Why Doesn’t My Dog Sit On My Lap

whya wont my dog sit on my lap

After a long day at work, the one thing you want to do is sit down and relax with your pooch. However sometimes your dog doesn’t want to sit on your lap or even near you for that matter, so why is this? Let’s take a look into the reason.

The most common reason why a dog won’t sit on your lap is comfort. If your dog is not able to create a secure surface to lie down on, then they will decide against it. Creating a stable surface for them can help encourage your pooch to sit on your lap more often.

Understanding your dog’s reason for rejecting you can be difficult, and you shouldn’t just jump to the conclusion that they no longer love you. To fix an issue, we must look at the entire picture. This article will highlight the reasons why and how you can help encourage your dog to sit on your lap.


Reasons Why Your Dog Won’t Sit on Your Lap


Temperature can be a huge issue for dogs, in fact, their bodies regulate temperature very well, meaning their own sense of temperature must also be acute. This means subtle changes are very noticeable to a dog and if its not what they are looking for then they will act accordingly.

Think of it this way, if your dog wants to rest then they are going to want an area where they will not have to change too much. If your dog finds your lap too hot or too cold, they will probably decide against it. The most common reason for a dog’s restless behavior is the temperature of your lap being too warm. Looking at my dog, for example, he will often search for the coolest place in the house during the summer months. This means he spends little time with us in the lounge, given the higher temperature of the room caused by our own body heat and electronic devices such as televisions.

For some extra information I have included an article by the AKC on “the best temperature for dogs in the winter”, this can give you a good idea of what temperature your dog enjoys.


If you have ever seen dogs trotting around in circles before they sit down, then you will probably be wondering why. This behavior is your dog finding the perfect spot that offers stability and comfort in one place, wolves also do this often amongst areas of foliage.

If you have a particularly large dog, then you will struggle to get them to sit on your lap. The obvious reason for this is that our laps are not big enough or even stable in any way. Our legs tend to create a bumpy surface and when we sit on comfy sofas our legs are hardly at a 90-degree angle. Smaller dogs won’t have as much trouble with this as they won’t slip off as easily, remember that if your dog senses even the slightest bit of instability then they will end up leaving you for the comfier more stable floor.

sleeping wolves

Surface Texture

What you wear can have a bigger effect on your dogs’ comfort than you think. Clothing such as jeans can often have metal buttons or harder wearing sections like a belt loop. These areas can dig into a dog’s body causing discomfort. Remember, your dog won’t have a second thought about moving if they find you are providing an uncomfortable place to relax.

How To Encourage a Dog to Sit on Your Lap


Although dogs can be picky about the temperature, going for a cooler temperature can help encourage a dog to stay on your lap. This is because our bodies are generally hot and if your dog senses the temperature around them is cold and you are warm, they will most likely choose you.


Unfortunately, we have not yet discovered a way to form ourselves into a bed so making your legs a stable surface for your dog can be difficult. Cushions are the most effective way of encouraging your dog to sit on your lap. Try choosing a firm one with plenty of room for them to get comfy, even the use of a board and blanket can work, just as long as you are able to combine stability and comfort.

Surface Texture

If you have a particularly picky dog, then you should wear something soft and thick. Joggers are an ideal piece of clothing to wear. As previously said try avoiding hard clothes like jeans and shorts with buttons. If choosing a blanket or cushion try softer materials and as a side note don’t go for a cream color. Even if you think your dog is the cleanest animal in the world, somehow they will make the cushion or blanket look dirty. Check out our article on “How to Keep Your House Clean With Muddy Dogs” for more information on cleaning.

How to Get a Dog to be More Affectionate

Ok, maybe it’s not just about your dog sitting on your lap, maybe you are looking for your dog to be more affectionate. You’re not alone in this and it’s understandable why it’s such a big question. To humans a dog sitting on our laps is a sign of affection and cuddling, so that’s the real reason why we want our dogs on our laps. But what other ways can we ensure our dogs are affectionate towards us.

Get Down to Their Level

More often than not I will be asked by my wife, “why does the dog love you more”. Firstly its got nothing to do with love, in fact, the reason is fairly simple…….I act like a child with our dog. By this I simply mean on arriving home I’m on the floor wrestling and making stupid sounds. My wife although playful with our dog does not act like a child…well let’s hope she doesn’t read this.

Although my dog is way too big to be sitting on my lap he greets me with joyful happiness and that is simply because he knows he is going to get a good laugh. So if you want your dog’s attention, try getting down to their level, be what they want you to be….another dog.

Reward-Based Training

I’m not saying that there is a specific way to train your dog to sit on your lap or be more affectionate. Training is another word for learning and so in order for your dog to learn that something is good, you need to reward them when they do something you want.

In order to create a lap dog, you should reward your dog when they settle down on your lap. try not to hand treats out for just being up on the sofa or almost on your lap, this could encourage bad behaviors. The last thing you want when your eating your dinner is your dog on your lap.

Early Impressions

In some ways, the dog you want can be shaped by what you do early on. Puppies are incredibly impressionable and as they grow they will adopt the personality that you have created for them.

If you want to have an affectionate dog then you must give them lots of affection as a puppy, limiting the amount of time they spend on their own can create a more affectionate puppy. It is incredibly important to note that whilst you are certainly training an incredibly affectionate dog, too much affection can cause neediness. If you don’t let your puppy survive on its own from time to time then you may end up with a dog that has separation anxiety.


As a word of warning. Although you may be raising your dog to become very affectionate and sit on your lap lots, think about the overall result of this. Before creating this influence think about whether you want your dog to be at your feet constantly, jumping up when not allowed, barking when they are alone. All these things could be caused by too much affection. Affection is good and a fundamental part of companionship, but boundaries are just as important, remember you are a human and your dog is well……a dog.


So there you have it. Some reasons why your dog won’t sit on your lap and coincidentally some ways to get them to do it more often. Hopefully, you enjoyed this post and if you need don’t forget to check out our homepage for more great content on dogs and getting out and about with your pooch.

Dean Lissaman

As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. Being an outdoor enthusiast has inspired me to create the ultimate resource on relating both dogs and the outdoors. For more information on me check out my about page.

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