Language and communication are present across the different organisms, whether or not they can speak. Behavior is a form through which you can get information about how someone is feeling or what they want. It is the same with animals: because they cannot talk, they put up some behaviors which serve as hints to other things. Dogs are no strangers to this phenomenon, and they exhibit all sorts of actions for many different reasons. One of them is sitting on your feet, and it can mean so many things. This article will look at what this action means and whether you should encourage it or not.
Why Do Dogs Like To Sit On Your Feet?
The main reason why dogs sit on your feet is due to the instinct of being in a pack. Dogs out in the wild sleep close together in a pack as a way of protecting themselves and their leader. It also a form of bonding strategy since they rely on the leader for some things. In the domestic setting, you are the leader, and so it is normal for the dog to lay on your feet. Also, puppies lie close to the tail of their mother, so they are not in her way when she gets up or rolls over in her sleep. This protects them from getting crushed, and it is the same as lying on your feet: it’s to let you know exactly where they are. There are other reasons aside from this, some of which are outlined below.
- It is a sign of ownership: Some dogs are protective over their owners, and sitting on your feet is a way to show it. The dog is trying to tell you that you are his and he is yours. It is a way to mark its territory so that no one can come close. This behavior makes it clear that they are not willing to share you with anyone else.
- It is a sign of anxiety: Sometimes, when your dog feels afraid or anxious, it will lay on your feet to feel safe. It also says to you that your furry friend feels secure around you. It is okay for your dog to feel nervous, and it will sit on your feet to show it. It is up to you to pay attention and make it feel better.
- It is a love language: Generally, if someone loves you, they would want to be as close to you as possible, and it is no different with dogs. They show their love by always being around you, and if they have to sit on your feet to prove it, they will. They are not afraid to show their affection even if it means being weird with you.
- It is to feel warm: Sometimes, when dogs are cold, they like to huddle together to feel some warmth. When there isn’t another dog to cuddle with, your feet will become the ultimate companion. They might hate the cold floor and will use your feet like a carpet or rug to solve their problem.
Should You Encourage The Behavior?
From the reason mentioned above, when a dog sits on your feet, it is not precisely bad behavior. However, it can be quite annoying when your dog is always attached to your foot. If it is okay with you, then you should let your dog get comfortable with your feet. If you think it is a nuisance then a little training can fix it. The first thing to do is not give your dog any attention when it does that. This includes petting or scratching behind the ear or any other action that makes them feel relaxed. These kinds of activities encourage them to always locate your feet and camp there since they know they will get a positive response from you. Instead, throw a treat a bit farther from you and specifically ask the dog to lay there. Reward them when they elicit that behavior so that it sticks with them. Always be consistent with the training, and use words like ‘lie’ or ‘lie down’ at the spots where you will prefer them to do so. If you notice that your dog lies on your feet because the floor is cold, then getting them a rug will do them some good. You can also get him a beautiful warm bed, and in no time, your furry companion will no longer lay on your feet.
Other Things To Consider
There are temporary circumstances like when there are thunder and lightning that can get your dog to be scared. In this case, the only way to go is having the dog close to you. Giving the pet reassuring cuddles, hugs and petting can go a long way to make them feel more at ease. You do not need to be harsh with your dog for wanting to lie on your feet, but rather shower it with lots of love. The idea is to get it to trust that you’ll always be there and so it does not need to lie on your feet every time. If you are finding it challenging to train the dog to change, then you can consult a professional trainer to help out.
The simple answer to ‘why does my dog sit on my feet?’ is because it is their instinct to protect their leader. Other factors also contribute to this behavior, but little training can fix it if you are uncomfortable with it. Just make sure you are showing the dog a lot of love so that they don’t think you dislike them. From the information given in this article, anytime you hear someone say ‘my dog sits on my feet,’ you can educate them on why. And when they complain about how the ‘dog lays on my feet’ you can give them tips on how to deal with the situation.
- Wailani Sung, MS, PhD, DVM, DACVB, Why Do Dogs Sit on Your Feet?, PetMD
- Dr. Patty Khuly, VMD, Why Does My Dog… Lean on Me?, VetStreet
- Dog Body Language, Best Friends Animal Society