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Dogs love spending time with their humans and it’s common for them to want to be closer to you while out on walks. They may also want to make sure that they know where you are at all times by nudging or bumping into you. Let’s look at this behavior more closely.

Why Does My Dog Nudge My Legs When I Walk?

Dogs use nudging as a form of communication with their owners. Here are four reasons why your dog might nudge you while you’re walking:

They Need Your Attention

They’re trying to get your attention. Due to their close bond with humans, dogs crave a lot of attention from their owners.

They reinforce this bond through their need for attention, affection, and social interaction with their human companions. Here are some reasons why your dog needs your attention:

Emotional Well-Being

Dogs need social interaction and attention from their owners for their emotional well-being.

Spending time with their owners can reduce stress and anxiety. It also helps prevent behavioral issues, such as separation anxiety.


Attention from their owners is an essential part of the bonding process between dogs and humans. Regular attention and affection can help build a strong and trusting relationship between dogs and their owner.

Mental Stimulation

Dogs are intelligent animals that require mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. Your attention in the form of play, training, and interactive activities, can provide much-needed mental stimulation.

You may also give them dog puzzle toys, hide treats around the house, or teach them new tricks.


Dogs need physical exercise. Not enough exercise may cause anxiety and stress for your dog. This irritability is due to boredom or pent-up energy.

Attention from their owners can help encourage them to be active. You can increase the amount of physical exercise your dog gets by taking them on regular walks, playing fetch, or engaging in other activities like swimming or hiking.

They’re Expressing Affection

Nudging often means they love you! Your dog may be nudging your legs because they want you to pet them.

They Want to Protect You

Some dogs may use nudging as a way to protect their owners. If your dogs sense any danger or perceive a threat, they may try to nudge you to guide you away from the danger.

Can dogs sense danger? Absolutely! Here’s how:


Dogs have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell, which allows them to detect a wide range of scents, including those associated with danger. For example, dogs can detect smoke and gas.


Dogs have sensitive hearing. This ability allows them to detect sounds at frequencies that humans cannot hear. This means they can hear distant noises, such as footsteps, barking, or other sounds that may signal danger.


Although dogs’ eyesight isn’t as good as humans’, they can still see well in low light and detect movement at a distance. This makes them particularly good at detecting potential threats in the environment.

Body Language

Dogs are also good at reading body language and can pick up on subtle changes in a person’s posture or behavior that may signal danger. If you or another person are tense, aggressive, or behaving erratically, a dog may pick up on these cues and react accordingly.


Dogs have the instinct to protect their owners and their territory. They may become alert and react to threats based on their instincts—even if there are no obvious signs of danger. They’re just being protective of you.

They’re Feeling Anxious or Stressed

In some cases, dogs may nudge their owners when they’re feeling anxious or stressed. Your dog may be seeking comfort and reassurance from you by nudging your legs. But what can cause them anxiety and stress?

Here are the common causes:

Fear and Phobias

Dogs may become anxious and stressed in response to certain stimuli, such as loud noises (thunder, fireworks), strange people, or other animals. This distress can lead to hiding, trembling, or excessive barking when you fail to address it right away.

Illness or Pain

Dogs may become anxious or stressed when they’re sick or in pain. They may exhibit changes in behavior, such as lethargy or restlessness.

Change in Environment

Dogs are creatures of habit. Changes in routine or environment can cause them to become anxious or stressed. These variations can include moving to a new home, alterations to the family dynamic, or their daily routine.

Lack of Socialization

If you rarely walk your dogs, they may become anxious or stressed in new situations or around unfamiliar people or animals. Remember that it’s an ongoing process. It’s never too late to socialize your dog with other people or pets.

By taking it slow, using positive reinforcement, and being patient, you can help your dog feel more comfortable. It also helps them become confident in new social situations.

However, if your dog continues to struggle with socialization, consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist for additional guidance.

You might also like to read, Puppy Separation Anxiety: A Complete Guide

Why Does My Dog Touch Me with His Nose While Walking?

Your dog is touching you with their nose because they love you and want to be close to you. They learned that if they touch you with their nose, it’s a way to get closer to you.

It can also mean that they’re excited about something. It could be a new smell. It could be another dog nearby who they want to play with.

If your dog seems particularly playful when doing this, then chances are something is exciting around—so let them lead the way!

Why Do Dogs Push Their Nose into You?

Your dogs push their nose into you because they’re trying to get a good whiff of you. They’re checking out your scent and learning more about who you are—which makes them even cooler!

Other times, it’s because they’re looking for something, like food or affection.

Why Does My Dog Nudge Me with His Paw?

If your dog pushes their paw into your leg or arm, they’re probably just asking for attention. They want you to pet them!

There are times when nuzzling can be a sign of dominance or aggression, though. If this happens, be sure to read up on your dog’s body language.

Woman holding dog's paw

Why Do Dogs Boop You?

Dogs like to touch and feel their owners to show how much they love you. Some signals are more subtle than others, like wagging their tails while looking at you.

How to Stop My Dog from Nudging?

It can be hard to stop a sign of affection. However, if your dogs are nudging your face all the time, you may need to train them not to do this.

The best way to stop your dogs from nudging is to ignore them. If you pet your dogs while they’re nudging you, that may reinforce the behavior. Instead, try giving your dog a treat or a toy when they nudge you.

This trick will help with training your pup to stop nuzzling up against you. It’ll also let them focus on getting something more worthwhile.

To Sum Up

Dogs have a way of communicating with us that we don’t always understand. They use body language to tell us what they want and how they feel.

We’re not always good at interpreting that language. Hence, questions like: Why does my dog nudge me when I walk?—come up. Often, they just want to say they love you.