Love and 9 Other Reasons Why Dogs Are Fond of Climbing onto Their Owners’ Shoulders!

Have you experienced your dog climbing on your shoulders? Cuddling to you like a baby, unmindful of its size? Most often, it just wants to be that close to you to express its affection and dependence on your love. And, in turn, it also fills your heart with warmth. It makes the bond between the two of you stronger.

Yes, most often your dog’s climbing to your shoulders is about positive feelings. But there are also situations when a dog does it because it’s fearful or anxious. In such cases, it gives you the opportunity to reassure your pet that it’s safe with you and that there’s nothing to worry about.

Photo: YouTube/Flawless Paws

Here are the ten common reasons why your dog climbs to your shoulders, and how you can help your dog regain confidence and a sense of security if ever your pet does it due to something bad that it feels:

  1. Sign of your dog’s happiness or excitement. Climbing on your shoulders may be one of your dog’s ways of showing how happy or excited he is. It makes him want to feel closer to you, to be close to your face or lick you out of delight.
  2. Your dog’s way of greeting. This may be another reason for your dog’s wanting to climb onto your shoulder. When you get back home, your pet wants to show you just how happy and enthusiastic he is at seeing and being with you again. Some dogs may keep jumping up and greeting their owners, while your dog is happier with a “face-to-face” greeting. It is up to you which behavior you’d like to reinforce with cuddles or rewards and which ones you’d like your dog to stop doing by teaching it early what it should not do them. First, you must tell your dog to calm down and relax, then teach it a “give me a hug” signal so your pet knows when it’s the right time to be really affectionate.
  3. Photo: YouTube/Flawless Paws
  4. Your dog climbs on your shoulder because it gets encouragement from you. You may have consciously or unconsciously encouraged this behavior from your dog by giving it a hug, a treat, or a toy in return. Just in case you want to change this behavior, reward your dog instead on those occasions when it does not jump up.
  5. Calling your attention. By jumping onto your shoulders, your dog wants you to focus your attention on him. He may do it on a particular time when it’s been your routine to take him on a walk at that hour. He may also be asking for his meal or fresh water when he places his paw on your shoulder.
  6. Your dog wants to play with you. Your dog knows that this behavior is also an effective strategy to get your full attention to play with him. He’s able to communicate his enthusiasm and playfulness more easily by climbing to your shoulders.
  7. Shows pure affection. Dogs love to show how much they love their owners, and this is one of their ways of expressing affection. He loves being close to your face, even licking you up, and this position makes him very close to you.
  8. Photo: YouTube/Flawless Paws
  9. Anxiety attack. Your dog may be feeling anxious or afraid when he shakes, pants, or growls and then jumps up on you. There are a lot of things that can scare a dog, like the sound of thunder or fireworks. By jumping onto your shoulder, your dog is seeking safety and assurance that you’ll protect it from whatever is troubling it. Take the time to hug and reassure your pet that he’s safe with you. In case of extreme fear or phobia, it’s best for you to consult a veterinarian to help your dog overcome this condition.
  10. Your dog wants you to get up. This may be your dog’s way to tell you that he wants you to take him for exercise or to ready his meal. It may also be an expression of dominance, but not necessarily the negative kind. In case your dog is demonstrating this kind of behavior and it makes you uncomfortable, you can consult a dog behaviorist for a solution.
  11. Photo: YouTube/Flawless Paws
  12. A sign of your dog missing you or experiencing separation anxiety. When you’ve been out for quite a while, your dog may want to climb onto your shoulder to feel that you’re really back. Dogs often want close physical contact since they are naturally expressive animals. Jumping onto the shoulders of their pet owners is also among the responses of dogs who are experiencing separation anxiety. Dogs who suffer from this condition tend to follow their owners everywhere and feel overly stressed when they’re gone for some time. You can ask for professional help when your dog is seriously afflicted by separation anxiety.
  13. Change in routine. Most animals love routine, including dogs. Any disruption, like the arrival of a new member of the family or a new pet, can make them feel insecure. As a result, your dog may tend to jump onto your shoulders due to feelings of confusion and worry, especially about the loss of your affection. Help your dog adapt to changes by establishing new routines and making them feel as much loved as before.

If climbing onto your shoulders is not one of your dog’s habits but suddenly he starts doing it, find out the reason why so you can help your dog regain its sense of peace and pure joy.

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