If your dog keeps laying its head on your feet, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible reasons why it has been doing it and what you can do about it. 


So, why does my dog lay its head on my feet? Possible reasons why your dog lays its head on your feet are that it is anxious, waiting for something from you, being affectionate, it finds it comfortable or that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded.

Since there are a number of possible reasons, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.

Reasons why your dog lays its head on your feet

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

Anxiety

The cause might be that it has some separation anxiety and it wants to know when you are leaving. This would be more likely if it tends to show signs of being anxious when you are about to leave and if it tends to sleep or lay on you, during the day, only before you have left home and not after you have arrived home.

Comfort

The cause could be that it finds lying its head on top of your legs as being more comfortable. This would be more likely if it chooses to sleep there instead of in its bed, if it rests its head on you and if it does not seem to show any abnormal behavior. 

Nature

Most dog breeds were bred to work alongside their owners and feel more secure when they are in a group. Laying its head on your feet could be helping it to feel safer since it will make it feel like it is in a group and less vulnerable.

Being protective

The reason why it does it might be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it also becomes protective when you are around other people or animals. It would also be more likely if it tends to do it when there are other people around.

Encouraging the behavior

It could be the case that you have encouraged it to do it by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you give it things such as back or belly rubs, when it lays its head on your feet, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to get it off you and to reward it when it lays down the way you want it to.

Affection

It could just be the case that it is being affectionate. This would be more likely if it wants to sleep when it does it and if it does not try to get you to do anything or to give it anything. 

Waiting for something

The cause could also be that it is waiting to get something from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at around the same time that you would normally give it something such as food or a walk. 

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider in order to help figure out the main cause.

What else happened when your dog first started laying its head on your feet

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

What is different when it does it

It would also help to consider the timing of when it does it since the timing might have something to do with it. For example, if it does it before being fed, it might be waiting to see when it will be fed. Whereas, if it does it before you normally leave home, it might be doing it so that it is woken up when you leave home.

What to do about your dog laying its head on your feet

Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it. 

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that it gets things that it wants when it lays its head on your feet. Instead, it would help to reward it when it lays down where you want it to and to avoid giving it things such as extra attention when it tries to lay its head on your feet. 

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

As mentioned above, it could be doing it because it has some separation anxiety. It would help to try to reduce how anxious it gets by giving it exercise, letting it pee and feeding it before leaving so that it does not have to wait so long.

Positive reinforcement training

One option would be to train your dog to lay somewhere else with the use of positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage it to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.

To use it to get it to lay or sleep in a certain spot you could do something such as the following:

  • Make the location, you want it to sleep in, comfortable.
  • Get your dog to stand there and reward it
  • Encourage your dog to lay down by giving it a treat
  • Continue to repeat the process a few times daily until it realizes that laying there results in it getting rewards

Give it another place to sleep

It would also help to encourage it to sleep or lay where you want it to by making the area comfortable. It should be cool, not too bright at night, quiet and there should be space for it to lie down.

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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.