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I’m sure you know those moments where you’re just minding your own business and suddenly you’ve got a furry paw asking for your attention.
While it can be really cute at times, a dog who’s constantly pawing to get your attention can quickly get really annoying.
So, in this article we’ll look at how to get a dog to stop pawing.
What does dog pawing mean?
Dogs can paw for a lot of reasons. It’s a really common behavior in dogs. It’s also one of the more annoying ones.
You’ve probably sat around minding your own business, and suddenly there’s a needy little dog pawing at you, asking you to stop what you’re doing to give him some attention.
So why is your dog so needy? And why does he keep pawing at you?
Well, most likely this is behavior that you reinforced! Whether you’ve done it by teaching your dog the “shake trick,” or you’ve just provided attention whenever your dog paws at you, you’ve taught him that this is how he gets what he wants.
Most likely, dog pawing is your dog’s way of demanding your attention—and being pushy about it.
We’ll talk more about the different reasons why dogs paw. We’ll also discuss ways you can help him learn to stop, and ask for attention more politely.
But first, make sure you take a look at these related dog behavior articles:
- Do Dogs Get Cranky When Tired?
- Why Is My Dog Sniffing the Air?
- 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Is So Clingy All of a Sudden
Is pawing a sign of dominance?
Usually, pawing is just your dog’s way of demanding your attention. After all, it’s hard to ignore someone whacking you with their foot. And you may have encouraged it inadvertently, too.
But sometimes, it can be a sign of dominance.
This is rarely the case, but it can happen. When interacting with other dogs, some dogs will put their paw on them. This is a way for the dog to display power over a dog they consider weaker than them.
If you think this might be the case, then your dog will probably show other signs of dominance, too.
This includes barking or baring teeth, growling, resource guarding, and chasing things.
Dominant and aggressive behavior is something you want to curb right away. But it’s important to make sure you train your dog the right way. Doing it wrong could exacerbate these behaviors and make them worse.
For some more information, check out My Dog Gets Aggressive When Tired—What Can I Do? And 6 Signs of an Aggressive Puppy and How to Stop It.
Why is my dog pawing?
Pawing can be really frustrating—it can also be confusing. Why does your dog seem so intent on nagging you like this?
As mentioned, your dog is most likely pawing you because he wants your attention. But there can be other reasons.
Why is my dog pawing at me?
One of the main ways that you interact with your dog is through your hands. You pet him, give him treats, and play with him using your hands.
Your dog is observant! He notices this, and even though he doesn’t have hands, he might think that his paws should work the same way.
He might start demanding your attention in this way because he thinks this is the appropriate way to ask.
It could also be that your dog is trying to get you to play with him, or he’s asking for something like food from you.
In rare cases, he might be pawing at you to show dominance.
But most likely, this is just the way your dog thinks it is appropriate to ask for something.
Why is my dog pawing at the door?
Have you ever noticed your dog pawing at the door? This behavior can be really frustrating for a few reasons. For one thing, it can be very loud! And for another, your dog might be damaging the paint job on the door.
Unfortunately, your dog doesn’t care about the paint on your door. Most likely, he just cares about getting what he wants.
If your dog is pawing at the door, then there’s probably something on the other side of it that he wants. Maybe he’s pawing on the door to your backyard to ask to go outside. Or maybe he’s pawing at your bedroom door because you’re in there and he’s not.
Regardless, it isn’t behavior that you want to encourage.
How to get a dog to stop pawing
Pawing can be cute at first, but it gets annoying fast. Plus, pawing can be damaging to your home depending on what he’s pawing.
It can also potentially be harmful to you or others. Those sharp doggy nails can make some deep scratches if your dog isn’t careful!
If you’re looking for ways to stop your dog from pawing, check out these tips.
1. Figure out why he’s pawing and what he’s pawing at
The first step to solving any problem is to figure out what the problem is in the first place.
Determining what your dog is pawing at will help you figure out what to do next. If your dog is pawing at a door because he wants to go outside, it’s time to teach him a better way to ask.
If your dog is pawing at you for attention, then you’ll need to work on stopping such pushy behavior.
In short: To stop your dog from pawing, first find out why he does it. If he wants attention, it’s best to ignore him. Only pay him attention when he’s not doing it. If he is simply bored, you need to provide more mental stimulation.
2. Only give him attention when he’s not pawing
Positive reinforcement dog training is the best way to go about stopping behavior like this.
While there is a lot to this training method, it basically boils down to ignoring behavior you don’t like and encouraging behavior that you do like.
If your dog is pawing at you for attention, then you need to reinforce better ways to ask. You can do this by making sure that you’re paying a lot of attention to him when he’s not pawing at you.
Throughout your day, make sure to take a few moments to give your dog lots of love if he’s just relaxing by himself. Over time, your dog will learn that he can get your attention just by being calm.
3. Ignore any pawing at you
Just like you need to encourage good behavior, you also need to discourage bad behavior.
Your dog is probably pawing you because he wants attention. If you want to stop this behavior, then the best thing you can do is to refuse to give him any attention.
It can be really difficult to ignore your dog when he keeps hitting you with his feet. But it’s really important that you do! Any attention—even negative attention—is just giving him what he wants.
If you have to walk into another room and shut the door until he’s calmed down, then do that. But don’t give in to the pawing!
4. Provide enough mental stimulation
Sometimes dogs paw because they’re bored. Your dog might be pawing at you as a way of asking you to play a game, or for doing something else he likes.
Boredom can cause many behavioral issues. Luckily, boredom is also a really easy problem to solve!
There are lots of ways you can help your dog stave off boredom. One of the best things to do is to provide him with mental stimulation throughout the day.
Looking for ways to keep your dog mentally stimulated? Make sure you check out these 10 brain games for dogs to play at home.
Mental stimulation can also be a wonderful training tool if used correctly. Check out Braintrainingfordogs to learn how to train your dog to be the best dog he can be by using mental stimulation! Or have a look at Dogpackr’s review first to see if it’s a fit for you and your dog!
Related questions to getting your dog to stop pawing
Why does my dog paw at me when I stop petting him?
It’s happened to all dog owners! You’ve been petting your dog, and once you stop, your pup puts his paw on you.
If your dog is going this, then the most likely reason is that he wants you to keep going. Getting petted feels good! It’s also a good way to help strengthen your bond.
But the last thing you want to do is to teach your dog that pawing is a good way to get affection. If your dog paws at you when you stop petting him, then don’t continue. Instead, wait until he’s settled down before you start petting him again.
How to stop a dog from pawing other dogs
You may have noticed your dog pawing at other dogs during his doggy playdates.
Pawing is a natural behavior, and it’s normal for dogs to paw each other once in a while when they’re playing.
But if your dog is pawing a lot at other dogs or at a specific dog, that could be a sign of dominance behavior.
You might consider a dog like this to be a bully. If you’re looking for ways to stop your dog from bullying other dogs, then check out dog trainer Adrienne Farricelli’s excellent article on the subject.
Dogs do a lot of things that can confuse us humans. They may also show a lot of behavior that we find pretty annoying. Pawing can be one of those behaviors.
If your dog is pawing, then he’s probably doing it for attention. He could also be asking for something like food or to go outside.
Whatever the cause is, excessive pawing does have the potential to be dangerous or harmful. This is especially true if you have a larger dog.
Make sure you use the above tips to train your dog to ask for what he wants in a more respectful way. You’ll be glad you did!