Why Do Dogs Push Against You?

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You’re sitting beside your dog on the couch. Suddenly, they lean their head against you in the cutest possible way. 

Dogs push against you because they are happy, safe, and comfortable in your company. But other possible reasons can be concerning.

Find out why your dog pushes against you and whether you should tolerate the behavior or not. 

dog pushing against you

Why Dogs Push Against You

Dogs can push against you because it makes them feel safe or they are trying to communicate with you. 

Here are some possible reasons your dog may be doing this. 

You are Their Safe Space

One common reason dogs lean against their owner is that they feel safe. They feel a sense of comfort and security every time they are touching you.

This is most likely if they are about to sleep and they suddenly push their body against you. Some dogs even fall asleep while sitting down and leaning on their owners.

You can tolerate this behavior if your dog finds it comforting and doesn’t bother you. Or you can take them to their sleeping area and ensure they’re cozy and comfy. 

Your Dog Wants You to Move

What seems like a sweet gesture may be your dog saying, “move!”

Your dog might push against you because they want you to get up. They might want to lay where you’re sitting, or they want you to move away because there’s a threat.

Some dogs also want to take your spot as a sign of possessiveness. This is most likely the reason if they also lean on you aggressively.

Keep your dog adequately socialized with other dogs and humans, so they don’t develop this type of territorial behavior. 

They are Happy

Some dogs push you when they want to play or while you give them belly rubs. It’s a harmless, playful gesture among pack animals who love to socialize 

Check if your dog’s tail is wagging and their ears are relaxed. These are also signs that they are happy around you.

Another dog body language to look out for is bowing. Bowing is a sign that your dog wants to play with you. 

Looking for Attention

Is your dog happily pushing you away while you’re busy doing household chores or work? It could be their way of saying, “play with me,” “notice me,” or “feed me.”

This behavior is typical among puppies who need regular attention. Their training and playtime sessions must be kept short, and done several times a day.

Dogs ask for attention by leaning, pawing, or jumping on you. Check if you haven’t been giving your dog enough playtime lately, and make sure to make it up to them.

Otherwise, do not tolerate this behavior. Don’t let your dog push you without good reason or they might become hyperactive and attention-seeking. 

Talk to your vet if you notice other signs of hyperactivity or ADHD in your dog.

Showing Affection

Maybe your dog doesn’t want anything from you when they push against you. It’s simply a kind gesture of love and loyalty.

Dogs descended from wolves, who lived in packs. They passed this behavior on to domesticated dogs, who always crave their humans’ physical presence and contact. 

They lean on your body because they want to be close to the pack leader. You might even find your furry friend putting their paws on your face or sleeping beside you to show affection. 

Expressing Fear

Dogs need to be close to their owners during scary and stressful situations. Often, you will find your puppy pushing against you during a loud thunderstorm or when bigger dogs are around.

It’s normal for dogs to be anxious in these unusual situations. Some will try hiding behind you or jumping on you to ask for emotional support. 

Other signs of fear in dogs include pacing, shaking, lack of appetite, and being too distracted. An overly anxious dog may even drool out of fear.

Learn how to stop your dog from being fearful, so they can grow into a happy and healthy pet. You can also try wrapping your dog as a temporary remedy for their anxiety. 

Asserting Dominance

Your dog might be pushing against you because they want to assert dominance. This is usually the case if they push you aggressively and even growl. 

It is unacceptable for dogs to be territorial or display dominant behavior. 

It’s a sign that they lack socialization and proper training. Their anger could also stem from previous experiences of abuse.

VCA Animal Hospitals and other researchers have debunked the idea that you must train your dog based on a dominance hierarchy. 

Try using positive reinforcement methods to fix behavioral issues rather than pure pack leadership rules. It would also help to socialize them with other animals. 

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is another possible reason your dog pushes against you. This is most likely the reason if they only do it after being away from you for a while. 

Your dog might even follow you around the house or sleep beside you. If you have a dog CCTV, you’ll find them staying in the spot where you sleep or sit all the time.

All of these gestures are signs of separation anxiety. 

Consult your vet if you think your dog suffers from separation anxiety. They might recommend calming supplements, medication, or training to treat the problem. 

Natural Behavior

Another possible reason behind your dog’s behavior is their instinct. Dogs always look out for a companion because they are pack animals.

Other gestures that exhibit their pack behavior include:

  • Sleeping next to their owners or fellow dogs.
  • Pawing at their owners.
  • Laying their head on their owner’s lap. 

Learned Behavior

Another possible reason your furry friend loves to push against you is that they receive a reward in return. 

Do you pat their head when they sit and lean on your legs? Do you give them belly rubs when they push their body against you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you already know the cause. 

Try not to respond to every action of your dog, especially if you do not want to tolerate the behavior. 

Ensure your dog understands their boundaries so they won’t cause disruptions in your daily activity.

dog pushing for attention

Is Pushing Bad Dog Behavior?

Whether you have a Boston Terrier or a Siberian Husky, dogs of all shapes and sizes tend to push their owners. 

This behavior is entirely harmless if they only want to show affection or ask for playtime occasionally.

But if your dog pushing against you has become annoying, there’s still a chance to correct the behavior. 

You can discourage your dog from leaning on you if it interrupts your daily tasks or if they are developing territorial behavior.

Other owners may stop their dogs from pushing against them if it’s a sign of separation anxiety. 

How to Stop Your Dog From Pushing Against You

Here are some things you can try to get your dog to stop pushing against you.

Train Your Dog to Stop

Follow these steps if your dog is trying to lean on you to ask for attention.

  1. Do not give your dog attention when they try to push on you. Instead, turn away from them and wait for them to stop.
  2. Once your dog stops pushing against you, turn back around to face them. Then, give your dog a treat. Doing so will help them realize that they shouldn’t push you.
  3. If your dog doesn’t stop after you turn away from them, try a command word like “Stop” or “Bad.” You can also ask them to “Sit.”
  4. Once your dog stops pushing against you, give them a treat.
  5. Repeat these steps until your dog is no longer pushing on you.

Treat Anxiety or Fear

It helps to know the cause of your dog’s pushing behavior. Your dog could be leaning on you because of anxiety and fear.

Other signs of fear and anxiety include drooling, hiding, pacing, destructive behavior, and excessive barking. 

If you think this is the reason for your dog’s pushing behavior you can do something about it.

One way to calm your dog’s fear is by massaging them. This remedy is helpful for temporary triggers like fireworks and thunderstorms. 

A massage will relax your dog’s muscles and alleviate any tension they have in mind.

But if your dog has been diagnosed with anxiety, follow the treatment your vet recommends. You can also try alternative therapies like calming supplements or diffusers. 

Socialize Your Dog

Socializing your dog with other dogs will also help them stop becoming more fearful or aggressive toward other dogs. 

It could be as simple as walking them in a dog park to meet furry friends or attending doggie daycare.

Dog socialization is making your dog feel secure and comfortable in different situations, environments, and people. 

It will also help them understand the world around them. Dogs are naturally curious, so letting them explore will make them better behaved.

Even adult dogs require constant socialization to keep their friendly nature. You may also try introducing them to other dogs, children, and adult humans. 

Start it slow so as not to overwhelm your dog. Do this in a controlled environment first so you can quickly help them when needed.

How Do I Relieve Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

You can relieve your dog’s separation anxiety by giving them access to the outdoors and objects that can help them cope with being alone.

Allow your trained dog to relieve themselves anytime they need to go. Give them access to your backyard to entertain themselves and feel less confined.

You can also leave their favorite toys in the house to play with while you’re not around. It will provide the mental stimulation they need in your absence.

Here are other ways to relieve your dog’s separation anxiety.

Why is My Dog Rubbing Against Me?

Your dog might be rubbing against you because they want attention.

This behavior usually occurs when you’re both lying together. Some dogs rub against your legs while standing up so you can look down on them and give them a pat or scratch.

Other dogs rub their bodies against you because they might be itching. This is a good sign to check them for ticks and fleas.

Find out other possible reasons your dog is rubbing against you

Why Do Dogs Sleep Upside Down?

Dogs sleep upside down to distribute their body heat on their bed. Their paws help them exchange temperature and cool down while slumbering.

Some dogs sleep upside down simply because they feel more comfortable. Others want to keep their head closer to their owners. 

Whatever the reason is, your dog sleeping upside down is not a significant cause of concern.

Examine why your dog sleeps upside down so you can learn more about their body language.

Your Dog Has a Shoulder to Lean On

Leaning on someone is not just a loving gesture between two close friends. A dog also leans on their owner to express affection or the need for attention.

You may allow your dog to push against you if it’s not bothering or harming you. But make sure you can train them to stop when needed.

Another weird behavior you might notice in your dog is when your dog wants you to hold their paws.