Why Does My Dog Sleep on My Feet?

You decide to sit down in the evening to read your book or watch some Netflix, and your dog decides to sit down with you as well, lying down next to your feet or even sitting on top of your feet. It might be their favorite place to curl up for a snooze.

Generally speaking, keeping close to your feet is normal dog behavior and isnt something you should be worried about. But it can become a problem if it is a sign of fear or stress, if it is accompanied by aggressive behavior, or if they take it to excess and you find yourself tripping over your dog as they try to stay close to you.

While we will go on and give a number of other reasons for why your dog sits at your feet, they all relate back to this pack instinct. Dogs have the natural instinct that staying close to their alpha is the right thing to do in a variety of situations. They huddle for warmth, they stay close together for safety, and they arrange themselves in a way that reflects the hierarchy and the connectedness of the pack.

They like to stay close to the alpha, who tends to be the biggest and strongest of the dogs, and has earned their position by protecting the pack. This could be the presence of a stranger (animal or human), a thunderstorm, or even a smell in the house thats a bit different than usual. This behavior is fine if it is limited to sitting and paying attention to what is happening in the vicinity.

This is one of the many reasons why dogs need to be properly socialized as part of their training, so they can learn to share you with other inhabitants of the house and not to get aggressive or overly territorial when other entities get too close. If you have multiple pets, you might notice that if your cat jumps onto your lap, your dog will come over directly to remind everyone of their connection with you. Again, this territorial behavior is nothing to worry about if it is limited to sticking close to you as a form of signaling.

Chances are, if this is their motivation, they will try and get as close as possible, so they will nuzzle and move around quite a lot while settling down in order to get as much skin contact as possible. This is especially common with smaller breeds, as they find it much more difficult to maintain their body temperature in the cold. In fact, it can be an important part of your bond, and a good moment for you to give your dog some love and attention with a nice scratch behind the ears.

However, if you find that they suddenly want to spend all their time at your feet, it might be that they have suffered a significant scare. This has reduced their confidence, which is a problem if they dont even feel safe in their own home. This behavior can also be a problem if their territorial or protective mode spills over into aggression and they begin to bark at others, or worse.

Also, your dog may have a tendency to take this to excess, and you may find they want to sit at your feet at inconvenient times, such as when you are cooking, and that you are practically tripping over them as you try to move around. If you give them a nice scratch behind the ears or other types of reward or affection while they are sitting at your feet, they will learn that this is the positive outcome of this behavior and will be inclined to do this more often. If you banish them to another room, this will feel like a punishment for completely natural behavior.

Many dogs love to sit on their owners feet, as part of an effort to stay close. Generally speaking, it is not a good idea to let your dog sleep in your bed with you. This is mainly for health reasons, as they can transfer illness, especially fleas and other parasites, to humans with this kind of proximity.

Rather than sleeping through the night, they are likely to wake and be restless for a period of time, which may disturb you. Also, most dogs are bed hogs and are likely to slowly expand over the course of the night, until you wake in the morning curled up in the tiniest corner of your bedor falling out. This behavior is not generally a problem, and you might even welcome it as part of your bonding experience with your pup.

It only becomes problematic if they are doing it because they are suffering from fear or stress, if it is accompanied by aggressive behavior, or they do it at inappropriate times and are constantly tripping you up.

Why does a dog lie on your feet?

It’s a normal behavior for a dog to settle down at their owner’s feet. This may be a way of showing affection, just as you would choose to sit next to a friend or loved one. Some dogs are content to stay on the floor instead of sitting next to you on the couch, so they end up right by your feet or on top of them.

Why does my dog lay his head on my feet?

It may be that your dog is trying to impart his scent to you. … Touching you communicates your value to him, but it also provides a sense of peace and relaxation for both you and your dog. Finally, it could be that Fido just wants your attention and putting his head on your feet is the best way to get it.

Why do dogs sleep at your feet in bed?

Dogs sleep at the foot of the bed due to the nature of the family pack bond, and practicality. Some dogs are child-like and defer authority to you, and sleep at your feet out of respect. Other dogs are very protective and sleep there to protect you from threats.

We like to speak to our dogs and ascribe all sorts of emotions to them, but, truth be told, they’re much simpler beings than humans. Dogs are motivated by the basics: food, activity, and companionship. That’s said, they tend to behave differently around their owners than when they’re interacting with other people or animals.

Our Petsamazon.comIf she’s eliminating on the floor, chewing the furniture or running circles around the coffee table, your dog is probably trying to tell you she needs more activity in her life. Dr. Becker recommends speaking with a dog behaviorist to receive a training program and possibly a canine antidepressant.

Research shows that some dogs can actually detect a wide array of serious conditions, including seizures related to epilepsy. “Thinking your dog has the motivation of a person is the number one problem I see,” says Gina Spadafori, pet columnist and executive editor of the PetConnection.com .

This is one of those million-dollar questions where the answer will likely only be unlocked that day our dogs learn how to talk. Until then, at this point we can only make some educated assumptions as to why dogs sleep by their owner’s feet.

According to the study mentioned above, dogs tend to display a ” secure base effect ” similar to that found in parent-child bonding. Dogs also seek their owner’s presence for exploration purposes and for reassurance at times of distress.

Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Masucci shares possible causes of excessive face rubbing in dogs. The Bernese mountain dog is blessed with a heavy coat that requires some extra care. Usually, dogs who are protective will tend to grow increasingly stressed the more the perceived threatening person or animal gets closer to the owner.

It was noted back then that, most men, given the choice, chose seats that were facing the door. This likely stemmed from a protective standpoint, so that any dangers coming from the entrance could be quickly recognized, versus having the back to a door.

Whether you have stopped your walk to take a quick break on a park bench or you’re lounging around watching television on your favorite couch, your dog is probably right there with you. Most dogs choose to sit on their owner’s feet.

This is especially true if you have given your dog a nice expensive bed and they choose to lay on the floor by your feet instead. Many times, the act of sitting on your feet is simply remnants of their ancestral DNA.

The leader of the pack gets the most comfortable spot while the other dogs lay close to stay warm. As the pack leader for your household, you wear many hats in the eyes of your dog. If your dog falls asleep on your feet , pay attention to how their sleeping.

If they’re sleeping on their side, with your feet tucked warmly underneath, they feel completely protected. On the other side of things, your dog may sit on your feet to keep you protected from a perceived threat. Dogs are smart creatures that are able to pick up on your emotions pretty easily.

If you’re crying, sick, or showing signs of stress, your dog will be right there to calm you down. In fact, if your dog is sitting at your feet simply to show you that they love you, it means that you’re doing a great job as an owner. It’s a great time to bond with your dog and show some loving affection back.

If you have ever pet your dog or given them scratches when they sit by your feet, you have already shown them that it’s alright for them to do this. Create an inviting environment and shower them with praise each time they use the bed. Dogs can’t communicate freely as we can, so we need to be able to read body language to get a better understanding of how they’re doing.

Also affectionately called “Crazy Legs,” this position can be a bit amusing to watch. If your dog does this, it means that they’re feeling generally calm, comfortable, and safe. Young puppies and energetic dogs do this because it’s very easy to wake up and start playing again.

Dogs typically don’t get a lot of sleep in this position because the muscles can’t relax properly.

Why do dogs lay on your feet?

You may think your dog belongs to you, but you also belong to your dog. This means that your fur baby is going to claim you and protect you. “When he’s sitting on your foot, it’s an ownership thing. If his [bottom] is on you, he’s marking your foot,” says Jennifer Brent, animal advocate and external relations manager for the LA-based non profit animal welfare advocacy group Found Animals.”It’s not just that he wants to be close to you, he’s saying, ‘This is mine; now it smells like me, don’t go near it.’ He does this for three main reasons: to feel secure about his place in your life, to warn other dogs that you are spoken for and because he wants to protect you.” To ensure your protection, dogs will also bark at guests, growl at other dogs when outside and pull on the leash while out for a walk. “There’s a line of thinking that the dog is your scout. He sees himself as a member of the pack, and he wants to make sure everything is cool before you get there,” Brent says.

Your dog mimics your mood.

Whether it was a stressful day at work or a fight with your significant other, your dog will pick up on how you feel — and feel it, too. “It goes without saying, when you’re stressed, they’re more stressed; when you’re happier, they’re happy. They match up moods with you better than a spouse or a partner,” says Marty Becker, DVM, pet expert at Vetstreet.com. “They sit there and study you.” This relationship works the other way, too: If you want to make your pooch relax, than you know how to pet him. “You can, like a gas pedal, change that dynamic with your dog,” Dr. Becker says. A little love goes a long way.

Dogs act differently when they’re sick.

It’s important to pay attention to your pooch’s behavior because if something seems amiss, he’s probably not feeling well. “You want to catch things in the earliest period to prevent unnecessary pain or worse,” Dr. Becker says. “I call it ‘Dog-ter Mom,’ because 80% of caregivers for pets are women. You just need to pay attention to your intuition.” That means noticing behavior that’s out of the norm. If he’s not as playful as usual, acting aggressively, having trouble getting up or isn’t eating properly, than he could be sick. “You want to pay particular attention to eating habits,” Dr. Becker says. “Food is their currency. If he isn’t eating enough or is eating too much, if he’s drinking more water or needs to eliminate more, or if you have a dog that’s losing weight, then something’s wrong.”

Your dog follows a routine.

Routines help dogs anticipate how their day is going to go, such as when it’s time to eat, go to the bathroom, and sleep. “Knowing what to expect is really, really important, otherwise they don’t know how to react,” Brent says. A general routine is best, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything at the same time each day. In fact, varying the time will actually help in the long run, Dr. Becker says. Otherwise, your dog will start running the show. “You don’t want them to force how the clock works,” he says. If they do, it’s likely that your dog will “insist on his 5 a.m. feeding on a Sunday, when you want to sleep until 8 a.m. If you control their food, you control them — in a good way.”

Dogs respond to tone.

Correcting your dog is important to good behavior, and how you do it is key to having them listen to you. Avoid explaining your dog‘s behavior to him or using a calm voice when reprimanding. Take a firm tone and be direct. “Dogs respond to tone. If you say, ‘No!’ while a bad action is happening, you’re going to get a much better response than if you say it in a gentle voice or wait to say it afterwards,” Brent says. To ensure results, it has to be said in the moment of action, and in the same way every time. “If you want to train your dog to be calm when he sees another dog, you can’t wait until that dog has passed to give him a treat for being good. You can’t wait until you get home,” Brent says. “That says putting down the leash means a treat, instead of the action [you’re trying to reinforce].”

Knowing the Owner’s Whereabouts

Unless your dog belongs to one of those independent breeds or is a loner by nature, consider that most dogs are eager to be nearby their owners. According to a study conducted by scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, dogs perceive us as family, and to be more exact, they develop a child-like bond with their owners.Domesticated dogs have been living in close proximity with humans for about 15,000 years (and likely more!) and dogs have gotten so used to being around us, that dogs tend to choose us as social partners over their con-specifics. Owners of dogs are well aware of this strong bond which is so very close to the bond that is seen between an infant and the mother.It’s not surprising therefore that dogs like to be around their owners, and this often entails sharing sleeping areas or sleeping very closely to their owners, which often means right attached to the owner’s feet!

Why Do Dogs Rub Their Faces?

Many dogs rub their faces, but there is face rubbing and face rubbing in dogs. While the occasional face rub may be normal, excessive face rubbing in dogs warrants a trip to the determine what may be going on. Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Masucci shares possible causes of excessive face rubbing in dogs.

Discovering the Bernese Mountain Dog’s Coat

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Assuming a Protective Role

As with everything dog related, there are no rules set in stone that apply to every dog. Sometimes dogs sleep by their owner’s feet because they feel a need to assume a protective role.This can likely be the scenario if the sleeping-on feet-behavior tends to often happen when there are people or other dogs around and the dog is known for being “protective.”Dogs who are prone to protect the owner, resorting to guarding him/her as a precious resource, tend to lean into the owner or if the dog gets tired of leaning or starts relaxing more, he or she may lie down and sleep on the owner’s feet.Usually, dogs who are protective will tend to grow increasingly stressed the more the perceived threatening person or animal gets closer to the owner.When the dog‘s “space bubble” is invaded and the person is getting too close to the owner for comfort, the dog will likely either bark, growl or lunge towards the person or dog in hopes of discouraging close proximity.

#1. Canine Instincts

Dogs are pack creatures. Even if your spoiled pup has never spent a moment out in the wild, they still have those behaviors ingrained in them.Many times, the act of sitting on your feet is simply remnants of their ancestral DNA.In the wild, dogs travel in packs. They do this to keep themselves protected and to work together to survive.When they’re sleeping or resting, they huddle together. The leader of the pack gets the most comfortable spot while the other dogs lay close to stay warm.In your home, you are the pack leader.Young dogs also learn a bit about pack mentality at a very young age. Newborn canines learn to sleep near the tail of their mothers. This is to avoid being crushed should the mother roll over in her sleep.If you have a young puppy, they may still exhibit this behavior because it’s all they know.

#2. Safety

As the pack leader for your household, you wear many hats in the eyes of your dog. One of the biggest roles you’ll play is the protector.If your pup is feeling a bit insecure about something, they’ll go to you for protection.This happens a lot with more submissive dogs. However, even the largest and most intimidating breed will go to their owner if they feel unsafe.Sometimes, all it takes is your touch to make your dog feel safe.This position exposes their belly, which is a big risk in the wild. By laying on their side, they’re showing you that they trust you to keep them safe.

#3. Protection

On the other side of things, your dog may sit on your feet to keep you protected from a perceived threat. They want to prevent you from experiencing any harm, so they’ll put themselves between you and the threat.Most of the time, there’s no real danger present. However, that won’t stop your dog from providing you with the protection they think you need.

#4. Territorial Claims

Has your dog ever sat at your feet or otherwise close to you in a dog park? This is likely their way of marking their territory.Essentially, the behavior is telling other dogs that you’re their leader and that everyone else should back off.While you may view your furry friend as your own, your dog feels the same way about you.

#5. Affection

Your dog may be sitting, laying, or sleeping at your feet is simply because they love you. They want to feel your touch, hear you breathing, and smell you.If you have been gone all day, your dog may be showing this behavior because they’ve missed you and don’t want you to ever leave again.This behavior is perfectly normal. In fact, if your dog is sitting at your feet simply to show you that they love you, it means that you’re doing a great job as an owner.Your dog is thankful for the things you do for them, loves to be around you, and doesn’t want you to leave their side.

How Do I Make It Stop?

However, if you don’t want your dog to be underfoot every moment of the day, there are some things you can do.Chances are, you’ve established a bit of positive reinforcement already.If you have ever pet your dog or given them scratches when they sit by your feet, you have already shown them that it’s alright for them to do this.
Never yell or kick your dog if they sit at your feet. The best way to stop this behavior is to encourage them to use their bed.Create an inviting environment and shower them with praise each time they use the bed. Of course, plenty of reward treats are always appreciated.

Dog Sleeping Positions

Now that you understand why your dog lays on your feet, let’s delve a bit deeper into your dog‘s sleeping positions.The way your dog sleeps can tell you a lot about how they’re feeling and their overall personality.Dogs can’t communicate freely as we can, so we need to be able to read body language to get a better understanding of how they’re doing. Here are some common sleeping positions.

Curled in a Ball

This is a position you’ll see often throughout your pup’s life. Their arms are tucked under their body and the tail is curled all the way up to their face.Essentially, they are bundled up tight. This position may indicate that they’re cold or that they’re a bit uneasy about something. The position keeps their body protected.

Side Sleeping

As mentioned earlier, this is the position you want to see. Your dog will lay on their side, exposing their belly.This shows that your dog is trusting and carefree. They can sleep without having to worry about a thing.

On Their Back

Also affectionately called “Crazy Legs,” this position can be a bit amusing to watch. Your dog will lay on their back with their legs pointed up.This is a submissive position because they’re leaving their entire body exposed.If your dog does this, it means that they’re feeling generally calm, comfortable, and safe.

Passed Out

While this position looks very similar to the previous one, the biggest difference is their front paws. In this position, the paws are flat on the chest.Typically, this means that your dog is very tired and doesn’t want to be bothered. It could also indicate that they’re feeling a bit warm. The position allows them to cool off easily.

Spread Out

In this position, your dog‘s head and belly are flat on the floor. Their four legs are then spread out, making it look like they’re flying. Young puppies and energetic dogs do this because it’s very easy to wake up and start playing again.

Belly Curl

In the belly curl position, your dog‘s let is tucked under their body. However, they’re not curled up into a ball. Dogs typically don’t get a lot of sleep in this position because the muscles can’t relax properly.