Dogs Explained: Why They Love to Climb All Over You

dog climbs on you

Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world for a reason: they’re adorable, loyal, and always happy to see you. But what many people don’t know is that dogs have some pretty quirky behaviors that seem to defy explanation. One such behavior is their love of climbing all over their owners. So why do dogs love to climb all over you?

The most common reason for a dog to climb on someone is for attention. They want to get your focus and interact with you. If you ignore a behavior, the dog will use other tactics such as rubbing their head against your leg or jumping onto the lap of whoever they’re trying to get interaction from.

There are a few theories on why dogs engage in this behavior.

Pack theory

One possibility is that they’re trying to assert their dominance over you. Dogs are social animals, and in the hierarchy of their pack, they need to know where they stand. By climbing all over you, they may be trying to show you that they’re the alpha dog.

You smell

Another possibility is that dogs love to be close to their humans and climbing all over you is a way of achieving that. Dogs have a strong sense of smell, and being close to you allows them to take in your scent. This strengthens the bond between you and your dog, and makes them feel more comfortable and secure.

The Ruffle Snuffle mat song - turn ...
The Ruffle Snuffle mat song - turn it up and sing along!

You rewarded the behavior, so they repeat it

Yes, you did. Whether you realize it or not. One possibility is that your dog has learned that this behavior gets a reward, such as attention or food. By attention, I mean pushing them off (they think this is a game) or shouting at them. ANY attention they get is seen as a reward by your dog. If this is the case, make sure to give them plenty of positive reinforcement when they are calm and not climbing on you.

Comfort and warmth

Another reason could be that your dog is seeking something from you specifically, such as comfort or warmth. Dolly loves to climb half onto my lap and put her paw across my leg. I think of it as her claiming ownership, of her owner! She loves to try and climb completely onto my lap, but she’s just a bit too big an heavy for that!


And finally, your dog may just be excited and wants extra attention when it climbs onto your lap or jumps on your back. This might be their way of saying “hello” or showing affection. Be sure to reward your dog with treats or attention when they are behaving in a way that you want to encourage, such as when they are lying calmly at your feet. Or teach them ‘four on the floor’. (Instructions on this article here).


Your dog might just be plain bored and looking for something to do. Make sure that your dog gets enough exercise every day, and provide them with plenty of toys and activities to keep them occupied.

Fear and Anxiety

The last time your dog was frightened by fireworks, she became clingy and more confident. This suggests that her instinct to protect her owner might be the cause of this behavior. It’s also possible that this response is due from anxiety or being unfamiliar with someone new–such as a visitor at your home. Small dogs may not always get along with visitors they’re unfamiliar with, even if they are friendly otherwise.

What you got?

Another possibility is that dogs like being up high because it gives them an advantage in social situations and allows them to see what their human might have brought home from the store or have in their hand. Dogs will often try to engage their human by sharing a toy or barking, but if this doesn’t work, they may resort to climbing on your lap or back to get to the goodies.

How to stop your dog climbing on you

Once you have an idea of what’s most likely causing your pet to climb on you, it’ll become easier to get them to stop doing it. If the behavior is being reinforced with rewards like attention or food, then try withholding those things until the dog stops climbing on you.

You can also try redirecting their attention towards something else by asking them to sit, i.e. an opposite behavior to climbing, instead of pushing them away or shouting at them. Ignoring the dog until it calms down may also help reduce this behavior.

This will teach them they will get their reward by following your instruction and that they don’t need to resort to such disruptive behaviors anymore in order to get our attention.

Dog climbing on you FAQs

Is it normal for my dog to climb on me?

In general, what is normal behavior for one dog, is not for another. Some dogs like to climb on your lap and others will keep their distance.

How can I stop my dog from climbing on me?

There are a few things you can do to discourage your dog from climbing on you. One is to not reward them for the unwanted behavior. If they jump up and make contact with you, cross your arms in front of your chest to block them, and turn away. Avoid spending too much time down on the ground with your dog if it’s not working out for you–they might take that as a sign that they’re winning and continue the behavior.

If your pet climbs on you all the time, they might be lonely. Dogs need companionship, and if yours is constantly seeking attention from you, it might mean they’re not getting enough love elsewhere. Try getting them a companion pet to keep them company when you’re away.

What should I do if my dog climbs on me?

If your dog climbs on you, it may be trying to tell you something or feel safer. Dogs often climb on their owners as a way of getting attention. It’s important to understand why your dog is doing this so that you can better address the behavior.

If your dog climbs on someone else when they’re hugged, it could just be wanting in on the fun! But if your dog is always climbing on people, it might be indicative of a more serious problem. In any case, it’s best to consult with a professional trainer or behaviorist who can help assess and correct the issue.

What are some ways to prevent my dog from climbing on me?

There are a few different ways to prevent your dog from climbing on you. One is to simply ignore them if they do so; another technique is to cross your arms in front of your chest, making it difficult for the dog to get contact with you (this can also be done by sitting down or crossing your legs). You can also avoid eye-level or ground level interactions when trying not to allow a dog up onto someone else.

Sometimes, a dog can be too clingy and it is important to set boundaries when playing with them, so they know when to stop and relax. If your pup is particularly needy, consider getting them a companion pet that will provide them with the attention they need.

Why does my puppy climb on me when I hug someone?

One reason could be that the puppy is jealous – they may see the person you’re hugging as a rival for your attention.

If your dog is climbing on people when they hug, there are a few things you can do to prevent them from doing this. One suggestion is to start training your dog at an early age with obedience classes. This will help teach them how to properly behave around other people and dogs, and it will make them happier and more obedient overall.

Why does my dog climb on me when I lay down?

There are some physiological explanations for why dogs might climb on you when you’re lying down. When humans lie down, we become more relaxed and our body language signals submission which can be appealing to dogs. Additionally, many dogs enjoy being up high because it’s more fun than being at ground level!

Why does my dog climb on me when they’re scared?

Dogs often climb on their owners when they’re scared as a way to feel safe. When in an unfamiliar or dangerous situation, dogs may become agitated and look for a sense of security from their owner. Dogs also use this behavior to alert their owners of danger. If your dog climbs on you frequently, it’s important to be aware of their surroundings and take steps to keep them safe.

Why does my dog climb on me when I come home?

There could be a few reasons why your dog climbs on you when you come home. One possibility is that they may be feeling anxious or excited from being separated from you. Alternatively, your pet might think that it’s an opportunity to get some extra attention, and will start jumping all over you as soon as you walk in the door.

Whatever the reason may be, there are ways to discourage your dog from doing this. If they start getting too excited, try ignoring them until they calm down. And if they become aggressive in their efforts to climb on you, don’t pet them – this will only reinforce the behavior.

It’s also important to remember that dogs don’t always understand what’s appropriate behavior and what isn’t. So even though it may seem rude to us, climbing all over their human is just a way for Fido to make himself more comfortable. Dogs like having a perch where they can keep an eye on everything going on around them, and our heads happen to be the perfect spot for this!

Why does my dog climb on me and lick my face?

While there can be many reasons why your dog might be doing this, some of the most common explanations are excitement, trust, or seeking attention.
In some cases, dogs may lick their owner’s faces because they are excited to see them. This often happens when the dog hasn’t seen its owner in a while and is overjoyed to finally be reunited.

Dogs also express affection by licking, so your pet might be trying to show you how much they love you!

Another possibility is that your dog is doing it because it has learned that this behavior makes you happy. If you typically respond positively (e.g., with treats or petting) when your dog licks you, it might start to do this more often in order to get those rewards.

Final thoughts

Whatever the reason, dogs climbing all over you is a behavior that’s likely to continue. So if you don’t mind being used as a personal jungle gym, enjoy the cuddles!

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