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Why Does My Dog Steal My Spot? – 7 Likely Reasons

Cute dog sleepin on couch

Most dog owners have had the experience of getting out of a comfy spot on the couch for a quick trip to the kitchen or bathroom, only to come back to find our dog sitting in our own comfy spot. Why do dogs feel the need to steal our spot, though? After all, they’ve got their own cozy spot that they’ve already settled into. Why would they need to turn around and take our spot? Here are some of the reasons that your dog might steal your seat.

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The 7 Reasons Why Your Dog Steals Your Spot

1. Affection

woman and dog sitting on sofa at home
Image Credit: Megan Betteridge, Shutterstock
Type of behavior Positive
Importance 5/5

Probably the most common cause of your dog stealing your spot is simply that your dog adores you! Dogs like to be close to us, but stealing our comfy spot is the next best thing when we aren’t available. This is especially common if you tend to sit in the same spot regularly.

Most people have a specific “spot” of their own in comfortable places throughout their home, and it’s possible that your dog is stealing the spot of the person they are most bonded to or protective of. They just want to surround themselves with your scent when you aren’t available.


2. Warmth

english cocker spaniel lying on bed
Image Credit: Adriana Morales, Pixabay
Type of behavior Neutral
Importance 2/5

Many dogs love to be curled up in a warm and cozy spot. What could be better than taking a spot that you already warmed up for them? This is rarely indicative of a problem, but if you suspect your dog is abnormally cold, it’s a good idea to ensure your home is warm enough, and your dog is healthy and well.

It’s most likely that your dog simply isn’t as warm and cozy as they’d like to be, so they’ll happily take your seat when you get up. You may have left the spot warmer than the seat your dog was in, or your dog may simply associate you with warmth and assume that your spot is warmer than their spot.


3. Anxiety

owner and her dog sits on bed
Image Credit: VK Studio, Shutterstock
Type of behavior Negative
Importance 4/5

For dogs that have anxiety, especially separation anxiety, your presence is one of the most comforting things in their life. If your dog is anxious, they may enjoy spending time in your spot since it smells like you and provides them with the comfort of your presence when you are absent.

Anxiety can be managed through behavioral and medical interventions, and it’s a good idea to address anxious behaviors before they worsen. It is possible, though, that your dog simply moves to your spot for anxiety relief during abnormal periods of high stress, in which case it’s worth just keeping an eye on the behavior for worsening anxiety symptoms.


4. Attention

dog and owner sitting on couch
Image Credit: Piqsels
Type of behavior Neutral
Importance 4/5

If your dog realizes they get a response out of you by stealing your spot, then it’s possible the behavior will continue anytime they feel like they need a little extra attention. Most people would consider this a cute way of their dog acting out, but it can indicate something more concerning. If your dog is not getting enough of your time every day, they may seek out ways to get your attention. This can include negative behaviors, like stealing your spot or chewing up household items.

If your dog seems to get a kick out of your response to having your spot stolen, take an honest account of how much time you are spending with your dog every day and how you are helping them to burn excess energy. It may be time for a change if your dog begins using negative means to get any attention.


5. Dominance

dog at vet
Image Credit: ESB Professional, Shutterstock
Type of behavior Negative
Importance 5/5

This is not a common cause of this type of behavior, but it is a serious problem if your dog is exhibiting dominant behaviors over you or other human members of the household. Dominance may be coupled with aggression and destructive behaviors.

If your dog seems to steal your spot as a way of showing dominance over you, then you may need to talk to your vet or seek the assistance of a veterinary behaviorist or a trainer with behavioral experience. Dominance behaviors are not behaviors that will get better if they are ignored. Keep in mind that the alpha theory of dominance has been thoroughly debunked, so your dog will not do this behavior to establish themselves as the “alpha” of your family, but it still can be a way for them to assert dominance or ownership over people or items within the household.


6. Curiosity

dog and owner sitting on couch
Image Credit: Piqsels
Type of behavior Neutral
Importance 1/5

Dogs are highly intelligent animals, and they often exhibit curiosity when it comes to a variety of things. One thing that may pique your dog’s interest is your habit of sitting in the same spot. After all, what’s so great about that spot in particular? What makes it better than any other spot on the couch? Your dog may investigate and even steal your spot after you get up because they’re trying to figure out why you’re so invested in that one particular spot.


7. Comfort

dog on sofa
Image Credit: Piqsels
Type of behavior Neutral
Importance 1/5

There’s always the possibility that your dog steals your spot for the same reason that you habitually sit in the same spot; it’s more comfortable there. It may be more comfortable because the spot is more broken in than other seats, or maybe it gets a nice sunbeam in the afternoon. No matter the cause, many dogs will move themselves to more comfortable seating when the opportunity arises.

It’s also possible that your dog sits in that same spot when you aren’t home, which means you may be inadvertently competing with your dog for the perceived most comfortable spot in the house. If you think that your dog likes your spot simply for comfort purposes, it may be worth making other spots more comfortable for your dog by adding or removing pillows and blankets, adjusting blinds and vents, and any other ways you can think to improve the comfort of other spots for your dog.

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Creating a Dog-Friendly Space

If you find that you and your dog are constantly competing for the same comfy spot, it may be time to invest in making your home a more dog-friendly space. Try adding dog beds throughout your home to give your dog a comfortable place to spend time. Consider adding or removing extra pillows or blankets to make a space more comfortable for your dog. Some dogs enjoy burrowing under blankets and beds, and there are beds on the market that are made for these dogs that may help them feel safe and cozy.

dog lying on memory foam bed
Image Credit: Chewy

Work toward finding out why your dog loves to steal your spot. By working through the situation from their perspective, you may identify issues in your home or your relationship with your dog that need some work. You may also just determine that your dog likes you a whole lot and wants to spend as much time with you as possible, even if that means spending time with areas that smell like you.

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Conclusion

Work through these potential causes of your dog stealing your spot, just in case there is a concerning cause of the behavior. In the majority of situations, dogs steal our spots for nothing more than very basic reasons, like comfort. If this is the case, there’s not much you need to do about it except try to create a more dog-friendly home space and make sure your dog has plenty of comfortable options to choose from. If you think there may be a more concerning cause of this behavior, though, you need to include your vet or a trainer in the conversation as soon as possible to ensure you are setting your dog up for success.


Featured Image Credit: DenisDoukhan, Pixabay

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