Entertainment And News

The Message Your Dog Is Actually Sending You If He Puts His Paw On Your Arm When You're Petting Him

Photo: Samson Katt / Pexels 
woman petting a dog

Have you ever had a moment when you’re petting your precious pup, and you look into their soulful eyes and think, “This is the best thing in the world?” It turns out that your pup feels the exact same way.

What it means if your dog puts his paw on your arm when you’re petting him

When a dog puts their paws on you while you’re petting them, it’s their way of telling you how much they love you. 

Petting a dog is almost irresistible — their soft fur, cold noses and perfect tummies all add up to make a major lovefest. Dog owners are accustomed to all the moves their furry best friends make to ensure they keep getting snuggled, like whimpering, showing their bellies, and showering you with kisses.

According to JenLovesPets, a dog walking company in San Diego, when we pet our dogs, dogs often return the act of showing love by pawing us. It’s their way of mirroring the affection we give them.



RELATED: Dogs Who Kick Up The Grass After They Pee Or Poop All Share An Adorable Personality Trait

Placing their paws on your arms or legs is how dogs signal that they trust you, reinforcing the strength of the special bond you share. So whether you're vegging out on the couch or fast asleep in bed, when your dog paws you, it's like he's petting you back.

woman petting a puppyPhoto: Thirdman / Pexels 

While it’s mostly a positive gesture, it can also be a sign of other things your dog is trying to tell you.

Pawing during cuddle time is a dog’s way of petting you back, and showing how much they appreciate you and the care you provide.

Since our beloved animals can’t talk, they communicate through body language. Pawing is a display of love, yet it can also mean that your dog wants food, a walk in the great outdoors or attention. Paying attention to context when your dog paws is crucial to interpreting what he means. If your fuzzy buddy seems like he’s anxious or in pain, pawing could be his way of asking for help. 

small dog jumping onto human's legsPhoto: Lisa Fotios / Pexels 

RELATED: Vets Weigh In On Whether Or Not It's OK To Sleep With Your Dog

Aaron Rice, an animal behaviorist, shared his take on the ways dogs use their paws to express a wide range of emotion.

“A dog's paw is a very powerful tool… It could be to get attention, to show affection or to communicate that they want something,” he explained. “A paw on you is a sign of affection and trust.”

Rice noted that when dogs aren't feeling their best, pawing is one way they calm themselves down, sort of like a self-soothing mechanism. He said, “A paw on you can also be used as a calming technique by your furry friend when they are feeling anxious or stressed out." 

person petting an old golden retrieverPhoto: Jean Alves / Pexels 

A dog with relaxed ears and mouth, a low wagging tail, and a soft gaze is a definite mark of a pup who wants to share their love with you.

Sharing physical contact with your dog isn’t only good for them, it’s beneficial for you, too. Snuggling our dogs releases oxytocin, the love hormone, which leads to an increased bonded feeling. Spending time with the pets in our lives reduces our cortisol levels, which means we’re less stressed.

So the next time you’re in need of some love and affection, look no further than the pup by your side— He wants to show you just how much he cares. 

RELATED: What The Type Of Dog You Have Says About Your Love Life

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers the intersection of pets and mental health, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.