Have you ever wondered how dogs understand whatever we tell them? They respond well to commands like “sit”, “lie down”, “quiet” and others. How? How do they understand human language? Isn’t it interesting? Have you ever wondered how dogs communicate? You might have noticed them bark, wag their tails, lick other dogs or people and use their paws to communicate. These are usually the most common ways of communication you might have observed. Dog owners generally know how to read their dogs’ reactions and expressions and thus can communicate with them easily. This is because they train the dogs to respond to certain signs and actions just like how parents teach their children new languages. Dogs have completely different expressions for a huge number of emotions which include anger, love, playfulness, aggression, and hunger among many others. Hey you! Reader! Yes, you! I’m sure you are a dog owner, why would you be reading this article otherwise? I’ve a little activity for you. Why don’t you try to recall the expressions your doggo has, for the above mentioned emotions? I’m sure it’ll be fun. Also, read on to know more about why dogs paw other dogs or even people and what they’re trying to communicate through pawing.
Reasons for this Behavior:
Attention Seeking –
Who doesn’t seek attention? Be it a kid who’s jealous that his/her sibling is getting more attention, or your clingy girlfriend/boyfriend (not categorising people here, chill, XD), or your friends who will kill you if you ignore them or even you; everybody seeks attention. Dogs aren’t any different in this aspect. You might have noticed them pawing you and if you don’t give them a nice belly rub or a face rub, they will definitely get your attention by starting to lick your face or trying to jump over you. How adorable?! (Well, for some people). Dogs try to seek attention when they feel like they’re being ignored, or if there is a new dog in the house (yeah, jealousy!), or if they want some love. They aren’t as busy as we are. They only eat, sleep, poop, paw and repeat.
Dogs paw their owners when they’re hungry and they want to be fed. They generally are considered to be perennially hungry creatures. Why? Well, they start to communicate about their hunger just when they are starting to get hungry. Which is usually just after the meal they had literally 2 seconds ago. They keep pawing and if they are being ignored, they start to get hysterical and get hyper and can’t sit idle in one place. Oh, by the way, I can see your doggo pawing you, go give him some good food and a nice belly rub! Make sure to not overfeed the dog though! Yes, overfeeding is a problem. Make sure to take your baby to the vet regularly to check that your favourite family member (would definitely be mine) is eating just the right amount. You need to learn to say no to dogs. Yes they’re cute when they ask you for food, but nahhuh. Don’t fall for it all the time. It’s bad for your dog’s health if you do, in the long run.
The first creature that comes to mind when you think about alertness and sharp senses, is a dog. They get stressed and start to bark and jump at strangers, start barking super loud when they notice some unusual activity in the house among a couple other reasons for their stress. They paw their owners when they are stressed. If they are stressed for trivial reasons like a friend visiting you after a long time, or a neighbour dog coming to visit you or something which is new to the doggo but not to you, you can try distracting the dog by taking him out for a walk or petting him or giving him positive responses like a smile or pats or something. Dog treats really help reduce the stress as the dog learns that whatever it is being given treats for, is a good thing. This also reinforces positive behavior.
Playful Mood –
This is probably one of the most common reasons as to why dogs paw people. They paw people while wagging their tails and don’t stay in one place when they want you to play with them. Once a dog is comfortable enough with you, even if you are a stranger and not the dog owner or a person who lives with the dog, he’ll paw you to invite you to play. Also other dogs. When they see other dogs on the street or anywhere else, if they don’t feel threatened by those other dogs, they tend to go and paw them to play with them as well. They feel dejected if ignored. Duh, who wants to be ignored?
Why does my Dog Wrap his paws around my Arm when I Pet him?
There has been a lot of debate on whether the dogs try to show that they are dominant or submissive while interacting with their owners. Basically it depends on the dogs are, the owners are, how the dogs have been treated and brought up, the inherent nature of the dog owners and many other such reasons. If the dog was brought up in a healthy and pleasant environment, he’s most likely to be on the submissive side and if the opposite has been the case, then the dog is most likely to show a dominant side to the owners.
It’s been observed that, dogs which assert dominance over their owners, generally have both their paws on them when they are being petted. This is basically because they are trying to maintain a personal space for their body and have control over whatever interactions it is, that they are having with you. Dominant dogs usually are harder to be tamed than the submissive ones. It’s sufficient if you just give enough practice to submissive dogs to train them, but it’s advisable to take your doggo to a professional animal trainer if your dog has dominant characteristics. The latter is advised because such dogs tend to be more aggressive than usual and training them can be a pain in the ass.
Dogs which are submissive, generally tend to be tender, less aggressive and more loving. They very often gently paw the owners, or lick their faces fervently, or try to jump on top of them. They almost always have a playful attitude towards everybody they come across. When it comes to pawing specifically, they usually have one paw on their owners’ arms or thighs, depending on where they can reach. This happens when they are trying to show that they are indeed lower on the relationship ladder. If they are ignored while they are pawing, they just try to lie in one corner and sulk. I’m not kidding! Dogs have the ability to sulk too! They are very less aggressive and thus, less demanding. One of the common methods to control the aggression in male dogs is castration, which leads to them becoming submissive and thus easily trainable or tamed. Dogs are actually trying to be affectionate towards their owners when they paw them most of the time.
(watch this video to know more).