If your dog won’t let you touch its paws, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you five common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why won’t my dog let me touch his paws? Possible reasons why your dog will not let you touch its paws are injury, intimidation, bad previous experiences, or nature.

It is possible that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.

Why won’t my dog let me touch its paws?

Below are five common causes and what would make each of them more likely. 

Injury

The cause could be that it has injured its paws and it does not want you to touch them because it hurts. This would be more likely if your dog has started doing it suddenly and it has been showing other signs of being injured such as limping. In this case, it would help to take it to a vet. 

Intimidation

The cause could also be that it becomes intimidated. It might be intimidated because of the way you approach it, how loud you are or how aggressively you touch its paws. Instead, it would help to be gentle with it and to be calm around it. 

Previous experiences

The cause could also be that someone mistreated it in the past, causing it to not like allowing people to touch its paws anymore. This would be more likely if you adopted it as an adult. 


It might also be the case that you hurt its paw when you touched it before and now it does not want you to touch it again. This would be more likely if it stopped letting you touch its paw suddenly after you hurt it.

Encouraging the behavior

The cause could also be that it has learned that it gets rewards when it does not let you touch its paws. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it does not let you touch its paws, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. 

Nature

Some dogs just do not like being touched and it could be the case that yours does not like it naturally. This would be more likely if it has always not wanted you to touch its paws.

Things to consider

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

What else happened when it first started doing it

If your dog did let you touch its paws before, it would help to consider what else happened when it stopped letting you touch them. If it stopped letting you touch them suddenly, it could be because it injured its paws or because you hurt it when you touched its paws. 

What is different when your dog does let you touch its paws

If your dog does let you touch its paws sometimes, it would help to consider what is different when it does let you touch its paws. For example, if it does not let you do it when you approach it in a certain way, it might be because it is intimidated. 

Its age

It would also help to consider how old your dog is. If it is a puppy, it would be more likely that it does it due to being intimidated or not understanding what you are doing. Whereas, if it is an adult, it would be more likely to be due to past experiences. 

What to do about your dog not letting you touch its paws

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior. 

Get help

If your dog has started doing it suddenly and it has been showing signs of being injured, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By taking it to a vet, you should be able to rule out medical causes and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it could be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does let you touch its paws and to avoid rewarding it when it does not. 

Positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging the behaviors you want to see by rewarding your dog when it shows signs of displaying them. To use it to get your dog to let you touch its paws, you would make it seem like you want to touch its paws and reward it if it does not flinch, then gradually build up to actually touching its paws. 

Be careful

Often, dogs will behave more aggressively when they are intimidated. If it does not like having its paws touched, it would also be important to be careful when trying to touch its paws.

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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.