Why Do Dogs Sleep At Your Feet?


Last Updated on October 20, 2021

Many dogs like to sleep with or next to their owners at bedtime and even naptime.  Is your dog your personal foot warmer, always sleeping at your feet?  But why do dogs sleep at your feet? Is it just to invade your personal space? Here are a few explanations.

If your dogs are always sleeping at or on your feet, you may wonder why they want to be so close to you. Many dogs want to be near their owners while sleeping.  Whether it is while you are sitting on the couch, at your desk during the day, or at night in your bed, they want to be next to you. 

Why Do Dogs Sleep At Your Feet?

dogs sleeping at your feet

Genetic Reasons Your Dogs Sleep at Your Feet

Even though our pups are far from the wild wolves they once evolved from, some habits are ingrained in them.  Your dog may view you as her alpha.  In the wild, wolf packs sleep around their alphas for numerous reasons. 

One of the most common reasons is heat.  The closer the pack sleeps together, the warmer they are by utilizing each other’s body heat. 

Another common reason they sleep close together is to protect the alpha of the pack.  Since the alpha is the most important and respected member, the rest of the pack sleeps around him or her to keep them safe. 

Sleeping in the wild is when they are most vulnerable; they are positioning themselves to be ready to defend the alpha if needed.

You are alpha (maybe).

How your dog sleeps next to you can say a lot about how she or he views you as a parent.  

If your dog sleeps at your feet or next to you in general, she may consider you the alpha of her pack.  She wants to remain close to you to protect you. 

If she does not consider you alpha but as beta, she may be sleeping at your feet in order to protect you.  Their ingrained habits from their ancestors long ago are still part of who they are today.

Why your dog chooses to sleep at your feet:

There are numerous places our furry pals can sleep.  Their very plush and expensive dog bed, for example, is an option you may provide yet they still insist on sleeping at your feet. Why?

If you move, she wants to know

If your dog likes to lay and sleep at your feet throughout the day, she wants to know if you move.  By sleeping at your feet, she will know immediately if you get up to go somewhere or do something.  She wants to be with you and know where you are at all times.

Bored, hungry, or wants something from you

Some dogs sleep at their owner’s feet because they want something from them.  She may be trying to tell you she wants to go out but you don’t notice right away.  She lies down next to your feet so she knows immediately when you stand up. 

When you finally decide to get up, she thinks she can convince you to finally take her out or give her something else she may want.

You Move too Much At Night

Many owners move around and are restless while they sleep.  A lot of dogs do not like to be bumped throughout the night and therefore sleep at their owner’s feet to stay out of the way. 

You Are Nice and Toasty

She may also sleep at your feet to simply steal your body heat without being too overheated.  While the main trunks of our human bodies produce the most heat, it may be too hot for our furry pals. 

Sleeping at your feet allows for some warm contact without being too overwhelming.

Ingrained behaviors

Perhaps you’ve had your dog since puppy-hood. Many puppies instinctively do not sleep super close to their mothers to avoid being rolled onto.  This may be the thought process behind your pup’s sleep area choice. 

Unintentionally Training her to Sleep At Your Feet

Many owners enjoy their dogs sleeping at their feet.  Without knowing it, you may be training your dog to sleep there. 

For example, let’s say your dog is sleeping at your feet, you find it absolutely adorable so you pet her constantly when she is there.  Your dog quickly learns sleeping at your feet means lots of belly rubs! You are teaching her, without knowing it, to sleep at your feet since she enjoys all the lovies and rubbies.

You are her protector

If your dog is scared of loud noises or storms, they may stay around your feet in order to feel a sense of security.  Being next to their pack member allows them to feel safe in a scary situation.  To your dog, you are the protector.

She is your protector

Perhaps your dog is trying to protect you.  While you may know there is no threat to you, your pup is showing her loyalty by sleeping at your feet. She wants to be ready to keep you safe if necessary.

She loves you and wants to show it

Making contact with your body while sleeping at your feet may simply be their way of showing affection.  This can be especially true if you have been gone for a while; your dog simply wants to be close to you.

Offering comfort

Dogs are extremely perceptive.  Our pups can tell when we are upset or having a rough day.  She may lay by your feet as a way to offer you comfort. 

Sleeping Positions

If your dog is at your feet and curled into a ball, she may be using your closeness to keep warm.

When your dog sleeps on her back with her belly exposed, she feels extremely safe.  Sleeping on their back is considered an extremely vulnerable position.  By sleeping at your feet like this, she knows you will protect her and has nothing to worry about.

If your dog is lying in the “superman” position, flat on her stomach with all legs and paws flat on the floor, she wants to be ready to go again.  Sleeping in this position makes for a quick rise and return to play.

When your dog lies on her side next to your feet, she feels completely comfortable and relaxed. 

When is it a bad thing?

Some dogs do not handle being away from their human very well.  Some dogs sleep at their owner’s feet due to separation anxiety.  They refuse to be away from you because they only feel calm while next to you.

If this sounds like your dog, there are ways to help your dog with her anxiety.  In this situation, trying to help her break the habit of always having to be underfoot will help her in the long run. 

In most situations, sleeping at your feet is not a cause for concern.  Your fur child just wants to be as near to you as possible.  Your dog sleeps at your feet because she loves and respects you and wants you to know it!

And if you’re not into having your dog sleep at your feet, check out this article about using a crate at night for your dog.

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Why do Dogs Sleep at your feet?

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