11 Reasons Your Golden Retriever Lays on Your Feet

Golden Retrievers are such a beautiful and affectionate breed of canines; no wonder they’ve consistently ranked so highly among the most popular dog breeds. They love spending time and just being close to their humans every chance they get. You may have noticed that your Golden Retriever especially likes sitting at your feet or even lays on them, right? 

A Golden Retriever will lay on or near your feet for several reasons. It could be a way of marking territory, wanting comfort and safety, or dealing with separation anxiety. The desire for warmth and attention or just a reinforced behavior are more reasons a Golden Retriever would lay on your feet.

In this article, we’re going to discuss in detail the reasons your Golden Retriever lays on your feet and what to do to stop the dog’s behavior if you find it unpleasant.

Golden retriever laying on a man's feet.

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Golden Retrievers Lay Next to You to Mark Their Territory

Take note of how your Golden Retriever may lay close to your feet when you’re in a dog park or near other canines. This is always a subtle way of communicating to other dogs to keep off from their leader. You’ll also notice this when strange people or pets are around. Your pup will lay at your feet and show aggression to anyone that tries to come near.

Goldens Lay On Your Feet For Comfort and Safety

Golden Retrievers feel comfortable and safe near their owner. When you have a busy day that keeps you away for too long, you’ll notice the jubilation and relaxation in your Golden when you get home. Your pup will rush up and lay right at your feet with tail wagging as a sign of comfort and happiness.

Have you noticed how your Golden Retriever may run to you when somebody is vacuuming or whenever there are strange and frightening noises around? A pup will lay on an owner’s feet or foot for reassurance of your protection. If your dog feels frightened by something around him, he will not leave your side.

A Golden Retriever May Stick Close Due to Separation Anxiety

Some pups don’t like to be left alone, and you’ll notice this in your Golden’s behavior when he realizes you’re about to leave home. The dog will become anxious and run to lay on your feet as a way of begging you not to leave.

You may also take note of signs of fear and stress if your Golden Retriever suddenly starts laying on your feet due to anxiety. If your Golden Retriever drools and pants excessively with its tail tucked underneath or hanging down, then you may need to meet with a dog trainer to help alleviate your pup’s anxiety.

Recommended Reading: Is Your Golden Retriever Lonely? (How to Tell & What to Do!)

Golden Retrievers Protect Their Owners

Golden Retrievers are intelligent companion dogs. They are also loyal and will seek ways of protecting you in case of perceived danger. They’ll often do this by laying on your feet, ready to attack any intruder. 

There may not be any real danger, but your dogs’ canine instincts will make them want to protect you. A pet owner might not even realize this is what’s happening.

Your Golden Retriever is Trying To Get Warmth

Although Golden Retrievers have undercoats that keep them warm in cool temperatures, you may notice your Golden, especially if it’s on the younger side, will curl at your feet in extremely cold climates for added body heat. This dog behavior may not be as common in adult Golden Retrievers who have thicker hair, but they still do it from time to time.

A Golden Retriever May Be Seeking Attention From Their Owner

This is common if you start ignoring your Golden or giving him less attention than before. Your furry companion will seek that attention by laying right on your feet, trying to solicit the lost connection. Golden Retrievers are extremely social dogs and need regular attention from their pet parent.

Recommended Reading: Golden Retrievers Are So Needy! ( 8 Reasons Why)

Your Golden May Have Experienced Past Mistreatment

Golden Retrievers have strong memories, just like humans. If he has suffered mistreatment or abuse at the hands of a previous owner, the dog may frequently lay on your feet as a way of seeking lost love. It may go on for some time until the dog develops complete trust in you. If you notice this, it is best not to ignore the dog; instead, show him more love and affection as he learns to trust again.

Your Golden Retriever is Looking For Love and Affection

A golden retriever is always looking for their owners attention.
A Golden Retriever is always looking for their owners love and affection.

Your Golden Retriever will lay at or on your feet as a show of love and affection. You may notice this if you’ve been away the whole day. Your Golden may lay on your feet in the evening as a way of reconnecting with you.

A Golden Retriever puppy may lay on your feet to remain alert to follow you immediately when you move. Others will do it as a way of comforting you. Remember, Goldens are intelligent creatures and will quickly read your emotions. They can tell right away if you’re sick or stressed and look for a way to help you feel better.

So if you notice your Golden Retriever doing this as a sign of affection, you’ll want to make sure to return the love!

Recommended Reading: Golden Retrievers Really Like To Cuddle (Here’s Why!)

A Golden Retriever May Be Trained to Lay at Your Feet

A dog owner might train their Golden Retriever to lay at their feet whenever they call them. In that case, laying at your feet is a show of obedience from your dog. Once trained, your Golden Retriever will do it without any commands because he will have learned that it makes you happy.

Reinforcing The Behavior May Cause a Golden to Lay on Your Feet

Your Golden Retriever may develop the habit of laying at your feet if you encourage the behavior. If a Golden gets praise, love, and affection when laying on your feet, you can be sure that they will learn to do this regularly. If this is the case, you’ll notice your Golden always rushes to lay on your feet, hoping to be treated with toys and other goodies.

Golden Retrievers Lay on Your Feet to Communicate

A Golden Retriever will also lay on your feet if he wants something from you. This may be a desire to go out for some exercise or when they are hungry. If you’ve trained your Golden to follow a given schedule, then he’ll be running to your side as soon as it’s time, e.g., to go out and play. 

Recommended Reading: How Do Golden Retrievers Show Affection? (Find Out Here!)

How To Stop Your Golden Retriever From Laying on Your Feet

Most Golden Retriever owners love it when their dogs lay on their feet since they do it with good intentions. However, some people may find the behavior unpleasant and seek ways to stop it. 

To stop your Golden Retriever from laying on your feet, you should do it without yelling or pushing him away from you. Here are a few ways to encourage your Golden to not lay on your feet:

  • Discourage the behavior. You’ve likely fostered the behavior by rewarding your Golden whenever he lays on your feet. A better way to reverse this without annoying your furry friend is to reward him for not laying on your feet. Just as he may have learned to lay on your feet, you can teach him not to lay on your feet by rewarding the behavior you want.
  • Ignore him. Your Golden Retriever may not like this at first, but with consistency over time, the pup will learn that you don’t want him laying on your feet, and he will get used to it. You may do this by directing him to lay elsewhere whenever you sense him coming near. Make sure to reward your Golden when he obeys. Repeat the process for a few days and watch him adapt.
  • Create a comfortable environment. You can encourage your Golden Retriever to use their own dog bed by making it as comfy as possible. Let your pup know that the bed is specifically meant for them and is the ideal place to sleep instead of on your feet. You may have your Golden watch as you make the bed more comfortable and then point to it for him once you’re done.

Recommended Reading: How Long Do Golden Retrievers Need to Sleep? (Explained!)


Your Golden Retriever will lay on your feet to establish and keep a connection with you. A Golden’s intentions are almost always good. So, if the behavior doesn’t negatively affect you in any way, take this opportunity to reciprocate the love and affection back to your Golden Retriever.


Bryan Mullennix

Bryan's a freelance travel photographer and happy dog dad. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife, his son, and two dogs Nom Nom & Speck.

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