You are sitting on your comfortable Sofa in your drawing room and your dog comes to you. You look at him and starts to pet him. Suddenly you notice your dog putting his paw on your chest or legs or shoulders. And you wonder why did he do this?
This behaviour of your dog is called pawing and this is one of the ways for dogs to communicate with humans. Dogs have evolved over hundreds of years while living alongside humans and developed this way to communicate with them. But What do they want to say? Do they need anything from you?
When the first time my dog put his paw on me, I started to wonder “Why did My Dog Put his Paw on Me“?
To find out what your dog is trying to say, look at the exact situation and your dog’s behaviour. For example, a Street dog pawed me when I was eating my Chicken Sandwich near a Chicken outlet. He showed this behaviour as he was feeling hungry and he wanted to eat something. Don’t worry I gave him half of my sandwich 😉 .
What I want to say is the dog’s pawing behaviour can be different in different situations. If your dog put his paw on your legs, that has a different meaning than your dog putting his paw on your chest or holding your hands with his paw.
Most likely, pawing behaviour indicates that your dog is trying to tell you something. But what? That depends on how your dog paws and where…
Why Your Dog Puts his Paws on You
There can be a lot of reasons for “why your dog put his paws on you” and most of these reasons are either attention or affection. If you have paw trained your dog, then most likely he is pawing to grab your attention. Otherwise, it’s most likely he wants your care and affection.
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It is really amazing that dogs and humans have lived together for so long that both humans and dogs understand each other’s body language signals and behaviour. Over these years, dogs have learned to communicate with us using their paws.
Dogs are smarter than we think. It’s just that sometimes they don’t get to understand our training commands and what we need them to do. That’s why so many dog parents face a lot of struggles and hardships in teaching their dogs with basic obedience commands. A lot of dog parents ignore to train their dog for these basic commands.
And then, later on, their dogs acquire behavioural problems like aggressive barking, nipping, separation anxiety, jumping on other people and so on. Please start to train your dog with basic commands by Boosting their Hidden Intelligence and Smartness by 10 Times using Brain Training.
Why Your Dog ‘Lays’ his Paws on You
Now there’s a difference between ‘putting’ and ‘laying’ in this case. If your dog lays his paws on your knees, legs or keeps his chin on your legs while you are sitting, chances are that he wants your attention and affection by playing games with you.
And if he gets a toy and lays that around you as well along with laying on you, I don’t think I need to tell you what that means, Isn’t it?
He might be feeling boring or is craving for some fun. Go play with him.
Why Does your Dog Paws You When You Pet Him
Dogs are creative communicators and create their own amazing and mind-blowing ways of communicating, especially with the people they love. Some dogs will hold your hands with their one or both paws while you pet them. This can be a return of favour as your dog also wants to show his love towards you or he just directs your hand to his head or the place where he feels the most comfortable.
Dogs also use their paws to express that they want you to pet them, keep petting or even stop petting.
What Does your Dog want when he ‘Paws’?
As I told you earlier, the ways pet dogs put or lays their paws express different feelings and gestures.
Here are some of the feelings that your dog wants to express when he put his paws on you:
Dogs want to Play
It is very normal behaviour from dogs when they put a paw on you and ask you to play with them. They do this not only with us but also with other dogs and even with other animals like squirrels or birds. They initiate their feelings to play by pawing.
Dog wants Food
Remember what happened to me at that chicken outlet? That dog wanted food and expressed his feeling by putting both his paws on my knees and thighs. Your pet dog can do the same thing as well, especially when he watches you eating something he thinks is delicious.
A hopeful face along with pawing is a sure shot case of your dog demanding some food as he’s hungry. Puppies do this as well. Sometimes they paw even when you are having a meal on your table. This behaviour should not be allowed.
I have laid down the steps one shall follow to stop this Pawing Behaviour at the end of this post, so give it a read.
Your Dog might be in Pain
If your dog puts his paws on you you carry on with that even when you show him affection and care, he might be feeling uncomfortable about something. He might even be in some kind of pain. You should get him checked by your veterinary Asap.
Also, take your dog for walks at least twice in a day and play both physical and puzzle games with your dog to stimulate both his body and brain. Do not wait for the time when your dog gets unhealthy because you did not took good care of him.
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Your Dog is Anxious
Your pet dog can also put his paw on you when he feels something isn’t right. He might be stressed and he wants you to pay attention to that fact which makes him stressed and nervous. It becomes tricky for dog parents to guess what makes him stressed. Try to recollect what changes you made in the house recently or in his diet that can trigger behaviour like this.
If the weather outside is going to get worse and there might be chances of a thunderstorm or heavy rain, your dog can show this kind of pawing behaviour. You might vary of the fact that most dogs can sense any kind of natural calamity before it actually happens. Earthquakes are a good example of this.
Dogs with separation anxiety also paw on their parents when parents are about to leave the house. Though, You should Train your dog to get rid of separation anxiety.
Other Body Signals to Understand Pawing Behaviour
It is important to understand and focus on other body language signals of your dog to understand the reason for pawing better. By watching the look in your dog’s eyes while he is pawing at you, it gets clear why he is putting his paw. Other signals to look at can be his ears and tail.
These are three of the body signals I have noticed :
Wagging Tail, Relaxed mouth, Attentive Gaze and Pricked Ears.
Dogs that Paw on you with wagging or upheld tail, Attentive Gaze, Relaxed mouth and Pricked ears are more likely showing this behaviour because they are feeling bored and want some fun and attention as well. Petting won’t help much in this case as your dog will stand still when you pet him.
If your dog starts to move around in circles or barks, he is really eager for some playful engagement.
Low Hanging Tail, Tight Mouth, Shifting Gaze and Pricked Ears
An Anxious dog can show this kind of gestures and signals. He will put his paw on you firmly and will most likely not look at you with full gaze but also look around and try to give you clues as to what makes him feel anxious. It’s difficult to tell whether your dog is in pain or anxious in this case.
I would recommend you to find out any obvious reason for this behaviour and if you fail to find anything and your dog still shows the same gesture of pawing with these body signals, get it checked from a vet as he might be in internal pain due to something.
Low Wagging Tail, Soft Gaze, Relaxed Ears and Mouth
A dog that lays his paws on you gently with a relaxed face is most likely asking for affection and care from you. You should shower some love with petting. You should pay attention to your dog when your dog asks for it in this fashion.
This builds trust and strengthens the bond between the parent and the dog.
How Would You Stop Your Dog from Pawing at You?
However Cute and Sweet pawing seems, If done in excess, should be stopped. This is not exactly a behavioural problem but there are situations when you are busy and can’t show affection and attention to your dog. Sometimes his paws are dirty or you are wearing something (special jeans or pants) that you don’t want to get dirty.
Here are some of the few ways you can tackle this kind of situation without doing any physical harm or using harsh words:
When your dog is pawing you, don’t make any kind of eye contact with your dog and pretend that you are ‘too busy’ with something else and you don’t have time. Move away from him and once the pawing stops, reward him with treats and petting.
Give enough Mental and Physical Stimulation
If your dog paws on you if he needs something, make sure you take care of his needs before you sit down to relax. Give your dog enough mental and physical stimulation so he gets tired and listen to you.
Stay consistent and learn to stop paying any kind of attention to your dog and ensure that you move your body away from his reach.
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