Why Some Dogs Lean on People

If you are a proud pet parent, you know that our furry companions have no shortage of ways to communicate. Sometimes they bark, jump up and down, or even growl. Other times, they can be subtle about what they want. One way your dog might try to get your attention is through leaning. If you’ve noticed that your pup often leans on you for an awkward back scratch or a comforting hug, there’s likely an explanation for it! Here are four reasons why dogs lean on people:

Dogs lean on people for many reasons, but the most common is affection and companionship.

It is important to remember that dogs are social animals that need companionship. They want to feel safe and loved, just as humans do. In the wild, dogs will form packs with other dogs and/or other animals such as wolves or coyotes. It is within these groups that they find comfort and belonging.

When a dog leans on his human companion, he is looking for the same kind of companionship and security he would find in a pack of wild dogs. Leaning on your human companion allows him to feel protected by you while still being close enough so he can smell your scent. He may even use his paw as a way to gently touch or pet you without any harm coming from it (if he were allowed).

You are an extremely important source of food.

You are an extremely important source of food.

Dogs, unlike humans, don’t have the ability to store and save up food. They must eat as they find it or they’ll starve. This is why many dogs will lean on their owners when they’re in need of a snack—you’re their only source of food!

To stop your dog from leaning on you, train them to use a bowl or other device that allows them to eat without leaning on someone else (or getting stepped on). Dogs can be trained to use bowls and puzzle feeders with relative ease; just make sure not to leave them empty for too long so that your pup doesn’t get frustrated waiting for more treats!

You are also a big, warm comfort blanket.

When a dog leans on you, it’s not necessarily because they want to be carried. Instead, they are seeking the comfort and support that only you can provide. Dogs can be stressed or anxious about many things in their lives—a new home, other pets in the house, not being able to go outside for a walk all day long because of rain and thunderstorms. They may also be feeling sad because one of their favorite human friends is gone for an extended period of time (like on vacation). Regardless of what exactly caused this discomfort then leaning against your leg is almost always going to help them feel better and less stressed out.

Your dog could be feeling unwell.

It’s important to rule out illness and pain as the cause of your dog leaning on you. If she has a medical condition or injury that causes her pain, she may seek comfort by leaning on the nearest available source—which is often you. If this is the case, make sure your vet checks her over.

If it seems like your dog’s been leaning on you a lot lately, especially if she doesn’t do it with other people around, it could indicate anxiety or fearfulness about something in the environment. Even if there’s nothing dangerous going on in your home (like a loud noise), if there are stressful changes happening around her—such as new people coming over or construction in the neighborhood—your dog might be feeling anxious and looking for support from someone who won’t judge her behavior negatively.

Your dog is nervous or anxious.

If they’re scared of something, they may seek comfort in the form of leaning against you. Dogs can become stressed out by noises and other dogs. They might also be stressed when around people who are unfamiliar to them. If your dog starts to lean on you, check to see if there’s anything in the environment that could be causing them stress—and do what you can about it!


As we have seen, there are many reasons why your dog may lean on you—the most common reason being affection and companionship. This is the best case scenario, because it means that your dog loves you and feels safe with you. Many dogs feel a strong connection to their owners, especially when they have been raised with them from puppyhood.