Do you sit on the couch and your doggie comes up and puts a paw on your lap? Do you pet your pet who almost immediately puts a paw on your hand? There are reasons for this behavior! Find out why the dog is putting its paws on you and what it means to tell you!
This is not domination!
There is still a belief among some dog keepers that a domestic quadruped wants to show its superiority to humans through various gestures and behaviors. One such signal would be that the dog is putting a paw on the person’s lap or hands. After all, we can often observe how two dogs meeting for the first time try to put a paw on the back of another pet, who is not at all happy about it …
Fortunately, the latest research and observations on the dog’s relationship with humans show that pets do not want to „dominate” their owners. They also do not want to take over power in the family, let alone provoke fights with people for „leadership”! You do not believe? Look at your pooch’s face as he puts his paw on your lap. The lowered ears and the begging gaze have nothing to do with threatening conflict vision! However, the fact is that the dog puts a paw on you, wanting to communicate something to you …
Why does the dog put a paw on a person?
Nudging a human with a paw, putting it on someone’s lap or throwing a paw over a human hand is a gesture that every dog handler has encountered. Depending on the context and the dog’s body language, it can have different meanings. Here are some of them!
Request for attention
Dogs know that putting a paw on a person’s lap is a great way to get attention. And rightly so – hardly any dog lover will ignore such an attack! A paw strike can be an incentive to play, a request for strokes, a snack, support in a stressful moment or even help in removing a beloved toy from under the cupboard. How do you know what the pooch is asking us for? An attentive caregiver will easily deduce this from the context. If the pooch hits us with his paws during our meal and looks at us hypnotically, he probably wants to beg some food from us in this way. Eyes wide open, ears lying flat, and signs of stress will all indicate that a paw patter is a plea for your support and comfort. A happy face and a swollen tail accompanying such a gesture may mean an encouragement to play.
The need for closeness
A doggy who puts a paw on your hand or knee while you stroke it wants to show that it enjoys your touch. This way, your dog’s contact with you is even closer! In these situations, the dog will put a paw on your hand to show you its sympathy … and to make sure you don’t stop petting it. Dogs can also rest their paws on our hands while stroking. This way, it is easier for them to hold the position longer by lying on their back and exposing their stomach.
How do we react when the dog puts a paw on our lap?
It’s not a good idea to ignore the dog’s messages, let alone punish your pet for trying to tell us something. Therefore, if a quadruped puts a paw on our knee, we should react somehow. Of course, we are not always able and we should not always fulfill the requests of our ward … Especially if in this way he wants to force a piece of cutlet from us! In such moments, we should show the dog that patting us with its paws will do nothing and, for example, send the pet to the lair. However, if placing a paw on our knee is related to the need for closeness or looking for support, we should take a moment to the pet and stroke or calm it down.