Why Does My Dog Sleep at My Feet?
Dogs are a delight to have and a happy furry friend! These furry friends often do silly things that are confusing, like sleeping by our feet. Dogs are funny pets that will happily attach themselves to their owners. They can sleep on their beds, couch, or their humans’ bed.
Although it may feel concerning, don’t be alarmed! Dogs sleep by people’s feet all the time for various reasons. The reasons that dogs fall asleep at your fees are listed below:
Dogs were originally pack dogs that roamed in large groups. Although they have been bred for thousands of years and many breeds are now companion dogs, they still have some behaviors from their ancestors. One of the behaviors is seeking out the alpha, or the ‘dog’ in charge.
In this case, it is you, the owner. Dogs sleep by their owner’s feet because they see them as alphas and respect them. This is a great sign, but only one of many reasons that dogs sleep by people’s feet.
They are Seeking Comfort
Sometimes, your furry friend is scared. If you notice that your dog is trembling or reacting abnormally, it could be that something is stressing them out. Dogs will reach out to their owners and loved ones when they feel stressed. Some dog breeds are more prone to separation anxiety and will refuse to leave their owners’ side.
There is nothing wrong with letting your furry friend sleep with you or by your feet when they need comfort, however, you do need to find the stressor soon. If you constantly let it happen, your dog can develop a separation anxiety disorder and fear being left alone. Dogs that are seeking comfort may also fall asleep between their two owners, if applicable.
They are Cold
During the winter months, as the temperatures continue to drop, it is possible that your dog is feeling cold. If you have a large fan that continues to blow and turn, your dog may sleep by your feet to feel your warmth. They produce more body heat the humans, and yet may be using your feet for extra heat.
If your dog is cold, there are some solutions you can offer. For instance, you can try and place your dog under the sheets. Some dogs react well, while others will pop their head out in discomfort. If this does not work, you can also wrap your dog in blankets for warmth on their bed. This way they know that they can stay with you, but they also have a choice to use their bed.
They are Protecting You
Sometimes, when your dog decides to sleep at your feet it is because they are protecting you from a threat they sense. This could be because of a new person in your life. While it is sweet that your dog is trying to protect you from danger, you do need to be careful.
As long as your dog is not being aggressive, it is okay. However, you should train your dog over time to socialize with new people and dogs. Socialization and training can help your dog adjust to living in new situations and going on walks. This can limit their aggression to new people.
Marking Their Territory
Dogs mark their territories in many ways. One of the ways is by placing their scent directly on your body. It is easiest to do this by your feet. Dogs will mark you as their territory if they want to protect you.
Just like your dog is yours, to your dog you are theirs. This sweet gesture should only be awarded if your dog is not being aggressive. The biggest issue with dogs marking their territory is that they tend to become aggressive towards anyone that goes by their human.
How to Create a Comfortable Space for Your Dog to Sleep
For some of us who do not have a large enough bed to fit a dog, it may be best to create a comfortable space for your dog to sleep. If you want to keep your dog close, you can bring them their favorite bed and place it directly next to your bed.
In the dog bed, place toys and treats that calm down your dog. You should also provide them with blankets so they can warm themselves up during the night. Be sure to add any of their favorite toys, blankets, and scents. Sometimes, if you have an anxious dog, it helps to give them something of yours with your scent. This could be a glove, shirt, or jacket.
That’s Why Your Dog Sleeps at Your Feet!
Some dogs are raised sleeping by their owner’s feet, while others start doing this later on in life. For the individuals that learned later, when your dog sleeps at your feet nothing is wrong! Typically, it indicates that they care about you and are protecting you. Sometimes, when dogs are feeling cold, they will snuggle by someone’s feet, feeling the warmth.
Regardless of the reason, it is up to you if you would like to allow them to sleep by your feet. If you do not have the space, you can create a comfort corner for your dog to use during the time they are sleeping.
If you have any concerns regarding your dog or if it’s time for them to come in for an exam, give our animal hospital in Cincinnati, OH, a call at (513) 531-7117.