There are many reasons why a dog may like to sit on an owner’s feet. It all depends on the dog and the other behaviors they exhibit. What kind of dog is it? Is he a pushy dog? A love bug? A dog that always like to be touching someone? Is this an anxious dog who doesn’t like to let the owner out of their sight? The same behavior can be caused by lots of different things, depending on the particular dog.
If you have a dog who is very dominant, then your dog could like to sit on your feet as a way to assert himself over you. He is physically pinning you down and putting himself in a more powerful position. But this would only be the case if this particular dog does other things that make you believe he is trying to be dominant.
Does your dog need constant reassurance? Is he always looking for love and affection? Does he want to be touching you all the time? In this case, the dog may be sitting on your feet simply as a way to stay in physical touch with you.
Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety? Does he follow you from room to room? Does he go to pieces if he can’t see you? In this case the dog may be trying to reassure himself about your presence. He may be looking for comfort by touching you.
Maybe your dog simply likes to be near you. There doesn’t have to be any particular reason why a dog likes to sit on an owner’s feet. Maybe the dog gets some petting when he does this and he likes it.
Your dog may also like to sit on your feet as a way of “claiming” you. Perhaps he feels that he needs to let your spouse or another dog know that you are “his.” Dogs do display this kind of possessive behavior and can become very possessive of an owner.
This is a good example of the way different behaviors can have lots of different interpretations depending on the particular dog -- and the owner.
If you like for your dog to sit on your feet then there is no particular reason to make your dog stop it. If you don’t like the behavior then you can discourage it. Don’t pet your dog when he sits on your feet. You can teach him to do something else that you like better instead. Toss a treat for him and teach him to lie down a few feet away, for example. Make sure that you give him lots of praise for keeping his distance.
If you have a very needy dog then it may take some time to teach this lesson because your dog thrives on being closer to you. Be patient.
If your dog is claiming ownership you and showing possessive or guarding behavior then you do need to do something about it. Your dog looks upon you as a “resource” and he is guarding you just as he would a bone or a bowl of food. You should let him know that this is not appropriate behavior. This is where the 4 CALM principals come into play, put those into place to make it clear to your dog that he does not “own” you. Through putting these simple practices into place in everyday life you can let him know, in subtle ways, that you are not exclusively his. If you let him guard you then it will eventually make life difficult with a spouse or with other pets in the household, or even with children. Check out www.baxterandbella.com to find the principals of CALM leadership as well as tons of other helpful training resources!