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Why Does My Dog Put His Paw On Me

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Is my dog placing a paw on me to be dominant?

Placing a paw on you is not a sign of dominance. If anything, your dog is trying to get your attention. He probably did this at some point and was rewarded by being pet. He could also be mimicking you petting him.

What is my dog asking me when they paw at me?

Many trainers out there believe that when a dog places a paw on you or rests their head on you, that they are being the top dog or the alpha dog. Well, this is simply not true. Your dog has no intentions to dominate you by placing a paw on you or resting their head on you. It is instead of a form of communication. If you watch dogs playing, you will see them paw and face bump each other to get the other dog’s attention and get them to play. Your dog is doing the same thing with you. He is trying to say “Hey I am right here!” that is all. There are no thoughts (that we know of) of trying to be the alpha dog.

Here are some other reasons why your dog may be pawing at you from How Dogs Use Their Paws to Communicate:

  • To tell you to pay attention to them: the first time your dog did this behavior you probably reacted in some way, so now the dog is trying to get a reaction from you again (positive reinforcement)
  • To tell you they are sorry: some dogs will do this as appealing, they know that it makes you happy when they are around you and petting you, so they are trying to get your attention to make you happy.
  • To tell you that they need something: once again putting a paw on you is simply to get your attention. They know you will react as you have done so in the past and they are trying to get you to react again.
  • To better connect with you: being around your dog makes both of you happier – it releases a bunch of happy chemicals in your brain making you both feel better.