If your dog places its paw on you when you sit down, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do about it.
So, why does my dog place its paw on me when I sit down? Possible reasons are that it wants attention, food or exercise, it might be feeling anxious or it could be that you have inadvertently rewarded the behavior.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why it might be doing it. Depending on the cause, there are also a number of things that you can do to get it to stop.
Why your dog puts its paw on you when you sit down
Each of the different reasons that your dog puts its paw on you when you sit down will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your dog might do it and what would make them more likely.
It wants attention
The reason that your dog puts its paw on you could be that it wants attention from you. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not given it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
You have inadvertently rewarded it for doing it
It could also be the case that you have inadvertently trained it to put its paw on you when you are sat down. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things that it wants, when it does it, such as attention, toys or treats.
It wants food
It is very common for dogs to put their paws on people when they are eating. If it tends to do it when you are eating then it is likely that it wants to get food from you. This would be more likely if you have given it some of your food in the past.
It’s feeling anxious
It could be the case that it puts its paw on you, when you’re sitting, because it is feeling anxious. This would be more likely to be the reason if it does it when it is more likely to be feeling anxious such as when there are construction works going on, there are people outside or there is thunder and lightning. It would also be more likely if it shows signs of being anxious such as pacing or crying.
It wants exercise
The reason that it does it might be that it wants you to give it exercise. This would be more likely if it tends to put its paw on you when you have not given it much exercise and if it does it when it would normally get exercise.
Things to consider
Below, I will mention some particularly helpful things to consider when trying to figure out why your dog puts its paw on you. Once you have a better idea of the cause it will be easier to take the appropriate action.
When it first started doing it
It would help to consider the timing of when your dog first started putting its paw on you. It could be that there was an event that triggered your dog to start doing it.
Some things that might have happened could include:
- You started feeding or walking it at different times
- You fed it once when it put its paw on you
- You gave it more attention when it put its paw on you
When it does it
The timing of when it does it would also be helpful to consider.
If it tends to put its paw on you when you are eating then it would make it very likely that it does it because it wants food. Whereas, if it tends to do it more when you have not given it much attention then it might be looking for attention or exercise.
How to get your dog to stop putting its paw on you
There are a number of things that you can do about your dog putting its paw on you. The best option for your dog will largely depend on the cause of it doing it.
Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do about it.
Avoid rewarding it
As mentioned above, it is likely to be the case that it does it because it has learned that putting its paw on you will get it things that it wants. Instead of feeding it, giving it treats or giving it attention when it does it, reward it when it is being well behaved and avoid rewarding it when it does it.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you reward your dog for showing the behaviors that you want.
To use positive reinforcement training to get your dog to stop pawing you, you would do something such as:
- Stop giving it attention when it puts its paw on you leaving the room temporarily if necessary
- After waiting for a few moments start giving it attention and a treat if it doesn’t paw you when it normally would
- If it does paw you then stop giving it attention again
- Repeat the above until it learns not to put its paw on you
Give it attention
Since it might be doing it because it wants attention from you it would help to give it attention throughout the day. You can give it attention by training it, walking it or playing with it.
Give it exercise
If your dog is not currently getting much exercise then it would help to make sure that it does. You can give it exercise by walking it, playing fetch with it or having a dog walker do it for you.
If it is getting exercise but it is an active breed then it might help to wear it out even more by getting it to play fetch.
It is important to be consistent when you are training your dog to behave the way that you want it to. It won’t always be the case that you will be successful in every training session.
However, if you stick with it over the course of weeks and months then you will be able to get very good results.
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