Many dog owners have had the baffling experience of their dog plopping on their lap and chewing his toys. It can be cute but also a bit annoying and drooly. After all, why do dogs choose their owners’ laps to chew their toys?
Dogs chew toys on their owner’s laps primarily because they feel safe with that person. They are comfortable enough to bring a toy and chew, so they aren’t afraid that anything will happen to them. Sometimes, dogs do this because they want their owner to play with them.
Usually, a dog chewing a toy on you is a sign of trust and a healthy relationship. However, if it’s annoying and you don’t want dog slobber on every pair of pants, you can gently correct this behavior in a variety of ways.
Why Does My Dog Chew His Toys on Me?
There are two primary reasons why a dog would chew his toys on your lap or legs. Don’t get worried; both of them are good and mean that you’ve done an excellent job bonding with your pup and making him feel safe!
He Trusts You
The number one reason your dog will chew his toys on you is that he trusts you completely. Your pup sees you in a safe place, somewhere he can play without worrying about anything. Sitting on you or next to you while chewing shows that he knows you will protect him.
Your dog trusts you and considers you a safe space, so he isn’t worried about invading your personal space and bringing his favorite bone along. Pups that have healthy bonds to their owners often sit on their lap, legs, or feet while playing with toys. They like to know that their mom or dad is next to them while they play.
If your dog is pretty docile while he’s on your lap chewing (not trying to play with you or bouncing back and forth), the number one reason he’s doing it is to feel safe. Try not to get too teared up; we know it’s adorable.
He Wants to Play With You
The other reason your dog is playing so close to you is that he wants you to play with him. This is especially true if your dog is repeatedly pouncing on his toy, grabbing and shaking it, or nudging it towards you.
If your dog is giving you such clear indications, there’s only one thing to do: play with him! He’s shown you that he trusts you and is ready to play, and you can stimulate his brain and growing body by playing some tug of war with him.
Some dogs will put a bone or rope in your lap because they want to play tug of war. Older dogs who know various games will often have a favorite and make it clear one way or another what game they want to play. However, listening to what your dog is trying to say will strengthen your bond and the trust he has in you.
What Should I Do if My Dog Is Chewing His Toys on Me?
If your dog is chewing his toys while sitting on your lap, you don’t need to do anything. It’s not a negative behavior and shows that he trusts you. You are his safe space, and that’s where he wants to play.
As adorable as it is, a dog chewing his toy on your lap can be distracting and messy, especially if you have a larger, more drooly breed. There are ways to train your dog to play with his toys elsewhere while maintaining the trust and safety he feels on your lap.
Stand Up and Move Away
If you don’t like the behavior and want to discourage it, you can do it without scaring your dog or punishing him for showing his trust in you. Once your pup sits on your lap and starts to chew, simply stand up and move away.
Eventually, your dog will understand that if he chews his toy on your lap, you’ll get up and leave. It won’t hurt his feelings, and he’ll learn to chew somewhere else gently and lovingly. Soon, he’ll forget that he ever chewed his toy on your lap and be content by your side or in his play area!
Give Him a Play Area
If your dog doesn’t have a set play area, this might be helpful. His only safe space might be your lap, and this means that he wants to have all his fun here. While this is endearing and adorable, it’s not always ideal if you need to get things done.
Make your dog a little play area with all his toys, and sit in it with him until he’s used to it. Soon, he’ll be bringing his toys back to this area and playing. If your dog is exceptionally attached to you, you should make it within sight of where you’re working.
Praise your pup every time he ends up there, and he’ll know where to go in no time.
Play With Him
Of course, every pup needs a healthy amount of play for bonding and mental stimulation. If your dog has been chewing his toy alone for hours and gets up on your lap, it’s his way of giving you a gentle hint: play with him for a while!
Playing with your dog won’t reinforce the behavior if you don’t want it. Instead, it will distract him with some active play and tire him out a bit. Your pup will be even more bonded to you and ready to rest after a few minutes of active play.
Whether your pup feels safe on your lap or wants you to play with him, it isn’t a bad thing that he’s chewing his toys on top of you. It might invade your personal space a bit and leave some drool, but it shows that your dog is well adjusted and feels comfortable in your presence. You’ve done a good job raising him!