What Does It Mean When My Puppy Sits on My Feet?

by Melodie Anne Coffman Google
    He may look innocent, but he could have a secret agenda.

    He may look innocent, but he could have a secret agenda.

    Russell Illig/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Sometimes your puppy sits on your feet just to be close to you, although other times his reasoning isn’t so friendly. Decoding your puppy’s behavior isn’t easy. You’ll have to watch for cues to let you know what’s going on in his head. After all, he can’t tell you exactly what he’s thinking.

    Showing Affection

    Sitting right on your feet isn’t always a bad thing. It’s possible that your pooch is simply being affectionate. You were gone all day long and Teddy just wants to be close to you -- he’s your biggest fan. Plus, by parking himself on your feet, he’s making it harder for you to go anywhere. This way he can truly be the center of your attention.

    Being Dominant

    In some cases, sitting on your feet can be a sign of dominance. Teddy is trying to challenge you to be the pack leader. If he presses up against your legs, mounts your calves or looks up and barks at you for no particular reason while he’s snuggled up on your feet, be on alert. You’ll need to walk away, put him outside or give him something to play with -- anything to avert his attention elsewhere. If you let the behavior continue, you can run into bigger problems down the line -- like racing out the front door as soon as you open it, spraying in the house or pulling you forcefully on a walk.

    Feeling Uneasy

    If your puppy is feeling nervous or if something scares him, he’ll want to feel safe and protected. Naturally, being right up close to you calms him down, making him feel secure. He’ll stick his tail between his legs or drag it on the ground, flatten his ears back towards his skull and hang his head low as he curls up on your feet. Scratch him under the chin and reassure him everything is fine. Be careful, though -- sometimes a scared dog may accidentally nip you or empty some of his bladder right on you.

    Guarding You

    When Teddy cozies up to your legs, he could be guarding you and trying to keep you to himself. He might snap at your other dog when he walks by or try to bite your spouse when he approaches you. If he’s nipping at others, growling or showing his teeth while he’s on your toes, you’ll need to let him know that behavior isn’t acceptable. Don’t allow him to curl up on your feet anymore and if he starts the unruly behavior when another animal or human walks in the room, don’t give him any attention until he stops. Even swatting at him or yelling at him is still attention -- even though it’s negative -- so just ignore him. In some cases, you may need to seek the advice of a professional trainer.

    Photo Credits

    • Russell Illig/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Melodie Anne Coffman has been writing for various online and print publications since 1996, specializing in human and animal nutrition. After receiving her master's degree in food science and human nutrition, she opened up her own nutrition consulting business in the New England area.

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