What Does It Mean When Dogs Push You Away?

Get a grip on canine-speak.
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

You may indeed possess an indelible connection with your pooch that nothing can break. As strong as your bond is, however, that in no way means that you always completely understand your pet's body language actions, whether it comes to pushing against you or spinning around in seemingly endless circles.


If your dog seems to be pushing you away, then he may actually be leaning into you. A dog leaning against a human or another animal is often a sign of dominance. He feels confident and in charge, and is essentially communicating to you that you're not -- uh oh. A dog displaying dominance over a person may be feeling aggressive at the moment, so be very cautious. Abstain from looking into the dog's eyes, stay calm and leave the immediate area in a composed manner.


A scared canine may also push a human being. If you notice your pooch pushing his body into you, it may indicate that something is seriously frightening him at the moment, whether the introduction of another larger pet or the ominous sound of thunder coming from outside. Along with pushing, you may spot other telling indications of terror and anxiety in your poor doggie, including shivering, dilated pupils, hunching, lowered body, hidden tail and crinkly forehead. These are all certainly not signs of a relaxed and happy pet.

Not a Sign of Affection

Do not misinterpret "pushing" behavior as being a sign of doggie affection. The behavior is nothing like head-butting in the feline world, for instance. In a canine brain, giving space equates to giving respect. If a dog pushes on you or leans against you, he's not providing you with your individual space and basically is conveying to you that he's the boss. Unfortunately, a dog's pushing on you is not a lovey-dovey or cute gesture in the slightest, so don't take it that way.

Pushing His Body Back

Although pushing into a person or other animal typically signifies dominance or fear in a dog, pushing the body backward is generally the polar opposite. If your pet's posture is going backward, it likely means that he feels vulnerable in your presence. Your dog is expressing that he is your subordinate. You're the big deal in this situation, not him. Even the slightest nuances in canine body language can mean the difference between night and day, from a dog pushing into you to tilting her body back.