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Why does my Labrador sit at my feet?

Why does my Labrador sit at my feet?

If your Labrador keeps sitting at your feet, you might be wondering why and what can be done about it. This post will show you common reasons why they do it and what you can do about it.

So, why does my Labrador sit at my feet? Possible reasons are that it has separation anxiety, it was mistreated when it was younger, you have been reinforcing the behavior or that it wants attention.

Your Labrador might be doing it for many reasons and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the main causes.

Why your Labrador sits at your feet

Below are some common reasons why Labradors do it and what would make them more likely to be the reason why your Labrador has been doing it.

Separation anxiety

The cause could be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and the prospect of being left alone causes it to start being anxious. This would be more likely if your Labrador starts showing signs of being anxious when you are leaving.

Mistreatment when it was younger

The reason might also be that it was mistreated as a puppy and it now does not want to be away from someone that it trusts. This would be more likely to be the reason if you adopted it from a shelter.

If this is the case then it would help to try and socialize it with other people when possible and to try the tips mentioned in this post.

Reinforcing the behavior

It might be the case that you have encouraged it to sit at your feet by giving it things that it wants when it sits there.

Instead of giving it things such as treats, toys or attention, when it sits at your feet, try to reward it for behaving the way that you want it to and to redirect its focus onto something else when it is about to sit at your feet.

It wants attention

Another possible reason why it does it might also be that it wants extra attention. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.

In this case, it would help to give it attention throughout the day and to avoid rewarding it with attention when it does things that you do not want unless necessary.

To spread its scent

The reason why it does it could be that it is spreading its scent onto you so that other animals can smell its scent on you.

To prevent this you’ll need to spend time training it to sit in certain places and to discourage it from sitting at your feet by ignoring it when it does and rewarding it when it doesn’t.

Guarding you

It could be the case that it does it because it is being protective. This would be more likely if it does it more when other people are around and if it tends to get overly protective around other people and dogs.

Consider when it first started doing it

If your Labrador did not always sit at your feet, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.

Some things to consider would be:

  • If you moved home
  • If someone else moved away
  • If its schedule changed
  • If you started working different hours

Consider when and where it does it

It would also help to consider the timing of when it sits at your feet since the timing could also have something to do with it.

If you notice that it tends to sit at your feet when you are about to leave then it could be the case that it has some separation anxiety. Whereas, if it does it more when you have not given it much attention then it might be looking for attention.

What to do about your Labrador sitting at your feet

Below are some options that you have if you want to get your Labrador to stop doing it.

Ignore it

If your Labrador sits at your feet because it is looking for attention from you then the best way to get it to stop is to leave and completely ignore it.

This means that you should get your Labrador off your feet, wait for it to calm down, tell it to sit somewhere else, reward it for behaving and not sitting at your feet, then sit back down. If it tries to sit on you again then repeat the process. It would also help to recognize when it is about to sit at your feet and to redirect its focus onto sitting somewhere else.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it could be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for doing it. Instead of giving it things that it wants when it sits at your feet, try to reward it when it is well behaved.

Give it attention

To reduce how much attention your Labrador seeks from you it would help to give it attention throughout the day. You can do so by training it, exercising it and by playing with it.

Train it not to

You can also train your Labrador not to sit at your feet by teaching it to stay on the floor when you’re sat down. You can do this by getting it to sit or to lay down and then 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: