Dog putting paw on persons leg

Why Does My Dog Put Her Paw On Me?

Have you ever been next to your dog and he places his paw on you? Many people have experienced this same thing but not many people know the purpose of it.

Continue to read to find out why your dog does this and what it means.


Just like humans, dogs have a language of their own.  Since they have the inability to talk, motions like this are how they communicate.

The placement of your dog’s paw on you is often referred to as pawing.

A dog will place its paw on you for several different reasons but the most common reason is to gain your attention. Your dog is basically saying “Listen here, I need your attention and I need it now.”

Many dogs will continue to put their paw on you until you recognize what they are doing and respond to them. Dogs thrive on human interactions so if you had a very busy day and your not paying attention to your dog then he may place his paw on you to say “Hey, I’m still here and I want to play”.


Another reason your dog will place his paw on you is to communicate hunger. 

If you feed your dog at the same time every day, then you might find that he will begin to figure this out and place his paw on you at this time.  

As a dog owner, you need to be aware of the amount of food you give to your dog.  Overfeeding your dog can lead to obesity and therefore, health issues. 


By pawing,  your dog may also be telling you that she is stressed. Yes, dogs can become stressed as well.

This may be because your dog is experiencing a change in environment or has recently been scolded. Your dog is basically saying “ I am upset and I need your comfort.”

The best thing to do in this case scenario is to distract your dog by taking her for a walk or playing with him.  Anything that you believe will redirect his attention. 

Alone Time

Pawing can also indicate that your dog wants to have some alone time.

If you are holding your dog and she begins to squirm or try to get out of your grasp then they typically want to be left alone. Another indication of this is when your dog begins to push off with their paw, dogs will escape to a crate or a dog bed to rest by themselves just like how humans enjoy a bit of seclusion.


Finally, (the cutest one of all)  it could simply be your dog is communicating that he loves you. This is basically your dog’s way of petting you just like you would pet them.

dog running with a toy in its mouth

If Pawing Becomes a Nuisance, How Can I Change My Dogs Behavior?

Pawing for attention can move beyond a little issue and become a serious problem, especially if your dog is large. Pawing can cause injuries to a person’s skin and a large pawing dog can push or trip a human, especially a small person like a child or the elderly.

The behavior can be improved with training, though.

  1. If a dog paws for attention, stop what you are doing, look away from the dog or even walk away for 30 seconds. Provide attention only when the dog is calm and his paws are on the ground. If everyone in the household is consistent, the greater chance of success.
  2. During playtime, do not let your dog place his paw on you. Instead, find games such as fetch. Reward your dog for positive behavior by petting him or giving him a treat.
  3. Dogs need exercise. The exact amount of exercise depends on the breed, age, and any physical limitations. Take your dog for a daily walk or jog.
  4. Find other activities to keep your dog occupied. Keep a variety of toys around such as a Kong or interactive dog ball where you can hide a treat, and keep your dog occupied while working towards a goal.


Sometimes, it’s cute when your dog puts his paw on you. Your pup is seeking attention. If you acknowledge him when he does this, he will continue this pawing behavior.

However, it can become a problem. With some positive reinforcement training, this behavior can be changed.


Featured Image Credit -Photo by Daniel Martins on Unsplash

Image Credit of Dog Running- Photo by Matthias Zomer from Pexels