Is your puppy always weaving, leaning, or walking between or under your legs? You might notice your dog doing this at different times, whether you’re indoors, outside, or during your play time. In some instances, dogs would even prefer to sleep while comfortably positioned between or under your legs.
If you’re wondering why your pup walks under your feet or want to get rid of this behavior as it can accidentally knock you or someone over, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’ll explain this behavior and how to stop your puppy from walking under your feet. If you’re ready, let’s get started!
What This Behavior Means
The simple explanation why your puppy walks under your feet is because it is seeking comfort or wants to feel safe. When your dog feels anxious, lacks confidence, or gets excited, it may prompt your dog to seek protection and go under your legs.
An alternative explanation is that it is trying to avoid another animal or human being because the experience is something new and your pup is feeling nervous or overwhelmed. So when your dog meets a new person or another dog, expect to witness this behavior.
As mentioned, anything new for your puppy can lead to this behavior. This includes being exposed to new environments such as the vet’s clinic or the dog park where new scents and the presence of other dogs can contribute to your dog’s anxiety or feeling of uncertainty.
Loud noises such as the sound of thunder, fireworks, or even something as simple as doors slamming shut can also prompt your dog to flee under your legs for safety. Just as how toddlers run to their parents when scared, your puppy does the same.
As a dog owner, your pup sees you not only as a source of food and entertainment when you play with it, but also their best friend and pack leader. With this, it is normal to see some attention-seeking behavior such as this. However, if they are forcing themselves between or under your legs and walking with you above them, it can put you in a difficult situation.
In the next section, we’ll teach you how to handle this kind of behavior.
How to Change The Behavior
If your dog goes under your feet occasionally when it becomes nervous, it might be fine. However, if it does this very often, you might want to talk to your vet for recommendations for easing your dog’s anxiety. There are wearable products that can put just the right pressure to your dog’s back and chest to keep it calm.
Alternatively, you might want to train your pup so it doesn’t wander under your feet or in front of you when walking. The first step is to teach your dog how to walk properly on leash.
At first, you can use a front clip harness or a head halter so you can manage its movement better. Work with your pup for it to learn loose leash walking that allows it to explore its surroundings in a safe manner, and on heeling which involves closer contact and control.
For both situations, your dog must learn to remain on one side– either to your left or right, and not walk between your legs or under your feet. You can train your dog to stop by reinforcing a verbal cue such as “stop” with a tasty treat or other rewards every time your dog manages to perform the expected behavior.
Additionally, you can train your dog to walk by your side by following the verbal cue with a treat tossed at your side. For best results, you can start the training in an area with little to no distraction such as inside your home or backyard in order to keep your dog focused.
As your dog learns the desired behavior, you can try to take your dog outdoors or resume the training to other environments with some distraction. With constant practice, your puppy will learn the proper way of walking with you– that is, by your side and not under your feet or between your legs.
Training your dog is easier said than done. You need to have a lot of patience and must be willing to dedicate your time and effort in order to be successful.
If you don’t have the skills, patience, or spare time to train your dog, the best approach is to have a professional dog trainer do it for you. Delaware K9 Academy can help you get rid of unwanted behaviors and conduct obedience training so you can have a more pleasant experience as a dog owner.
Depending on your needs and goals, you can enroll your dog to their private lessons or two-week bootcamp. Get in touch with Delaware K9 Academy to explore your options!