professional assistance. A qualified dog trainer or animal behaviorist can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation and help you understand why your dog is displaying this behavior.

They can teach you effective training techniques and strategies for establishing clear roles and boundaries with your furry friend. Remember that seeking professional help doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a dog owner; it simply shows that you are committed to improving your relationship with your pet and creating a harmonious home environment.

why does my dog stand over me


In conclusion, it’s important for dog owners to understand why their dogs may stand over them. While some dogs do it out of dominance or clinginess, others seek protection or reassurance.

By properly training and socializing your dog, setting clear boundaries, and seeking professional assistance if needed, you can address this behavior and establish a balanced relationship with your furry friend.

Remember to always be the pack leader and assert your dominance as a responsible dog owner.


1. What is dog dominance and why does my dog stand over me?

Dog dominance is a form of canine behavior where dogs use their body language to display power. When your dog stands over you, it’s showing its pack leader behavior or alpha dog mentality.

2. How can I understand my dominant dog’s body language?

Watch for assertive canine postures, such as standing tall or laying on top of you. These are signs of dominance in dogs related to their primal instincts.

3.What do I need to know about social dominance in dogs and the canine hierarchy?

Dogs show social dominance based on their place in the canine hierarchy. The highest-ranking or “alpha” shows his authority through dominant behavior and posturing.

4.How does displaying dominance relate to pack behavior among dogs?

In a dog pack, each member knows its rank within the group thanks to dominant and submissive body language signals known as the ‘dog pack dynamics’.

5.What techniques can help with asserting my authority as an owner dealing with a dominant pet?

The alpha roll technique, among others methods for establishing your own human-driven dominance, helps set clear behavioral boundaries for your four-legged friend.

6.Is there any link between aggression found during playtime and this type of natural physical imposing by animals?

Dominance aggression in canines often comes from status seeking antics like these; learning how to check them using balanced training systems could prevent any unwanted incidents at home or during walks.

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