Why Do Dogs Lay At Your Feet? – Top 4 Reasons Revealed

By Roxi & Huck •  Updated: 02/02/21 •  5 min read

Why do dogs lay at your feet? My dog lays on my feet every night. Sometimes she even falls asleep on my feet.

Throughout the day, when we go to the park or sit on the patio in the backyard, my dogs will lay at my feet. If we have neighbors over, she will not rest on my feet but instead will sit at my feet. We must specify that there is no single reason that explains why a dog sits or lays on the feet of its owner.

The behavior and body language of dogs are complex and varied. So, responses can have different causes and meanings.

brown dog laying at feet of owner - Why Do Dogs Lay At Your Feet?

What Does It Mean When A Dog Lays On Your Feet?

  1. Affection – most dogs love to snuggle and be touching their owner.
  2. Comfort – touching you comforts them, and if you are ill or feeling low, they want you to know they are there for you.
  3. Security – many dogs are insecure and want to stay close to feel reassured and safe.
  4. Protection (Guarding) – dogs are territorial and like an orderly, safe environment for the pack leader; you.

Why Dogs Lay On Your Feet

The myth is that your dog is displaying its dominance.

Not everything is a demonstration of dominance in dogs. It is imperative not to get carried away by false myths that say that it demonstrates authority whenever a dog sits on its owner.

Dominance is interest-specific. That is, it occurs only and exclusively between individuals of the same species. Therefore, thinking about the relationship between the owner and their dog in terms of dominance does not make sense. It usually causes many errors in your dog’s education and upbringing. This can negatively impact their character.

My dog lays on my feet all the time. When she lays on her side on my feet, it means that she feels completely secure and safe. Dogs will only rest on their side when they feel no threat from a predator.

my dog sits on my feet like this black puppy

Why Do Dogs Sit At Your Feet?

Dogs are pack animals. When your dog sits at your feet or sleeps on your feet, your dog is marking its territory. They are letting everyone know that you are the leader of his or her pack. Additionally, this behavior is an incredible source of comfort for your dog.

It is also a loving gesture by your dog. They want to be near you, often needing to be touching you. It makes them feel safe. It means you are a great owner, and your dog loves you.

Trying to prevent your dog from sitting or lying on your feet can seriously affect the bond your dog has with you.

A dog sitting on your feet or atop your feet is not a harmful or dangerous behavior in dogs.

Why Do Dogs Sit At Your Feet?

The answer is similar to why they sit or lay on your feet.

When out in public, like a park, the gesture is one of vigilance to protect you and to let other dogs know that you are the leader of his pack. It is a territorial claim that they are displaying.

Dogs, and especially puppies, get anxious from loud sounds and new people. Sitting or lying at your feet lets them feel safe.

Why Does My Dog Lay His Head On My Feet?

You may also observe your dog’s behavior of wanting to lay his head on your feet. This can occur if you change your schedule of being away at work for more extended periods.

This is nothing to worry about unless your dog displays signs of anxiety. These signs would include a tail tucked between legs or hanging low, or abnormally getting into mischief while you are away.

Dog Sitting In Public Behavior
If your dog repositions his sitting from beside you to in front of you when other people are around or approaching, it is a display of non-aggressive protection. There may be no actual threat, but your dog may perceive one as it has an instinct to protect the leader of the pack.

In the rare instance where your dog becomes overly protective, you should seek behavior modification training to correct the situation appropriately.

Why Do Dogs Lay At Your Feet

I hope I have answered your question of why dogs lay on or at your feet.

In summary, they do it because they care about, love you, want your protection, and tell the world that they belong to you and you are their leader. It is essentially them claiming you for themselves and no one else.

This behavior should not be a cause of concern, and there is no good reason to stop your dog from lying on your feet.

However, if you want your dog to stop laying on your feet, make sure you do not send your dog conflicting messages. If you pet your dog in the past when they have done this and now yell at them or kick them off, it can cause stress and confusion for your furry friend.

Now you know what it means when a dog lays on your feet.

While you are here, why not Brain Train your dog?

Roxi & Huck

Hello, we're Roxi and Huck. Our passion lies in researching and understanding the compatibility between various dog breeds, both purebred and mixed, and the lifestyles and housing situations of potential owners. We work alongside Mom and Dad to uncover insights that facilitate ideal matches between dogs and their human companions.