If your German Shepherd keeps sitting at your feet, you are probably wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might be doing it and what you can do about it.
So, why does my German Shepherd sit at my feet? Possible reasons can include seeking attention, separation anxiety, mistreatment as a puppy, guarding you or to spread its scent.
There are actually a number of reasons why it might be doing it and there are a number of things that you can consider.
Why your German Shepherd sits at your feet
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd sits at your feet will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might sit at your feet and the signs to look for.
The reason why it does it could be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where your German Shepherd does not like being left alone and it gets anxious when it is alone. This would be more likely to be the reason if your German Shepherd tends to get very anxious when you are going out.
If your German Shepherd does seem to have some separation anxiety then you can watch the video below to see a number of tips on what you can do about it.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd so anxious?
Mistreatment when it was younger
The reason why it does it might be that it was mistreated as a puppy and it now does not want to be away from someone that it trusts. This would be more likely to be the reason if you adopted it from a shelter.
If this is the case then it would help to try and socialize it with other people when possible and to try the tips mentioned in this post.
Reinforcing the behavior
The reason why it sits at your feet might be because you have been rewarding it.
This would be more likely to be the reason if you tend to give it things that it wants when it sits at your feet. For example, you might give it more attention or toys to play with. This would teach it that sitting at your feet will get it things that you want.
If you do not want it to sit at your feet then it would help to avoid giving it things that it wants and to reward it when it does not sit at your feet instead.
It wants attention
The reason why your German Shepherd sits at your feet could be that it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if it does it when you have not been giving it much attention for a while. It would also be more likely if it does it at around the same time that you tend to do things such as to take it for a walk or to feed it.
To spread its scent
It could be that your German Shepherd is trying to spread its scent onto you so that other dogs can smell it. This is its way of saying that you belong to it so that other dogs will steer clear of you.
To prevent this you’ll need to spend time training it to sit in certain places and to discourage it from sitting at your feet by ignoring it when it does and rewarding it when it doesn’t.
German Shepherds are natural guard dogs and they are commonly used as guard dogs for that reason. Your German Shepherd might tend to sit at your feet because it is being protective. This would be more likely if it also tends to follow you around.
It could be the case that it is being protective and it sits at your feet for a number of other reasons as well such as those mentioned above.
Consider when it first started doing it
When trying to understand why it sits at your feet it would help to consider when it first started doing it.
If it didn’t always sit at your feet and it started doing it suddenly it would help to consider what else happened at around the time that it started doing it.
Some things to consider would be:
- If you moved home
- If someone else moved away
- If its schedule changed
- If you started working different hours
Consider when and where it does it
It would also help to consider the timing of when it sits at your feet.
If it only seems to sit at your feet in certain situations and at certain times then it could be that there is an external cause for it.
Some things to consider would be if it only does it when you would normally feed it or if it only sits at your feet when you have not given it much attention.
What to do about it
Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do about your German Shepherd sitting at your feet if you want to get it to stop.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
If your German Shepherd sits at your feet because it is looking for attention, which is often the case, then the best way to get it to stop is to leave and completely ignore it.
This means that you should get it off your feet, wait for it to calm down, tell it to sit somewhere else, reward it for behaving and not sitting at your feet, then sit back down. If it tries to sit on you again then repeat the process.
Avoid reinforcing the behavior
It could be the case that you have encouraged it to behave that way by giving it things it wants when it does it.
Instead of giving it things that it wants you could try teaching it to sit or lay down someone else and then to reward it for that instead.
I have written about how you can teach your German Shepherd “down” in the past here.
Give it attention
One way to get your German Shepherd to stop seeking attention from you is to give it attention when it’s not sitting on your feet. By doing this it will not need to do things like sitting on your feet to get your attention since it will be getting enough of it anyway.
Train it not to
You can also train your German Shepherd not to sit at your feet by teaching it to stay on the floor when you’re sat down. You can do this by getting it to sit or to lay down and then gradually teaching it to stay there over longer and longer time periods.
You can do this by applying the same techniques as in the video below:
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Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.
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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.