If you’ve had a dog for a while, you’ve undoubtedly dealt with your dog randomly walking through your legs. You may be standing at the counter doing dishes when, upon moving, you nearly trip because your dog decided to stand in between your legs. They may have even done it while you were moving, making it nearly impossible to avoid them.
These actions will likely have left you wondering, “Why does my dog walk between my legs?” Luckily, you’ve come to the right place for an answer. Keep reading to discover the reason behind this weird behavior and even find out how to stop it.
One of the main reasons your dog may walk between your legs is anxiety. Most people realize that dogs can have anxiety but think it only impacts a select few dogs. However, around 72.5% of all dogs show some sign of anxiety. These can be small signs, like walking through your legs.
This can happen because they want to be as close to you as possible. This could be a way to seek comfort from a source of fear. It could also be an expression of separation anxiety, as they feel that being close to you makes you less likely to leave them.
In any of these cases, reducing their anxiety will help. Try to find out what is causing their anxiety and address it, if possible. You can also work on other tactics for reducing anxiety.
Dogs are incredibly social animals. Nearly everything about their biology is wired to work well in social situations, including the fact that they are pack animals. This leads to them craving attention from other members of their pack. In your household, the other members of your pack include you.
So, to get your attention, they will walk through your legs. They know this will work because every time they do it, you address them in some way, shape, or form. Even if the reaction isn’t positive, it is still a way to get you to notice them.
If you want to fix this behavior, the best way to do so is to make sure they have enough attention overall. Talking to them, playing with them, and petting them are all ways of expressing attention. These activities will provide the attention they need and make them less likely to seek it by walking through your legs.
3. To Hide or Seek Protection
Your dog likely views you as a source of safety and security. They know you will protect them from the dangers and risks of the world.
The problem is that your dog doesn’t necessarily know what actually constitutes a danger or a risk. They may see every visitor to your home as a danger and may view every other animal as a risk. This is often the case for rescue dogs, especially those who have been abused. In any case, this belief can lead to your dog darting between your legs as soon as they see another person or animal.
If you want them to stop doing this, you can try to establish another safe space for your dog. A comfortable crate kit can serve as a place for them to hide until they get over their fears.
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4. To Scratch or Itch Themself
Dogs can’t itch themselves on their own. In order to get relief from an itch, they have to rub up against something. You’ve probably seen your dog rub against a couch or coffee table to accomplish this goal.
However, they may also try to scratch themselves against you. You may have just been the closet option, or they may have just chosen to rub against you for some reason.
You can provide some relief for this behavior by providing some relief for the itching. By using anti-itch products when you bathe them, you can help attack these itches at their source.
5. To Stop Bad Behaviors
Your dog may be going in between your legs as a way to control themselves. Some dogs get excited and want to do something you have taught them not to do. Actions like this include darting after an animal they see or jumping on a visitor. To prevent themselves from acting out, they try to cage themself between your legs.
You can help fight this behavior by retraining them. When they dart between your legs to prevent an action, close your legs to prevent them from doing so. Then, issue the sit command. If you do this enough, you will train them to sit as a way of controlling themself.
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Stopping Your Dog From Walking Between Your Legs
Some individualized methods of preventing your dogs from walking between your legs are detailed above. However, there are other steps you can take too.
One of the most effective is to ignore your dog when they walk between your legs. In many cases, they want some sort of reaction from you when they go between your legs. By failing to provide them with any reaction, you are teaching them that this is not a way to get a reaction from you.
You can also reward them for not going between your legs. In situations where they normally would, distract them with a command or other distraction. Then, reward them. Eventually, they will discover that staying away from your legs is more rewarding.
Above all, don’t get frustrated with your dog. Nearly every reason they have for walking between your legs comes from the fact that they trust you and love you. So, even if they struggle to stop doing this, know that it comes from a good place.
Dealing With a Dog That Walks Through Your Legs
Your dog may choose to walk through your legs because they trust you, they feel safe around you, they like getting attention from you, and more reasons. If this behavior bothers you, you can work toward training them out of it. However, don’t worry about the behavior too much, and, above all, don’t get mad at your dog for it.
Related: 12 Reasons Why Crate Training is an Important Skill to Teach Your Dog
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