What does it mean when a dog sits on your feet?
There are certain behaviours that on many occasions we normalize them since our dog does it from a very young age, but have you ever wondered why they sit on their feet? Although this behaviour is quite common, I just remember being asked once or twice, as last week a client asked me again after a long time, I decided to write the article.
The truth is that there are many theories to explain this curious action, and there is not one to which it is attributed entirely. The most common method gives us the idea that the dominant dog will try to mark its territory in front of the other members of the pack and to sit on our feet is marking us as its property.
If you do not let other people come close or if when you try to remove it, you growl or touch with the snout you shouldn’t reinforce this behaviour since it could even bite. In this case, you must contact a veterinarian behavioural specialist. However, this is not applicable for all dogs, on other occasions, it is associated with separation anxiety.
(when the dog stays alone he feels abandoned). When he has missed us a lot during our absence, when he returns, he feels the need to be in continuous contact with us and that is when they adopt this type of behaviour. Usually these dogs are usually very nervous; they follow you where you go home and when they are left alone at home it gives them to break things or even to bark.
Another answer option is simply that he loves to be close and snuggle, in which case, now with the cool one it is not wrong that they are placed in this position since this warms our feet, and we do not need a stove.
It is essential to know the animal to determine, in each case, what the cause of that behaviour may be. For example, if it is an extremely possessive dog, with the aggressive or jealous component, this type of behaviour is likely to work with him to prevent him from becoming a dog too aggressive because of his possessiveness or dominance.
Given this behaviour, ask yourself the following questions:
- What kind of dog is it?
- Is aggressive?
- Do you like to be in constant human contact?
- Could it be a case of separation anxiety?
As I told you at the beginning of the article, the same action can be determined by different causes. If you think you may have a more severe behaviour problem, do not hesitate to contact your veterenary. In these cases, it is better to put a solution on time before the problem is too serious about solving it.
If you do not consider that you are doing anything wrong and you even like it, there is no reason to correct this behaviour. However, this is always more pleasant in small dogs than in dogs of large or giant breeds, which may have more grace while they are Puppies, but they can give you the odd problem when they get their adult weight.
Not everything is a demonstration of dominance in dogs
It is essential not to get carried away by false myths that state that whenever a dog sits on his guardian, it is a demonstration of dominance. Dominance is intraspecific; that is, it occurs only and exclusively among individuals of the same species. Therefore, thinking about the relationship between a tutor and his dog in terms of dominance is meaningless and often causes many mistakes in the education and upbringing of dogs, negatively impacting his character.
In addition, it is essential to combat the false myth that a “dominant dog” is one that behaves aggressively with other dogs. Aggression is a behaviour problem that needs to be treated properly, with the help of a trained professional. In turn, dominance is part of the social and language interaction of dogs, allowing hierarchical organization between two or more members of a community, occurring precisely at the time when a meeting or social interaction between two or more takes place. individuals
A “dominant dog” is dominant about one or more dogs, but it will not necessarily be authoritative about all other dogs since the interaction is somewhat dynamic. Therefore, we should not understand dominance as an aspect or feature of a dog’s personality, much less associate it with aggressiveness.
Your dog is not demonstrating its dominance when it sits on your feet, and it is a grave mistake to use aggressive or abusive methods to “correct” this behaviour, since you will be exposing your hairy to negative emotions, such as stress, fear and anxiety. And the worst part is that you will reprimand him for misunderstanding his behaviour, seriously affecting the bond.
On the other hand, if you suspect that your dog is becoming possessive, reacting negatively when someone tries to approach you or your things, you should know that you are facing a problem of resource protection, and should not be confused with dominance. In this case, we advise you to go to a veterinary specialist in canine aetiology that can rule out pathological causes and investigate the origin of this possessive behaviour in your best friend, as well as help you establish specific reasons for your treatment.
If you want to know more about dominance in dogs, we recommend you read our article entirely dedicated to the dominant dog. Next, we will tell you the possible reasons that explain why my dog sits on my foot.
Why does my dog sit or lie on top of me?
Now you know that this behaviour can have several meanings and that in no case is it related to the errors of the theory of dominance. So why does my dog sit on my foot? There are five leading causes:
- To enjoy your company: you cannot deny that dogs are extraordinary companions, always willing to accompany us in our best moments and comfort us in the most challenging phases. One of the reasons why your dog sits on your feet is to be with you and express your affection.
- Because it seeks heat and comfort: in its first weeks of life, it is widespread for puppies to sleep well attached and even on top of each other to keep warm and fight the cold. If your dog sleeps on top of you or on your head, he is probably looking to not only share the warmth of your body but also feel safe and comfortable in your company.
- To express their support for you: dogs easily perceive changes in our mood, because they can interpret our postures, facial expressions, gestures and attitudes since they mostly use body language to communicate. Even if you don’t say a single word to your dog, he will know when you feel sad or are going through a difficult time in your life, so he can lean on you or lie close to you to communicate his support and fidelity, “in good times and in the evil ones”.
- To communicate to others that you are their guardian: the anal glands contain pheromones that are a kind of “chemical identity”, that is, they concentrate substances that “inform” about the main characteristics that identify each individual. When a dog smells another’s ass, he can get information about his sex, age, health status, type of nutrition, etc. When your dog sits on your feet or top of you, it leaves its “characteristic smell” on you. This way, you can tell other dogs that you are their tutor.
- Because he needs to get your attention: if you spend many hours away from home or are too busy to devote particular time to your furry, you may feel on top of yourself or on your feet to get your attention, either because he is hungry, wants walk, want to get something or just to remind yourself that it is time to share a good time.
Therefore, we identify that sitting on the feet or above your guardian is not a harmful or dangerous behaviour in dogs. Logically, it is crucial to observe if this behaviour is accompanied by others that demonstrate possessiveness or hyperapego, since these can become behavioural severe problems that harm the coexistence and social life of the dog and its guardian.
If you notice that your dog becomes aggressive when you receive visitors at home or when someone tries to greet you on the street, this possessive behaviour can be hazardous, especially for children. It must be treated by a properly trained professional, so we advise you consult first with a veterinarian specialized in ethology. On the other hand, if your dog conducts destructive behaviours during your absence and continually demands attention, you should be aware of the symptoms of separation anxiety, and you can turn to a canine educator to guide you in treating these behavioural problems.
Now you know why my dog sits on my foot! What reason do you think drives your dog to do it? Leave us your comments and share your experience!
Finally, if your dog sits on you how much you are sad or have had a bad day, do not be surprised, since it is quite likely to do so that you feel much better, and you will surely get it. It is beautiful to see that they have that gift to perceive our emotions, many times before the people around us. You know, that sitting or lying on your feet can be something very nice but it can also have some negative consequences, make sure why you do it before allowing it.