Why Do Golden Retrievers Put Their Paw on You?

Golden retrievers, just like any other dog breed, ‘speak’ through growls and barks. When they want something from you or wish to get your attention, they often do it through sounds.

They are also known for communicating largely through their body language, including gestures and facial cues. As a pet owner, it is essential for you to be able to read and understand what your little furry friend is trying to say or tell you.

However, golden retrievers might display certain behaviors that are hard to decipher. For instance, has it ever happened that your golden retriever began to paw you incessantly while you were working or eating? You must have wondered then, why do golden retrievers put their paw on you?

While most dogs of this breed love to paw their owners, there are several reasons as to why your pet is touching your arm or leg with its paw.

Why Do Golden Retrievers Put Their Paw on You?

Understanding Why Golden Retrievers Put their Paw on You

We all know that golden retrievers have a tendency to get super excited and enthusiastic, given their utterly playful and spontaneous nature. Their adventurous spirit is one of the main reasons why we love them so much.

Usually, their body language is quite easy to understand, and you know exactly when your furry buddy is happy or sad. And yet many owners get confused when their dog begins to touch their arm and legs with its paws. In most cases, paw-touching behavior is a sign that your dog wants something from you.

However, you’ll be surprised to know that there are many reasons why golden retrievers put their paw on you and this behavior is actually an indication of a lot of things.

They Desire Social Interaction

If your golden retriever paws at you frequently, it can mean that your pet wants to interact with you. By pawing at you, it tries to draw your attention away from what you’re doing and conveys to you that you should focus all your attention on it.

In other words, they probably want you to play with them, talk to them, or simply lay down next to them.

You Have Something They Want

Most dogs love playing with toys, be it a tennis ball, a stuffed animal or a Frisbee. If your pet golden retriever is pawing at you, it could possibly mean that you are holding either of those things and they want you to give it to them.

It could also mean that they know where their toy is, but they are unable to access it because it is probably out of their reach. By pawing you, they are trying to tell you to fetch the toy for them, and perhaps even play with it.

They Want to Eat What You Are Eating

One of the most notable characteristics of golden retrievers is that they eat anything and everything! Perhaps, that is one of the reasons why many pet owners described them as a “food-motivated breed.”

If you notice that your pet dog is touching your arm with its paw while you are having dinner or eating something, it is possible that they also want to chew on what you are eating.

It can also be an indication that they are hungry and they want you to feed them something since you are eating in front of them.

They Wish to Be Petted

All dogs crave human love and attention from their owners, and they enjoy it the most when their owners pat them, ruffle their fur, and stroke them affectionately. They signal this need primarily through behavioral cues.

Golden retrievers put their paws on you when they wish to be petted by you. You’ll probably notice this behavior the most when you are busy or working at your desk, and your pet dog paws you on your arm or your leg. It is their way of asking for your warmth and affection, and we think that it is incredibly adorable!

They’re Seeking Your Assistance

One of the most common reasons for dogs to paw you is that they want your help with something. There are times when your golden retriever might be playing with its favorite toy, such as a tennis ball, and the toy gets stuck somewhere.

By touching your arm with its paws, your dog is trying to seek your assistance in order to help it fetch the tennis ball.

Or at other times, your dog might paw you because it wants to go out for a walk and needs your help with that. Dogs love taking strolls, especially in parks and gardens, and they enjoy it the most when their owners walk with them.

They Want to Apologize

Dogs tend to communicate in the strangest, yet the most fascinating ways possible. Just like you can tell when your golden retriever might be upset or happy, they can also understand human emotions, and they can tell if you are mad at them for something unpleasant that they did.

One reason why golden retrievers put their paw on you is that they wish to apologize to you. Touching your arm or leg with their paws is their way of showing you love and warmth and telling you that they are sorry.

They Want to Be Rewarded

Interestingly, one reason why golden retrievers put their paw on you is that they want you to reward them. When your dog paws at you, it is expecting you to leave everything that you are doing and look at them, focus your attention towards them or pet them.

When you do either of those things, they feel rewarded, and it is a source of immense gratification for them.

Is Excessive Dog-Pawing Worrisome?

It is really cute and adorable when golden retrievers put their paws on you to get your attention or to apologize to you. Your heart probably melts at the very sight, and you can’t help but pet them or stroke their hair.

Dog-pawing is a completely natural behavioral trait, and all dogs do it, but if your golden retriever is pawing at you a little too much, it is time for you to deal with such behavior. It is extremely important to make sure that it doesn’t get out of hand.

A Sign of Dominance

Dig pawing is only sweet when they do it as a means of communication, to show you love, and to ask for your affection. However, there might come a time when you don’t respond to them, and they keep touching your arm or leg with their paws until you actually do what they want you to do.

This is a sign of dominant behavior that can often get out of hand. Pawing becomes problematic when your golden retriever begins to paw all over you and thinks that it is in charge.

It Can Be Dangerous

If your golden retriever is old and has big paws, this habit can quickly transform from cute to dangerous. A dog with a big claw can potentially hurt you by ripping at your clothes or scratching your skin.

This can be particularly risky if you have a baby or a little kid in the house. It is important that your dog’s nails are always groomed so that they can’t hurt anyone even with mild pawing.

They Might Paw at Guests or Kids

Excessive dog-pawing can often result in your pet pawing at guests and strangers. While others may find it cute initially, it can turn into quite an annoyance when they don’t respond to the pawing. In the worst case, your dog might end up hurting others in its attempt to get rewarded.

How to Control Dog Pawing Behavior

We know you love your little friend with golden hair to bits, but you must understand that it needs guidance and training when its behavior gets out of hand.

You should always shower your furry buddy with all your love, care, attention, and affection, but there have to be some rules and guidelines that your pet needs to follow.

Acknowledging why golden retrievers put their paw on you is one thing, but as a pet owner, you should also let your pet know that not all behaviors will be always be rewarded. There are some effective ways you can control this behavior and establish an understanding between you and your dog.

  • One great way to control or stop dog pawing is to replace it with some other behavior. The goal here is to come up with a desirable and an appropriate way for your golden retriever to seek your attention. For example, when your dog is pawing at you, you can order it to sit, and when it follows your command, you can reward it with a treat. As a result of this, your dog might paw you once and then sit when it wants something from you.
  • You must let your dog know that pawing will not always be rewarded and that it will not always get them what they want. So, if your pet paws too much, you can choose to ignore it sometimes or just walk away. This will make the dog understand that you can’t fulfill its wishes at the given time.

Our Final Thoughts

Now that you know the answer to why do golden retrievers put their paw on you, it is vital that as a pet owner, you establish some ground rules and maintain a happy and healthy relationship with your furry companion!

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