Why Do Big Dogs Think They Are Lap Dogs? Fun Facts

Big dogs, often towering over their human companions, possess a peculiar tendency that has left dog owners and enthusiasts scratching their heads for years. 

These gentle giants, despite their imposing size, often believe they are lap dogs, happily attempting to squeeze onto your lap, no matter how much space they actually occupy. 

This endearing and somewhat comical behavior prompts the question: Why do big dogs think they are lap dogs? 

In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of canine psychology, exploring the origins of this behavior, its potential benefits, and how you can embrace and enjoy it. So, let’s embark on this heartwarming journey into the minds of our oversized canine friends.

The Science Behind Canine Behavior 

Understanding the behavior of big dogs who think they’re lap dogs begins with a look into canine psychology. Dogs are pack animals, and their behavior often reflects their desire for companionship and bonding. 

It’s not just about their size; it’s about the strong emotional connection they share with their human family members.

Pack Mentality Big dogs, like their smaller counterparts, have an innate need to be close to their “pack” – that is, their human family. 

They perceive their humans as their pack members and want to be as physically close as possible to them, just as they would in a natural pack setting.

Affection and Comfort Dogs, regardless of size, crave affection and comfort. They may sense that their presence provides comfort and warmth to their humans, so they try to maintain physical contact. It’s their way of reciprocating the love they receive.

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The Role of Socialization

Socialization plays a pivotal role in shaping a dog’s behavior, and it can influence whether a big dog thinks it’s a lap dog or not. Here, we explore the significance of socialization in a dog’s life.

Early Socialization Puppies, regardless of breed, learn social cues and behaviors during their early months. If a big dog is exposed to positive human interaction and affection during this crucial period, they are more likely to develop the habit of believing they are lap dogs.

Positive Reinforcement Humans often encourage big dogs to climb onto their laps for cuddles and petting. This positive reinforcement reinforces the idea that it’s acceptable and even desirable for them to be lap dogs.

The Benefits of Big Dogs Thinking They Are Lap Dogs

Surprisingly, there are numerous advantages to having a big dog who believes they are a lap dog. This section explores some of the perks of this endearing behavior.

Emotional Bonding The close physical contact between big dogs and their owners fosters a deeper emotional bond. It’s a unique way for dogs to express their affection and love.

Stress Reduction Studies have shown that petting and cuddling with dogs can reduce stress and anxiety. Big dogs who believe they are lap dogs provide their owners with this therapeutic benefit on a larger scale.

Embracing and Enjoying the Behavior 

Now that we’ve discussed the “why” behind big dogs thinking they are lap dogs, let’s explore how you can embrace and enjoy this behavior without compromising your comfort or their well-being.

Proper Training Teaching your big dog basic obedience commands like “off” and “stay” can help you manage their behavior while still allowing for cuddle time.

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Investing in Comfort Consider investing in a spacious, comfortable dog bed or blanket that your big dog can snuggle on next to you. This provides them with a cozy spot close to you without the weight and size issues of being on your lap.


In the heartwarming world of big dogs who believe they are lap dogs, there’s no shortage of affection, comfort, and laughter.

While this behavior may sometimes challenge our personal space, it’s a testament to the deep bonds and unconditional love these magnificent creatures offer us.

Understanding the science behind their behavior, embracing the benefits it brings, and finding practical ways to accommodate it can make your life with a big dog all the more enriching. 

So, next time your gentle giant attempts to snuggle up on your lap, welcome the warmth and affection, knowing that this unique canine quirk is a testament to the powerful connection between dogs and their human companions.