Have you ever stayed up way past your bedtime because getting up from the sofa and going to bed would disturb the dog sleeping on your feet? Do you question why anybody needs to buy slippers, since your feet are perpetually warmed by your dog’s bum? Why do dogs enjoy sitting on our feet so much, anyway? It turns out there are many reasons for this behavior. Here’s a look at 5 reasons your dog may like to sit on your feet.
#1 – For warmth
Any part of you that your dog can get close to will help them stay warm on a chilly day. If you don’t allow them on your furniture, the best way to absorb your heat is to sit on your feet. Companion dogs are especially likely to feel compelled to share your heat. Shih Tzus, for example, were royal lap dogs, guards, and foot warmers that also served as companions.
#2 – To show you love
Studies using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) have shown that dogs prioritize the smell of their human over anyone or anything else, including food. The scent of their human sparked activation in the “reward center” of their brains more than any other scent. Other studies have shown that dog and human brains respond similarly to emotionally-laden vocal sounds. All this goes to show that dogs are bred to love us, and sitting on our feet is just another way for them to get closer.
#3 – You’re their security blanket
Dogs who are highly anxious may be more prone to cuddling up to their owners for safety and security. Clinging to your feet may be a sign that they are prone to anxiety, especially if that behavior is combined with a tail tucked between the legs, shivering, whimpering, cowering, eating weird things, or destroying everything in sight.
#4 – To claim you
By sitting on your feet, your dog is telling the world you belong to them (and vice versa). People who have more than one dog may notice a power struggle between the dogs as far as who gets the best spot next to you. The best solution is to give each dog a spot near your feet to lie down, with no dog claiming both of your feet for themselves. It’s also recommended that each dog gets their own one-on-one time.
#5 – To guard their “pack”
Dogs are pack animals and genetically inclined to guard the leader of the pack – you (hopefully). By sticking so close to you, they believe they can help keep you safe so you can continue to lead the pack. They will also feel safe and protected by being so close to their leader.
(H/T: K9 of Mine)