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Why does my dog hit me with its paw?

Why does my dog hit me with its paw?

If your dog keeps hitting you with its paw you might want to know why and what you can do about it.

This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my dog hit me with its paw? Possible reasons why your dog hits you with its paw are that it is looking for attention, it wants something like food, you might have rewarded the behavior, it might have been trained to do it in the past or it could be showing affection.

There are actually many different reasons why your dog might hit you with its paw and it could be a combination of different reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason.

Why your dog hits you with its paw

Each of the different reasons why your dog does it will likely come with some clues.

Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.

Previous training

The reason why it does it might be because it was trained to do so in the past. This would be more likely if you adopted your dog or if you got it when it was no longer a puppy.

To get you to stop

If it does it when you are petting it then it might be doing it because it wants you to stop. This would be more likely if it shows signs of discomfort such as pulling away from you, not wagging its tail or being stiff.

It’s copying you

If it hits you with its paw when you are petting it yourself it might be because it is mirroring you. Since you are being affectionate towards it by petting it, your dog might be trying to show that it appreciates it by also petting you.

Related: Why does my dog touch me with its paw?

It wants you to give it something

If it tends to do it more at a certain time then it would be likely that it does it because it wants you to give it something. Things that it might want could be to go for a walk, to have the food you are eating or to get fed.

Rewarding the behavior

If you tend to give it things that it wants when it hits you with its paw then it might have learned to do it more in order to get more rewards. If you want it to stop then it would help to try to avoid rewarding it when it does it and to redirect its focus when it is likely to start doing it.

It wants you to rub its belly

If it does it when you are petting it then it might be because it wants you to rub its belly. This would be more likely if it also rolls onto its back when it does it.

It wants to get you to pet it more

It could be the case that it does it because it wants you to pet it more. This would be more likely if it does it when you stop petting it and if it shows positive signs such as leaning into you, wagging its tail and having a relaxed posture.

Things to consider

Below are some things you can consider when trying to figure out why your dog has been putting its paw on you.

If your dog has always hit you with its paw

It would help to consider whether or not your dog has always done it or if it has started doing it suddenly. If it has started doing it suddenly then it would be more likely that an event caused it to start doing it.

If it did start doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as learning that it gets rewards when it does it or a sudden change in its daily schedule. It would help to consider what else changed when it first started doing it.

Whereas, if it has always done it then it would be more likely to be due to one of the things mentioned above.

When your dog its you with its paw the most

It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to do it more. If there is then it would be more likely that the timing has something to do with it.

For example, if it tends to hit you with its paw at around the same time that you would normally walk it then it would be more likely that it does it to remind you to walk it.

Consider the other body signs it is showing

It would also help to consider the other body language signs your dog shows when it hits you with its paw.

If it is showing other signs of being happy such as leaning into you, wagging its tail and having a relaxed posture then it would be more likely to be doing it for a positive reason.

Whereas, if it shows signs of discomfort like pulling away, being stiff and not wagging its tail then it would be more likely that it wants you to stop.

How to get your dog to stop hitting you with its paw

Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.

Redirect its focus

One option would be to get it to focus on something else when it seems likely to start doing it. By doing so you should be able to get it out of the habit of doing it if it has been doing it for attention.

Avoid negative reinforcement training

As mentioned above, it could be the case that your dog has learned that hitting you with its paw results in it getting rewards. Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it does it and to reward it when it does not do it if you want to get it to stop.

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