Dogs can speak volumes with their body language.
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering why your adorable pooch paws at you from time to time, it turns out that there are a few possible explanations for what they could be trying to say.
“Dogs use their paws to communicate,” Rebecca Forrest, an assistance dog trainer, wrote in a post for The Dog Clinic, an informative website for dog owners (reported by Southern Living). Forrest went on to add that in order to figure out exactly what your dog is getting at, you’ll have to use some context clues.
One possible explanation? They want attention.
“Dogs thrive on human companionship. We’ve bred them to be dependent on us for everything – including fun and social interaction – so they aren’t shy about letting us know they’re feeling neglected,” Forrest wrote, adding that other reasons for a dog putting their paws on you could be that they’re feeling hungry or insecure.
“A raised paw in dog language can signal your dog is feeling stressed,” Forrest continued, noting that if your canine is exhibiting other signs of stress, like flattening their ears or smacking their lips, the best thing to do is to “stay positive and try to distract him from what he is thinking about.”
However, there is another explanation — and its the sweetest of them all.
If your dog starts pawing you while you’re already showing them some love, it could be their way of returning the favor!
“By putting his paw on you whilst you are stroking him, he is further extending contact and reciprocating affection back,” Forrest wrote.
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Cats have been known to exhibit a similar behavior, called kneading.
Although scientists haven’t quite been able to pinpoint exactly why felines do this, Live Science pointed out that one of the leading hypotheses is that it’s a way for them to show humans they’re happy.
“In adulthood, a cat supposedly will knead when it’s feeling happy or content because it associates the motion with the comforts of nursing and its mother,” the outlet noted.