All about dog training

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

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Most dog owners have experienced their dog putting their paw on them or pawing them when they are busy doing something.

If you ignore the dog then he may put his paws on you, jump up or even whimper or bark.

But what does it mean when a dog puts his paws on you? 

The prime reason for a dog to put his paws on you is attention getting. By touching you with his paw your dog is trying to attract your attention from whatever you are doing and is seeking to remind you that he is there. The most common time for a dog to put his paw on you is when you are eating, as opposed to him asking for food, he is telling you that he is there in the hope that you will feed him.

What does it mean when a dog constantly paws at you?

Your dog is simply trying to communicate with you and you haven’t been responding, so he constantly paws at you to get your response.

It’s a bit like a child that is pestering it’s parents for something when the parents are ignoring the child. The child goes on and on and on, until they get a response – positive or not and, having got a response the child becomes an attention getter.

If you ignore your dog he will simply try other things to get your attention.

what does it mean when a dog puts his paw on you

Why does my dog paw at me when I stop petting him?

Probably because he was enjoying the attention and he wants you to continue. 

He is simply saying ‘that was good, please carry on’.

If you carry on stroking him after he has pawed you then he is more likely to paw you again as he realises that this gets a response from you.

Should I ignore my dog when he paws me?

Dogs can be really persistent – the old saying ‘like a dog with a bone’ can be very true when your dog wants your attention.

If you choose to ignore your dog then he will probably try other tactics which could include barking, jumping on you or disappearing before coming back with one of your belongings in his mouth.

When it comes to attention seeking, dogs are just like young children, if one thing fails then they gradually work their way through the attention seeking checklist until they get some sort of a response.

Will my dog put his paw on me when he wants to go out?

A housetrained dog will often sit by the exterior door when he needs to go outside. This may be accompanied by whimpering, crying or pacing backwards and forwards until he is let out.

If you do not respond to your dog’s requests to go out then he’ll probably come to where you are and try to attract your attention – as he needs to go out and you are not responding.

Some dogs may trot backwards and forwards, while others may nudge you or paw you to get attention.

There are also those dogs that will resort to barking.

what does it mean when a dog puts his paw on you

Why does my dog only paw at me?

Perhaps you have a dog that only paws at you while the other family members seem to get away with it.

Well, don’t be offended by this as your dog sees you as the best source of attention.

Often the person that feeds the dog, takes him for nice walks, does the training and spends time doing things that the dog enjoys, is the person that the dog will paw at and try to get attention from.

Sometimes the dog will vary the person that he goes to so, if, at mealtimes you don’t never give food to your dog but your daughter does – then the dog will probably go to your daughter to get her to share.

In her best selling book ‘Inside of a Dog‘ author Alexandra Horowitz talks of an experiment involving dogs, chimpanzees and humans, where the human had food and the other two species were monitored to assess their begging activities.

The dogs outperformed the chimpanzees every time so it is worth remembering that next time your dog begs for food that he is an expert.


Dogs are intelligent, intuitive and clever individuals. Your dog uses his paws along with a whole arsenal of other actions to get your attention and, some dogs will escalate their behaviour until they get a response.

If your dog paws you then he wants attention, he is telling you that you are there. Some people may view this as demanding behaviour, others may consider it as playfulness.

Whatever your view, spend time with your dog and get to know him better.

About the author

Latest posts