Why Does My Dog Push Against Me? Explained...

Does your dog push against you when you stand or sit down at home or in the park? Well, this is a common behavior among canines and not something to worry about.

Although some dog owners might brush off this behavior as a mere annoyance, your pup is trying to communicate with you.

dog pushing person

If your dog leans or pushes against you, he might be trying to say "I love you," or he wants some affection. Either way, it's important to understand the meaning of this non-verbal cue.

In this article, we’ve provided you with a list of reasons why your dog pushes against you. Some reasons behind this curious habit might leave you surprised.

6 Reasons Your Dog May Push Against You?

Seeking Attention

Naturally, dogs are pack animals that descend from wolves. That explains why they always seek proximity from their owners and their families.

A dog will push against you because he wants attention, affection, and comfort. They’re smart enough to know that they will get a certain response by leaning on their owners.

According to dog experts, canines will push against their owners to show love and seek out touch. It’s the same way humans feel toward their loved ones.

If you reward this behavior with a belly rub, you’ll condition your dog to push against you for more attention and affection.


Your pooch can push against you because he’s scared of something and seeks protection because he feels safe with you. This might come as a surprise to you, but canines fear a lot of things, including:

  • Thunderstorms
  • Other pets
  • Fireworks
  • Loud noises

In such situations, dogs get anxious and stressed. Therefore, your dog might lean or push against you for physical and emotional support. An anxious dog will display the following signs:

  • Lip-smacking
  • Shifting gaze
  • Flat ears
  • Low tail

The physical connection will help ease the anxiety since your dog will feel safe from any harm. Also, it means he trusts you to protect him.

According to experts, your pup can push against you if he's nervous. In the presence of their owners, a dog release happy hormones that alleviate anxiety, stress, and nervousness. In a way, dogs associate their loved humans with happiness and safety.

Keep in mind dogs are social and friendly creatures, and they have basic emotions like humans. So, when you comfort your furry friend, you’re helping him cope with whatever he’s scared of.

If your dog pushes against you when you’re sitting in a public place, consider moving to a less crowded to suppress your canine’s anxiety and stress.


Some experts believe that dogs push against their owners to establish dominance. As we said earlier, dogs are pack animals. Naturally, they will want to know who is the alpha of the pack.

If you don’t give out any boss vibes, your dog might take it upon himself to assume the alpha status. He will lean and push against you to expand his personal space into yours to show you who is boss and assume control.

However, not all dog professionals agree with this unless you have a breed with dominant attributes like a Rottweiler or Boerboel. There’s a high chance that the pushing does not mean your dog wants to prove his alpha status.

Sign of Love

Most dog experts believe dogs push against owners to show love. It’s no secret! Canines love affection and cuddles and often desire some little tender love and care from owners.

Being social pack animals, dogs crave physical contact with the pack members (dog owners and their families). They will lean and push against owners just to be close to them.

Puppies tend to push against owners so they can get picked up or cuddled. Older dogs display the same behavior, though they can’t enjoy the luxury of being picked up because of their weight. Often, they will rub against you or put their nose or paws into your hand to show you they need affection and attention.

Separation Anxiety

Some dogs crave physical contact from their owners as much as possible, to the extent of following them all around the house. If this is the case, your dog suffers from separation anxiety.

Your dog will panic anytime you leave him alone at home. And if he anticipates you’re leaving the house soon, he will display signs of anxiousness. Certain dogs can’t even bear to have their owners out of their sight.

If you suspect your dog suffers from separation anxiety, consult a vet or an animal behaviorist for an appropriate course of action. In some cases, these specialists might recommend medication to ease the anxiety, but this is usually the last resort if everything else fails.

Playful or Happy Gesture

Sometimes your pooch will push against you if he wants to play or get a belly rub. Remember, dogs love to play, especially puppies. If your dog is bowing and wagging his tail while leaning on you, he’s just exhibiting his playful nature.

Is Pushing An Issue For Concern?

It’s normal for all breeds of dogs, small or big, to push against their owners. This is a completely harmless habit that displays the love dogs have for their humans.

Nevertheless, you might find this behavior bothersome and may wish to discourage it. If this is the case, ignore your dog anytime he pushes against you for affection. After some time, he will connect your action to this behavior and stop.

Dog Pushing Against person

Additionally, it's wise to assert yourself confidently, so your dog knows you're in charge. Re-direct his attention when he's in a playful mode by telling him to fetch a toy or go to his comfortable bed.

It doesn’t hurt to play with him and show affection. But do these on your terms, not when he demands.


Next time your dog pushes against you, don’t push him away or scold him. He might be seeking your attention because he’s scared or lonely. Try to decipher the reason for this behavior to determine the best way to react.

However, if he persists with the behavior, seek the help of a vet or dog trainer. There’s a high chance he might be suffering from separation anxiety, which can affect his mood, appetite, and social interaction.

woman looking at dog portrait
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