Although it may seem rather cute, sweet and charming when your dog presses into you, don't make any assumptions. A dog leaning into your body can be expressing an assortment of things, from pure fear to even dominance. Surprisingly, canines aren't always the most straightforward animals out there.
If you're standing up to do the dishes and suddenly feel your dog pressing into your side or any other part of your body, it may be his way of displaying his dominance over you. Your typically unassuming and sweet dog may be acting as the "alpha" dog in this situation -- uh oh. When a dog goes into your personal space, he actually may be showing you just who the real boss is. Pay close attention to his legs, too. If they appear unusually rigid or tight, say "hello" to dominance.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, a dog pressing into you may also indicate vulnerability, nervousness and fear. Perhaps you have a "strange" and unfamiliar house guest in the living room. If your dog is scared of the new face being in his comfort zone, he may react to it by leaning and pressing his body into you -- a means of essentially comforting himself amidst a whole lot of uncertainty -- poor thing.
When a dog is leaning into you, but only ever so slightly, it may also indicate that he's simply fascinated by you, so feel honored. He wants to be near you and wants to see what you're going to do next, whether it's stroking his back, playing with him or getting up to check on dinner in the oven. This dog is simultaneously self-assured, but also engaged in whatever it is that you're doing.
Dogs frequently partake in dominant behaviors -- such as pressing into you -- as a way to get quick attention. If your dog is being pushy and bossy with you in this way, consider not giving in to his "demands," at least not immediately. When a dog thinks that he has you at his beck and call, it may lead to unnecessary behavior problems -- not good. Teach your doggie the appropriate way to get your respect. If he sits patiently and quietly for a few minutes, rather than aggressively pushing into you, offer him a reward, whether a small treat or a soothing stroke of his back.
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