We’ve heard your feet are the next best thing. Soft and clean, they make the best chair in the world for your puppy to sit on. You’re not that special though, don’t get any ideas. It’s pretty common for some dogs to sit on your toes, but there are other reasons why they do it.
In this article, we’ll fill you in on the peculiar mystery of why dogs sit on your feet. We’ll tell you if you should let your dog sit on your feet, or whether sitting on your feet is something to worry about. We could talk about this for days – you’ll see how much we can stretch this topic.
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Why do dogs sit on your feet?
Dogs sit on your feet to show affection and be closer to you, for security, to get your attention, and to stay warm. Some may also sit on your feet as a way of protecting you. Let’s get into why dogs sit on your feet and what it might mean.
1. To show affection
They don’t call the man’s best friend for nothing. Dogs love being next to us and thus make it their mission to show affection. Different dogs will do this in different ways; some will lick your face or hands, and some will want to play on your feet. It depends on what they’re like, really.
2. To be closer to you
Sitting on your feet may be the perfect source of comfort for an anxious or insecure dog. When your dog is in a new situation or environment or is in a fear period, you might find that your feet will double as a fantastic security blanket.
3. To get your attention
A dog lying on your feet is difficult to ignore, isn’t it? If your dog finds your attention the most rewarding, they’ll try anything to achieve it—including sitting on your feet.
4. To keep their bottom off the cold floor
Dogs with little fur or thin coats like Staffies and French Bulldogs feel the cold, so sitting on your feet is an easy way of staying warm. In exchange, dogs laying on our feet keep us warm too, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
5. To protect or guard you
Your dog might want to sit as close as possible to you as a way to protect you – which often ends up being right on your feet. Dogs resource guard all kinds of things, not just food, treats, and toys, they can resource guard humans too!
Should I let my dog sit on my feet?
Personally, we find it rather nice when dogs sit on our feet. Who doesn’t like to feel appreciated? Whether you’re happy for you to sit on your feet is up to you of course.
There might be a few instances in which you might not want your dog sitting on your feet such as:
- Your dog is a large breed and has a heavy bum.
- You have nice shoes on that you don’t fancy getting dirty.
- Your dog is wet or muddy – did they roll in something disgusting? Probably a hard pass on that!
- They are displaying aggressive body language, and you think they might be resource-guarding.
- You find it overwhelming or claustrophobic to have your dog so close to you all the time.
How do I stop my dog from sitting on my feet for the wrong reasons?
To stop your dog from sitting on your feet for the wrong reasons, here’s how you can help them change their behaviour in the following ways:
- Remove any stressors which might be making your dog anxious or scared. This could be due to a lack of socialisation and confidence in a new environment. You can help them out by creating positive experiences in new places so that they feel more sure of themselves in them.
- Give your dog a warm surface to sleep on, such as a blanket or bed. That way they’ll feel cosy on the floor, and won’t feel the need to get on your feet.
- Train them to settle on a mat a little away from you, so they get used to being close but not on top of you.
If you feel like your dog is guarding you against other dogs, read our guide to resource guarding and consult a behaviourist for help. You definitely don’t want this evolving into anything funny.
Is there a reason why my dog doesn’t sit on my feet?
Not all dogs will sit on your feet. Some dogs are naturally more independent than others and prefer less human contact. Other dogs are hairy and get easily hot, so may not appreciate the extra warmth. They might just prefer to lay next to you or close by.
You’ve made it to the end! We love the question of why dogs sit on your feet; we sure hope everything we’ve told you sits well with you. As you can see, it’s nothing to worry about most of the time. Most do it for affection as a result of domestication. It’s our own fault basically, we created a modern dog that just likes being near us.
If your dog sitting on your feet is a problem for you, you can easily teach your dog to lie down on something other than your feet, like a blanket, bed or mat. When practising positive reinforcement training, use plenty of treats for the message to stick well.
It’s good to remember that every dog is an individual, and forcing them to lay near you when they’re not the cuddly type may not be what they want. In fact, if we give them a choice of where to lay, we often find they become more cuddly, not less.
We’ve got heaps more good stuff to learn about like dogs’ sleeping habits, or basic training skills like teaching your dog to sit or lie down. Download the Zigzag app today, and you’ll be glad to see everything we have to show you on puppy training and behaviour. Plus, our wonderful team of expert puppy coaches will be happy to support you with any questions you have every day of the week.