Why Does My Dog Put His Paw On Me

Understanding what a dog is trying to tell you can be difficult. Dogs use their paws all day for a variety of different things and so we explore the question, why does my dog put his paw on me.

A dog will put his paw on you as a way of communicating his thoughts and emotions. If you are petting your dog, they will often reciprocate as a sign of affection. Dogs will also put their paw on you to tell you that they want something such as food, the toilet, a walk and even to show you an injury.


Dogs Put There Paw On You Because They Are Bored

One of the main reasons why your dog is putting their paw on you is most likely to get attention. This does not have to be for a specific need, it could simply be due to boredom.

You should assess whether your dog has been adequately walked and whether they will need another walk soon. If you think the reason they are putting their paw on you is that they want a walk or to play then you should invest in some entertaining toys to help manage this.

Obviously, the best option would be to give them a good enough walk that they don’t feel like annoying you at home, but this isn’t always possible. If you do lack time then walking them off lead can help give them a better amount of exercise and stimulate their brain more. Check out our article on walking your dog off lead for more information. “How To Walk A Dog Off Lead” 


Dogs Put Their Paw On You Because They Need The Toilet

If your dog is wanting something from you, they will most likely never leave you alone. Placing their paw on you is a way of getting your attention, however, this may also be followed by a constant staring competition and resting their head on your lap.

Unless you have a particularly talented dog that can open the backdoor, then you will probably find yourself letting them out for the toilet. If you have done your toilet training effectively you should be notified by your dog when they want to go outside, them putting their paw on you could be an indication of this. Check out the video below for toilet training tips.


Dogs Put Their Paw On You because They Are Hungry

Some people don’t believe that dogs have a great internal clock, but somehow my pooch seems to remember what time his dinner is. I can’t explain it but he comes into the living room and stares at me profusely, I look at the time, and yep bang-on dinner time.

Because dogs see us using our hands so much they probably have a tendency to use their own. We communicate with our hands more than we raise and your dog is doing the same thing. If your dog puts their paw on you, take a look at the time and you may find it is their dinner time. Another great reason for getting your attention.


Dogs Put Their Paw On You To Be Affectionate

We all know dogs are loveable creatures and something that separates them from many other pets is their amazing ability to bond with us. Loyalty is something that is ingrained into their DNA, dogs tend to enjoy the company of other dogs whether wild or domesticated, this makes them loyal protecting who they see as their family.

When you are stroking or petting your dog you may find them trying to pet you back. It almost looks like they are swatting you away, but in fact, more often than not they are trying to reciprocate. The only problem that dogs have is they don’t have much dexterity, meaning they can’t bend their paws or legs in the ways we can.


Dogs Put Their Paw On You Because They Want To Feel Secure

Another great reason why dogs put their paw on you is that they are feeling anxious, possibly from tiredness or they may have heard something outside. This emotion is much like the one above, using their paw to gain your attention and say “look I’m down here interact with me”. Because your attention is on them, the fear factor may go away as they see you as the protector of the house.

You may find this scenario happens often when you are sitting watching TV. Although your dog is still feeling like they want security, it also comes with one added benefit….cuddles on the sofa. We do occasionally let Cooper our golden retriever on the sofa but this is not very often as the sofa tends to change color over time due to the dirt he is depositing….life with a golden retriever.

If you’re not into letting your pooch come up with you on the sofa, try setting a comfy bed down just below where you are sitting. This will allow your pooch to be comfy and at the same time know exactly where you are, any sudden movements towards the kitchen will be noticed.


Dogs Put Their Paw On You Because They Are Injured

Dogs will usually want to be left alone if they are injured, just in case you decide to go prodding at it, which we all know we would. If your dog has an injured paw and they are able to move their leg, sometimes they will show the paw by lifting it up off the ground.

Dogs are clever creatures and very observant so some dogs will be able to learn this action by watching you. You will always know if a dog has got a thorn in their paw as they will dramatically limp, despite still having 3 fully functioning legs. Maybe this is also a way of getting your attention to show you the injury. It’s also important to realize that there could be other reasons for your dog’s limp, check out the AKC website for some great information on “Why Your Dog May Be Limping”. We also have an article on “Why Does My Dog Lick His Paws After A Walk”.


Why does my dog lick his paws after a walk


Is Pawing A Sign Of Dominance?

Pawing is not commonly known to be a sign of dominance. Your “Stop” command should be good enough to stop your dog from pawing you. You may find that your dog is trying to be dominant if they don’t stop pawing you even after telling them not to.

It’s important not to assume that your dog is being dominant as this could stress you out and ruin any trust you have with your dog. Many of the reasons we have discussed earlier are more likely to be the cause of any pawing and it would be safer to first assume it’s one of these.


Making Sure your Dogs Claws Are Clipped

If you have a dog that loves to put their paws all over you then you may want to consider getting their claws clipped. When a dog’s claws are left to get long and sharp they can sometimes cause an injury, especially with dogs that love jumping up.

There are a few ways in which you can trim your dog’s nails. One way is to get the vet or professional groomer to do it. These people are trained and will be able to give your dog an effective nail trim which will last a while before coming back.

The second way is to do it yourself, this can often be worrying if you have never done it before. The best way to approach trimming your dog’s nails is through the use of a dog nail clipper or grinder. Check out the video below for more information on trimming your dog’s nails.

The final way in which you can trim your dog’s nails is to do it naturally. This can take time and possibly altering your dog’s walking routine too. Walking your dog can actually trim their nails slowly, this will involve walking them on a harder surface such as woodland paths. Check out our article on “Can Walking Your Dog Trim Their Nails” for more information.


Dogs have many different behaviors and we as owners may not realize what they mean at first. It’s good to sometimes take a step back and analyze what they are actually asking us. Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of why your dog puts their paw on you. If you enjoyed it have a look at our homepage for more great articles on getting us and about with your pooch.



Dean Lissaman

As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. Being an outdoor enthusiast has inspired me to create the ultimate resource on relating both dogs and the outdoors. For more information on me check out my about page.

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