Why Does My Dog Put His Paw On Me?

Last Updated: 4 months ago

Have you ever been next to your dog and he places his paw on you?

Many people have experienced this same thing, but not many people know the purpose of it.

Continue to read to find out why your dog does this and what it means.

Reasons Why Does My Dog Put His Paw On Me?

Reasons Why Does My Dog Put His Paw On Me?

Communication

Just like humans, dogs have a language of their own. Since they have the inability to talk, motions like this are how they communicate.

The placement of your dog’s paw on you is often referred to as pawing.

A dog will place its paw on you for several different reasons, but the most common reason is to gain your attention. Your dog is basically saying, “Listen here; I need your attention, and I need it now.”

Many dogs will continue to put their paws on you until you recognize what they are doing and respond to them.

Dogs thrive on human interactions, so if you had a very busy day and were not paying attention to your dog, he may place his paw on you to say “Hey, I’m still here, and I want to play”.

Hunger

Another reason your dog will place his paw on you is to communicate hunger.

If you feed your dog at the same time every day, then you might find that he will begin to figure this out and place his paw on you at this time.  

As a dog owner, you need to be aware of the amount of food you give your dog.  Overfeeding your dog can lead to obesity and, therefore, health issues.

Stress

By pawing,  your dog may also be telling you that she is stressed. Yes, dogs can become stressed as well.

This may be because your dog is experiencing a change in environment or has recently been scolded. Your dog is basically saying “ I am upset and I need your comfort.”

The best thing to do in this scenario is to distract your dog by taking her for a walk or playing with him.  Anything that you believe will redirect his attention

Alone Time

Pawing can also indicate that your dog wants to have some alone time.

If you are holding your dog and she begins to squirm or try to get out of your grasp, then they typically want to be left alone.

Another indication of this is when your dog begins to push off with their paw. Dogs will escape to a crate or a dog bed to rest by themselves, just like humans enjoy a bit of seclusion.

Affection

Finally (the cutest one of all), it could simply be that your dog is communicating that he loves you. This is basically your dog’s way of petting you, just like you would pet them.

If Pawing Becomes A Nuisance, How Can I Change My Dogs Behavior?

If Pawing Becomes a Nuisance, How Can I Change My Dogs Behavior?

Pawing for attention can move beyond a little issue and become a serious problem, especially if your dog is large.

Pawing can cause injuries to a person’s skin, and a large pawing dog can push or trip a human, especially a small person like a child or the elderly.

The behavior can be improved with training, though.

  1. If a dog paws for attention, stop what you are doing, look away from the dog, or even walk away for 30 seconds. Provide attention only when the dog is calm and his paws are on the ground. If everyone in the household is consistent, there is a greater chance of success.
  2. During playtime, do not let your dog place his paw on you. Instead, find games such as Fetch. Reward your dog for positive behavior by petting him or giving him a treat.
  3. Dogs need exercise. The exact amount of exercise depends on the breed, age, and any physical limitations. Take your dog for a daily walk or jog.
  4. Find other activities to keep your dog occupied. Keep a variety of toys around, such as a Kong or interactive dog ball where you can hide a treat, and keep your dog occupied while working towards a goal.

Summary

Sometimes, it’s cute when your dog puts his paw on you. Your pup is seeking attention. If you acknowledge him when he does this, he will continue his pawing behavior.

However, it can become a problem. With some positive reinforcement training, this behavior can be changed.

Resources:

VetStreet.com

AmericanlKennelClub.org

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