If your dog has been putting its paw on your hand a lot, 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 to get your dog to stop doing it.
So, why does my dog put its paw on my hand? Possible reasons why your dog has been putting its paw on your hand are that it is trying to get your attention, it wants something from you such as food or that it is trying to get you to do something.
Since there are a number of possible reasons why it has been putting its paw on your hand, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become a lot easier to figure out what to do about it.
Why your dog puts its paw on your hand
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been putting its paw on your hand and what would make them more likely.
It is trying to get attention from you
The cause could be that it is trying to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you have not been petting it, when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it.
It wants something from you
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.
The behavior is rewarded
The cause could also be that it has learned that it gets rewards for putting its paw on your hand. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats, food or extra attention, when it puts its paw on your hand, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
It wants you to pet it or 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 you to stop petting it
On the other hand, it might also be the case that it does it because it wants you to stop petting it. This would be more likely if your dog puts its paw on your hand when you are petting it and if it shows signs of discomfort such as pulling away from you, not wagging its tail or being stiff.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started putting its paw on your hand
It would help to consider whether or not your dog has always put its paw on your hand or if it has started doing it suddenly. If your dog has started doing it suddenly then it would be more likely that an event caused it to start doing it.
If your dog 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.
What is different when it does it
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that your dog tends to do put its paw on your hand 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 put its paw on your hand 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.
What body language it shows
It would also help to consider the other body language signs your dog shows when it puts its paw on your hand.
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.
What to do about your dog putting its paw on your hand
If you want it to stop putting its paw on you, below are some options you have.
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 rewarding the behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that your dog has learned that putting its paw on your hand results in it getting rewards. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it is behaving the way you want and to avoid giving it rewards when it puts its paw on your hand. Doing so, should help to teach it that behaving the way you want it to will result in it getting rewards but behaving in a different way will not.
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