Why Does My Dog Put His Paw On Me?

Photo of author


Author: Jacob Kay

Imagine petting your puppy and suddenly being distracted by your phone, causing you to stop petting. You feel your pup’s paw on your thigh. This keeps happening throughout the week at random times. You wonder: “Why Does My Dog Put His Paw On Me?”

This can be a learned or adopted behaviour to get your attention. Let’s find out in depth.

Why Does My Dog Put His Paw On Me?

Why Does My Dog Put His Paw On Me?

It is quite evident that your pet wants attention when it puts its paws on you. There are various reasons why your pet may seek attention. The one reason is for affection. Your pup is probably craving some pets and belly pats. They would probably like some of the attention that you are giving to your emails.

If you have trained your doggy to go outside when they need to pee or poop. So, they will ask for your attention, if they need to go poop. This may also be accompanied by other behaviour such as sniffing and circling. They may also whine and fidget.

You may notice your pet staring at you and licking their lips. This is a clear indication of hunger. They may also follow you around and look for food in the trash.

Have you noticed that your pet is petting you? They might plop down next to you and paw at you, somehow to say: “I’m here for you.” Dogs are one of the most social animals and are empathetic. They may do this when they’re upset as well. They might come to you and ask for reassurance.

Why Does My Dog Put His Paw On Me?

This can also be a learned behaviour. Your puppy has learnt that they will rewarded every time they hand you their paw. It can get slightly annoying when your pup keeps interrupting you when you’re working.

Other Body Signs

These were all the possibilities. We also have to read their body language to be sure of what they actually mean.

1. Relaxed Ears And Lips, Low Tail Wave, Soft Eyes

Your dog is craving some pets. It is safe to give them head pets and rubs. This means your pet is relaxed. If some of their movements are exaggerated, they are probably feeling playful and happy.

Catherine Rowan-Collier from PetMd says, “When a dog is happy, their whole body and tail will look relaxed, and they quite often wiggle! A happy dog’s whole body can wag along with their tail.

It is a good idea to take a break from work and shower your doggy with some love. A chew toy can come in handy to direct their energy.

Relaxed Ears And Lips, Low Tail Wave, Soft Eyes

2. Tight Lips, Perked Ears, Drooping Tail, Changing Eyes

This can be an indication that your pet is probably feeling anxious. Their changing eyes communicate their confusion. They don’t know if they should be on guard or relaxed. As a responsible pet parent, you should reassure them and calm them down. If this is a regular behaviour, your dog could probably have anxiety and it’s advised to see a vet.

Tight Lips, Perked Ears, Drooping Tail, Changing Eyes

3. Perked Ears, Tail Held Aloft, Focused Eyes

It suggests curiosity and attentiveness. Your pet is probably in the mood to explore. They may behave this way when they visit a new place. It’s a fun idea to take a walk with your pet and cure their curiosity. Dogs are social animals and thus, it is best to let them keep interacting with new environments and people.

Perked Ears, Tail Held Aloft, Focused Eyes

How To Change This Behaviour?

Many owners may find this behaviour to be distracting as it takes place at the most inconvenient time. It is simple to change this behaviour, you just have to meet their needs.

For example, if your dog is seeking attention and affection, it is recommended to get them toys[1]. This will give them somewhere to direct their energy when you’re busy.

For pooping and hunger, it is advised to set a fixed time and train your pup to do their business on cue. Setting a routine[2] with your dog at all stages of life is key to leading a good life with them.

It is hard to discourage their habit of pawing you if it’s a learned behaviour. Whenever they paw you, step back and wait for them to get on all their fours. When they do, reward them. Eventually, they’ll learn.


Why does my dog put his paw on me?

The main reason for this behaviour is that they want attention. It can be for different reasons. Maybe they want some affection or they are hungry and want food. Notice other changes when they paw at you. If they are sniffing the ground, it can suggest that they need to poop. Pawing can also be a learned behaviour that they picked up when you taught them to ‘shake’.

What does it mean when a dog puts his paw on your mouth?

This is how young pups communicate playfulness and affection. This behaviour can continue into adulthood. You can invest in pet toys and other distractions like food puzzles that can keep them mentally stimulated.

Why does my dog hold his paw up to me?

There are many interpretations of this. Your pup could probably be mimicking you and asking for pets and good head scratches or they are uncomfortable and are asking for space. Depending on the situation it is best to provide them with what they need.

Why does my dog keep hitting me with his paw?

When you’re giving your doggy belly rubs, they might lift their paw and flick your nose. This can mean different things. It can be interpreted as playful or that they don’t like what you’re doing and want you to stop. Observe the rest of their body language such as their eyes and ears.

Why do dogs give you their paw without asking?

It is a learned behaviour. If you have reinforced the “shake” command with treats and pets, they will probably seek this by giving you their paw randomly. This behaviour can get annoying for parents. It is hard to but, you can slowly discourage this behaviour by not interacting with it.


Dogs are social animals and they adore their human companions. They wish for their affection and love and try their best to communicate with us. We should try and fulfil their needs as responsible pet parents.

With this article, we aimed to understand and decipher “Why Does My Dog Put His Paw On Me?


  1. Dog toys and how to use them. PAWS.
  2. Why your dog needs a routine at every stage of life. American Kennel Club.
Photo of author
Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

Leave a Comment

Affiliate Disclaimer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to