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Why does my dog lean on me when I pet him?

Why does my dog lean on me when I pet him?
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If your dog has been leaning on you, when you pet it, this post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about it.

So, why does my dog lean on me when I pet him? Possible reasons why your dog leans on you, when you pet it, are that it wants you to stop, it wants you to rub its belly, it is mimicking your own behavior or that it wants you to pet it more.

There are actually many reasons why your dog might have been doing it. However, there are also a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause.

Why your dog leans on you when you pet it

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely.

It wants you to stop

It could be the case that it does it because it wants you to stop petting it. This would be more likely if it shows other signs of wanting you to stop such as pulling away from you, not wagging its tail or drawing its lips back. It would also be more likely if it leans into you as you are petting it. This might be because you are petting it too hard.

It wants you to rub its belly

It could also be the case that it does it because it wants you to rub its belly. This would be more likely if it tries to roll onto its back when it leans on you and if it is showing positive body language such as wagging its tail.

It is mimicking you

The reason why it does it could also be that it is trying to mirror your own body language. Since you are being affectionate towards it by petting it your dog might be trying to show that it appreciates it by leaning into you.

It wants you to pet it more

The reason why it does it could also be to show you that it wants you to carry on petting it. This would be more likely if it leans into you when you stop petting it. It would also be more likely if it shows positive signs when you are petting it such as wagging its tail and nudging its head onto your lap.

It finds it more comfortable

The cause could simply be that it finds it more comfortable to lean into you when you are petting it. This could be because having you support its weight puts less stress on its muscles.

This could be a sign that it has an injury which would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of injury such as limping. If it does seem like it might be doing it due to an injury, the best option would be to take it to a vet. It would also be more likely that it does it for support if it is an old dog.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

What is different when your dog does not lean on you when you pet it

If your dog did not always lean on you, when you pet it, it would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started doing it.

If it has started doing it suddenly then it could be because it learned that it gets belly rubs when it does it or that you reward it when it does it.

If it has always done it then it would be more likely to be due to one of the reasons mentioned above.

What is different when it does not do it

It would also help to consider if it does it more at a certain time. If it does then the timing could have something to do with it.

For example, if it only does it when you are petting it hard, it could be because it wants you to stop doing it.

What body language it shows

It would also help to consider the other body language signs your dog is showing when it does it.

If it is showing other signs of being happy such as wagging its tail and having a relaxed posture then it would be more likely to be doing it for a positive reason.

Whereas, if it shows signs of discomfort like pulling away, being stiff and not wagging its tail then it would be more likely that it wants you to stop.

What to do about your dog leaning on you when you pet it

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Take it to a vet

If it has started doing it suddenly, it has been showing signs of injury and it has been leaning on other things a lot, the best option would be to take it to the vet for a checkup. By doing so, you should be able to rule out injury as the cause.

Avoid encouraging it

It could be the case that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not lean on you and stop rewarding it when it starts leaning on you.

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