Why Does My Dog Sit on my Feet?

What evokes a cozier image of hearth and home than a couple sitting by the fire-side, the wife knitting a sweater and the husband smoking a pipe with the loyal dog sitting by your feet. Have you ever wondered why dogs repeatedly do this?

Lying at your feet this way is normal and good doggy behavior and speaks volumes about your bond with your pet. 

There are several reasons that your dog likes to settle down at your feet, beginning with affection as the main reason. They are also looking for attention and obeying various instincts, which we will go into later.

Affection

The main reason your dog cuddles up to your feet is that they love you! They are affectionate, and to settle at your feet is the equivalent of a doggie cuddle. Like human cuddles, the reasons for them may vary. Whether positive or comforting, your pet needs love and attention. He's your best friend, so treat him well. 

Your pooches affection for you may also take the form of empathy. Say you come home in a bad mood, or if you are stressed out or sick, and your pet senses it, it may be trying to touch you to comfort you. Your pet is your companion, and they like to look after you, let them also be your foot-warmer. You love them, and they love you, they are a lot like people. 

Stress

Yes, dogs can get stressed too. Because they look up to you, they may sit near your feet to feel close to you. Being close to you makes them feel safe and sound.

Some poor pooches suffer from separation anxiety. If you have been away from the house for a while, they may have grown lonely and anxious without you. They might try to bond with you by cuddling up around your ankles. They do not want you to leave them again. In this situation, you should give your dog plenty of affection and reassurance.

Your pet may be looking to you for security. If he is scared, say of noise or disturbance like fireworks, for instance, he may display signs such as:

  • Tail between the legs, 
  • Flat ears, 
  • Shivering  
  • Cowering.

In any of these instances, you need to calm and comfort your dog with gentle words and plenty of pats. They are crouched near your feet to feel safe and loved. 

Positive Reinforcement

Maybe you have inadvertently trained your pooch to rest near your feet. The animal has learned that when he goes there, you reward him with attention, pats, and treats. These actions cause your dog to learn that this behavior is rewarding, and they will do more and more of it to try to please you and get their treat.

What if I Do Not Want My Dog To Sit At My Feet?

If you do not want your pet to park themselves at your feet, you can train him or her to use their bed. Just keep taking them back to bed and tell them to stay and give them treats when they obey you. 

That said, a best friend that prefers your ankles is a perfectly normal doggy activity that symbolizes and strengthens the bond between you and your pet. 

Owning You

You don't own your dog, well you don't just own your dog, it also owns you. If you are outside, around other dogs and yours cuddles up, it might be to convey that you are theirs to the other dogs. They might even be marking their territory by transferring their scent to you, the owner. You may notice that other dogs are doing the same to their owners as well.

Why Do Dogs Sit On Your Feet In The Bathroom?

Something similar to marking their territory might be the reason. They follow you to the bathroom to pick up on your scent. The same way that at the park, they get to know each other by sniffing the other dogs' bums. Gross, right, but perfectly natural doggy behavior. 

They are also expressing interest in following you around, which they probably do all the time, which is, of course, normal doggy behavior. 

The pooch also believes that he is guarding you, whilst you go to the toilet. 

Pack Instincts

In the wild, in their natural state, dogs travel in packs. They sleep close together to protect each other and to guard the leader. They also sleep close together to keep warm. Your dog is sitting on your feet because he thinks you are the leader of the pack, or he is trying to keep warm. Puppies also sleep at their mother's feet, so they don't get squashed when she rolls over. They may repeat this behavior by your feet while they are still young. 

My teacher has a gorgeous terrier, and she says that he often settles at her husband's feet, as if he sees him as the leader of the pack. Yet this dog climbs on top of her youngest son, to try to show who is on top in the pack. Sometimes for a dog to rest on the feet is misunderstood as dominating behavior. But as you can see, it is quite different. 

My Dog Doesn't Sit At My Feet. Is This Bad?

Because they have individual temperaments, some dogs may prefer to be on the couch beside you. Others lay on their own in their bed. This is nothing to worry about. Your dog is just different from some other dogs. Each dog has its own way of being.

What if I have more than two dogs sitting at my feet. 

If you have more than one dog hankering to be by your feet, you can try to let them both have a place there, one foot each. If there is fighting and jealousy, you may need to hire a professional dog trainer to help with your pet's behavior. 

Why does my dog sleep on me?

For similar reasons as to why the dog sits or sleeps on you, this behavior is likened to your dog's attachment to you. It can vary from affection to keeping guard. And it is normal doggie behavior. He may curl up beside you at times as well, if you ask why does my dog sit on me, again, because he loves you. 

Summary

Having your dog relaxed by your feet is usually a very good sign, that they are your loyal companion and trust you. It is a perfectly natural canine behavior. Your pet and you are bonded in terms of affection, security, scent, instinct, and all of the different moods your dog might be in when he sleeps at your feet. Your dog is your foot warmer and your best friend. And rest assured you can let him sleep at your feet, it is as natural as taking him for a walk.