You sit on the couch, ready to watch your favorite TV series after a long day, when suddenly your dog approaches and lays down on your feet, making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It was just what you needed. For many dog owners, this scenario is all too familiar. But what does it mean exactly? Why do dogs lay on your feet?

In this article, we’ll be talking about the reasons why dogs sit, sleep, or lay on their owners’ feet.

Stop Googling - Ask a Real Vet


  1. Why Do Dogs Love Your Feet
  2. FAQs
  3. Conclusion

Why Do Dogs Love Your Feet

You may be wondering, Why does my dog lay on my feet? Could they possibly have a foot fetish? Kidding aside, there are several possible reasons why your dog loves sitting, sleeping, or lying on your feet. For one thing, it may be their way of showing affection for you. On the other hand, they may be exhibiting their instincts, seeking comfort, or wanting to be close to their kin or pack (which you are part of). Let’s get to know more about why your dog loves being near you — more specifically, why they choose to lay on your feet.

A dog’s instinct

Dogs usually travel in packs when they’re in the wild. In times when they have to stop and rest, the pack leader chooses a place for them to stay while the other members of the pack gather and lean on each other for warmth and security. In a domestic setting, you become the pack leader, so it’s part of your dog’s instinct to lean on your feet. This behavior may then be a sign that your dog respects you as their pack leader.

Read more: Developing Emotional Understanding with Dogs

They want to feel safe

Our dog treats us as their pack leader, so they are dedicated to us and trust us to keep them safe. Therefore, when they are feeling worried about a certain situation, they seek your protection. They may manifest this by leaning on your feet. While this may be common if a dog is faced with a new situation, it may also frequently happen when a dog is the submissive type.

A good pet camera, such as the Petcube Cam, may help you monitor your pet for signs of anxiety and stress in certain situations. That way, you may be able to detect your dog’s triggers, which may help you and your vet determine the best way to address them.

Sleeping is a vulnerable time for dogs, so when a dog sleeps on your feet, they consider you their safe space.

Territorial behavior

"Why does my dog sit on my feet when there are other dogs around", you might ask. Since you are your dog’s pack leader, they may feel the need to mark you as their territory and may make this known to other dogs. When there are other dogs while you’re outside, for instance, you may find your dog sitting close to you or on your foot. This behavior is your dog’s way of saying that you are their pack leader and that other dogs should stay away.

Note that if your dog becomes too territorial and hurts other dogs when they come too close, you may need to seek help from a trainer or animal behaviorist. Such situations may lead to pet emergencies if the behavior isn’t addressed. And because we never know when a pet emergency may occur, we should find ways to prepare, such as by securing a Pet Emergency Fund. That way, we may be able to focus on our pet’s health without worrying whether we can pay for veterinary bills.

They are guarding their pack

As a valued member of their pack, your dog may want to protect you as well. They may become so devoted that they would sit on your feet, placing themselves in a position between you and any potential source of danger. While it may be sweet of them, if they show aggression in their desire to protect, this can be problematic. If so, a trainer may help positively address your dog’s behavior.

Dominant behavior

"Why is my dog obsessed with my feet?", you might ask. While sitting on your feet may mean that your dog is excited to see you, it could also be their way of telling everyone around them that they are the boss and that you are theirs.

Sitting on your feet may make them feel higher and more confident, and it may be their way of showing their dominance in a room with other pets. This behavior may be more common in an older dog when you bring home a new pet. If they show dominance in other ways as well, the behavior of sitting on their feet may also be a display of dominance.

Read more: How to Introduce a New Puppy to Your Older Dog

They need warmth

In cold seasons, your dog may want to cuddle to feel your body heat. This may be especially true for dog breeds that are more known to seek warmth than other breeds, such as Shih Tzus and Chihuahuas, among other similar breeds.

They love you

Apart from our furry pal’s natural and behavioral instincts that may drive them to sit, sleep, or lay on our feet, sometimes it simply means that they love us. It could be that they are showing their true admiration and just want to be as close to us as possible. Their body language may indicate how much they care for us.

Being attuned to our behaviors and feelings, our dog may also show concern and want to cuddle us or sit, sleep, or lay on our feet when we are feeling down.

Read more: Dog Behavior Changes and Problems


Why does my dog sleep by my feet in bed?

Like what was mentioned earlier. Sleeping is a vulnerable position for a dog. If they feel comfortable enough to sleep by your feet in bed, it likely means that they are comfortable around you and trust that you’ll keep them safe, or it may also be a way for them to protect you. At the same time, it may also simply mean that they love you.

Why does my dog sit at my feet with his back to me?

It may be a show of territorial or dominant behavior. Your dog may be telling everyone around him that you are theirs. On the other hand, it may also be their way of protecting you from any potential harm.

Why does my female dog sit on my feet?

Whether your dog is male or female, they may sit on your feet for several reasons. Like what was mentioned above, the reasons may include the need for security or warmth, territorial behavior, dominance, guarding you, or just because they simply love you.


When our dog sits, sleeps, or lays on our feet, it feels like a warm hug from our furry friend, doesn’t it? In many cases, it’s a show of affection for you, their pack leader. However, there are also other possible reasons why dogs exhibit this behavior. Once we can determine what is causing it in our dog, we may better understand how they are feeling and how we can address it if it is needed.

Was this article helpful?

Help us make our articles even better

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback