Why does my dog put his paw on me when he sleeps? What to Know

Why Your Dog Puts His Paws on You

There are lots of reasons why your dog may be using his paws to communicate with you, but most of the reasons fall under attention or affection. Dogs that have learned to give their paw as a command may be especially likely to try this technique to get your attention, but any dog might try laying a paw on you to communicate with you. After all, humans and dogs have evolved together for a very long time, and since humans are so hand-centric, it is no surprise that dogs have learned to use their paws to communicate with us.

Why Your Dog Puts a Paw on You When You Pet Him

Some dogs hold your arm or hand while you are petting them, with one or both paws. This can be a return of affection, or your dog may be directing your hand to just where he wants to be scratched. Your dog may hold your hand to his head in an attempt to make the petting go on forever, and many dogs will grab your hand with their paw or even their teeth when you stop petting them and try to drag the hand back to petting.

Dogs are creative communicators who often have hilarious ways of expressing themselves and getting what they want. Your dog may use his paw to ask you to start petting, keep petting, or never stop petting.

Pricked ears, wagging or upheld tail, attentive gaze, relaxed mouth

Dogs that paw at you or hold a paw on you with an attentive gaze, pricked ears, and wagging or upheld tail are looking or engaged or play. Such dogs are also likely to bark, spin in circles, or play bow to make their intentions even clearer. A dog in this state of mind is unlikely to stand still for petting, and it may be difficult to deter her.

What does it mean when my dog puts his paw on me?

Our dogs do a lot of things to communicate with us, but we often have a hard time understanding what they are trying to say. Along with barking at you, pawing at you is among the most common ways your dog might try to communicate with you.

Naturally you ask, what does it mean when a dog puts his paw on me? Well, as with most communication attempts your dog makes, your dog putting a paw on you may mean a range of different things.

To find out what your dog is trying to say, first identify the specific situation and the exact behavior that your dog is displaying. A dog may place his paw or head on you, hold your hand or arm with his paws, or paw actively at you. Each of these behaviors is most likely to be tied to a different communication.