If your dog has been holding your hand, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do if you want your dog to stop holding your hand.

So, why does my dog hold my hand? Possible reasons why your dog holds your hand are that it wants something from you, it is anxious, it is trying to tell you something, or that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded.

There are multiple reasons why your dog might have been holding your hand and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.

Reasons why your dog holds your hand

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog holds your hand and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

Anxiety

The reason why your dog does it could be that something has been causing it to feel anxious. This would be more likely if your dog puts its hand on yours more at around the same time that something might be causing it to be anxious such as when there is thunder outside. If your dog tends to do it at around the same time that you normally leave home, it would be more likely that it is doing it due to separation anxiety.

It wants something from you

Another possible cause is that your dog wants something from you. This would be more likely if your dog puts its hand on you when you are eating or if it does it at around the same time that you would normally give it things such as food or exercise.

Boredom

Another possible cause is that your dog is bored and it is trying to tell you to give it exercise. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it more at around the same time that you would normally give it exercise and it does it less after getting exercise.

Rewarding the behavior

Another possible cause is that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as treats, toys, or extra attention, when your dog puts its paw on your hand, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

It is trying to tell you something

Another possible cause is that your dog is trying to alert you to something. This would be more likely if your dog does it more at a certain time such as when there is an unusual noise occurring and if it shows abnormal body language such as being very energetic.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

If your dog always held your hand

If your dog did not always hold your hand, it would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as a change in its daily routine causing it to be trying to remind you to feed it or to give it exercise, something might have caused it to start being anxious, or it might have learned that the behavior is rewarded.

What is different when your dog doesn’t hold your hand

If your dog tends to do it more at a certain time, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing. For example, if it does it more at around the same time that you would normally feed it or when it has not been fed in a while, it would be more likely that it is trying to get you to give it food.

The body language it shows

It would also help to consider the body language your dog shows when it does it. If it shows signs of being excited, such as wagging its tail and having its tongue out, it would be more likely that your dog is doing it because it is trying to get you to give it food or exercise. Whereas, if it shows signs of being anxious such as hiding its tail, whining, or hiding its lips, it would be more likely to be due to something causing it to be anxious.

What to do about your dog holding your hand

Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop holding your hand.

Give it a daily routine to get used to

If your dog has started doing it since it started getting fed or exercised at random times, it could help to start feeding it at a certain time and exercising it at a certain time daily. Doing this should help to get your dog to know when it can expect to be fed or exercised so it will be less likely to try to make you to give it food or exercise at random times.

Deal with any reasons why it might be anxious

If your dog seems to be doing it due to being anxious, it would also help to try to deal with any reasons why it might be being anxious. Things to do could include, letting it stay in a quieter room, or feeding it, exercising it, and letting it pee before being left alone.

Avoid rewarding it

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to avoid giving it food or other rewards when it does not.

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Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.