Jack loves to play. His adventurous spirit is why you love him so much, but sometimes his hyper energy is hard to understand. Although you have begun to understand his language in your own ways, you are still unsure why he displays certain behaviors. One of those behaviors is when Jack paws your arm. Recently, Jack has begun to paw you while you are working at your desk. You know he wants something from you, but it is hard to understand why Jack puts his paw on your leg. Now, you want to truly understand why Golden Retrievers like Jack paw their owners.
The Root of the Behavior
Golden Retrievers are known for their high energy levels. They love to play and they absolutely love to spend time with their owners. Usually, you will be able to tell if your Golden Retriever is happy or sad based on their body language. Yet, when they begin to paw you, it can be a bit tricky to decode. As you probably know, your dog is pawing you because he wants something. That something can be a wide range of things. The main reason your dog is pawing you is that he desires to have a social interaction with you. When your dog paws you, he draws your attention away from what you were previously doing. Therefore, the attention is now on him and the interaction you are having with him. Jack probably wants to play with you or he wants your love. It is suggested to give attention to Jack when this happens. Secondly, Jack may paw your hand if you have something that he wants. Are you holding a tennis ball that he may want to chew on or are you eating something? Jack may paw your arm so the item in your hand moves closer to his face.
It is suggested to pay attention to other factors when your Golden Retriever paws you. Be aware of the time it is and also be aware of what your dog is used to. The most common reason your dog is pawing you is that he wants your assistance. Jack will ask for dinner around seven at night and he may even ask for a walk shortly after that because this is the routine you and Jack have created. It is important to remember all body language is the way your dog communicates with you. Jack may paw you because he wants your attention but your neighbor’s dog, Daisy, may paw her owner because she wants to be petted. Remember, every part of your dog’s body will display their needs, emotions, and troubles and as a pet owner, it is your job to figure out what your dog is trying to communicate.
Encouraging the Behavior
Although Jack paws you when he needs something, it is still important to make sure Jack's pawing does not get out of hand. If Jack is in need of something or wants your attention, then pawing is a normal behavioral trait. Yet, sometimes pawing can be negative and problematic. If your dog puts his paws all over you, he may think he is in charge and you do not want to reward or allow this behavior. It is important to tell your dog to stop, if this is the case. Your dog may also use pawing to receive more of what he is already getting. If you are rubbing Jack and he loves it, he may paw you when you stop.
Although Golden Retrievers are absolutely adorable in all that they do, they still need guidance. As a pet owner, it is important to show your dog that their pawing is not always going to be rewarded. If Jack wants your attention and you cannot give it to him, it is important for him to know that, so he may learn how to entertain himself. Remember, all dogs react well to positive reinforcement and will also listen to you when you implement rules because you are their alpha leader. It is up to you to decipher which behaviors you want to allow and set rules with the ones you do not want to allow.
Other Solutions and Considerations
When your dog paws you, you want to first make sure that they have everything that they need before setting rules. If your dog actually needs something and you tell him no, it may make things more difficult for you and for your dog. Secondly, you want to make sure your dog’s paws are groomed. If your dog is constantly putting his paw on you, his nails may scratch you and his rough paws may cut you or mess with your clothes. You can even train your dog to only paw you on certain parts of the body, so it does not bother you as much. If you are having other issues with your dog, it is recommended that you take your dog into the veterinarian or you can also hire a behavioralist.
Jack is an awesome dog that radiates high energy. He makes everyone around him happy with all that he does. Yet, sometimes Jack is going to need something from you. As often as you can, give Jack the love he desires but make sure that you set boundaries, so his pawing behavior does not get out of control.
Written by a Golden Retriever lover Erika Seidel
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 04/13/2018, edited: 01/30/2020