If your dog has been leaning away from you a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.
Possible causes are that it is being protective, it feels safer leaning away from you, it does not want to be bothered, it finds it more comfortable or that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded.
Since there are actually a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the most likely cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog leans away from you
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely.
It doesn’t want to be bothered
The reason why it does it might be that it wants to avoid being bothered. This would be more likely if it does not always lean away from you and if it does it more when it wants to sleep. In this case, it would help to make sure that it is able to sleep easily at night since it could be the case that it is trying to get extra sleep during the day due to issues sleeping at night.
Encouraging the behavior
It could be the case that you have encouraged it to do it by rewarding it when it leans away from you. For example, if you scratch its back, when it leans away from you, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to encourage it to sleep the way you want by rewarding it when it shows signs of leaning towards you and ignoring it when it does not.
It is being protective
It could be the case that it does it because it is being protective. This would be more likely if it lays in a location that allows it to see entrances to the room and if it tends to get protective around the home.
It feels safer
It could also be the case that it does it because it makes it feel safer because you are behind it and it can see what is coming from the other direction.
It finds it more comfortable in that particular spot
It might be the case that there is a particular way that it likes to sleep or lay in a certain spot. This would be more likely if your dog does lean towards you when you sit in a certain spot but less likely if it leans away from you even when you are in a different spot
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started doing it
If your dog has started leaning away from you suddenly, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started.
It could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it. The causes could be that it realized that it gets rewards when it does it, you started sitting in a different spot or you might have started bothering it a lot when it wanted to sleep.
What is different when your dog does not do it
It would also help to consider if it always leans facing away from you or if it just does it sometimes. If it just does it sometimes, it could be due to things such as being protective and wanting to face the door or not wanting to be bothered.
What to do about it
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for leaning away from you. Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it faces away from you, to encourage it to face you and to reward you whenever it does face you.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage your dog to behave how you want it to be rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way. To use it to get your dog to lean on you, one option would be to get it to lay where you want it to and to reward it for doing so. You can watch the video below to see how.
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