Ask a Vet

What Does It Mean When a Dog Sits on Your Feet?

By Kerry
Updated on

What does it mean when a dog sits on your feet

When your adorable four-legged friend sits on your feet, it might cause you to ask the question: “What does this mean?”. Contrary to popular belief, when a dog decides to sit on your feet, it’s not actually a sign of dominance but instead, a sign that they have a very strong bond with you.

Just think about it – dogs are very well known for being friendly, loving, and most comfortable within their family or “pack”, and that includes you! For this reason, it only makes sense that they should want to be around you, not to mention simply finding your feet nice and warm!

Despite the obvious reasons, there are a few other potential reasons as to why your four-legged friend likes to sit on your feet, let’s take a look at some of them below:

  • They’re showing you they love you!

Though behavior can vary from breed to breed, it is not uncommon for a dog to want to settle down at the feet of its owner. Though we can’t say for sure, it can be considered that this is one way a dog is able to express its affection and love, just in the same way you might sit down and spend time with your loved ones.

In addition, your dog may also just want to be in close proximity to you due to the fact that they find the physical contact soothing to them.

  • They’re suffering from anxiety

Again, though behavior will no doubt differ from dog to dog, it is not uncommon for a pup to choose to sit close to their owner in moments that they are feeling anxiety or fear. One of the strongest indicators that your dog is suffering from anxiety is if they do not usually like to sit on your feet in normal circumstances.

On top of that, if you’re suspecting that your dog is suffering from anxiety, then the following body ques will help you to determine whether or not your suspicion is correct:

  1. Is the tail tucked close to their body?
  2. Are they panting, drooling, or showing obvious signs of distress?
  3. Are they whining?
  4. Do they have their ears pointed backward?

As the owner, you will no doubt be a source of comfort to your dog, which is the reason why dogs will try and be as close as possible to their owner as much as possible. As a side note, if you suspect that anxiety may be the reason, then it might be a good idea to take your dog to the veterinarian, who will be able to properly assess the situation and give you proper guidance on what you should do next.

  • They want your attention

To put it plainly, the reason as to why your pooch may be sitting in your feet is simply because they might want your attention! If your dog likes to sit on your feet, wag its tail, and bark at you, they might be asking you to give them a scratch, cuddle, or even trying to get you to play fetch.

What does it mean when a dog sits on your feet1

Why does my dog take my spot when I get up?

Just like we do, dogs love all the comforts of home. When you decide to get up from your comfy chair to grab a drink or stretch your legs, you might notice that your dog likes to hop up on your spot.

When this happens, it is not usually a sign of dominance, but rather the fact that your dog likes your scent and the warmth of the area in which you have been sitting. In other words, it’s the perfect place for them to curl up and take a nap!

Besides that, another reason why your dog might take your spot when you get up is that they want to steal the “alpha” spot. This ties in closely with the instinctive behavior of dogs, as they each have a natural pack mentality that is based greatly upon hierarchy. So, with that being said, when you get out of your seat, this might be the reason why your dog takes your spot.

If that doesn’t sound right, then another theory as to why dogs like to steal their owner’s spot when they get out of it is purely down to the fact that they like the reaction they get when their owners come back and notice them sitting in their seat! If you make a fuss and playfully tickle your dog each time they steal your spot, your dog might simply love the attention you give.

Lastly, another reason why your dog might steal your spot when you get up is that they are suffering from separation anxiety. As we’re sure you already know, dogs become very attached to their owners and can sometimes find it very distressing to be apart from them, especially if you have a dog-gate that separates them from you.

For this reason, your dog might jump up into your spot so that they can smell your scent, which could help to alleviate their distress and soothe him.

Is a dog sitting on you a sign of dominance?

A dog sitting on you is not necessarily a sign of dominance, although it can be. More often than not, if your dog sits on its owner’s lap, it simply means that they are trying to show their love and affection.

As an example, golden labradors are known for their gentle nature, so it may be totally normal for your dog to want to sit on your lap because they are only trying to express how much they love you.

On the other hand, dogs can sometimes try to assert their dominance by sitting on you. By sitting on a human, can be a way for a dog to feel empowered and in control, and is most common in dogs that have recently been added to the family, as dogs have a pack mentality and will often test the waters to see how far up the hierarchy of the pack they can get.

Alongside this, one of the main indicators that a dog is sitting on you as a sign of dominance is if they are growling and barking during the process, at which point you may need to talk to your veterinarian for some guidance.

Photo of author
About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.