If your Labrador has a habit of putting its paw on you, this post will show you common causes and what you can do about it.
So, why does my Labrador put its paw on me? Possible reasons are that it wants attention, food or exercise, it might have learned that putting its paw on you gets it rewards or it could do it when it is feeling insecure.
Since there are many possible reasons why it might put its paw on you, 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 easier to get it to stop.
Why your Labrador puts its paw on you
Below are some common reasons why Labradors do it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason why your Labrador has been doing it.
It wants attention
The reason why it has been doing it could be that it is trying to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
Instead of rewarding it with attention for putting its paw on you, try to give it attention throughout the day by exercising it, playing with it and training it.
It wants food
The reason why it does it might also be that it wants food. This would be more likely if it does it while you are eating, if you tend to give it food when it does it or if it does it at the same time that you would normally feed it.
It would help to avoid rewarding it with food when it puts its paw on you and to feed it when it is being well behaved.
It wants exercise
Labradors are meant to get daily exercise. When they do not get enough exercise, they will often start behaving abnormally and it might be a part of the reason why yours has been putting its paw on you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it when at around the same time that you would normally take it out for a walk.
It has learned that it gets rewards
It could be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it rewards when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it puts its paw on you, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead of giving it things that it wants when it puts its paw on you, try to use positive reinforcement training to teach it not to do it.
It is feeling insecure
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.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your Labrador has been doing it.
When it started doing it
If your Labrador did not always put its paw on you, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
If it started doing it suddenly then it would help to consider things such as:
- If someone moved away
- If it started when you moved home
- If another pet died
- If your schedule changed
When and where it puts its paw on you
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to put its paw on you since the timing could also have something to do with it.
If it does it when you are eating, it would be very likely that it does it because it wants you to give it some of your food especially if you have done so in the past. Whereas, if it does it when you are sitting down not eating, it would be more likely that it is looking for attention, exercise or to get fed.
How to get your Labrador to stop putting its paw on you
Below are some options that you have when getting your Labrador to stop putting its paw on you.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging your Labrador to behave the way you want by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.
To use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop giving you its paw, you would:
- 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
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have inadvertently trained it to do it. Instead of giving it rewards when it does it, try to reward it when it does not do it and to use positive reinforcement training.
Give it attention
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it does not feel the need as much to get it from you.
You can give it attention by training it, exercising it and playing with it.
As mentioned above, it is important to give your Labrador lots of daily exercise. It is generally recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults.
A particularly good way to wear it out quickly would be to train it to play fetch.
When training your Labrador it is important to be consistent. It is unlikely that you will be able to see drastic results with just one training session. However, if you are consistent with the training, you will be able to see much better results over the course of weeks and months.