Why Does My Dog Like To Sit On My Feet?

by Wayne Booth, the Dog Training Blogger on December 1, 2009

There are many reasons why a dog may like to sit on an owner’s feet. It all depends on the dog and the other behaviors they exhibit. What kind of dog is it? Is he a pushy dog? A love bug? A dog that always like to be touching someone? Is this an anxious dog who doesn’t like to let the owner out of their sight? The same behavior can be caused by lots of different things, depending on the particular dog.

If you have a dog that is very dominant, then your dog could like to sit on your feet as a way to assert himself over you. He is physically pinning you down and putting himself in a more powerful position. But this would only be the case if this particular dog does other things that make you believe he is trying to be dominant.

Does your dog need constant reassurance? Are they always looking for love and affection? Do they want to be touching you all the time? In this case, the dog may be sitting on your feet simply as a way to stay in physical touch with you.

Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety? Do they follow you from room to room? Do they go to pieces if they can’t see you? In this case the dog may be trying to reassure himself about your presence. He may be looking for comfort by touching you.

Maybe your dog simply likes to be near you. There doesn’t have to be any particular reason why a dog likes to sit on an owner’s feet. Maybe the dog gets some petting when he does this and he likes it.

Your dog may also like to sit on your feet as a way of “claiming” you. Perhaps he feels that he needs to let your spouse or another dog know that you are “his.” Dogs do display this kind of possessive behavior and can become very jealous of an owner.

This is a good example of the way different behaviors can have lots of different interpretations depending on the particular dog — and the owner.

If you like for your dog to sit on your feet then there is no particular reason to make your dog stop it. If you don’t like the behavior then you can discourage it. Don’t pet your dog when he sits on your feet. You can teach him to do something else that you like better instead. Toss a treat for him and teach him to lie down a few feet away, for example. Make sure that you give him lots of praise for keeping his distance.

If you have a very needy dog then it may take some time to teach this lesson because your dog thrives on being closer to you. Be patient.

If your dog is being jealous of you and showing possessive or guarding behavior then you do need to do something about it. Your dog looks upon you as a “resource” and he is guarding you just as he would a bone or a bowl of food. You should let him know that this is not appropriate behavior. If this is the case, then when he sits on your feet to claim you, you should get up and move. Let him know, in subtle ways, that you are not exclusively his. If you let him guard you then it will eventually make life difficult with a spouse or with other pets in the household, or even with children.

Do you have a dog that exhibits this behavior? What have you done to eliminate it?

Until next time…..

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sunshine 07.05.12 at 2:49 pm

I have a 2-year-old American Bulldog who does this “feet sitting.” He has gotten worse with it since I have introduced a year and a half old female Pit Bull into our home. They get along fine, but when it comes to me, he “body blocks” her, comes between she and I when I pet her, and even sits on my feet or stands on them to prevent her from coming by me. I curb the behavior by assuring him that he is not being replaced but only being given a playmate. He still gets all of my love, sleeps in my room and surrounds himself with me.

2 Lisa 11.24.12 at 10:27 am

my dog does a different version of this. she sits on others feet as soon as they walk into our house. then looks up at me like she is waiting for something. she does not want them to leave the entry way. she never gets mean or growls. ever. she is actually very sensitive so we have to be careful house we correct her because she gets very sad she will put her tail between her leg and sulk away like we are beating her. she is just very sensitive. I’m not sure if I should be correcting this or if it’s ok to just let it go. she is a 15 lbs pug

3 Johni 12.14.12 at 8:56 am

My 1year old Chihuahua/Pomeranian mix, sits on anyones feet who will let him. He will just sit there and watch tv or whatever. He doesn’t seem to mind if our other dog comes near or sits close. He just likes to be loved and feel needed. Such a sweet boy!!!

4 Randi 01.11.14 at 12:19 am

My Yorkshire Terrier sits on my feet all of the time as I work at my desk. When she was little she used to hold a toy in her mouth and sit on my feet to let me know she wanted to play, now she just does it all of the time. Sometimes another Yorkie sits under there with her, but only Willow sits on my feet.

I would never try to eliminate her behavior. It’s adorable and absolutely harmless :)

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