NotABully.org is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.
It’s hard to ignore over 100 pounds of Rottweiler firmly pressed against your knee. Rottweilers have a well-earned reputation for being leaners. Most are happiest when pushed against their owner’s side. If you’ve ever wondered why Rottweilers lean so persistently, you aren’t alone.
Why is your Rottweiler leaning on you? Your Rottweiler may be leaning on you because they are loyal to you, because they are experiencing insecurities, or because they are being pushy. It is also possible that your Rottweiler isn’t leaning on you at all, but is in fact trying to herd you.
Here’s a look into why your Rottweiler may be leaning on you or herding you.
Is Your Rottweiler Leaning or Herding?
Rottweilers were originally herding dogs. Every kind of herding dog has their own way of getting the job done. For Rottweilers, a primary herding technique is to use their body to bump and physically move livestock.
Rottweilers were often used to herd very large livestock, such as cattle, so they may be prone to using quite a lot of force when they bump. These instincts can come out in your Rottweiler even if they have no experience herding.
Your Rottweiler may bump their body against you or your family in an attempt to get attention or to get you to go in the direction they want you to go. It isn’t uncommon to see Rottweilers use their bodies to guide children away from potential dangers.
If your dog seems to bump you with some intention, rather than just placing their weight on you, you may have a Rottweiler that is trying to herd the family. Herding is a natural instinct in your Rottweiler, but if it is causing problems for your family, train your Rottweiler to keep a respectful distance until invited closer.
To get a better idea of Rottweiler herding in action, check out this handsome guy as gets in a few practice runs:
Why Might Your Rottweiler be Leaning on You?
There isn’t one clear answer for why Rottweilers lean, but breed enthusiasts do have a few theories. Here are a couple of the reasons that your Rottweiler might be leaning on you:
Reason 1: Loyalty
Rottweilers are known to be highly loyal. They are one of the few breeds brave enough to protect their people from perceived threats and patient enough to tolerate and even seek out the antics of children.
One way that your loyal Rottweiler may express their commitment to you is by leaning. It takes trust for a dog to choose to put their weight on you and let you support them. A Rottweiler that is leaning on you may be telling you how loyal they are and how much they trust you.
Some Rottweilers are particularly prone to leaning on their people when there are strangers around. It is possible that your Rottweiler may tend to lean more in these circumstances because they are showing their commitment to you, even as they are friendly with the new people.
Loyalty is one of the most well-known and widely displayed breed traits in Rottweilers, so it should come as no surprise that this is a breed that expresses that loyalty in a physical way like leaning.
Reason 2: Insecurities
Rottweilers are typically known to be very bold and outgoing dogs. However, like many other brave working breeds that have the capacity to seriously defend their families, they can sometimes be confused about just what behavior is required of them.
Rottweilers that are coming into maturity, especially, may be experiencing new instincts related to guarding behaviors. These instincts can cause a lot of insecurities as your Rottweiler works out exactly when is an appropriate time to guard and when they should be welcoming to guests.
It is extremely important that you provide sufficient instruction to your Rottweiler during this challenging time. If you are providing good guidance, your Rottweiler will very likely look to you to let them know how to behave, often while leaning on you for reassurance.
Anchoring themselves against you gives your Rottweiler constant feedback to let them know how to respond appropriately to the situation. If you find your Rottweiler leaning against you in these circumstances, it is very important that you provide feedback to let your dog know how you want them to behave.
An insecure Rottweiler that is not provided sufficient feedback from its handler may come up with his own ways to respond, which may involve aggression. It is essential that you provide clear guidance by asking your Rottweilers for specific behaviors and giving them cues about when they are responding appropriately and when you want them to respond differently.
Reason 3: Pushiness
Many breeds with strong working backgrounds and a lot of intelligence experience periods or instances of testing their owners. Testing periods are common for many Rottweilers during puppyhood and adolescence.
As your dog gets bigger and stronger, one way that they may try to assert themselves is by physically pushing you around. Rottweilers often have a playful attitude while they are doing this, and many owners assume it is a game.
Instances of pushiness often are done in play, but how you respond can have effects on how your Rottweiler perceives you in the future. A dog that believes itself able to change your behavior by pushing you towards what it wants or away from when it doesn’t will likely continue trying to use these tactics as they grow bigger and stronger and their intentions become more serious.
Therefore, it is important to redirect a pushy Rottweiler into more desirable behavior. A moment when your Rottweiler is being pushy is the perfect time to pull out a highly desirable toy or treat and ask your Rottweiler to perform a behavior to get it. If your dog can’t be redirected, it may be time for some quiet time with a food toy until they are in a more relaxed mood.
Pushy behavior shouldn’t be tolerated no matter how old your Rottweiler is. If you’re not sure whether your Rottweiler’s leaning is due to pushy behavior or not, it’s a good idea to check that your dog is happy to respond to your commands when they are leaning.
Most people love to have their Rottweilers lean on them. Most of the time, your dog is leaning on you because of their loyalty or because you give them confidence.
While it may be that your Rottweiler is trying to push you around a bit, it isn’t hard to check your Rottweiler’s behavior so you can easily determine why they are leaning and correct inappropriate leaning if necessary. As long as you can always ask your dog to perform behaviors for treats or toys, including giving you space when requested, you can be confident that your Rottweiler is leaning with the best intentions.