All breeds of domesticated dogs have wild ancestors. Yes, even your 8lb chihuahua that loves sitting on pillows and snuggling under blankets has an ancestor who lived in the wild.
Though your pup may be as domesticated as they come, they still carry instinctive traits from their wild ancestors.
Dogs typically traveled in packs in the wild. When the leader, or Alpha, chose a spot to rest, the group would huddle around him for warmth and protection.
As the Alpha of your home, your dog views you as the leader of the pack. So when you settle in, your dog may desire to come rest by your feet not only for warmth and protection but as a way to show respect and devotion.
While your dog may love showing you all the ways they’re devoted to you, that’s not the only instinct urging your dog to stay close by your side.
Your Furry Bodyguard
Another instinctive trait your dog might be exhibiting is the need to protect you, the leader of their pack.
If your dog is staying close to your feet, take a look around.
Are you in a public place with a lot of people? At a new park? Is there a loud construction zone nearby?
If your dog is uncertain about their surroundings, they may want to stay close to you for protection, both yours and theirs.
Conversely, if your dog cozies up to your feet while you’re sitting on the couch having a nap, they may still be standing guard.
It’s a primal urge for your dog to watch over you, aka the pack leader, when your guard is down.
Whether it’s to save you from a vicious pack of wolves or the doorbell ringing, your furry best friend sees it has his or her job to protect you.
And if you think that this won’t hold true for your 15lb pug, think again. Ironically, small dogs can be particularly protective. The tinier the bite, the mightier the fight!
That being said, not every dog is as vigilant as the next, and some may have another reason for desiring to be on or near your feet.