When you're in the mood for cuddles, you love it when your dog chooses to sit on your lap. Dogs may sit on you because they want to show you how much they love you, give you comfort, or bond with you. They may be more inclined to sit on your lap because of their breed or because they're trying to communicate that they need attention or exercise. For some dogs, there's nothing more to this behavior other than a desire to have the most comfortable spot in the house — your lap!
A dog's breed may influence behavior
Some breeds are more likely to sit on you than others. Small breeds, like Shih Tzus, Malteses, and Chihuahuas, are known as lap dogs. They are the perfect size to snuggle up in any lap and have the level-headed temperament to sit quietly. Small breeds may also snuggle in your lap to get to a higher vantage point where they can clearly see their surroundings, because they like to be warm, or because they want to get away from other dogs, rambunctious children, or other adults.
Of course, some large dog breeds don't seem to know they're bigger than their human's lap and try to cuddle anyway. They might be continuing to cuddle because they were allowed to do so during puppyhood and want to continue sitting on your lap.
Dogs may want to show affection
Your dog may simply be happy to see you after a long day without you. For many dogs, sitting beside you or on top of you is a nice way to spend time together. If you reward your dog's behavior with pets and cuddles, he may have learned that this behavior gets him lots of good affection.
Dogs may want to mark you with scents
Dogs like to mark what they love with their scent: their home, their toys, and their humans. Dogs will sit on you to mark you with their scent and show other dogs and animals that they own you, even when they're not with you. Sometimes, dogs will do this after you've been away for a while or if they smell the scent of another animal on you.
Dogs may want to bond emotionally
Dogs express their love physically, and sitting on you could simply be a way to show their love for you. Dogs may sit on you because they feel safe and secure on your lap, or they just want to know when you move.
If you notice that they're more apt to sit on you after you've been gone, it's likely because they've missed you. Sometimes, dogs experience separation anxiety and want to cling to you after you've returned home.
Dogs may want physical stimulation
When dogs are on top of you, when they're destroying shoes and toys, or when they're bringing you toys, they are trying to attract your attention. Dogs may sit on you to tell you that they need you to play with them. Dogs of any age need about an hour of physical exercise every day, but many dogs have high energy levels that necessitate more activity time.
In addition to daily walks, get your dog involved in physical activities, like dog sports, trick training, or playtime at home. You can also take him to a dog park or doggie day care. Engage their minds as well with slow feeders that make dogs think about how to eat their meals and give them pet puzzles that make them search for treats.
Dogs may want to provide comfort and joy
Dogs are intuitive creatures that pick up on your every emotion. If you have had a bad day, are stressed by work, or are depressed or grieving, dogs will know and want to comfort you. Conversely, dogs will mimic positive feelings like happiness as well, and when you are feeling excited, they will feel excited. So, if you're not feeling well and your precious pup cuddles up to you, it's likely a sign of love.
Dogs may alert you to an illness
Dogs aren't just attuned to your every emotion; they can pick up on problems with your health as well. They put their super sniffers to work scenting out human illnesses and diseases. Because of their superior sense of smell, they can detect even the slightest changes in your body and may sit on you to communicate that something's wrong.
Medical research has shown that dogs can detect low and high blood sugar in diabetics before their levels become serious, and they can detect cancer. Dogs can also predict oncoming medical trouble and can alert you to oncoming panic attacks, seizures, and migraines.