Puppies and adult dogs have their own communication style. If you’re a new dog owner, you may not know what your best friend is trying to tell you. Every dog is different, which includes its own quirks and behaviors. In the case of dog behavior, you might ask questions like, “Why is my dog pawing me?” In fact, your dog’s body language may be trying to tell you something more. Fortunately, we got in touch with the Trupanion veterinarian, Dr. Caroline Wilde put together to learn about the dog’s body language and the benefits of understanding what it really could mean.
The dog owner’s questions answered: Why is my dog pawing me?
Reasons Your Dog Can Paw You
There can be a variety of reasons why your furry friend might attack you. It could be something they want or need, including your attention. Wilde points out several reasons why your dog may paw you down.
- Generally, when a dog is pawing, it is an attention-grabbing behavior for petting, food, water, or playtime.
- You reinforce this behavior. For example, your dog’s paws and you stroke them. The next time your dog wants food, pets, or toys, he’ll be berating you. When they learn that this is how they get what they want, the frequency may increase.
- Pawing is only a problem if it bothers you. First, examine everything to make sure there isn’t a need or medical problem such as an empty bowl of water or a bowl of food to be addressed.
- When there’s no immediate need and your puppy just wants attention, giving in and petting or playing will reinforce the behavior. Consider redirecting their attention or ignoring the behavior that may help reduce the frequency or eliminate undesirable behavior.
If it is not clear whether the paw being held is for attention or because of an injury, talk to your veterinarian. They can examine your dog and recommend the next course of action.
Dog body language
Have you ever looked at your pet and wondered what it was doing? Your dog can use his body to express what he is thinking or feeling.
Of course there is a connection between communication and behavior. It’s also important to look at your dog’s behavior and the context in which he is demonstrating the behavior, says Wilde.
Take into account your surroundings and whether there have been any recent changes such as moving house or introducing new pets or people. Every dog may react differently to changes in their home. You can seek your attention to know that everything is fine.
The Benefits of Understanding Your Dog’s Body Language
You want your dog to be healthy and happy. If you take the time to understand your dog, you may have a better understanding of what he needs or wants.
Most importantly, it can help their overall health and wellbeing.
Wilde explains some of the benefits of understanding your dog’s cues.
“Dogs communicate through their body language. Try to observe your dog’s posture, ear position, jaw tone, and general behavior. It can tell you a lot about what your dog is trying to communicate. Behavior like yawning or a tense jaw can also be signs of fear. Take into account all of the behaviors to determine what they want to tell you. Understanding your dog’s body language can help build the bond you have with your pet. This can also help avoid conflict with other dogs and people. Once you understand that your dog is fearful or anxious, you can take appropriate steps to reduce fear and redirect focus to avoid conflict. ”
The importance of the human-pet bond
There is nothing like the relationship between you and your dog.
The better you understand your dog’s behavior, the closer it can bring you together. Of course, the feeling of camaraderie and togetherness can be beneficial to you and your furry friend.
Stress can affect you and your pets differently. During stressful moments, you may have to rely on your furry friends for help. For example: “Pets can be emotional support during stressful times. The better you understand what your pet is communicating, the stronger the bond and support can be. Pets can also help reduce stress and anxiety and alleviate loneliness, “says Wilde.
While social distancing is in place, an animal’s companionship can be beneficial to your health and general well-being.
Why do my dog paw me: It may depend on the needs and wants of your furry friends
Whether your dog is hungry, wants attention, or wants to bond, there could be a variety of reasons why your dog may attack you. However, if you pay attention to your dog’s behavior, take the time to understand your dog’s personality, and speak to your veterinarian, you may be able to better understand your dog’s communication style for years to come.
What is your dog trying to communicate with you?
To learn more about dog stress, see How to Calm a Dog During a Thunderstorm
About the author
is a digital content writer and publisher for Trupanion. She spends her work day writing for the Trupanion blog. She loves writing about pets, getting inspiration from pets, and luckily hanging out with her rescue dogs all day. In her free time, she enjoys exploring and traveling with her family. Her work has been published on the DOGTV blog, the KitNipBox blog, the Get Your Pet blog and Fansided, among others.