There are many reasons why your beloved pooch likes to sleep on your feet. Understanding them from its perspective is important to foster a stronger bond with your pooch.
To Show Respect
The foremost logical reason why your four-legged pal lays at your feet time and again could be out of a need to revere you as its leader, an act that takes us back to our history books as we try to decipher its meaning.
Perhaps, you might have heard that dogs share an ancestral connection with wolves, with all dogs descending from the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus). However, there’s a high tendency you’ve never pondered the far-reaching significance of your doggie’s shared genetics with its wolf ancestors and the exhibition of some of these wolf-like traits right in your bedroom.
The truth is, in the wild, wolves move in packs, and each pack has a dominant leader called the alpha. The alpha protects, supports, and directs the group. And in deference to the alpha, members of the pack pay the alpha back with respect and loyalty.
Sometimes, with the alpha’s permission, members of the group would sleep near the alpha to demonstrate proof of their subordination.
Interestingly, many wolf traits live on in dogs, and your pooch is likely to snuggle up to your feet and doze off there if it recognizes you as its leader.
For Your Protection
Shepherd dog breeds like Caucasian Shepherds have what’s known as a guardian instinct, making them highly territorial not only around their owners’ properties but also over their owners. Hence, a territorial dog might follow its natural protective instinct to watch over you while you sleep.
And what better way to guarantee your safety than to sleep at your feet, a strategic, advantageous spot where it can spring to your defense should the need arise.
It’s important to note that dogs’ protective instincts aren’t limited to big dogs alone. Smaller breeds can also be very protective, and it should not be surprising to see your adorable little Chihuahua takes up watch duty at your feet.
To Generate Body Heat And To Bond
Dogs are social creatures, and this trait is evident in their sleeping patterns. So your dear Fido might leave its bed and sleep close to your feet because it wants to get a little warmth. But come to think of it, even you wouldn’t mind some cozy warmth when the weather’s freezing.
In addition to seeking warmth, another good reason your canine pal sleeps at your feet could be an attempt to bond. Body warmth, of course, is generated when mammals bunch together.
Perhaps, what’s most intriguing is the release of oxytocin, a particular bonding hormone that develops in the brain from the shared emotional connection between two mammals.
Dogs, just like humans, can’t sleep well in an uncomfortable environment. Sleep discomfort may be due to several reasons such as noise, cold, uncleanliness, or a less pleasant sleep bed for dogs.
So if your canine pal isn’t finding it smooth in la-la land, where’s the best possible safe place for it to sleep comfortably? At your feet, of course, where it’s calm and peaceful.
Amateur dog parents don’t have much experience with dog training and would most times unconsciously encourage their pooches to sleep at their feet.
Funnily enough, these dog owners wonder why their dogs cling to their feet at all times without knowing what they’re doing wrong.
The truth is, when you give treats, pats, and cuddles, especially when your furry friend is lying next to you, you’re conditioning it to associate these pleasurable experiences with a particular position.
Hence, whenever your pooch needs some cuddling and stroking, the first place it thinks to rest is at your feet.
To Assert Dominance
Dogs vary in temperaments, and breeds with a dominant trait could hop onto your bed and sleep at your feet to assert their dominant side.
The thought process going through your dog’s mind at this point is to contest your comfortable sleeping space, one that it reckons should be its.
This type of behavior could be interpreted as a power tussle, especially when you’ve never encouraged your dear Fido to crawl into the same bed with you.
Dominant breeds like the Siberian Husky, Rottweiler, and the American Bulldog are wont to exhibit traits of superiority. Although, smaller dog breeds such as the Jack Russell Terrier can equally be as dominant.
To Avoid Being Crushed
If you’re a multiple-position sleeper who loves to toss about while sleeping, your sleep pattern might frighten your four-legged friend and cause it to move downwards near your feet where it’s safe from being crushed.
Such an act is primarily common among lapdog breeds like the Toy Poodle that might need to protect themselves because of their small body size.
Keep in mind that this only applies to dog owners who sleep on the same bed with their pooches.
To Seek Something
Once dogs establish their owners as guardians and leaders, they naturally start to expect food and other comforts from their parents, leading them to lay at their owners’ feet. In other words, a dog lying down is often thought to be expecting something.
For instance, once your doggie notices it’s past time for its meal or exercise, it could walk up to you and lay at your feet as a sort of reminder.
Separation anxiety is a phenomenon that occurs in dogs who’ve recently experienced a shock that comes with a sudden disruption or change in their handler, routine, or environment. It could also be a result of a terrible accident or encounter with a dangerous predator.
If your canine companion battles with separation anxiety, it’d, among other habits, constantly sleep at your feet for fear of going through another unpleasant experience. In this case, you’d need to help your beloved pooch overcome its fear by seeking professional help from a dog behaviorist.
Depending on the severity level of the factor responsible for causing shock in your furry pal, the anxiety could range from mild, moderate, to severe.
For mild cases of anxiety, you could intervene by finding the causative factor and removing it. Most times, eradicating a strange smell or familiarizing your canine buddy with a new family member could do the trick.