If your dog has been going between your legs, you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it.

This post will show you a number of reasons why your dog might go between your legs and a number of things that you can do to stop it.

So, why does my dog go between my legs? Possible reasons why your dog goes between your legs are that it is anxious, being submissive, it wants attention, it has separation anxiety, or it might be being protective. Alternatively, it might be that it has learned that going between your legs gets it rewards.

There are actually a number of nuances to consider when trying to figure out why your dog might go between your legs. There are also many things that can be done about it.

Why your dog goes between your legs

The different reasons why your dog goes between your legs will likely come with some clues in the way that it does it.

Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your dog might go between your legs and what would make them more likely.

Anxiety

The reason that your dog has been going between your legs could be that it is anxious. If it is anxious then going between your legs could be helping it to feel more secure and to calm its nerves. This would be more likely if it does it when something might be causing it to be anxious such as another person or dog being around that it doesn’t know.

It could also be the case that it does it because it has some separation anxiety. This is where being left alone causes your dog to become anxious. This would be more likely if it only seems to do it before it knows you will be going out and if it shows signs of being anxious when you are leaving.

If your dog does seem to be doing it due to being anxious then it would help to try and figure out what is causing it to be anxious and to make it stop. You might find that desensitization training will work particularly well which is where you slowly introduce the thing that makes it anxious and reward it for not being anxious.

Related: Why is my dog so calm?

Submissiveness

It could be the case that it does it because it is being submissive. In the wild, the more dominant dogs will show their dominance by mounting other dogs in a non-sexual way. It could be that going between your legs is its way of showing that you are the more dominant one.

Protection

The reason that your dog goes between your legs could be that it does it because it is being protective. This would be more likely if it seems to do it more at times when other people are around. It would also be more likely if it growls at people when they come near.

Seeking attention

It might be the case that it goes between your legs because it is seeking attention. This would be more likely if it does it at times where you haven’t been giving it much attention and it tries to get you to give it attention.

In this case, it would help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of training, exercise and play. However, if you don’t want it to go between your legs, it would be important not to reward it with attention when it does go between your legs.

Related: why does my dog grab my arm?

You have been rewarding the behavior

It could be the case that your dog has learned that going between your legs results in it getting things that it wants. This would be more likely if you tend to reward it with things such as attention, belly rubs or other things that it likes when it goes between your legs.

If you want to get it to stop going between your legs, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it does so and to try to reward it when it is being well behaved.

Things to consider

Below, I will mention some particularly helpful things to consider when trying to figure out why your dog has been going between your legs. Once you have a better idea of the cause it will become much easier to get it to stop.

Consider when your dog first started going between your legs

It would help to consider what happened at around the time that your dog started going between your legs. If it started doing it suddenly then it is more likely that there will be a clear cause.

Some things that might have happened could include:

  • You rewarded it for going between your legs one time
  • You stopped giving it as much attention
  • Someone mistreated it

Consider when and where your dog goes between your legs

The timing of when it goes between your legs could also be helpful to consider. If you notice that it only goes between your legs at certain times then it would be likely that the timing will have something to do with it.

For example, if you notice that it goes between your legs just before you tend to leave for work then it would suggest that it does it due to separation anxiety.

What you can do about your dog going between your legs

There are a number of things that you can do about your dog going between your legs. The best option for your dog will largely depend on the cause of it doing it.

Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do about your dog going between your legs.

Positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement training is where you reward your dog for displaying the behaviors that you want to see. To use it to get your dog to stop going between your legs you would reward it when it does not go between your legs and avoid rewarding it when it does not.

An example of how you might do this would be as follows:

  • Reward it before it goes between your legs
  • Stop rewarding it when it goes between your legs
  • Get it out from under your legs and avoid giving it attention until it doesn’t try to get between your legs

Avoid negative reinforcement training

Negative reinforcement training is where you inadvertently reinforce behaviors that you don’t want to see by giving it things that it wants when it displays them. It could be that you have negatively reinforced it going between your legs which is why it does it.

Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it goes between your legs and to try to only reward it when it behaves the way that you want it to.

Get help from a dog trainer or behaviorist

If you can’t figure out why your dog goes between your legs it would help to get the help of a dog trainer or dog behaviorist. This would be especially helpful if it seems to be doing it compulsively.

Don’t punish

It might be tempting to punish your dog when it does things that you don’t want it to. However, this would not be recommended. If you punish it then it might not know what you are punishing it for and it could cause it to resent you.

Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it misbehaves and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to behave the way that you want.

It’s not unusual

If you’re concerned that your dog is acting unusually, then don’t be since it is common for dogs to go between their owner’s legs even.

Be patient

When trying to get your dog to stop going between your legs it is important to be patient. It is unlikely that you will be able to get rid of the behavior completely with one training session. However, if you do it consistently over the course of days and weeks then you will be able to get much better results.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.