It’s not uncommon for a dog to put his paw on his human companion, but do you know why? 

Key Takeaways

  • Dog pawing is a repeated nudging action
  • Dogs paw for a variety of reasons, but usually it’s to grab your attention
  • Dogs also put their paws on owners and friends when they want to comfort them
  • If your dog paws at you and whines at the same time, it can be a sign of anxiety

What Is Dog Pawing?

What Is Dog Pawing

One of the things that make dogs such great pet companions is their ability to communicate with us. They do this by barking, whining, and even pawing. 

Pawing is when your dog keeps touching or nudging you with his paw. It’s usually rather gentle, but might hurt if your dog doesn’t know his strength. Pawing is a common behavior in dogs, but it can sometimes be confusing to owners. Most often, they will do that to redirect your attention. However, they also paw to play, to beg for food, or as a sign of extra love.

Why Does My Dog Put His Paw on Me – Common Reasons

Why Does My Dog Put His Paw on Me – Common Reasons

Why does my dog put his paw on me? Is he trying to tell you something? Let’s look at the most common reasons!

Your Dog Is Trying to Say ‘I Love You’

Your dog puts his paw on you to show affection. Especially when he tends to cuddle with you or sit on your lap. By putting his paw on you, he’s essentially giving you a hug!

Your Dog Is Bored and Wants Your Attention

Why does my dog put his paw on me? Another common reason is to get your attention. Dogs are very smart creatures, and they know that we respond when they touch us. 

Your Dog Wants to Play

Another possibility is that your dog just wants to play. This is especially common in puppies and young dogs. To avoid this behavior, give your dog plenty of attention and exercise. A tired dog is a happy dog!

Your Dog Wants You to Stop Doing Something

Sometimes, dogs will paw at their humans to get them to stop doing something. For example, when you’re picking him up, or cleaning his ears. 

Separation Anxiety

Another possibility is that your dog has separation anxiety. This is a condition in which dogs become anxious and stressed when they’re away from their humans. You can assume your dog is anxious, when he only paws at you when you’re about to leave the house.

If you think your dog might have separation anxiety, talk to your veterinarian or a behaviorist. They can help you come up with a treatment plan to ease your dog’s anxiety.

It’s Dinner Time!

Why does my dog put his paw on me? One of the most obvious reasons for dog pawing is simply because he’s hungry. It’s a gentle reminder to finally feed him!

Keep Petting!

Some dogs will paw at their humans when they want to be petted, or when they want you to keep petting them. This is usually a sign of affection, but it can also be a way of getting attention. 

Your Dog Is in Pain

Unfortunately, sometimes pawing can be a sign that your dog is in pain. If your dog is pawing at you and seems to be in discomfort, you should see a vet. He might have an injury or illness that needs to be treated.

Editor’s Note

Remember that misery loves company. Don’t assume pawing is a bad thing, even if there’s no clear reason behind it. If your dog doesn’t have any alarming symptoms, then pawing itself isn’t a symptom.

What Else Do Pet Dogs Communicate When They Paw?

What Else Do Pet Dogs Communicate When They Paw

Why does my dog put his paw on me, and whine? Or lick himself? The co-joined behaviors may represent different emotions your dog is trying to communicate. 

Whining

Whining can be a sign of hunger, thirst, fear, or pain. Pay attention to your dog’s body – curled up tail, and cowering are signs of fear. If your dog excitedly jumps up, when you give him your attention, he probably wants you to give him something.

Panting

Excitement, fear, or heat exhaustion are the most common reasons behind panting. Heavy breathing and excessive panting usually occur alongside exhaustion, or a stroke, so don’t ignore this. Seek veterinary care immediately.

Yawning

Unlike humans, dogs sometimes yawn when they’re stressed or anxious. If your dog is yawning a lot, it might be a sign that he’s feeling overwhelmed or needs some time to calm down. And if he’s also pawing at you, he wants you to comfort him.

Did you know that dogs present the sign of contagious yawning? It means, they may sometimes yawn when we do. Here’s more about it!

Licking

Believe it or not, but not all pets are masters of balance. Your dog might be putting his paw on you to stabilize himself, when he wants to lick something off of him.

Barking

Have you ever had to yell to someone so that they finally pay attention to you? Well, your dog may be trying the same. If a gentle paw on your leg doesn’t do the trick, he has to resort to barking.

Final Thoughts

Dog Pawing Final Thoughts

Why does my dog put his paw on me? Most probably, your dog is just looking for affection. However, pay attention to his body language, such as wagging tail, cowering, or even yawning. Sometimes, pawing might be a dog’s way of saying something is wrong.