Why Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Lean On You? 10 Underlying Reasons To Learn!

Bernese Mountain dog breed is known to be affectionate and touchy, especially to ones that they love. Everyone out there likes to be loved and dogs are no exception. If you find your Berner leaning a lot on you lately, you don’t need to be worried. Your dog may just simply sit or stand next to you and casually put his bulk of the weight on your calf. 

So, do you know why Bernese Mountain dogs lean on you? Well, your dog leans on you to become closer to you and show his love for you. Also, if he feels stressed or insecure, you may find your Berner leaning or pressing against you to seek comfort. 

There can be many different reasons for such behavior but generally, your Berner Sennenhund could just be asking for a little affection and reassurance that you still love him.

Bernese Mountain dogs love physical contact with their favorite ones and you will find them sitting on your feet, sleeping with their paws on you, and snuggling up on the couch or bed due to this. Some experts also say that dominance can be a reason but it’s not the general case. 

Why Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Lean On You?

Is Leaning Normal To Your Bernese Mountain Dog?

If you find your Bernese Mountain dog leaning to you more often, know that it’s something that your dog loves to do. Especially, if you are your pooch’s favourite or there is someone new your Bernese Mountain has just met. Even if your dog seems shy around strangers, he will warm up soon if affection is shown. Know that this is not trait specific neither is it a standard. 

Oftentimes, leaning can also be your puppy’s way of expressing dominance. But it is not common for your Bernese Mountain to try to dominate. And while leaning, your dog may knock someone down or leave a trail of hair  which can be bothersome. 

Even though your Bernese Mountain is large in size, he will try to squeeze himself into tight spaces in order to be closer to you. Your pooch will then put his massive weight on you and seek some love, affection, praise or treats. 

10 Possible Underlying Reasons: Why Does Your Bernese Mountain Dog Lean?

If you find your Bernese Mountain dog leaning towards you more often, know that there are certainly some reasons behind it. 

#1 Your Bernese Mountain Dog Leans On You Because He Loves You

Leaning can be your dog’s way of trying to cuddle to show love and affection since your pooch can’t hug you physically. According to dog experts, your dog leans on you because he loves you and seeks closeness. 

This is because, by nature, dogs are social pack animals and thus your puppy always craves for physical closeness to you. So, your Bernese Mountain pocch tends to lean on the legs of yours. And once you start encouraging such behavior from him, your pooch will learn that he can get your affection through leaning on you. 

But you definitely know your pooch better than me and so your Bernese Mountain dog’s reasons for leaning on you can be different from other dogs out there. If you are okay with such behavior from your pooch, then you can allow your pooch to do it. And make sure that you are ready for the sudden pouncings as well. 

#2 Is Your Bernese Mountain Dog Looking For Affection?

Your Bernese Mountain dog may lean towards you because he is looking for affection. Experts say that, your dog leans on you because he seeks for comfort and affection from you. And if you reward the leaning behavior of your dog, he becomes more inclined to earning your affection through it. 

So, in a way, your dog leaning on you is akin to hugging. And you are likely to find your Bernese Mountain dog often leaning against you or putting a paw gently on your foot to seek your attention or affection. 

Just like humans, animals like your pet dog too want to feel the affection from his favourite human. So, you should try to spend some good quality time with your pooch and make sure to make your puppy happy and cheerful. If your pooch feels affection from you, he won’t always seek your attention for it. 

Bernese Mountain Dog In Garden

#3 Is Your Bernese Mountain Dog Leaning From Her Shyness?

Your Bernese Mountain dog may become shy and feel insecure in the presence of people who are not from the family or strangers. In such situations, you might find your pooch to lean against you in an effort to calm himself. 

While leaning on you due to feeling discomfort, your furry pet may also show other signs like lip licking, yawning and avoiding direct eye contact. And once your puppy leans on you, he tries to reduce his stress from earlier. 

So, it’s better if you look into the causes behind your dog’s behavior and which situations particularly trigger your pooch to lean on you. Also, if your Bernese Mountain dog didn’t have enough positive  socialization when young he can become shy quite easily. And many dogs can be cautious and reserved from birth. But you can help your dog through overcoming such situations by proper training and help him live a comfortable life. 

#4 Is Your Bernese Mountain Fido Doing This Interestingly?

Sometimes, your Bernese Mountain can lean on you just because he feels interest in doing so. This also indicates that your pooch is fascinated by you and wants to be closer to you. And due to this, your puppy wants to know what you are up to. 

Your pooch is eager to know what you are doing and wants to follow you through and through. So, he lets his presence known by putting his body weight on your legs and wants you to stroke his back, play with him or just pay attention to him. 

Your dog becomes more interested if you start giving into him and spend time with him. This not only builds your puppy’s self assurance but also helps become more confident and cheerful. Once your Bernese Mountain fido finds this interesting, he is more likely to repeat this in future. 

Read To Know: Why Do Dogs Lick Faces?

#5 Does Your Bernese Mountain Puppy Take Comfort In Being Physically Close To You?

You can’t deny the effect of your presence to your dog. Especially if your pooch finds discomfort in something, it is more likely that your Bernese Mountain fido will try to seek comfort from you. And leaning towards you or becoming closer to you can be his way of doing so. 

Basically, you don’t even need to do much. Your presence alone can soothe your puppy easily. Also, if your dog is nervous or anxious for some reason but is a shy dog, he will just try to be around you. He may try touching you with his paw or just laze around. 

You should check your puppy if you see such behavior. See if he is hurt or behaving weirdly and find out the cause behind it. This will allow you to understand your pooch’s condition better and take measures accordingly. 

Bernese Mountain Dog In Water

#6 Does Your Bernese Mountain Dog Want You To Move?

One interesting fact is that, if your Bernese Mountain dog has a favourite place, he wants to keep it safe and to himself. And if you are covering that space, your dog may lean on you to give you a signal to move from that place. 

In another case, your puppy may lean on you in order to try to steal your spot on the couch or other places. Your fido thinks that he can get you to move from that spot and later he can fill in. This behavior is quite cute unless your puppy behaves stubbornly. 

If your Berner Sennenhund becomes too stubborn or insistent on moving you from a spot, I think you should take some time to change some rules around the house. Because, it is not always okay to allow your dog to do whatever he wants. 

#7 Does Your Bernese Mountain Dog Lean To Ask For Something?

Your Bernese Mountain dog can’t communicate with you verbally and thus, he can use gestures or small actions to communicate with you. For example, your puppy may lean on you when he has to ask for dinner or for playtime. 

If your dog wants some petting or wants to go outside, he can show such leaning behavior as well. And he may continue pouncing on you until you give in. If you observe such cases, you should start paying attention to issues related to your pooch. 

Oftentimes, this demanding behavior can turn quite serious and destructive. So, it’s better to give your dog some training or management to minimize the obnoxious behavior if it turns too serious. 

#8 Does Your Bernese Mountain Canine Lean For Personal Protection and / or Security?

Sometimes, your Bernese Mountain dog may just need some sense of security or protection from you. This can lead your pooch to lean on you more. Especially, if your dog is anxiety-prone or tense in certain situations, he becomes more needy for your emotional support. 

And leaning on you not only gives your pooch emotional support, but it also works as physical support. This is because, when your pooch stays closer to his trusted and treasured human, he becomes more happy and relaxed. 

So, if you see your puppy lean towards you due to facing anxiety, you should try to comfort or reassure him. In this way, your dog can feel safe and protected and the anxiety begins to fade away gradually. 

If you find any particular situation causing your puppy to become anxious and lean on you, try directing your pooch’s mind somewhere else. When your Bernese Mountain dog presses against you, he feels safe and familiar. 

#9 Is Your Bernese Mountain Dog Afraid Of Something?

Sometimes when your Bernese Mountain dog is pressing into you, it may indicate his vulnerability, nervousness and fear. For example, when you move to a new house or when there’s a new guest at your home, your pooch may get scared. 

Your pooch is quite sensitive towards his surroundings and stange, unknown things can cause him to react to it and lean or press on you. By doing this, your puppy essentially comforts himself because the poor thing is suffering a lot due to the whole change. 

There can be many things that can make your pooch scared , for example, thunderstorms, fireworks, loud noises, and other dogs noises, etc. And your dog tries to hide and seek refuge because he feels safe with you. So, it’s better if you observe those signs of fear and try soothing his pain or fear by comforting him or by patting on his head or by giving me a cuddle. 

Bernese Mountain Dog In Beach

#10 Does Your Bernese Mountain Canine Lean On You To Express Dominance?

If you are in the middle of some random work and your Bernese Mountain dog suddenly keeps pressing on you, it may be his way of displaying his dominance over you. Because even if your pooch no longer lives in a pack, he still has got some ‘Alpha’ attitude and would just want to show you who the real boss is. And if you pay close attention, you can find your pooch’s legs become unusually rigid or tight due to being dominant. 

One of the reasons for your dog to lean on your sit on your feet is to invade your territory. But if your dog is dominant in every aspect of his personality, then he may not lean on you to prove his dominance. But many people don’t agree to this idea. 

Thus, if you are not bothered by your dog’s pressing or leaning against you, it’s okay not to change anything. Because you would also like it when your Bernese Mountain leans on you and shares the warmth. The dominant behavior is not dangerous and your dog isn’t disrespecting you either. It’s just a behavioral trait which you can always change with training. 

Read To Learn: How To Crate Train A Puppy

What To Do While Your Bernese Mountain Pooch’s Leaning Very Often?

If you find your Bernese Mountain dog leaning very bothersome, you can take certain measures to stop your pooch from doing this. Such as: 

  • When he leans or pushes on you, just turn away from your dog until he stops doing so. After he stops for some time, turn back to him and praise him or give him a treat. Once your pooch realises that by not pushing or leaning on you, he gets rewarded, he will be encouraged to not to lean on you. 
  • In a calm tone use words that can make your fido realise that you are dissatisfied with his behavior. Walk out of the room or take your puppy to another room and give him some time. Repeat this until he stops these behaviors.
  • Train your dog with command words like ‘sit’ and use it to compel him to sit down. When your fido listens to you, give him praise or treats. Your puppy will realise that pressing against you doesn’t work and will stop doing so. 
  • You should try to figure out the causes or situations that trigger your dog to take attempts to lean or push on you. Once you can determine them, avoid these situations or teach your puppy to associate it with something good rather than bad. 

#1 Stop Rewarding The Lean

To stop encouraging your dog from leaning on you, try not to give your dog what he wants when he leans. And you need to stop rewarding your pooch specially when he is asking for something. 

At first, you may find some protests or extinction bursts when you stop rewarding your dog for leaning on you. But this is something normal because your pooch becomes confused initially. And he may even try to lean on you or press against you more, longer, or harder before giving up.

Wait till your puppy stops leaning and give him what he wants but on your terms. Ignore your pooch till you get the leaning under control. When your puppy finally gives up, then you should pet him or take him out for playing or reward him. 

Bernese Mountain Dog In Ice

#2 Implementing The “Nothing in Life is Free” Policy

The next thing you can do is to give your dog a new way to ask for what he wants. Teaching an alternative method will allow your Bernese Mountain dog to stop being bent on leaning on you. 

At first, note down the things that your puppy likes for example, playing fetch, playing tug, going outside, sniffing things, getting pet, meeting other people, meeting other dogs, coming up on the couch, getting pet, eating dinner etc. 

You can try replacing your dog’s leaning behavior with these environmental rewards. Once you come up with a list, come up with a way to teach your dog about it. 

Read To Learn: How To Calm Your Hyperactive Dog?

Mat Training As A Solution To Bernese Mountain Dog Leaning

If the above ways still haven’t worked for your Bernese Mountain dog, you can try mat learning. You can find mat training sessions from those training gurus. You can do the mat training using a towel or blanket that your dog has never seen before. 

This “mat” will become a sacred space for your dog and this is very different from telling your fog to go on his bed. Aas mat is the only ground you allow your dog to be,  this makes the behavior stronger. Also, it is very easy to keep the mat clean and stops your dog from leaning on you. 

The initial training may not be perfect but keep training your fido until he learns it properly. Reward him when your dog accomplishes something good or sticks close to the mat when you tell him to. 

Others Bernese Mountain Dogs Behaviors:

Why Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Howl?

Bernese Mountain dogs may howl when they find strangers walking in the house or evading their territory. Also, lack of exercise can cause them to bark or howl a lot. 

If there are neighbour dogs who like to bark or howl, your Bernese Mountain dog too may try to howl to declare his presence. There are high-pitched sounds, such as emergency vehicle sirens or musical instruments which can trigger your dog to howl as well. 

Why Do Bernese Mountain Fidos Put Their Paws On You?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are an affectionate breed and they are known to show their love through physical contact. Thus, you might see your Bernese sit on your feet or place his paws on you or try to give you hugs or lean on you. Putting paws on you is his way of communicating with you. 

This is because physical contact is an important part of bonding for your Berner and he wants your attention by raising a paw and touching you. 

Why Do Bernese Mountain Canines Sit On Your Feet?

Your Bernese Mountain dog likes to be quite touchy. And you’ll find your fido always wanting to sit by your side and wanting to lean against you. It can be your pooch’s way of communication with you or trying to seek comfort. 

As your Berner can’t speak to you or communicate with you verbally, showing his presence by sitting on your feet can be the only thing he can do at times. Try to figure out if your fido needs something when you find him doing so. 

Why Does Your Bernese Mountain Puppy Sit On You?

Your Swiss Mountain dog is quite an affectionate breed and loves physical contact. Your fido may sit on you for affection, dominance, protection. Or it may be because your lap seems comfortable to your pooch. 

By sitting on you, your Berner dog often feels higher and more in control. And if you find your dog barking or growling at other pets while sitting on your lap, it may be a sign of him asserting dominance.

Read To Know: Top Tips & Tricks To Challenge Your Puppy’s Mind

Over To You

Which fact/facts have helped you the most? Which fact/facts did you know already? Which fact is new to you? Which technique have you already applied? 

Which one do you want to try next to reduce your Bernese Mountain Dog leaning behavior? Have I missed something? Do you think I should cover some additional topics?

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Further Readings:

More About This Breed Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog Temperament

Related Topics:
1. Which Dog Breeds Like To Lean On Their Owners?

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