If your Golden Retriever leans on 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 you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my Golden Retriever lean on me? Possible reasons are that it makes it feel more secure, it has separation anxiety, it does it for attention, it is spreading its scent or that it is being protective.

There are multiple reasons why it might be doing it and it could be the result of a combination of different reasons. However, there are some things you can consider which can help in figuring out the exact reason. There are also a number of options you have when getting it to stop leaning on you.

Why your Golden Retriever leans on you

Below are a number of possible reasons why your Golden Retriever leans on you and what would make them more likely.

It is being protective

The cause of your Golden Retriever leaning 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.

Dominance

The cause could also be that it is being dominant. This would be more likely if it tries to get you to move when it does it and if it does other dominant things such as position itself to be higher than you and be unresponsive to your command.

In this case, it would help to give it lots of training so that it learns how to behave and so that it sees you as the leader.

Security

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 will make it feel more secure.

Separation anxiety

The cause could also be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it does it more when you are about to leave and if it becomes anxious when you are leaving.

In this case, it would help to try to reduce how anxious it becomes when you are leaving.

To do this you could do as follows:

  • Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
  • Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
  • Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
  • Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
  • Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your Golden Retriever
  • Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer

It wants attention

The cause could also be that 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.

To spread its scent

Another cause could be that it is trying to spread its scent onto you so that other dogs are more reluctant to approach you.

Things to consider

When it started leaning on you

It would help to consider what else happened when your Golden Retriever first started doing it since it could 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

When and where it leans on you

It would also help to consider the timing of when it leans on you since 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 are about to leave home, it could be a sign that it has some separation anxiety.

How to get your Golden Retriever to stop leaning on you

Below are some options you have when getting your Golden Retriever to stop leaning on you.

Ignore it

If it seems to be doing it for attention from you, one option would be to avoid giving it attention when it does it. One way to do this would be to get it to stop leaning on you, stop giving it attention, 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.

Avoid negative reinforcement training

Negative reinforcement training is where you train your Golden Retriever to do things you don’t want it to do by giving it things it wants when it does them. Instead of giving your Golden Retriever rewards when it leans on you, try to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to redirect its focus when it is about to lean on you.

Give it attention

It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it is less likely to seek attention from you. Ways to give it attention would be to train it, play with it and to exercise it.

Train it not to

You can also train your Golden Retriever not to lean on you by training it to sit or lay somewhere else with the use of positive reinforcement training. 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:

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Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.