3 Reasons Why Your Dog is Pushing You Away with his Paws

Disclaimer: The content on MyPetChild.com is for informational purpose only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.

Have you noticed that your dog continues to push you away using his paws? For most dog owners, this behavior is not out of the ordinary. There are several different reasons why your dog is using his paws to push you away, and you’ll be surprised at what you will learn about this curious behavior.

1. Your Dog is Seeking Attention

Your dog might be seeking attention and that is why he’s pushing you away with his paws. The main issue is that your dog is smart enough to know that a certain behavior will get a certain response. If your dog wants your attention he will use his paws to push you away. Whether it’s good or bad attention it doesn’t matter to your dog. The only way to stop this attention-seeking behavior is to ignore when your dog is pawing at you or pushing you away.

2. It Could be a Playful or Happy Gesture

A dog pushes you when you give belly rubs, so it could just simply be a playful gesture your dog is exhibiting. There are other signs you want to check for such as if your dog is relaxed and open towards you.

If you notice that your dog is bowing, this is also a sign that he wants to play and is trying to instigate play sessions with you or someone else. His tail might also be wagging and there might be playful barks to also tell you he wants to play.

3. Leaning Could be a Sign of Separation Anxiety

Your dog might be leaning on you or pushing you with his paws because of separation anxiety. Some dogs will try to follow their human everywhere and want constant physical contact. If you leave your dog alone he may experience severe anxiety related to not being around you. There are dogs that simply don’t want their owner out of their sight regardless of the reason.

If you suspect separation anxiety is the issue, you need to talk with your veterinarian to come up with an appropriate course of action. This could be something as simple as consulting with a behaviorist or medication might be required if the situation is severe enough.

How Dogs Use Their Paws to Communicate

Dogs use their paws regularly to communicate and it’s a very important part of the body for your dog. They use their paws to convey wanting attention, wanting to play, and will use their paws if they need to go outside to potty. If your dog is pawing at your leg or arm, this is likely attention-seeking, and if you give in then the dog will continue to do it.

Your dog will know that if he paws your leg you will pet him, and it’s not easy to get him to stop if you give in. The best thing to do is to ignore it and not give into the paw touching as a hint for pets. For your dog, the paws are the key to communicating something to you or someone else. When a dog gets a certain reaction, then he will continue to use his paws in that manner to communicate that same want or need.

Dogs use their paws to tell you they need to go outside because they’ve learned that pawing doors means they will open. Most owners associate door pawing as a sign the dog needs to go outside, and the dog realizes this too. Owners also don’t want their doors scratched up, so opening the door is a good way to stop the damage to the door.

Stories from Dog Owners

Here are some experiences shared by other pet owners when their dogs pushed them away with their paws. You aren’t alone when it comes to experiencing this dog behavior!

Story #1 – Dog Stiff-arms Me

I can usually head over to my dog and give him a belly rub whenever I say a command like “who wants a belly rub”. When do I rub his belly, he occasionally gives me the “stiff-arm”. You will see what I mean if you search up what a stiff arm is in football. I am not sure if I should take this as a sign that he isn’t enjoying a belly rub or if him pushing me away with his paws is just a natural reaction to a dog getting comfortable or wanting to give me better access. Dogs wouldn’t turn over and present their bellies if they didn’t like it right?

Story #2 – Coming Back for Cuddles

My dog is so strange. He will come over to me while I am chilling on the sofa and gives me signs that he wants a nice cuddle. He will, however, push me away with his paws whenever I try to pet him. He will jog off and come back again doing the same thing. I read somewhere that this is a sign of comfort and some dogs may do this because they want to “pet” you back. Is this true?

Story #3 – Happy Dog Pushing Me Away

I have a dog that pushes me away whenever she sits next to me on the couch or chair. This usually happens when I am trying to pet her. She is clearly enjoying herself when she is next to me. She is also quite content to lay by myside getting plenty of affection. If I stop petting her, she will sometimes try to nudge me to pet her again. I don’t think she is pushing me away because she doesn’t want to be touched.


  • Tee | 15/09/2022

    What is wrong with you?! If your dog is asking for attention, pet him/her!

  • Ebony | 28/12/2022

    My dog put her paw on my arm and push my arm away from tobacco, this is happen alot today, when I try roll up tobacco. Is she telling me to stop smoking?

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