Why Does my Dog Lay or Sit on my Feet? Tonya Wilhelm Answers

Why does my dog sleep or lay on my feet

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why does my dog lay on me all the time?” Or maybe you’ve wondered “Why does my dog sit on my feet?” For some people, it may be that their dog sits on top of them. The answer to these common dog behavior questions is pretty simple: It depends!

Dog behavior is a complicated subject, and experts learn new things about our canine friends every day. As a professional dog behavior counselor for the past twenty years, I can tell you there never seems to be a simple, one-sentence answer to dog training or behavior questions. Your dog may lean, lay, or sit on you for a variety of common reasons. Here are the top 6 reasons a dog may get up close and personal.

Pitt bull leaning and guarding its owner

Security: When dogs are insecure, they seek the support of their family unit—that’s you! A dog’s family unit includes all the animals and the humans in the home. You are likely the human he feels safest with. By staying close and even touching you, a dog may feel reassured that you are there for him. His protector.

Comfort: Have you ever been stressed or sick, and your dog just won’t leave your side? A family is there for each other. If you are feeling under the weather or insecure, your dog may offer you comfort and support. He cannot talk to you with his voice, but he can talk to you with his actions. By laying close or on top of you, he’s showing you he cares and that he’s there for you.

Black Lab sits on its owners lap

Protecting: Dogs are masters at controlling space and their environment. Sometimes when a dog may feel his family is in danger, he may place himself between his family and the oncoming threat. There may not be an actual threat, but in his mind, he is protecting you from something he perceives as threatening.

Guarding: Unlike a protecting behavior, some dogs view their person as such a great resource that they want to keep others away from their prize. By placing himself on your foot, lap, or other parts of your body, your dog may be claiming you for himself.

yellow dog lies on man's belly

Affection: You love to snuggle with your dog, and he may want to show you his affection by resting on your lap or feet. He’s probably learned in the past that this is a great way to earn a few extra smooches and scratches.

Warmth: One of the sweetest things is to see a dog snuggle up with their person to stay warm. This behavior is so reminiscent of puppyhood when all the puppies and their mom curled up into a big puppy pile.

Husky puppy in my lap

As you can see from the six examples above, why a dog may lay on you, lean on you, or sleep on your feet really does depend. Most of these situations are signs of affection and care that prove once again why dogs are man’s best friend.

However, if you have a dog who seems over-protective or is guarding you from others, it is important that you seek the assistance of a qualified dog behaviorist. These two behaviors can get out of control quickly and can lead to an unfortunate experience.

Does your dog lay on you? Tell me in the comments.


  1. 9wk Springer Spaniel always bites, growls and rips around house after walks – but sleeps on my feet or husbands once she settles down. What is the problem?

  2. I’ve never had a dog (I’m a cat person), but whenever I spend any time with pretty much any dog (even dogs I barely know), they will lie down on my feet. This has even happened in the street on the school run when I simply stopped to pet a friendly Labrador. It’s especially the larger, more gentle dogs which do this. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this, as I have no close connection with any dog.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here