If your dog has been leaning on your feet 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 you can do if you want it to stop.
Possible reasons why your dog has been leaning on your feet are that it is being protective, it makes your dog feel safer it has some separation anxiety or that it does it for extra attention.
Since there are 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 main cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog leans on your feet
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been leaning on your feet and what would make each of them more likely.
The reason why it does it might be that it makes it feel safer. Dogs are pack animals and they evolved to spend most of their time around the other dogs and people in the pack so it is natural that being near you or leaning on your feet will make it feel more secure.
It is being protective
The reason why your dog leans on you could be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when there are other people or animals around and if it can get overly protective around them.
The cause might be that it has separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely if your dog does it more when you would normally leave home and if it tends to become anxious when you are leaving home.
Many people jump to the conclusion that their dogs do it because they are trying to be dominant. However, the alpha/beta dynamic has been disproven in studies showing that wolves take turns in taking the lead.
It wants attention
The reason why your dog leans on you might be because it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
If you want to get it to stop, it would help to give it attention throughout the day but to avoid rewarding it with attention when it leans on you. To do this you would get it to stop leaning on your feet, wait for it to calm down and then to give it attention and to repeat the process if it starts leaning on your feet again.
To spread its scent
The reason why it does it might be to spread its scent onto you so that other animals smell it and are less likely to approach you.
The reason why your dog has been leaning on your feet might also be that it has gotten an injury. It could be the case that it has been feeling weak due to an injury and it has been leaning on your feet to support itself. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and it has been showing other signs of having an injury. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
When it started leaning on your feet
It would help to consider when your dog first started leaning on your feet since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.
Some things to consider would be:
- If you moved home
- If someone else moved away
- If its schedule changed
- If you started working different hours
In the examples above, it would make it more likely that it has been doing it due to some separation anxiety.
When and where it leans on your feet
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to lean on your feet. If there is, it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it tends to lean on you more when you would normally leave home then this would be a sign that it might have some separation anxiety.
How to get your dog to stop leaning on your feet
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Since your dog might be doing it for attention, one option would be to avoid rewarding it with attention when it does it. One way to do this would be to get it to stop leaning on your feet, wait for it to calm down and then to give it attention and to repeat the process if it does it again. Doing this should help to teach it that leaning on you doesn’t get it rewards.
It would also help to try and recognize when it is likely to start doing it and to redirect its focus onto standing or sitting somewhere else by training it to do so with positive reinforcement training.
Train it not to
You can also train your dog not to lean on your feet by training it to sit or lay somewhere else. You can do this by teaching it to sit or to lay down somewhere and then by gradually teaching it to stay there over longer and longer time periods.
You can do this by applying the same techniques as in the video below:
Avoid negative reinforcement training
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have been reinforcing the behavior by giving it things that it wants when it does it.
Instead, it would help to give it things it wants when it is well behaved and to follow the tips above to get it to stop doing it.
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