If your Labrador 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 Labrador 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.
Your Labrador might be leaning on you for a number of different reasons and it could be due to a combination of causes. However, there are a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador leans on you
Below, I will show you a number of possible reasons why your Labrador leans on you and what would make them more likely to be the reason.
It is being protective
The reason why it does it could be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it does it more when other dogs and people are around and if it can be overly protective around them.
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 be important to give it lots of positive reinforcement training so that it learns how to behave and to respect you as the leader. If it is aggressive, it would be worthwhile to seek professional help.
The reason why it does it could also be that it makes it feel more secure. 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.
It might be the case that it does it due to separation anxiety since it might be leaning on you so that it knows when you leave. This would be more likely if it becomes anxious when you are leaving and if it leans on you at around the same time that you normally leave home.
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 Labrador 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 Labrador 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 Labrador
- Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer
You can watch the video below for more tips on how you can reduce its separation anxiety.
It wants attention
The cause could be that it does it in order to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely to be the reason if it tends to do it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you normally give it extra attention when it does it.
It would help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it. But, it would also help to avoid rewarding it with extra attention when it leans on you and to get it off you when it does it if you don’t want it to do it.
To spread its scent
The reason why it does it could be to spread its scent onto you so that other dogs are less likely to approach you.
Things to consider
When it started leaning on you
It could help to consider what else happened at around the same time that it first started leaning on you 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 tends to do it since the timing might also have something to do with it.
For example, if it does it more when you are about to leave home, it could be a sign that it is due to separation anxiety.
How to get your Labrador to stop leaning on you
Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to stop leaning on you.
If it seems to be doing it in order to get attention from you, one option would be to avoid giving it extra 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
It would also help to avoid giving it things that it wants when it does it such as toys, treats or extra attention. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is behaving the way you want it to and to try to redirect its focus when it looks like 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 exercise it, train it or to play with it.
Train it not to
You can also train your Labrador 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 using the same techniques that are shown in the video below.