Have you ever experienced the warm and happy sensation that most pet owners feel whenever their dogs lie down at their feet? This is usually how our dogs show affection, telling us that they are comfortable with our presence. Many dogs form a strong bond with their owners as well, affirming that there is a good relationship between them.
The main reason for this behavior is your dog's "pack" instincts. In the ancient times when dogs are not domesticated yet, they always go in packs and stay together no matter what. This helps them stay away from predators and unwanted company. Now, your domestic dog considers you as the leader of your pack. Just as his ancestors have very protective instincts, he wants to keep you close to him as much as possible to protect you and keep you warm.
Sign of Ownership
"When he's sitting on your foot, it's an ownership thing. Suppose his [bottom] is on you. In that case, he's marking your foot," says Jennifer Brent, animal advocate and external relations manager for the LA-based non-profit animal welfare advocacy group Found Animals. Dogs do this to secure themselves and to maintain their position in your life. They don't want other animals touching you or going near you, as your dog made you his property and pack leader.
Your dog may want to show you that he loves you by sleeping at your feet. He could also love the floor because it is cool or the carpet because it is soft. Some dogs even sleep at their owner's feet because they want to be alert if their owner goes somewhere - what a loyal pupper!
Laying at your feet could also mean that your dog needs assurance that you'll always be there, especially when he's feeling anxious. Learn how to read your dog's body language: Is he panting too much? Is he stressed out and nervous? Is his ears pulled back? These are a few signals that say your dog is anxious about something in his environment, and you should take action as soon as possible. Anxiety usually happens when dogs go to the vet or meet someone who poses a threat to them. If these situations occur, stay close to your dog and never leave his side to secure him.
Dogs are intelligent animals; thus, they know if something makes you feel good or grabs your attention. If your dog discovers that when he lies on your feet, you'll rub his belly or give him cuddles, then he'll probably lie on your feet every day! This is called positive reinforcement and makes you and your dog enjoy each other's company more.
In conclusion, when your dog lays at your feet, allow him. This is also the perfect time to show our pet our loving affection in return for their gesture. Pet your dog while he lays at your feet, and this action will tell him that you love what he is doing.