Why Do Dogs Lay on Your Feet?

Dog signs of affection may include laying on your feet or laying their head on your feet.


Dogs show signs of affection in many ways, including laying their head on your feet. Other ways experts believe dogs show affection include:

  • Making eye contact with “soft” eyes
  • Happy greetings with loose, relaxed posture
  • Wagging tail
  • Slow blink
  • Seeking physical contact
  • Licking
  • Bringing you toys
  • Leaning against you
  • Following you around

Why Do Dogs Lay Their Head on Your Feet?

We think that dogs may lay their head on our feet as a way to show they love us by being close. Even dogs who don’t care for full-body cuddles on the couch or bed may enjoy being curled up at your feet, just barely touching. Others may just want to gaze in our eyes.

Some dogs may also use this technique to get our attention. “Hey human, you’ve been on the computer a long time—don’t forget you have a dog!” Of course, canine facial expressions can tell us a lot, too.

I think some of my personal dogs lay their head on my feet to be sure they will know if I get up and leave. My pack follows me from room to room, and napping on my feet ensures that I can’t “escape” without them knowing!

While we won’t know for sure why dogs lay on our feet until they can tell us themselves, a sign of affection feels right. After all, dogs use body language as a way to communicate and, if we feel warm and fuzzy when our dogs are close, why wouldn’t they feel the same?

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Kate Basedow, LVT is a long-time dog enthusiast. She grew up training and showing dogs, and is active in a variety of dog sports. She earned her Bachelors Degree in English from Cornell University in 2013, and became a licensed veterinary technician in New York in 2017. She has been writing professionally about dogs for most of her life, and has earned multiple awards from the Dog Writers' Association of America. Kate currently has three dogs at home, as well as a cat, two zebra finches, and six ducks.