Why Dogs Lay On Your Feet (12 Intriguing Reasons)

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Does this sound familiar? You’re at home laying on your bed and Fido decided to curl up right by your feet. Perhaps, you are eating and your fur friend is sitting by your feet underneath the kitchen table. This type of behavior is actually quite common among dog parents and is a normal behavior displayed by dogs of all breeds. So, why do dogs lay on your feet?

When your dog decides to sit on your feet, it could be him trying to seek warmth to regulate his body temperature, especially during the winter months. Having a pack mentality also contributes to this behavior as he wants to protect and also feel protected when your dog lays on your feet. 

Depending on the circumstance, there can be many different reasons. Below are 12 possible reasons.

Why Do Dogs Lay On Your Feet?

12. Being Submissive 

Laying by your feet may be a natural submissive behavior your pooch has. Some dog breeds are more submissive than others such as smaller dog breeds. Pugs, Pomeranians, or Chihuahuas, just to name a few, are called “lap dogs” for a reason. Being submissive generally means he accepts you as the Alpha and trusts you. Some bigger breeds, such as Great Danes, are known for sitting on everyone because they’re affectionate gentle giants!  

11. Showing Affection

Your dog loves you unconditionally and just wants to be as close to you as possible. You mean everything to your four-legged furball so showing you some love wouldn’t hurt. He can’t talk (at least not yet), so to show his appreciation, he uses body language. Plus, he enjoys your unique scent and is happiest when near you. 

10. Pack Instincts

In the wild, dogs depend on one another for survival. They sleep and stay close to each other. A hierarchy is developed and there will be dominant dogs and submissive dogs. In domesticated dogs, they still have some pack instincts in their DNA. Your precious pooch likely views you as the “dominant “ one in the pack, or the “Alpha,” so to speak. Like the previous reason, he’s being submissive and being close to the leader is the right thing to do. 

09. Wants Food 

Is your dog just temporarily staying under the dinner table when you eat? If that’s the case he’s most likely begging for food and trying to convince you to give in. Or, he’s just waiting, hoping some remnants of the yummy chimkin your eating falls to the floor. 

08. Marking Territory

Your fur pal is marking his scent on you to let others know you belong to him. This is especially true if his bottom is on your feet when other dogs are present. He’s effectively telling other doggos, “This is my special hooman!” Did this happen while you were at the dog park? Did other pets from friends or families visit your house or the other way around? Try to pay attention to the patterns and if it seems to be consistent with other fur friends being around, then this reason is most likely why. 

07. For Warmth

Staying by your feet, or being close to you for that matter, helps Fido regulate his body temperature, especially during the colder seasons. He’s seeking your body heat. Yes, he has a cozy dog bed, but nothing can be compared to being loved and snuggly particularly with his special hooman (That’d be YOU) by his side.   

06. Separation Anxiety

This is a more serious matter. You may have what it’s called a velcro dog. To be clear, not all velcro dogs have separation anxiety but most dogs suffering from separation anxiety are most likely velcro dogs. They tend to be by their human parents’ side most of the time. Those suffering from separation anxiety are usually overly attached or dependent. When left alone, they get extremely anxious and will express distress behaviors such as house soiling.

With that being said, if you think your fur pal has separation anxiety, sitting by your feet does two things: it allows him to be close and it prevents you from leaving. This type of behavior should be discouraged and corrected as soon as possible. Here is a helpful article about separation anxiety in dogs and what you can do about it.  

05. For Protection

As mentioned earlier, when Fido views you as the leader, you are essentially his protector. He looks to you for protection if he senses insecurity. Is there a thunderstorm? Are fireworks going off? He may be frightened, so being close to you will make him feel safer and more comfortable. Apart from that, sitting on your feet to rest or to sleep will expose his vulnerabilities, so he counts on you to keep him safe. This also means he wholeheartedly trusts you with his life and has strong confidence that you are dependable.   

04. For Fun

Sometimes, your doggo just wants to have a little fun. Dogs are social creatures and playing is one of the ways they interact. He’ll probably roll around your feet expecting you to have a light wrestle with him. Possibly, he’ll bring his favorite toy and use your feet as support so he can have a relaxing time chewing on it. 

03. Wants A Massage

Sitting on your feet may be Fido’s way to get your attention so you can give him a nice comfy rub. Most dogs love a nice petting session from their humans since it is so relaxing and soothing. Not only that but being rewarded is their biggest achievement as it signals to them that they’ve done their part of appeasing their owners. Next time, give him a nice stroke and he’ll definitely find it enjoyable.  

02. Dominance

When sitting on your feet does he display dominance or possessiveness behaviors? When you demand him to leave does he ignore you? If so, dominance is likely the issue. Also, take other circumstances into consideration. How possessive is he towards food and toys? How does he act when others are around?

Dominant dogs should be taken seriously as the behavior is not normal. They are typically aggressive towards small children and will guard their food and/or toys. Sitting on your feet allows him to test boundaries to see how far he can get away with. Here’s an article on handling a dominant dog.  

01. To Protect

Another reason can be that he’s protecting you. If he’s sitting facing away from you, he’s on guard. Some dogs will show aggressive-like behavior such as growling or barking when others, whether it’s another furball or person, try to approach you. In this case, he’s being overly protective and it goes paw in paw with the dominance behavior. This needs to be addressed immediately. While it’s good to know he wants to protect you, being overprotective will lead to unwanted behaviors down the road. 

Should You Allow The Behavior? 

Generally speaking, if no unwanted behaviors are present, sitting on your feet should not cause any harm. Fido’s more inclined to lay on your feet if he’s not allowed on the furniture. If you are okay with it, let it be, and make sure to return lots of love. By doing so will encourage the behavior. Besides, when you think he is in fact scared of something, offer him support and reassurance that everything is fine. It will only create a stronger bond between the two of you.

On the flip side, If you want this behavior to stop, you can train him to do so. He may be displaying unwanted behaviors or you may find it a bit annoying. Below are a few training tips and tricks to stop the behavior.     

Final Thoughts

As you see, there can be endless reasons as to why your dog sits or lays on your feet. Hopefully, you are able to pinpoint the reason pertaining to your specific situation. Understanding your dog’s behaviors will not only help you better understand your precious furball, but also help build a strong, everlasting bond!

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