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Sitting on People's Feet

There's no getting around the fact that dogs love feet and everything associated with them. They adore shoes and socks, and most of all, they love the smelly tootsies themselves. "Your feet are the part of you that your dog knows best," They're right there on the floor with your dog; they're full of the smell of you; and lots of times, they're the only part of you that dogs are allowed to sit on. One reason that dogs like feet so much is the same reason people steer clear of them. For such a small body part, feet pack a whole lot of scent. Each foot has about 125,000 sweat glands. That's enough to keep plenty of smells percolating, especially when feet are encased in socks. and shoes. Dogs draw a huge portion of their knowledge of the world from their sense of smell. And feet sure do smell.

Close to you....

Rich aromas aren't the only things about feet that dogs find attractive. They also depend on them as sort of a human tether. "There are some dogs who worry that their owners will get up and leave without them noticing," they don't want their people to get very far away, so they sit on them.

Large dogs are more likely than small breeds to choose a podiatric perch. Small dogs can scramble into laps when they want to keep track of their people. Big dogs are too bulky for that kind of cuddling. Sitting on feet gives them similar feelings of closeness and reassurance.

Of course, there are plenty of dogs who simply want to be near the people they like. They're not all that desperate for attention or reassurance - they just like the closeness. "You don't cuddle up with your husband or wife on the couch because you don't want him/her to sneak away without you noticing. You just like the physical contact.

Large dogs, such as this chocolate Labrador, are too big to comfortably sit on laps the way small dogs can. Sitting on feet is the next best thing.

Now that you understand.....

Some dogs crave foot contact more than others, and there's not much you can do about it. Keep your leather shoes in the closet and be grateful that your dogs wants to be close to you. Dogs who are truly anxious about being abandoned, however, need some extra reassurance.

Schedule cuddle time. Dogs who know they can depend on getting attention at certain times of the day or in certain places are less likely to demand it the rest of the time. Set aside 5 to 10 minutes each day when you dog can sit on your feet, lick your face, and generally revel in physical contact. Your dog will depend on these regular meetings and look forward to them - and he/she will be less desperate the rest of the time because he/she knows something good is coming.

Protect you space - but just a little.

Dogs who are insecure are constantly crowding their people, and they can get frantic when the people are out of sight. The only way they'll feel more confident is if they're gradually weaned from clingy contact.

Once o twice a day for a few weeks, attach a leash to your dog's collar and tie it to something a few feet away from where you're sitting. Your want him/her to be close enough that you're in sight, but too far away to make physical contact. He/She will whine at first, but eventually he/she will give up and lie down. As soon as he/she's been still for a minute, toss her a cookie and tell how great she is. Most dogs catch on very quickly that a little separation can make the stomach fonder. Once they figured that out, your feet will get a break.



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