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Why Dogs Paw at Their Owners and How to Respond

Discover why dogs use their paws to communicate and show affection. Learn how to respond to this adorable behaviour.

Why does the dog call you with its paw?

Why do dogs paw at their owners? This behaviour is one of the three ways dogs most often interact with the world and is generally not a problem. So, let’s see how and why it happens and when it is necessary to intervene.

How nice is it when dogs call us with their paw? Who among us has never seen a dog give its paw to its human companion to ask for attention, food or even a scratch under the neck? The reasons why dogs engage in this kind of behaviour can have different origins and, in many cases, are perfectly in line with what they do with their style. So, let us see what drives the dog to use its paw in communication and how to behave towards it.

Why does my dog call me with its paw? The dog uses contact to communicate.

Even though dogs do not communicate with us through spoken language, they still have numerous strategies to make themselves understood, one of which is direct body contact. The dog, intent on making itself understood by us, can use three tactics: touching our snout, grabbing us (more or less gently) with its mouth and, indeed, calling us with its paw.

These three specific body parts are those that, more generally, he uses to interact with the world around him. If you propose a new game to your dog, you will notice that (each in his way and with different orders) he will try to grab it with his mouth and move it with his muzzle and paw. The latter strategy, in particular, is often encouraged by us humans, who prefer it to others, primarily when the request for interaction is not addressed to an object but to us.

Dogs have learned how to ask for what they want.

As we know, dogs observe us closely, and from our reactions to their behaviour, they gradually learn how to get what they want. For example, puppies often demand attention from their human companion using their mouths, but this strategy is not much appreciated by us, who generally react annoyed.

Therefore, in search of other methods, dogs try with their snout and often with their paw. This strategy, stimulated by our positive reaction, can become the preferred way to get the last bite of the sandwich, start a game together or initiate a cuddling moment. In addition, the dog may stand beside us and place its paw on our leg to express to its pet mate a need, such as going for a walk.

For this reason, we can say that the use of the paw. However, an innate tool that dogs use from puppyhood, even with their kind, manifests in their relationship with their humans of reference. Especially if they have been successful in the past, more generally, dogs most often display the behaviours that have enabled them to achieve their goals.

What should we do if the dog calls us with his paw?

The main reason why the dog gives you his paw is because you ask him to. Then we all know that there are situations that lead him to make this gesture also independently.
Pawing is a form of communication that the dog uses to get your attention without necessarily barking.

The request that dogs make through their paw is undoubtedly a method that is socially accepted more quickly than the use of, for example, barking. Let us imagine an evening in a restaurant with a dog barking to ask for something instead of a dog who does it by giving us his paws: the annoyance we will notice coming from the neighbouring table is undoubtedly less in the second case.

Let us not forget, however, that what the dog is doing at the moment is manifesting a request to us, and therefore, whether it is appropriate or not, it will be correct to note that it has a need, a want or a desire. If we have just received a delicious dish and the dog knows he will get a bite, it is natural to feel his paw from under the table.

Regardless of the environment, if, on the other hand, the behaviour does not stop and becomes continuous like an obsession, it will be best to seek professional help. If the dog is a puppy, you can call a dog trainer, whereas if it is an adult and the behaviour has been manifested for years, it is better to contact a trainer.

Together, you will embark on a path to give the dog more communicative alternatives or, if necessary, more autonomy and security so that there is no longer such a dependency that requests cannot be interrupted.

There are a few reasons why a dog might call you with its paw. One possibility is that the dog is trying to get your attention. This is especially common if the dog is trying to tell you something, such as that they need to go to the bathroom or are hungry. Another possibility is that the dog is trying to be affectionate. Dogs often use their paws to touch and groom each other, so pawing at you could be a way of showing their love. Finally, it’s also possible that the dog is simply trying to play. Pawing at you could be a way of initiating a game of fetch or tug-of-war.

Here are some of the most common reasons why dogs call you with their paws:

  • To get your attention. Dogs are social animals, and they love to be around their people. If your dog paws at you, it’s a good sign that they want to interact with you. They may be trying to tell you something, such as that they need to go to the bathroom or that they’re hungry.
  • To be affectionate. Dogs often use their paws to touch and groom each other, so pawing at you could be a way of showing their love. They may also be trying to get you to pet them.
  • To play. Dogs love to play and often use their paws to initiate a game of fetch or tug-of-war. If your dog paws at you, they may try to get you to play with them.

Paying attention to the context is essential if your dog paws at you. If your dog is pawing at you in a way that seems demanding or aggressive, it’s best to ignore them. However, if your dog is pawing at you in a friendly or playful way, it’s magnificent to interact with them. Just be sure to give them plenty of love and attention!

Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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