How Come Dogs Put Their Paws up When They Want Something?

These cute things are instrumental in lots of doggie body language.
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Observing the body language of canines can be an adorable thing, from their licking faces in adoration to their tilting their heads when they simply don't know what's going on. In dog world, pawing actions tend to indicate the desire for something, whether delicious treats or fun outdoor playtime sessions.

Visual Request for Attention

When your precious pooch raises his paws up to show you that he wants something, he's doing it as a way of getting your undivided attention. By elevating his paws, he's trying to make himself hard to miss, kind of like a student in school putting his hand prominently in the air to get the teacher to finally take his question. By pawing in the air, your pet's basically saying, "Hey, look at my paw! Right here, please!"

Posture Observation

Glancing at your dog's body posture might help you figure out if his raising his paw up truly is a sign that he wants something from you, as it occasionally indicates something totally different. If he's raising his paw and seems to be balancing all of his body weight onto the frontal portion of his physique, then he's pleading with you for your attention -- you have something the furry guy wants badly. Although he wants something from you, he's in a serene and friendly mood, at the same time.


As noted, the elevating of the paw sometimes has nothing to do with wanting anything, so avoid making assumptions. If your pooch's paw is up in the air but his body weight is all focused on the back portion of his physique, then he's in an apprehensive mood at the moment. He's confused, worried and not totally sure about how to proceed next in his present situation. This is not a canine who is feeling happy-go-lucky, carefree and relaxed, that's for sure.

Other Ways of Getting Attention

Pawing isn't the only body language technique that dogs frequently use to receive their owners' attention. Some dogs might bark as a form of communication with the human closest to them. Others might leap up and down excitedly. Some might simply whimper. If you want your dog to stop partaking in any of these attention-seeking patterns -- including pawing -- don't give in. If your dog puts his paw on your thigh as you're on the phone for a work call, only to have you not react, he might quickly learn that that method is fruitless. Be consistent in this, however. Don't sometimes offer him attention in response and then sometimes not. Mixed signals are confusing to canines, and therefore are a major no-no.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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