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Why Does My Border Collie Sit on Me: 5 True Reasons

You’re not alone if your border collie engages in some peculiar behavior! Trust us, we know! Our collies do weird things on a daily basis.

Most recently one of them has started to come and sit on us while watching TV in the evenings. Well, at least she tries to!

If your collie is trying to sit on you, you’ll want to know why this is, and if it’s bothering you, how to stop it. Everything you need to know is below. Let’s get started.

why does my border collie sit on me

5 Reasons Why Your Border Collie Wants to Sit on You

We’ve actually dealt with this behavior numerous times over the last decade or so training other dogs.

In that time we’ve got a handle on the typical reasons dogs do this. Let’s run through them below!

➡️ Seeking Attention

Border Collies love to be the center of attention. If your dog is sitting on you, they might be trying to tell you something.

Your dog might need something or just want to play. By sitting on you, they know that they will surely get your attention. It’s like a gentle nudge saying, “Hey, look at me!” They might want a treat, a walk, or simply some cuddles. Spending time together can make your dog very happy.

➡️ Showing Affection

Dogs often sit on their owners to show love and affection. Your Border Collie may feel close to you and wants to be near you. Sitting on you is a way to feel that closeness.

It’s not only a sign of love but also trust. Your dog might be saying, “I feel safe with you.” It’s a sweet way to strengthen your bond with your pet.

➡️ Feeling Safe

Sometimes, Border Collies sit on their owners to feel safe and secure. Loud noises like thunder or fireworks might scare them.

Being close to you helps them feel protected. Your presence calms them down, and they know that everything will be okay. It’s like giving them a big, warm hug.

➡️ Claiming Territory

Border Collies are known to be territorial at times. By sitting on you, they might be saying, “This person is mine!”

It’s a way for them to show other pets or people that you belong to them. It’s not about being mean or selfish; it’s about feeling proud and connected to you.

➡️ Health Issues

Sometimes, sitting on you might be a sign of a health issue. If this behavior is new and happens a lot, it’s a good idea to check with a vet.

Your Border Collie might be feeling pain or discomfort and seeks comfort from you. It’s always wise to keep an eye on changes in behavior and consult with a professional if needed.

Which Applies To You?

All of the above are very valid reasons and it could be any for your collie. In order to identify the right trigger, it’s important to stand back and consider everything.

Taking everything into context could help you narrow down the WHY.

  • When does your collie try to sit on you? Is it the same time of day? What happens at that time?
  • Is your collie acting differently than normal in general? More nervous? scared?
  • Is your collie receiving less attention from you than regularly? Consider work routine changes…
  • Is your collie bothered by something in particular around the time she tries sitting on you?

These are just some of the questions that you could consider, that my help you narrow down the true reason behind this behavior.

Of course, it’s hard to know exactly, but thinking of these things can give you some hints.

Should You Stop This Behavior?

One thing many owners ask us about this, is whether they should allow it, or if they should actively stop their collie and train against it.

The answer is both yes and no.

❌ When it should be stopped:

If your collie is doing this out of nerves, anxiety, or if she gets flustered when you do not allow her to sit on your lap, then it’s good to avoid letting her develop this behavior further.

When the cause of this behavior is something negative you don’t really want to allow it. This will prevent your collie from becoming dependant on being able to sit on your lap.

I’ve heard of many cases where owners let behaviors like this slide because their dog is seeking comfort, but they soon become so attatched to doing it, they forget how to lay down on the floor sensibly, and instead constantly seek to jump up on the couch or chair, which can definitely be inappropriate in many situations.

✅ When it may be okay to let happen:

If your collie isn’t particularly anxious, scared, or bothered by you rejecting her attempts to get up and sit on your lap, then you could let it happen (occassionally).

As long as your collie doesn’t forget that her place should be her bed or a designated spot on the rug in your living room, not on your lap, then it’s fine to allow it infrequently.

This all comes down to whether or not this behavior is being triggered by something negative, AND how she reacts when you don’t allow her to do it.

Training Your Collie NOT To Sit on You

Training a Border Collie to not sit on you can be a positive and rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you train your dog with patience and love.

Step 1 ➡️ Understand the Reason

First, figure out why your dog is sitting on you. Is it attention, affection, or something else? Understanding the reason can help you address the issue more effectively.

What to Do: Watch your dog’s behavior and notice when they tend to sit on you. It will help you find the right approach for training.

Step 2 ➡️ Prepare with Treats and Praise

Positive reinforcement works wonders with Border Collies. Have some treats and lots of praise ready to reward good behavior.

What to Do: Keep treats handy and be ready to praise your dog when they follow your command.

Step 3 ➡️ Teach the “Off” Command

You can teach your dog a command like “off” to let them know when they shouldn’t sit on you.

What to Do: Start by saying “off” when they try to sit on you, then guide them off with a gentle push. Reward them with a treat or praise when they listen.

Step 4 ➡️ Provide Alternatives

Give your dog a comfy spot to sit near you, like a bed or a cushion.

What to Do: Guide them to the alternative spot and reward them for sitting there. They’ll soon learn that it’s their special place.

Step 5 ➡️ Be Consistent

Training takes time and consistency. Keep practicing, and don’t give up.

What to Do: Repeat the training regularly and always use the same commands and rewards. Your dog will learn what’s expected.

Step 6 ➡️ Avoid Negative Reinforcement

Scolding or punishing your dog can confuse them. Stick to positive reinforcement.

What to Do: Stay calm and patient. Focus on rewarding the behavior you want, rather than punishing what you don’t want.

Step 7 ➡️ Consult a Professional if Needed

If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional dog trainer.

What to Do: Find a trainer who uses positive methods and has experience with Border Collies.

Remember, training your Border Collie not to sit on you is all about patience, understanding, and positive reinforcement.

With time and love, your furry friend will learn the rules, and you’ll enjoy a rewarding relationship together. It’s a great way to grow and connect with your wonderful pet!

More on Border Collie Behavior


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.