It is fairly common for dogs to sit at their owner’s feet, but have you wondered why? 

There are multiple reasons that dogs do this, and you’ll probably be surprised by some of them. This information will give you a little more insight into your pet.

Origins of This Behavior

Many dog owners have observed their dog sitting at their feet throughout the years. This behavior is likely related to a dog’s instincts to protect and stay close to their pack. There are certain instincts that dogs never lose, regardless of how domesticated they are.

1. They’re Trying to Stay Warm

One of the main reasons that dogs sit at their owner’s feet is because they are just trying to stay warm. This is especially common when the weather is cold. If you don’t let them sit on the furniture, this is their second-best option. The closer your dog is to you, the toastier they become. This is because they are absorbing the body heat you are giving off.

2. They Just Like You That Much

Some dogs lie at the feet of their owners as a way of expressing affection. Dogs that love their owners want to be as close to them as possible. If they are too big to sit on your lap, they will probably sit by or even on your feet. This provides your pet with a certain level of comfort.

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3. It Keeps Them Calm

If your dog is feeling particularly stressed or wound up for any reason, it might sit down at your feet. This is a common behavior for dogs that have issues with anxiety. Just being close to you provides them with relief.

There are numerous signs of canine anxiety that you will want to be aware of, including trembling, shaking, and pacing back and forth. All of these are fairly common signs of an anxiety disorder in dogs. While medication is sometimes needed in severe cases, your mere presence could be enough to keep their symptoms under control.

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4. They Are Expressing Territorial Behavior

Sometimes a dog will sit at the feet of their owner as a way of saying “you are mine”. This is just your pet’s territorial behavior, so don’t take it personally. This is something that many cats have been known to do as well.

If you have numerous dogs in the house that are equally territorial, it is important that you provide all of them with an area by your feet to sit. This will prevent fighting amongst your dogs, allowing you to keep the peace.

5. Your Dog is Trying to Keep You Safe

It is also possible that your dog is displaying this behavior because they are trying to keep you safe. This is part of their natural instincts, and some dogs are more protective than others. For example, this is very common with Collies and Saint Bernards.

A lot of protective dog breeds will stay close to small children because they know they are more vulnerable than their adult owners. This is an instinctual behavior that you definitely want to encourage. It will make you and all of your family members feel a little bit safer when you are at home.

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This is somewhat selfish behavior because it is also your dog’s way of saying “I want you to myself”. Again, this is something that you should ultimately be happy about. It means that you have a dog that really feels comfortable around you and doesn’t want to share with anyone else.

6. A Sense of Security

If you have a puppy that is sitting at your feet, there is a good chance that they are doing this to feel safe and secure. These animals are still pretty intimidated by the world around them when they are very little, so they look for comfort wherever they can get it.

You will definitely want to let your puppies sit on your feet, as it makes them feel safe, which is important. If your dog doesn’t feel at ease, their stress level will most likely shoot up. This can actually shorten their lifespan, so you need to keep that in mind.

jack russel sits on feet

Getting Your Dog to Stop

If you want your adult dog to stop sitting on your feet, there are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind. It can take a while to train your dog not to do this, especially if they really enjoy it (which they probably do). Some dog breeds are more stubborn than others, but a majority of dogs can be trained with enough patience and the proper approach.

Make sure that you use positive reinforcement when training your dog not to see on your feet. Give them verbal praise as well as a treat every time they sit by your feet but not on them. Eventually, your dog will get the message. You never want to try yelling at your dog to get it to stop doing this. Negative reinforcement has been proven to be ineffective for most dogs.

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Conclusion

  • The origin of this behavior most likely comes from the pack instinct that pretty much all dogs have.
  • There is a good chance that your dog is sitting at your feet because it is trying to stay warm.
  • This behavior is most common in the colder months of the year, as your body heat makes them nice and toasty.
  • A lot of dogs will sit on their owner’s feet because they are trying to show them affection. Take this as the compliment it is.
  • If your dog has issues with anxiety, they might sit on your feet as a way of keeping themselves calm.
  • If your dog has a problem with severe anxiety, you’ll probably want to get it looked at by the vet.
  • Some dogs that are very territorial sit on their owner’s feet as a way of saying “you are mine”.
  • There is a chance that your dog is doing this to guard and keep you safe.
  • If you have a puppy that is sitting at your feet, they probably just want to feel safe and secure.
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