We love our dogs as much for their personalities as they’re strange quirks. One such quirk is sitting on you. Often a dog will sit on any part of your body… but why do dogs sit on your feet specifically. What does it mean and should you be concerned about it?
There’s no single reason why dogs sit on your feet, and some of our ideas about why they do so are likely just speculation.
However, some reasons why dogs sit on your feet probably have a lot to do with how dogs are in the wild. Some others may be down to habit.
Today I’m going to discuss why dogs sit on our feet and try to tease out some of the reasons behind such behaviour:
Table of Contents
- Our Dogs’ Ancestors Are Pack Animals
- They Like Being Close to You
- They’re Being Affectionate
- They Are Protecting You
- They’re Submissive
- They’re Anxious
- They Want Something
- Summary: Why Do Dogs Sit on Your Feet?
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Why Do Dogs Sit on Your Feet?
Dogs Sit On Your Feet Because Their Ancestors Were Pack Animals
Our dogs’ ancestors were pack animals…. which means they love to hang with their pack family. And when I say hang, I mean they like to be close… very close!
In the wild, our dogs’ ancestors huddled together for warmth, comfort and protection. Such physical closeness ensured their survival.
Of course, our dogs are domesticated and their survival no longer depends pack dynamics in the same way.
However, it’s possible your dog sits on your feet because it has an innate need for closeness springing from ancestral memory. It might not know why it does it, but sitting on your feet might just make it feel safe.
Dogs Sit On Your Feet Because They Like Being Close to You
Perhaps when a dog sits on your feet it requires no other explanation than it likes being in contact with you.
Yes, domestic dogs have evolved from wild dogs and have retained instincts from their foreparents. However, domestic dogs form a strong bond with their owners, and sitting on their feet might be one way they express how much they like being with you.
Like human partners who hold hands, perhaps dogs sit on your feet to say “I love you”.
Dogs Sit On Your Feet When They’re Protecting You
A dog will always protect the pack. There may be situations where a dog feels that you, it or both of you are under threat. If this is the case it might sit on your feet.
Dogs in the pack tend to rally around one another if they feel threatened. They may huddle together and put themselves together to protect the pack.
If your dog sits on your feet it may be a sign it’s trying to protect you.
Dogs Sit On Your Feet Because They’re Being Submissive
If a dog sits on your feet, it may be displaying submissiveness to let you know you’re the boss, especially if it exposes its tummy while doing so.
There are some theories that dogs sit on your feet to show their dominance over you, however this seems unlikely.
Dominant dogs may show complete disinterest in you or simply ignore your commands. I wouldn’t imagine that sitting on your feet is a way to state your dog feels like an alpha!
Dogs Sit On Your Feet For Comfort
As I’ve mentioned, our dogs seem to enjoy close contact with us through an innate sense of the “pack”.
The truth is though that dogs seem simply to get a sense of comfort from being close to us and sitting on your feet might simply be an example of that.
Furthermore, most dogs love being warm (I know my Whippet does). If a dog sits on your feet regularly, especially during cooler times, it could be simply stealing your warmth… and that makes it feel comfortable.
Dogs Sit On Your Feet When They’re Anxious
Perhaps you’ve been out walking with your dog and encountered another dog it’s unsure about. I certainly have, and when this happens my dog usually moves very close to me and snakes around behind me almost wrapping itself around my legs.
Clearly she’s putting me in front of herself as a barrier and this makes her feel safe.
If you’re at home and your dog sits on your feet, it may be doing something similar to feel less anxious and more safe.
Dogs Sit On Your Feet When They Want Something
Our dogs communicate with us in a number of ways. Sometimes they bark to draw our attention to something. Other times our dogs scratch floors to let us know something’s up.
Dogs are also resourceful. If your dog wants food, a little play or some time outside, it may try a number of ways to communicate this to you.
If it doesn’t get the response it’s looking for, it may resort to a more physical form of language… sitting on your feet.
Furthermore, it’s likely that a dog will sit on your feet if it’s used the strategy before and it worked.
Dogs aren’t stupid!
Summary: Why Do Dogs Sit on Your Feet?
It’s likely that dogs sit on our feet for a number of reasons. I tend to think that my dog just loves to be in close proximity… preferably sitting on me in one way or another.
If I’m lying down on my belly watching television, she’ll come and lie on my back. If I’m lounging on my sofa reading a book, she’ll try to lie across my lap. And if I put my feet in front of my log burner on a cool night, she’ll sit on my feet!
Does your dog sit on your feet? Why do you think he or she does that? Leave a comment at the bottom of this page to share your thoughts.
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