Why do dogs give you the paw without asking? Explained!



Everyone who has been around dogs has noticed this behavior: the infamous pawing.


Dogs can kick you for a variety of reasons and it’s not always what you might think at first.


Some find this behavior extremely cute and even introduce the classic “shake” or “kick” as a command.

Others don’t like Muddy Paws meddling in their business, especially if served with a slap to the face.

But what really baffles some dog owners is why their dogs offer their paws without being asked.

The truth is that your dog would love to communicate with you.

Why do dogs give you the paw without asking?

Dogs often give their paw without asking because they are seeking attention, wanting to start a play session, showing affection, or simply trying to apologize, all of which will be accompanied by appropriate body language.

If your dog gives you the paw because he is seeking attention, then a basic acknowledgment is what your dog might settle for.

However, with attention seeking behavior, it doesn’t stop there. Your dog probably wants you to interact with him.

If your dog hasn’t been physically and mentally exercised that day, you may want to give in to your dog’s silent cry of entertainment.

The tricolor dog waves his paw as he sits on a rock in front of a lake.
Photo by Enna8982 from Shutterstock

However, if the behavior becomes a well-established pattern, you can simply try to ignore it.

The same goes for reasons like starting a game session if you don’t have time.

Attention seekers don’t always want to play games. But they do most of the time.

My Rottweiler loves to give his paw to anyone who asks and is in great demand to play with.

Since she’s super chill about it, I have no problem giving in to her wish.

It is up to you whether or not it is okay with your dog pawing for attention.

Have you ever thought about the fact that a soft paw is your dog’s way of showing affection?

It’s true, sometimes your pup seems to have it all and still makes that intense eye contact with a paw gently placed on your knee.

This often goes hand in hand with attention seeking.

My Rottie does it every time when he sets a paw down and at first recognition he will slide next to me or into my lap.

Close-up of dog's black paw pads with dog lying on its side in the background.
Photo by Reddogs from Shutterstock

If you have scolded your dog or are angry with him, you may see an apology paw.

While the other legs are accompanied by a relaxed or even tense ready-to-play stance, this one is definitely not.

The apologetic paw comes in a pack with flattened ears, a tail that wags low, and maybe even licking or avoiding eye contact.

If it becomes excessive, you can also ignore the behavior, but don’t punish your dog for something that already happened.

Dogs that have gotten to that point are just making a peace offering, and usually that will settle the matter.

Why does my dog ​​want me to hold his paw?

Dogs may want you to hold their paw to seek comfort, show affection, or apologize. In other cases, holding your dog’s paw may be a learned behavior pattern.

As mentioned above, holding your dog’s paw can be an attention seeking behavior and since attention can be positive reinforcement, dogs may love the fact that we’re holding their paw just for comfort.

This can happen in situations where your dog is really uncomfortable and runs up to you and sticks out his paw for you to hold.

Kicking can also be done quickly if your dog is trying to signal that the situation may be a bit overwhelming for your dog.

Amalia often hits me with her bear paw and then does nothing but look at me.

While I’m sure it’s partly basic comfort (even for her as an overconfident girl), there’s another component.

It’s almost like my dog ​​is trying to comfort me (ie, showing affection). What can I say, it works quite often.

Dogs may also want you to gently hold their paw in an effort to make something up, as direct contact could confirm that the bond is still intact.

The last reason your dog wants you to hold his paw may have to do with learned behavior.

If you have a command like “shake,” “(give) paw,” or even “sit good” where your dog will extend both paws, you may be engaging in this behavior even if you didn’t ask.

I’m sure that’s the psychological motivation behind my dog’s paws at times.

Before allowing him to run off leash or gobble up his food, I often give a couple of commands and “paw” is one of them.

Simply put, your dog may assume that behaviors that were positively rewarded in the past will be rewarded again.

If you reward that behavior (through food, pets, or even just attention), it simply confirms that your impulse was correct.

Why do dogs raise their paws when petted?

Dogs may raise their paw when petted to reciprocate your affection, and physical contact indicates that your dog enjoys the pet.

However, more aggressive petting could also indicate that the dog wants you to stop, sort of like pulling a hand away.

If you think about it, dogs have come an incredibly long way in reading our body language and some might have figured out that this is a way of telling people to stop petting them if it helped them in the past.

Why does my dog ​​wrap his paws around my arm?

This one is quite funny since my dog ​​also displays this behavior.

Just wave your hand a certain way directly in front of my dog ​​and she’ll jump up and wrap both paws around your arm.

Why is he doing that?

I can only assume it’s learned behavior because we have a “sit tight” command and the reactions he gets when he looks like an adorable 100 pound bear cub might just be what he’s looking for.

Sometimes dogs will wrap both paws around your arm as a way to “lock” you in place so they can start grooming.

As long as your dog wraps his paws around your arm, you should be fine. Once they grab your arm in their mouth, that’s when you know something might have gone wrong.

Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for veterinary care and is not intended to be. I am not a veterinarian or a pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any signs of illness, call your vet.



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