August 08, 2021

What that lean really means

What that lean really means
Dr. Chris Brown

Do you live with a leaner?! If you’ve ever wondered the real reason why pets perch themselves up against you, then this lean translator is for you…

If you’re a human, then the lean is all about taking some weight off those tired legs. But for those members of the family blessed with a bit more body hair (and two extra legs), the reason is rarely about rest. Intrigued?! Yeah you should be. Here’s where it gets interesting…

Try to see the lean as a request. Your dog or cat is asking you for something. You just need to work out what it might be…

The most common (and most adorable) reason is just a simple request for affection and attention. When you suddenly have 40kg of retriever against your leg or the rear end of a ridgeback perched on your shoe, it’s a little hard to ignore. And that’s why the pats, scratches and serious interaction almost certainly follow. Which means the technique works…

The other side of the lean is just as loving but has a very different meaning. You see, sometimes the lean is also a request for comfort. Yep, in the face of thunderstorms, fireworks, threatening behaviour, boisterous other animals or situations they’re not familiar with, they’ll literally lean on their biggest source of security for support; you. This lean is therefore often accompanied by those signs of fear like flattened ears, yawning, shaking, low body posture and a tucked under tail.

So really the lean is a question with two very different answers but one unifying desire. A complete dependence AND delight in spending time with you. So love the lean. It’s saying a lot!

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