Why Does My Dog Lay His Head on My Feet?

Dogs are thought to be the most devoted pets. They reveal their love and affection for their owner in a variety of adorable ways.

Dogs express their emotions through various body gestures, and it’s your responsibility as a pet owner to translate those gestures. 

Their actions often reveal how they are feeling and what they want. Dogs can be extremely clingy at times, refusing to leave your side. 

They try to sit at your feet, lick you, and even communicate with you at times. However, these cute acts are sometimes the instinctual reasons behind the majority of what they do. 

Have you ever tried to understand what it indicates when your dog insists on sitting at your feet?

This article will attempt to go over the reasons for this behavior and discuss what the dog thinks when he lays his head on your feet.


5 Reasons Your Dog Lays its Head on Your Feet

1: Basic Instincts 

If you research the history of animals, you will discover that dogs were also referred to as “pack animals.” These dogs and animals travel in packs or groups. 

They travel in a group for hundreds of miles. When they feel the need to stop somewhere and rest for a while, they rely on their leader. 

The pack leader selects the best spot to lay while the rest of the clan huddles for warmth and safety. Similarly, your dog retains those instinctual characteristics. 

Wild dogs frequently travel in packs, and even if your dog has never been in the wild, they are still trained by wild ancestors. 

They see your house as a wild simulator and you as the pack’s leader. That’s why it’s thought that the act of them sitting and laying at your feet is ingrained in their DNA.

2: Territorial Behavior

Almost all living creatures have a territorial ownership instinct, where they like to assert authority over the place or their caretaker. 

Just as we feel a sense of ownership over our pets, they may feel the same way about us. 

Because they regard you as the leader of their pack, they will frequently feel the need to mark their territory to keep other dogs away from you. 

That is why they prefer to stay close to you in public; they will even bark at other dogs or cats who approach you. 

That is how they communicate to other dogs that you are the pack leader and that everyone else should stay away from you. 

They do this to express their love and admiration for you. However, if some aggression is associated with the action, the owner shouldn’t encourage this, as it can be frightening.

3: Separation Anxiety

Dogs exhibit many behaviors that are similar to those of humans. Dogs, like humans, can suffer from anxiety disorders

They, too, experience anxiety when confronted with situations that are outside of their comfort zone. 

Dogs are generally very attached to their owners, so the thought of them leaving makes them feel lonely and insecure. 

They may experience separation anxiety and become curious as to when you will depart. 

They will begin to show signs of anxiety when you are about to leave, or they may sleep or lay on you just before you leave. 

The cause behind that is that they want to feel more comfortable and safe to relieve anxiety symptoms. 

4: Being Overly Protective

As previously stated, dogs have this instilled behavior of a group or pack mentality in their DNA.

They feel safe and protected in an environment where they have the perception that someone is sheltering them and guiding them. 

To feel more secure in a group, most dog breeds are raised to work alongside their owners. 

Laying their head on the owner’s feet could help them feel safe as if he is part of a group where he is less vulnerable. 

Dogs crave that sense of security, so they prefer to be close to their owners; additionally, dogs are regarded as the most protective pet. 

That’s why he puts his head on your feet to show how protective he is of you. It may simply be his way of showing affection.

5: Training Your Dog

Dogs learn new skills quickly due to their keen sense of understanding. Training your best friend is not as hard as training other pets. As a result, dogs are used for a variety of purposes. 

We can deduce from this that your dog lays his head on your feet because you have encouraged him to do so. 

Some owners, for example, like to rub their dog’s belly when they lay their head on their feet; in exchange, they offer treats to their pet as a reward. 

As a consequence, they will most likely do it more often to feel rewarded. 

Even if the owner doesn’t offer a food reward, patting and feeling loved by the owner will cause them to develop the habit of laying their heads on the owner’s feet when they get the chance. 

One should discourage this behavior in their pet so that they don’t become clingy and overprotective.

What You Can Do About It

1: Don’t Encourage This Behavior 

As previously stated, if the dog learns that laying his head on his feet gets him things he likes, he is likely to repeat that behavior repeatedly. 

To break your dog’s habit, you need to discourage his behavior by not rewarding him when he does it. 

Rather than responding positively, try to be firm with him. 

Acts that indicate you are displeased or not responding in the way that your dog expects you to respond will have a significant impact on how he will behave in the future.

2: Locate The Root Cause

Before you try and fix something, you must first determine the exact cause of the problem. Try your best to identify the underlying cause of the problem. 

Similarly, if you notice that your dog has developed a new habit out of nowhere, you must determine what caused the behavior change and then correct it. 

If the clingy attitude has developed as a result of separation, anxiety, or insecurity, you should address it as soon as possible. 

Try to reduce your dog’s anxiety by taking him for a walk, letting him pee, and feeding him before you leave so he doesn’t have to wait as long for food. 

Sometimes, the owner may unconsciously contribute to developing certain traits in their pet by encouraging some bad patterns. 

3: Positive Reinforcement Training

Positive reinforcement training employs a reward, such as treats, toys, or anything else that your dog finds rewarding to achieve desired results and behaviors.

It’s regarded as one of the most effective and powerful tools for shaping or changing your dog’s behavior. This method bribes dogs with treats, making them more likely to repeat the behavior. 

In this manner, you encourage your dog to behave in a specific manner and then reward them when they show signs of behaving. 

You can use it to force your dog to lay or sleep in a specific location. This way, they won’t put their heads on your feet and will learn to lay and sleep on their own. 

You can begin by simply deciding where you want your dog to sleep. First, get your dog to stand there, and then reward him when he does. 

Encourage your dog to lay down so that you can give him another treat.


Dogs are thought to be the most affectionate, loving, and caring pets. That’s probably why most people keep them as pets and treat them as if they were their children. 

They each have their way of expressing their affection for their owner. They like to be close to you to show that they like you and are protective of you. 

They may want to lay down on your feet to show affection at times; most people adore this dog gesture. Sometimes they train them to behave in a specific manner. 

However, your dog may have an underlying problem that causes him to react in a certain way. 

It’s your responsibility as their owner to recognize warning signs such as separation anxiety or behavioral issues and then act accordingly.

Written by Brian Rucker

Brian Rucker has been a dog lover since childhood. He has had his Lab Mix with Hound for over 10+ years now! They enjoy playing outdoors together. Brian loves sharing his knowledge about all things dog on this website. Read more of Brian's articles.