I have noticed that my dog has been sleeping at my feet recently. It was very astonishing for me as my fur baby has never done this before. My dog likes to snuggle at times, but nowadays he has been napping at my feet. This mystifying behavior led me to wonder: Why Does My Dog Sleep At My Feet?
After thorough research, I came across various reasons as to why my dog sleeps at my feet and how to manage this behavior. If your dog has been showing similar behavior, then this post will help you understand and manage this sleeping habit.
Why Does My Dog Sleep At My Feet? Top 8 Reasons
It is a natural tendency of a pup to follow its mother everywhere and while following her, it stays close to her feet for safety. If your dog is sleeping at your feet, it is because they want to seek comfort and security from you.
Your dog feels cozy sleeping near your feet. Just reassure your dog that you are there for him.
Another reason why your dog sleeps at your feet might be to feel safe. As the provider of your dog’s food and shelter, your dog expects you to protect it from any unforeseen threats as well.
This is more apparent in a small dog like a Shih Tzu or a teacup Yorkie who has a timid personality.
Dogs like to be near the person who it trusts to keep it protected. This trust leads your dog to sleep near your feet. The warmth of your touch makes your dog feel secure and cozy.
3. You Encouraged This Behavior
It could be that you encouraged your dog to sleep at your feet by petting it or giving it a belly rub. If you give affection and agree with this behavior of your dog sleeping at your feet, then it is likely that your dog will do it again.
There is nothing wrong with giving love and affection to your dog when it sleeps at your feet, but you need to set some ground rules so that this sleeping behavior does not become a habit.
4. Pack Instinct
A dog is a pack animal. A wild dog tends to stay in a pack so that it can stay protected from any predators in the forest. This pack behavior remains in domestic dogs as well and is triggered when they feel intimidated by the entry of a new person or pet into their life.
Your domesticated dog sleeps close to you because it considers you a part of its pack and trusts you to take care of it. Similarly, your dog wants to protect you and therefore it stays near you to guard you in case of any danger.
5. Asking For Food or Exercise
Are you getting sympathetic puppy eyes from your dog? Your dog definitely wants something from you. It is probably waiting to be fed or to play with you and get some exercise.
This dog behavior is more likely to occur if you did not provide enough food or exercise to your pooch. Once, you give what your dog wants, the sleeping on your feel behavior will stop. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to provide for your dog.
When there are unfamiliar faces in your house, your dog feels like it should protect you from them. With that intention, your furry friend stays near your feet to keep you safe.
This behavior roots from their pack instinct to save each other. Most of the time, the unfamiliar faces are for your dog only and not for you, so there is no danger really. But that won’t prevent your dog from safeguarding you.
7. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a result of your dog’s separation from its mother and siblings at an early age. To deal with this anxiety, your dog tries to stay close to you to feel protected.
You would have noticed that your dog senses when you are about to leave it alone while going to work. So, before you leave, your pet will lay near your feet as a sign of love and affection.
Sometimes the separation anxiety results in restlessness or aggressive behavior. You can feed a proper meal to your dog or make it exercise enough before your leave to make it tired and sleepy so that it does not feel lonely.
If that does not work, you can try giving your dog calming supplements to help with restlessness.
Your four-legged friend might be sitting or sleeping at your feet simply because they want to show their affection for you. If you have been away from your dog for a longer time, then you can expect your dog to follow you around, even when you are sitting or sleeping.
If you are feeling low because of any reason, your dog can sense it and try to stay close to you to provide support.
How to Stop Your Dog From Sleeping at Your Feet? 4 Tips
There is nothing wrong with letting your dog sleep at your feet, but if you have any breathing issues like asthma, you might not want your dog to sleep with you.
Here are some things that you can do to stop your dog from sleeping at your feet.
1. Train Your Dog To Sleep In Its Own Bed
You can easily give crate training to your dog so that it sleeps in its own bed using the positive reinforcement method. You have to let your dog believe that sleeping in its own bed is better than sleeping with you.
To train your dog to sleep in its own bed using the positive reinforcement method, follow the given steps:
- Make your dog’s bed comfortable with soft and chew proof blankets and eye-pleasing colors
- Take your dog to its bed before going to sleep
- Reward your dog with a treat if it lays down in its bed
- If your dog follows you to your bed, then learn some commands like “no” or “down” to get your dog off your bed
- Repeat the same process for a few days until your dog understands that sleeping in its dog bed earns rewards.
If your dog has any muscle pain issues because of old age, then it is recommended that you get an orthopedic bed for your dog to get a good night’s sleep.
2. Don’t Encourage The Behavior
It is possible that your dog learned this habit of sleeping at your feet because you agreed with this behavior by petting your dog. Instead of encouraging this behavior, try to stop your dog and point at your dog’s bed to command your dog to sleep in its own bed.
If your dog obeys your command, then give it a treat for behaving like a good boy. Your dog should understand that you don’t stand by the sleeping at your feet behavior.
3. Reduce Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety
To reduce your dog’s separation anxiety, you can try one of these methods:
- Tire out your dog by giving it exercise
- Keep your dog’s stomach full
- Take your dog to relieve itself before leaving
- Create a cozy corner with an entertaining view for your pet
Watch this video to have a better understanding of what to do if your dog suffers from separation anxiety
4. Give It A Comfortable Area To Sleep
Make sure that you provide a comfortable bed for your dog to sleep in. If your dog has a place of its own to go to, then it won’t sleep at your feet. Add a few layers of blankets to create a smooth and soft bed for your dog.
Ensure that your dog’s bed has a full view of the house or faces a window so that your dog can stay entertained while you are gone. Make sure you use a bug repellant in case there are any bugs.
Should You Let Your Dog Sleep At Your Feet?
It is completely your choice whether you want to let your dog sleep at your feet or not. If your dog sleeps are your feet, it is mostly because your dog wants to spend some quality time with its favorite person. Take this opportunity to create a strong bond with your furry friend.
However, if you suffer from breathing problems or have an allergy to dog hair, then don’t let your dog sleep at your feet.
Which Is the Most Common Sleeping Position For Dogs?
The most common dog sleeping position is the side sleeping position. In this position, your pet will sleep on its side with its legs stretched out. The side sleeping position lets your dog sleep in a relaxed and comfortable position.
Side sleeping dogs are known to be loyal and trustworthy. They can sleep anywhere comfortably but they prefer to sleep in their own bed.
Does Sleeping By Your Feet Mean That Your Dog Is Exerting Dominance?
It is a myth that when a dog sleeps by its owner’s feet, it means that the dog is exerting dominance over the owner. That it is trying to let the dog owner know that it is the pack leader and the bed is solely theirs to sleep in.
This is nothing more than a myth. It is rare for a dog or any pet for that matter to exert dominance over its owner. Some dogs can portray aggressive behavior, but that does not mean that they want to show dominance.
Moreover, dogs that sleep by your feet submit to you as the pack leader that they trust to protect them rather than portraying dominance.
FAQs on Why Does My Dog Sleep At My Feet?
1. Why Does My Dog Sit On My Feet?
It is common for dogs to sit at their owner’s feet. It is a way of asking for and showing affection. Just as you like to sit next to your friend or family member, your dog likes to sit near you.
Dogs find it more appealing to sit at your feet rather than on your lap because they find it satisfying staying on the floor. It may also be because pups follow their mother walking near their feet and sitting near your feet makes them feel safe like they are with their mother.
2. Is It Safe For Me To Sleep With My Dog?
There is no problem in sleeping with your dog as long as you are not allergic to dog hair or have any breathing issues. Sleeping with your dog can actually make your bond with your dog stronger.
However, it is best that you set some ground rules before you let your dog into your bed. Clean your dog first to get rid of fleas and dirt so that it does not make your bed dirty.
3. Why Does My Dog Touch Me While Sleeping?
If your dog likes to touch you while sleeping, it might simply be because your fur baby wants your affection. It might also be because your dog feels warmer near you. Your body heat transfers to your dog, making it feel warm and cozy on cold winter nights.
Another reason for your dog touching you while sleeping is that it sees you as the pack leader and looks up to you for safety. Just staying in contact with you, makes your dog feel safe.
After reading this post, your questions regarding Why Does My Dog Sleep At My Feet, must be clear. It is very simple, you and your dog share a very comfortable bond and that leads your dog to sleep at your feet.
There are several reasons why your dog sleeps at your feet, but mostly it is because your dog wants to show you affection and ask for your attention. Consider yourself lucky that your dog trusts you enough to protect you.