If your dog keeps rests its paw on you 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 it to stop.
So, why does my dog rest its paw on me? Possible reasons why your dog rests its paw on you are that it wants something from you, it has learned that the behavior is rewarded, something is causing it to be anxious or that it is trying to alert you to something.
Since there are actually a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get it to stop.
Reasons why your dog rests its paw on you
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog does it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
It wants something
The reason why it has been doing it might be because it wants something from you. It could be the case that it wants things such as to get a walk, to get fed or to go outside to pee. This would be more likely if it does it more at a certain time, such as when you would typically feed it, walk it or let it out to pee and if it stops doing it afterward.
Most dog breeds are meant to get daily exercise. It could be the case that your dog has been resting its paw on you due to being understimulated and wanting to get exercise. This would be more likely if it does it more at around the same time that you would normally give it exercise and if it stops doing it after getting exercise.
It would help to ensure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.
It could also be the case that your dog has learned that it gets rewards for putting its paw on you. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats, or extra attention, when it rests its paw on you, it will likely continue doing it in order to get more rewards.
Another possible cause could be that it is feeling insecure. This would be more likely if it does it at times where it might be feeling insecure such as when there is thunder and lightning, sirens, or construction works.
It might also be the case that it has been doing it due to having some separation anxiety. Having separation anxiety would be more likely if it tends to do it more at around the same time that you usually leave home and if it starts showing other signs of being anxious.
Trying to tell you something
The cause could also be that your dog is trying to alert you to something such as a noise it hears outside or something such as being in pain. This would be more likely if your dog starts doing it suddenly and if it does not usually put its paw on you.
Things to consider
Below are a number of 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 not always rest its paw on you, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be the case that it learned that the behavior is rewarded, something caused it to start being anxious or a change in its daily routine.
What is different when your dog rests its paw on you
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that your dog tends to do it since the timing could also have something to do with it.
For example, If it does it when you are petting it, the cause might be that it wants you to stop petting it or it might be mirroring your own behavior. I have written more about why your dog might put its paw on you while petting it here.
The body language it shows
It would also help to consider the body language your dog shows, when it does it, since the body language will likely tell you a lot about the main cause.
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, it could be the case that it is doing it to tell you to stop doing something or because it is in pain.
What to do about your dog resting its paw on you
Below are some things you can do when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, your dog might have learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.
Limit reasons why it might be anxious
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it has been doing it due to something causing it to be anxious. It would help to limit possible reasons why it might become anxious. Some things to do could include ensuring that it gets fed, walked and that it can go outside to pee before leaving it for a long time.
Redirect its focus
Another option would be to redirect your dog’s focus when it seems likely to start putting its paw on you. Ways to do so could include giving it a toy or giving it something that it is likely to need, such as to go out to pee if it has not been able to pee for a while.
Give it a daily routine
It could be the case that your dog has been doing it in order to remind you to give it things such as food. In order to prevent this, it could help to feed it and give it exercise at around the same time daily so that it is less likely to try to get you to feed or walk it at random times.