If your dog has been grabbing your feet a lot, this post will show you why and what you can do about it.

So, why does my dog grab my feet? Likely reasons why your dog grabs your feet are that it is playing and that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded.

There are a number of possible reasons why your dog grabs your feet and it might be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Why does my dog grab my feet?

Below are likely causes and what would make each of them more likely.

Your dog is playing

The reason why your dog grabs your feet is likely to be that it is playing. This would be more likely if your dog does it when you are walking or when you are moving your feet while sat down.

Your dog wants more attention

It is also likely that your dog does it in order to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it more when you have not been giving it much attention in a while and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.

Your dog wants you to give it belly rubs

Another possible reason is that your dog wants you to rub its belly with your feet. This would be more likely if your dog rolls onto its back when it does it.

Your dog sees your feet as prey

Your feet can move about like a dog’s potential prey might. The reason why your dog grabs your feet could be that it sees your feet as prey. This would also be more likely if it does it when you are moving your feet around.

Your dog wants something from you

It could also be the case that your dog wants something from you and it is trying to get you to give it to your dog. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it more at a certain time such as before you have fed it or given it exercise.

Encouraging the behavior

It is also likely that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats, or extra attention, when it grabs your feet, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

If your dog has always grabbed your feet

If your dog did not always grab your feet, it would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started doing it. If your dog started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as learning that the behavior is rewarded.

The timing of when your dog grabs your feet

If there is a certain time that your dog tends to grab your feet, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing. For example, if it does it when you are walking past, the cause would be likely to be that your dog is playing and that it sees your feet as prey.

What to do about your dog grabbing your feet

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Redirect its focus

One option would be to try to redirect your dog’s focus when it seems likely to try to grab your feet. One way to do so would be to give it a toy to play with.

Give it distractions

Another option would be to give your dog distractions so that it is less likely to want to grab your feet. Ways to distract it could include giving it bones and toys.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it could be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. Instead, it would help to get your dog to stop grabbing your feet then to avoid giving it attention until it calms down by leaving the room if necessary. Then you would go back to giving it attention and immediately stop if it starts misbehaving again. Repeating the process should teach it that grabbing your feet results in it not getting rewards.

Why does my dog hold my ankles?

Your dog likely holds your ankles because it is playing and because it has learned that the behavior is rewarded. It would help to consider the timing of when your dog does it since the timing is likely to give you clues.

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Author

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.