My dog keeps pawing at me, what could be the cause?

Is your dog constantly pawing at you? Pawing can mean a variety of things, from seeking attention to dominance. Read on to find out why your pup may be slipping you the paw!

Why Does My Dog Put His Paw on Me? | Reader's Digest

Our dogs love us, and because of this, they want our constant attention. Our pups can’t say, “Hey, look over here!” so instead, they get our attention in the only way they know how. Pawing and poking us when they are trying to communicate is their easiest option, but what are they trying to tell us?

Dogs can’t communicate like humans can. They will sometimes growl, bark, or yip to get your attention. Most times they do this, there’s a reason behind it. They can also get physical, and that means putting their paws on you or even engaging in other unsavory behaviors like biting or jumping. While you can train your dog to use their paw on-demand with the shake command, the type of pawing we will dive into is pawing without a request from you as their master.

Most pups mean well when using their paws, but you may not fully understand why your dog does it. Let’s discuss the 10 most common reasons that your dog wants your attention, and how to stop them from scratching you for their every need.

Ten Reasons Dogs Like To Paw

Dogs have a variety of reasons they like to paw. Some owners think this behavior is rude and disruptive, while other owners will tolerate it. It’s often viewed as more tolerable if the dog is smaller because pawing from a small dog isn’t likely to cause any problems.

Dog Pawing Behavior: What It Means and How to Stop It - Animal Behavior College

Pawing from an extremely large dog can knock kids over, cause scratches or injuries, and have other ill effects.  Dogs paw for dominance, affection, and many other reasons.  Let’s dig in a little deeper and find out why your pup loves to put their paws on you.

It’s Their Communication Base

Why Is My Dog Pawing At Me Constantly? What Does It Mean?

Every creature has their own way of communicating. By having our own language, we are able to spread the word on what we need, and get through our day-to-day lives. But what do you do when you are trying to communicate with a completely different species, that doesn’t speak your language?

Think of it as trying to have a conversation with a person from another country, who does not speak English. There will probably be a lot of hand gestures, and a game of charades in order to spread your message. When our pups are trying to get our immediate attention, they resort to their very own “hand gestures”, and throw their paw our way. They may also tilt their heads, and exhibit other behaviors.

Our pups pawing us is truly no different than a toddler tugging on your leg when they are trying to tell us something. When our dogs paw at us, they are simply communicating in one of the ways that they know how, pushy as it may be at times.

Our furry friends have lived alongside us for many years now, and have seen how often we use our hands to communicate. It’s no wonder that they have become more paw-centric in their communications.

They Want Instant Love

If you are spending quality time with your fur child, they may paw you as a way to persuade you into giving them extra love. Have you ever been petting your pup, and they throw their paw your way once you’ve stopped? This action is a way of getting your attention in an effort to continue an action that they like. We often find it sweet when our doggy friends come up to us asking for our love and affection. By giving in to this action so often, they know to repeat this habit each time they want your immediate attention.

Studies have also shown that dogs have “feel good” hormones that are released during petting sessions, so it’s very possible that by extending out their paw, they are showing you their affection right back. Overall, this is one of the most endearing times that our dogs use their paws to communicate.

They Did Something Bad

Guilty Dog with Owner

While this pawing behavior can be quite demanding, it can also be your pup’s way of apologizing for something they have done. A guilty dog may throw his paw on you while wearing a very guilty face. Pawing you can be their way of asking for forgiveness, and showing their submission to you at that moment.
Part of why they may do this is how well this action may have worked for them with you in the past. Think back to a time when your companion did something they shouldn’t have done. Their sad eyes and need for forgiveness is often cute enough that we quickly forgive them, and move on from any scolding. Our pups have become quite skilled in the art of forgiveness with their ability to produce those sad, puppy dog eyes. Either way, this is definitely one of the times that their pawing can be quite difficult to not give in to.

They Need Food Or Water

How to Stop Pawing and Scratching

Our dogs are incredibly empathetic creatures. By living with us, they become in tune with our normal habits and emotions. Even the slightest change in attitude can have our pups sensing that something is a bit off.

When a furry friend paws at us in a time that we are feeling stressed, upset, or angry, it may be their way of showing us that they are here for us in our time of need. Our dogs love us and show their support in many ways that we may not even notice. Think of their paw as their very own way of extending out a hug.

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