Why Does My Dog Lean on Me?

As a dog owner, I’ve noticed that my giant baby always loves to be touching me. No matter where I go, he is always sitting right against my leg.

Why does my dog lean on me though? I did a little research on the topic at first and then I decided to ask my dog, Harvey, myself and see what he had to say about it. 

What The Experts Say About Dogs Leaning on You

Dogs lean on their humans for one of these three reasons. 

  • They are afraid
  • They have separation anxiety
  • They want affection

The main reason dogs will lean on you is because they crave your affection. However, you should look for signs of fear or separation anxiety in case it is not just affection causing them to behave this way. 

Signs Your Dog Is Afraid

If your dog is leaning on you and displaying any of the following signs, they likely are afraid of something nearby. 

  • Flattened ears
  • Panting 
  • Tail between their legs
  • Trembling
  • Whining

If you can identify what is causing your dog fear, and it is not something dangerous to either of you, try to slowly introduce them to it. 

By coddling your dog, you are encouraging the fear. It is best to help them overcome their fears so that they can live less stressful lives. 

Every time I vacuum I let Harvey sniff the vacuum first while I’m holding him and then I turn it on. He is slowly starting to realize the vacuum is not going to hurt him but it is taking some time, which is expected. After all, we don’t overcome our fears in one day either. 

Signs Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety

Some dogs are considered Velcro dogs because they love to by your side. However, when this behavior becomes detrimental to their well-being, it is considered separation anxiety. 

If your dog begins to panic whenever you leave them alone or they think you are about to leave them, this is a sign of separation anxiety. 

If this is the case, you will need to start discouraging this behavior by:

  • Changing your morning routine to prevent your dog from having anxiety just by knowing you’re going to leave
  • Gradually leave your pet alone for longer hours
  • Make leaving and arriving home an uneventful occurrence

If you would like a more in-depth understanding of how you can help your dog be less anxious while you are apart, the Humane Society can help. 

Your Dog Just Loves You

Most of the time, the reason your furry friend leans on you is because they love you. 

Your dog is a social animal that craves affection, especially from their favorite people. If every time your dog leans on you they are given affection, they will continue to do it. 

If they are not exhibiting any fear or signs of separation anxiety, this behavior is nothing to worry about. 

Most of the time big dogs lean on their owners more often than small dogs because they can not be picked up and held as often. Leaning is the only way they are able to feel close to their human while they are standing. 

Asking Harvey Why Dogs Lean on Their Owners

Now that I know what the experts have to say about it, I’d thought I would ask someone with personal experience doing it. Harvey was of course happy to answer the question as always. 

Harvey’s Response

Why do I lean on you? Well that’s easy, you provide an excellent backrest. It gets tiring having to sit next to you all the time, sometimes I just need to rest a bit!

Also, I have to watch your back but how am I supposed to watch you and your surroundings at the same time! Especially when you’re distracted cooking dinner, I have to make sure no one sneaks up behind you. You never know, anything could happen Mom!

That’s why I must be touching you. That way I can protect you from all the dangerous things in our house like that evil vacuum or the scary smoke alarm. I feel you behind me safe while I keep an eye out for threats. 

Honestly, Mom, I don’t know what you would do without me constantly leaning on you to make sure you’re near. You could wander off and get lost!

Have A Question For Harvey?

Harvey loves answering questions. It gets to his ego a little bit but we still love to hear his answers. If you have one you would like answered feel free to comment it below! 

You can also follow Harvey on Instagram and Facebook and ask your questions there 🙂

Feel free to check out Harv’s first article about what being a good boy means to him!

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