Why is my dog pawing at me all the time? Are you the problem?

When I first had a dog, I was a complete newbie to caring for him, as I never had one before.

Safe to say, I probably made a lot of mistakes and also did not understand dog behavior well enough to understand him.

As he grew, I noticed that he started to paw at me frequently, not in an aggressive way, but it was often enough that I felt maybe I should look into it.

After consulting with a few of my friends who owned dogs, one of which worked in a dog training school previously, I think I have some answers.

If you are facing something similar, you will want to read on to find why your dog is pawing at you. You might learn something new and surprising.

why is my dog pawing at me

Having a dog does miracles to our mood. They lift our spirits up and bring happiness to us. But what do we know about them? Are they happy? Do they feel loved? And do they love you back?

Next time you play with you doggie, especially when you stroke it, pay attention to how it behaves.

You might notice that it is pawing at you, and that is a display of its emotion. You see, dogs use their paws to communicate, having lived with humans for thousands of years, and they have the intelligence to evolve and learn.

This sign of communication is very powerful, and pawing basically tells you one thing: “I need attention!”.

Ever since we bred dogs to become our best friends, we have also showered them with lots of love and attention.

So when you find yourself busy with a task and maybe not having your eye on your puppy, it may paw at you to seek attention.

This act can also be its way of expressing its affection towards you, telling you “I love you!”.

More often than not, it wants your attention, and likely is a call to start a play session. This is especially true if you have not spent much time with it, so it is telling you that it has needs too, and you should give it some love.

Hungry or thirsty

Another possibility is your dog trying to tell you that it is hungry.

When was the last time you fed it? If it is a growing puppy, are you giving it enough food for its development?

The next time your doggy paws at you, check your watch. You might be surprised how accurate they are at informing you that you missed their feed time!

Also, don’t forget to check they bowl to see if the water supply is enough. It is very important to keep our dogs hydrated, and they will not hesitate to inform you when they are thirsty.

Sometimes though, they develop bad habits such as biting or jumping, which is like a child throwing a tantrum. In such cases, you need to nip the problem in the bud before it turns into something out of hand in future.

That is why starting getting dog training for your best friend is crucial, more so when they are young. If they grow up with these bad habits, they tend to stick and can be a real annoyance for its owner and people around it.


Another possibility is that your dog misbehaved, and they know it. Pawing at you is like their way of owning up, and also telling you that they are sorry and would like your forgiveness.

You know those photos you have probably seen floating online very often, of a cute puppy with their sad eyes looking at you? That’s likely the same situation we are talking about here.

You will need to access the situation to see how to discipline it.

Look out for a similar behaviour though, where you are punishing your dog and it continues to paw at you. That is likely its way of rebelling and showing you that they too have an attitude.

It’s not unlike a teenager fighting back against their mom.

What should you do about your dog pawing at you?

If the action is infrequent, you can probably ignore it.

However, if it develops into something that is too often and possibly bother you, that is a sign that your dog is losing its manners, and you will need to take some corrective action.

The thing is, we might have unknowingly encouraged such behavior, such as reacting when they see us coming home, pawing at us to play with it. This tells them that this behavior is accetable, which leads it to doing it more and more often.

I have received some really good advice, and I found that these 2 are the best that worked for me:

  1. Reverse the action by ignoring your dog when it paws at you. Sit away or move out of reach. Once they stop pawing at you, give it praise or encouragement. This will tell your dog that not pawing is a positive action.
  2. Put more effort into caring for your dog. As discussed above, your dog might be pawing at you for love and attention. We need to then ask ourselves if we are doing enough for it. By making sure that we meet its needs, the pawing action will start to disappear.

Conclusion: Why is my dog pawing at me?

If you think about it, caring for a dog is like caring for a child.

Taking it through its formative years to becoming an adult, there are similarities in the things we see and do.

There are no hard and fast rules to how these things work, but setting the stage right for your puppy can prevent lots of issues from appearing in future.

I did not have much of a budget after getting a dog for professional training, but I made use of the Brain Training for Dogs program to help me out. It was reasonably priced and the best part is it works!

Check it out for yourself or read my review here.