Why Does My Dog Lean On Me?

Many dog owners seem to be asking one very important question these days, namely “Why Does My Dog Lean On Me?” As not only an author but also a dog owner with a 14-year old yellow lab named Emma, I’ve asked that same question myself.

I know that it may worry you when your beloved dog leans on you as I worried about it, too. I questioned whether it meant there was something wrong with her.

My Dog Lean on Me

Was she scared or feeling threatened? Sound familiar?

Well, we’re going to explore and expound upon all of the reasons and solutions so as to set your mind at ease. I know this subject is important to me as a dog lover and undoubtedly is to you, too.

For some more info to get you started with understanding leaning in dogs, check out Why Does My Dog… Lean on Me?

Read To Know: Why Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Lean On You?

Which Dog Breeds Like To Lean On Their Owners?

Do you have a dog that’s leaner?

Does he or she like pressing against your legs when you’re standing in the kitchen or lie down right on top of your feet when you sit on the sofa?

Leaning is actually quite common behavior in dogs, especially in larger breeds.

From Yellow Labs and Golden Retrievers to Dobermans, many dogs lean on their owners.

They also include Whippets, Greyhounds, and Weimaraners.

Some other large lanky dog breeds have a tendency toward leaning, too. 

Many of them could be leaning due to fear or anxiety and, if so, reading a good conquering fear book could help you to understand how your dog feels and help your best friend to overcome those fears.

Read: When Your Puppy Won’t Eat?

What Are the Top Reasons Why Dogs Lean On Their Owners?

The main reason for dogs leaning on their owners is as straightforward as it is simply because they just want to be as close to their owners as they can possibly be.

By nature, they’re very social animals, enjoying physical contact with the humans they love.

And although you can pick up little dogs and cuddle them, big dogs have to do whatever they can to be really close to you.

You can find out more by watching this video from Ask Amy entitled “What Does It Mean When My Dog Hugs and Leans?”

Dogs Lean For Security

Dog feel much more secure when they’re touching their owners, so obviously leaning makes that easier for them.

If it doesn’t bother you and you don’t feel like he or she is overly fearful, then there’s really no problem, right?

Being close to your best friend can make you feel more secure.

If your pooch seems too insecure, then try some calming dog treats to make your best friend feel calmer and therefore more secure.

Dogs Lean To Express Dominance

To show your dog who’s boss, you could try a No Pull Dog Harness.

This dog harness has two leash attachments and a handle plus a soft reflective vest for easily controlling all dogs from small to large.

It’s made of breathable material and padded mesh for ensuring that your dog can enjoy wearing it.

And, the reflective straps keep your dog’s safety when you’re out for a walk after dark.

Dogs Lean Due To Their Shyness

Some dogs are just naturally shy, especially when confronted with strangers, another dog, or a scary situation.

To learn a lot more about your dog’s emotions (and yours) order a good book on the subject, like For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend, curl up with your best friend, and relax.

Dogs Lean-to Seek Attention

If your dog is in constant need of attention and leans on you to get it, this video entitled “Understanding Dog Body Language – Learn how to read dog’s behavior better” could do just that.

Read to Know: Why Does Your Dachshund Run In Circles?

Understanding your dog’s subtle (or maybe not so subtle) signals can be his or her way of trying to tell you something.

Get a better understanding and have a happier dog. You could also try some tasty training treats to help get your pooch in-line.

From: ASPCApro.org

Dogs Lean Because of Fear

Many dogs try at all times possible to stay in physical contact with their owners.

Sometimes they manifest their fear and anxiety by following you all over your house because of separation anxiety where they start experiencing severe anxiety when they fear you’ll leave them alone.

Some dogs simply can’t bear having you out of their sight and therefore lean on you to stay in constant contact.

One method for calming your dog’s anxiety, leaning, and even fear of thunderstorms is a handy little thing called a Thunder Shirt.

Read To Know: Why Does Your Boston Terrier Cry Like A Baby?

Can Leaning Be a Problem For Your Dog?

Is leaning just a common benign type of normal behavior in dogs or a sign of some behavior problem? No, it’s really not a problem for most dogs.

Real behavior problems include such actions as aggression, barking, begging, biting, chasing, chewing, digging, inappropriate elimination, jumping up on people, and separation anxiety.

Try re-training your pooch not to lean (if it bothers you) thru the use of dog training treatsYou could also trycalming spray for reducing your beloved pet’s anxiety.

Read: What If My Dog Lick My Face?

Puppy Development Stages In DetailHow to Reduce Your Pooch’s Leaning?

Many dogs lean against their owners when they’re being petted. OK, some owners and other dog-lovers could think of it as kind of an endearing trait.

On the other hand, however, others don’t. This particular type is sometimes your dog’s subtle way to control you.

When you teach your dog not to do it, it’s a subtle way to remind him or her that you’re in control. So how can you get your dog to stop leaning?

Just take one step in the same direction as your dog is leaning. He or she will literally fall over.

Most of them only need it to happen a couple of times before getting the idea.

Unfortunately, it might take you only one time to feel bad about this method. I know I couldn’t bear to be the cause of Emma falling down.

If it doesn’t bother you, then make sure to do it as soon as you feel pressure against your leg because letting him get away with it for even a minute might make him find that it’s worth it, going right back to that leaning position the next time. 

How to Break A Dog From Leaning On You?

You could try some yummy calming treats, especially if your dog’s learning involves anxiety or fear.

These treats can also help with the process of training your dog not to lean.

Dogs respond better to treat-oriented training than any training you might come up with that doesn’t involve treats.

Any dog-trainer will tell you that dogs are reward-oriented.

Learn To Read: 18 Easy Ways To Stop My Puppy From Eating Poop

Dog Leaning FAQs:

# Why Does My Dog Lean On Me?

A: It could be anything from just wanting to be close to you to being fearful or even trying to show dominance over you.

# Does My Dog Have a Problem If He Leans On Me All the Time?

A: Probably not, but if he seems too needy via his leaning, check with your Vet.

# Can I Teach My Dog Not to Lean On Me?

A: Yes, you can simply move a few feet (or even inches) away when he does it or institute a training program using treats to reward him for not leaning.

# Why Does My Dog Lean On Me With His Backside?

One theory about this action is that your dog simply wants to scratch where it’s really difficult for him or her to reach.

Besides, it feels so good for them to be scratched on their back or rear-end, near their tails.

Another theory is that your dog might feel more comfortable offering their rear because people generally don’t try to control them from that end.

Read: How To Identify And Rate Your Dog’s Intelligence? (Top 16 Ways)

# Why Do Dogs Lean Their Heads On You?

If it seems like your dog is leaning his or her head on you out of any kind of fear or anxiety, which is often the reason, then a helpful book could be the answer to helping you to help your pooch get over that fear.

It’s called “From Fearful to Fear Free: A Positive Program to Free Your Dog from Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias” and it can help you to know what the triggers are for making your dog frightened and leaning.


So, now that you’ve read some facts about why dogs lean on their owners, which part did you like best?

Every part of this subject is important to me as an author and especially as a dog-lover.

Have you tried any of the above products and/or do you have an idea of which one you might want to want to try?

Why not let us know what you think by replying to our comments section? And, if you really liked the article please share it with other dog owners.

Last but not least, please let us know if you have any facts or products to add to our list.

Further Readings:

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2. Why Is My Dog Eating Grass?
3. Why American Foxhounds Are Hard To Train?
4. Why Do Border Terriers Howl?
5. Why Does Your Husky Bury Things?
6. Why Does Your Border Collie Howl?
7. Why Does Your Dalmatian Smile?

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