If your dog often nudges you with its paw, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you six common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do about it.

So, why does my dog nudge me with its paw? Possible reasons why your dog nudges you, with its paw, are wanting something from you, learning that the behavior is rewarded, anxiety, affection, or wanting you to pet it.

Your dog might actually be doing it for a number of different reasons and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.

Reasons why your dog nudges you with its paw

Below are a number of possible causes and what would make each of them more likely to be the main cause.

It wants something from you

The cause could be that it wants something from you. It might want to be fed, to get exercise or to have some of your food. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at a certain time such as when you are eating, when you would normally exercise it or when it would normally be fed.

Boredom

The cause might also be that it is bored and looking for a way to stimulate itself. This would be more likely if it is a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise such as a Siberian Husky. It would help to ensure that it is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.

Anxiety

Another possible cause is that it is anxious. This would be more likely if it does it more at a certain time such as when there are noises outside or you are about to leave home. It would also be more likely if it shows signs of being anxious by doing things such as pacing or whining.

It is trying to alert you to something

Another possible cause is that it is trying to alert you to something. This would be more likely if it does it more at a specific time such as when there is a loud noise somewhere. It would also be more likely if it shows unusual body language when it does it such as being highly energetic or growling.

It wants you to pet it

Another possible cause is that it wants you to pet it. This would be more likely if it does it when it is sitting with you and it doesn’t seem to be trying to get you to move.

However, if it does it when you are petting it, the cause could actually be that it wants you to stop petting it. I have written more about why it might put its paw on you when you are petting it here.

Affection

The cause might also be that it is being affectionate. This would be more likely if it does it more when you are sitting with it and it does not show signs of being anxious or wanting you to move.

Things to consider

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

What is different when your dog nudges you with its paw

If your dog does not always nudge you with its paw, it would help to consider what is different when it does it. If it does it more at a certain time, it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it. For example, if it does it at around the same time that you normally walk it, the cause would be more likely to be that it wants you to give it exercise.

What else happened when it first started

If your dog did not always nudge you with its paw, it would also help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be due to a change in its daily routine or something causing it to be anxious.

What body language it shows

It would also help to consider the body language it shows when it does it. If it shows signs of being anxious such as whining or pacing, it would be more likely to be due to something causing it to be anxious. Whereas, if it shows signs of excitement such as wagging its tail, it would be more likely that it is trying to get you to exercise it or feed it.

What to do about your dog nudging you with its paw

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

Give it a routine to get used to

Since it could be the case that it has been doing it to try to remind you about something, it could also help to try to get it used to a certain schedule. If it knows when it can expect to get things such as food or a walk, it could make it less likely to try to remind you to give it food or a walk.

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

It would also help to limit possible reasons why it might be anxious by doing things such as ensuring that it can pee, eat and get exercise before leaving it for long time periods. 

Don’t encourage it

It could be the case that your dog has learned that nudging you with its paw results in it getting rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to avoid rewarding it, with things such as extra attention, 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.