Why do dogs lean on people?

People would always want to have a dog for a lot of reasons. Some dog breeds are utilized to hunt, some are used in search and rescue operations, others are kept as protection dogs but majority of these four legged friends are primarily kept as companions. Apart from having an innate eagerness to please attitude, dogs are loyal and very protective of its people. Dogs are social animals thus pet owners would always be exposed to the affectionate nature of the pet. Dogs are considered as members of the family because of these most valued human-like attributes.

Dogs may not have the ability to speak but nature has endowed these intelligent and affectionate animals with the ability to use a whole range of body movements to communicate with people and with other animals. Any dog owner would know that the dog has the propensity to lean. A dog would be seen leaning on people’s legs to gain balance when one leg is raised to scratch the body. On the other hand, a dog would lean on people not only to prop the body when scratching an itch. Affection, possessiveness, a show of dominance and protection are other reasons why dogs lean on people.

Dogs would constantly show their affectionate nature to their human family because these are very sociable creatures. As soon as the dog sees a member of its human family, it would speedily approach and would lick, kiss or lean on the its beloved person. Dogs are provided with comfortable crates and beds to sleep on but these affectionate creatures would still prefer to sleep leaning on the legs and feet of people.

The leaning habit of the dog can be a manifestation of its protective and possessive behavior. Dogs can easily discern danger. A dog leaning on the master in a potentially dangerous situation would seem to assure the master of its protection. Dogs are possessive of their masters. The leaning gesture is the dog’s way of broadcasting to everyone that the person it is leaning to is already taken.

Leaning would show the dog’s dominant behavior. Being pack oriented animals; dogs would need to look up to a leader of the pack and when no one is assuming the position will try to grab the opportunity to take on a dominant role. A dog that is allowed to be dominant would be the headache of its owners. Pet owners would always value the affectionate nature of the pet but if the dog’s tendency to lean is an exhibition of a dominant behavior then the dog’s tendency to lean must be stopped.

Find out more about why dogs lean, dog first aid and dog behaviour at Sarah’s Dogs.

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