It’s one of the sweetest forms of communication your dog has ever shown, and it’s called pawing. Does it sound familiar? Dogs are much like small children. Whenever they feel the need for attention, they ask for it. And since verbally speaking to you is not possible, dogs will use their paws to get a message across to their human companions. This simple body language is just their way of saying “hey, I’m here and I need you, attention.” But it can also mean they might be feeling insecure about something. Let’s find out more about pawing and the situations in which you will be able to encounter this common dog behavior.
The Root of the Behavior
Why does my dog put his paw on me? How many times have you asked yourself that question, if ever? Paws are your dog’s tools that allow him to communicate with you or with other animals. It can be one of the cutest things he does, but at the same time, it can become irritating, especially when you constantly give attention each time they demand it. To better understand his needs and how to address them, you need to learn what causes the behavior in the first place. Pawing is your dog’s natural way of getting their message across to you. Think of it as their individual language, that you need to be able to decipher. The good news is…it’s very easy to do. One of the most common reasons your furry friend is pawing you is simply because he wants his “fair share” of attention. In more professional terms, this is his unique way of instigating social interaction. It’s an invitation to play with him and give him some positive vibes. You’ve probably noticed this every time he gets really close to you, starts wagging his tail, bouncing around, and possibly even barking. Dogs thrive on human companionship and you need to be able to provide him with just the right amount of attention he needs.
On the other hand, when you’re constantly rewarding his behavior through reinforced attention, you’re creating a problem. This means you can end up with scratched skin and ruined clothes. Which is why you need to know when, where, and how often to respond or ignore the pawing. Other reasons for this common behavior include trying to say sorry for something they’ve done, feeling hungry or hurting, during playtime with other dogs, or even when they’re feeling insecure. Think about it: was there an argument in the house, was he exposed to sudden changes? Whatever the reason may be, your dog can sense more than you think so do expect him to have a reaction.
Encouraging the Behavior
What if he simply puts his paws on you while you are petting him? It’s a sweet and simple way of reciprocating affection back, much like humans use their hands when feeling empathy. It’s quite a wonderful sensation, so where does the problem begin? Usually, when you start to spoil him each time he feels the need to get some more attention.
Lesson to be learned: your dog needs to know that when you don’t want to play, he needs to entertain himself. Seems tough to do, because every time he starts pawing, you absentmindedly reach down and repeat the petting. Learn the difference between cute and problematic pawing. It’s up to you to determine what type of attention he’s asking for. This is why you should always know how to read the other signals your dog’s body is showing. Make sure you don’t respond to continual pawing if you don’t want it to become a problematic issue in the future. Observe your pet’s sign and body language. This way you’ll know when and how to respond to their needs and you’ll also improve the existing communication between the two of you.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Another way you can stop your dog from constantly pawing you is to enroll him in a basic obedience class. This will not only help build your communication and training skills but most importantly, it will teach your dog a good level of self-control. The goal is to have him focus on a particular subject amidst all type of distractions and this can be successfully achieved in group classes. If you get him to do that, he will be able to pretty much do anything. It’s important to work both with his brain and body so that he’s kept busy all day long.
If you want to get your dog’s mind off of pawing, then teach him some other actions that can get him the attention he desires. It’s all about what you reinforce day after day, so make sure you don’t feed the habits you’re trying to get rid off. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to enjoy some quality snuggling with your furry little friend today.