If your dog has been standing on your feet a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you multiple possible causes and what you can do about it.
So, why does my dog stand on my feet? Possible reasons why your dog stands on your feet are that it wants attention, it makes your dog feel safer, it’s being protective, to spread its scent, or because it has learned that the behavior is rewarded.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main reason, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Reasons why your dog stands on your feet
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been standing on your feet and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
It wants attention
The cause could be that your dog is trying to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention for a while and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
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. It would also help to give your dog attention throughout the day by doing things such as playing with it, training it and exercising it.
It makes it feel safer
The reason why it does it might be that it makes it feel safer. Dogs are pack animals and they evolved to spend most of their time around the other dogs and people in the pack so it is natural that being near you or touching you will make it feel more secure.
The cause might be that it has separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely if your dog does it more when you would normally leave home and if it tends to become anxious when you are leaving home.
It is being protective
The reason why your dog leans on you could be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when there are other people or animals around and if it can get overly protective around them.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it stands on your feet, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Many people jump to the conclusion that their dogs do it because they are trying to be dominant. However, the alpha/beta dynamic has been disproven in studies showing that wolves take turns in taking the lead.
With that being said, it could be doing it due to bullying behavior which would be more likely if it shows signs of aggression or if it tries to make you move. In this case, it would help to avoid giving it reasons to feel threatened and to get it to learn to behave the way you want it to with training programs such as NLIF (Nothing in Life is Free) dog training.
To spread its scent
The reason why it does it might also be to spread its scent onto you. The reason why it might want to spread its scent onto you could be so that other animals smell it and are less likely to approach you.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If your dog did not always stand on your feet, it would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as something causing it to start feeling insecure or learning that it gets rewards for doing it.
What is different when your dog stands on your feet
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time or situation in which your dog tends to stand on your feet. For example, if it tends to do it more just before you normally feed it, the cause might be that it is trying to remind you to feed it.
What to do about your dog standing on your feet
Below are some options you have if you want to get your dog to stop standing on your feet.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is behaving the way you want it to and to stop giving it rewards or attention when it starts misbehaving.
Train it not to
You can also train your dog not to stand on your feet by training it to stay somewhere else. You can do this by teaching it to sit or to lay down somewhere and then by gradually teaching it to stay there over longer and longer time periods.
You can do this by applying the same techniques as in the video below:
Another option would be to use positive reinforcement training to get your dog to stop doing it. Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging your dog to behave the way you want by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.
To use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop standing on your feet, you would:
- Stop giving it attention when it puts its stands on your feet, leaving the room temporarily if necessary.
- After waiting for a few moments, start giving it attention and a treat if it doesn’t stand on your feet when it usually would.
- If it does start standing on your feet, stop giving it attention again.
- Repeat the above until it learns that standing on your feet results in it not getting things that it wants.
Since your dog might be doing it for attention, one option would be to avoid rewarding it with attention when it does it. One way to do this would be to get it to stop leaning on your feet, wait for it to calm down and then to give it attention and to repeat the process if it does it again. Doing this should help to teach it that leaning on you doesn’t get it rewards.
It would also help to try and recognize when it is likely to start doing it and to redirect its focus onto standing or sitting somewhere else by training it to do so with positive reinforcement training.