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Boxer Dog Leaning

Why Boxer Dogs Lean on Their Humans

Many owners have both Boxer puppies and dogs that lean on them. Depending on your mood, this can be quite amusing or frustrating, as a 40, 50 or 60 pound dog leans against you, placing all of their weight on your side. 

A Boxer often presses the whole side of his body into his owner or sometimes the back side. Boxers will do this when sitting or standing, but will purposefully position themselves close enough to their owner so that they can do "the lean".

The first element to point out is that just about every Boxer puppy or dog only does this with humans that they trust. And this says a lot! A Boxer will not lean on neighbors or strangers that you may encounter along the way of a daily walk.

This is a form of communication and it can mean one of several things. In general, when a Boxer leans it is a way of making contact (literally and figuratively). 

It can mean: I want to be close to you (showing how much this breed thrives on human contact), I need some attention (showing how the Boxer breed needs praise, pats and cuddling as much as other dogs - even "lap dogs" and it can mean don't leave me (which shows that the a Boxer does prefer the company of his humans as opposed to being alone and some do suffer from Separation Anxiety. 

For dogs that have trouble staying home alone, creating a fun, comfortable and interactive area for those times is key to a puppy or dog's happiness.

Body Language

While we are on the subject of leaning, let's touch the subject of what it means when a Boxer leans forward, back or to the side when he is in a certain situation. 

For canines in general, this sort of body language almost always can be interpreted.

Leaning Forward

This can mean a couple of different things, depending on the situation.

1) If your Boxer leans forward with a relaxed, non-aggressive demeanor, this can point to a high level of self-confidence.
The tail will be held high and the ears may point forward as well. It is not necessarily a sign dominance as some may assume. It is a sign of being assured and poised.

2)  When coming upon another dog - particularly an unknown dog - leaning forward can be a sign of pending aggression. Feet will be firmly planted on the ground, as the body leans forward. Teeth may be bared. Some refer to this as "ready to spring" and it should be taken seriously. 

Of course, both dogs should be removed from the situation. While interaction with other dogs is an important part of socialization, it will be near impossible to allow a meet and greet when one or both dogs is feeling too territorial or dominant to interact in a healthy manner.

3)  If your Boxer is leaning forward and appears alert yet calm, this often is a sign that something has piqued his interest. Whether it is the sound of a group of voices as you chat with your friends or he is staring into yard, seemingly at nothing, he IS interested in something that you may or may not hear yourself.

Leaning Back

The quick lean back is often a stretching of the body and means nothing else other than your Boxer is extending out his muscles. Many dogs will do this, while yawning and it may be done right before the puppy or dog is preparing to rest for the night.

However, leaning back in a rigid way is often a signal that the dog is fearful of something. If leaning back is the only sign, this often points to a guarded feeling; a dog is feeling vulnerable and fearful while he figures out what he is hearing or seeing and decides his stance in regard to it.

If a dog is truly frightened, there will be other signs such as the tail being tucked in (of course, for those without docked tails), shivering, dilated pupils and sometimes cowering, as the leaned body is positioned closer to the ground.

Health Issues

On a more serious note, any leaning that takes place with the dog is walking or excessive leaning -most often to the side - can point to any number of health issues ranging from inner ear infection to head injury. Other elements that may be noticed are:

• Lack of coordination

• Limping

• Erratic eye movements

• Vomiting

• Loss of appetite

• Pawing at the ears (most often a symptom of a Boxer dog having an ear infection)
If you notice excessive leaning - with or without any other visual signs, do bring your Boxer to the veterinarian for a check-up.
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