Why Do Dogs Hug You With Their Paws

When you put your hand on the dog’s head, you find your dog gently hugging you with his paws. This behavior is normal, and it’s a sign of affection. It can be an invitation for you to play with him, or to give him a good rubbing.

But is that the only explanation for this behavior? Let’s find out from this post.

He Is Craving For Your Affection

Dogs use their vocal and body language signals to communicate with their owners. These signals are used to express their emotional status such as happiness, stress, fear, or anxiety. 

When your dog wants to shower you with his love and affection, he will use his paw and body to convey the message.

He will show his affection through the way he greets you (looks at you with his big and lovely eye) and touches you (hugs you with his paws).

He might even lick your face, and try to get a kiss from you. It’s his way of telling you that he loves you. 

He Is Inviting You To A Play

Your dog is feeling bored and trying to get you to play with him. By hugging you, he is telling you, “Can you play with me?”

This is often the case when there is excessive pent-up energy in your dog’s body, and he is feeling restless. And if you ignore his request, he will find his own “fun”, probably in ways that don’t appeal to you.

He will chew on your furniture and shoes, tear up your pillows, or even unroll the toilet paper. Basically, he does whatever he can to keep himself entertained.

This is especially so if your dog is an active dog breed such as a Poodle, Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd.

You need to ensure that your dog gets enough exercise. If not, he might become overly energetic and have trouble settling down.  

Keep your dog’s energy in check by having an exercise routine (physical and mental exercises) for him. You should also take him out for a walk every day.  

When your dog is not sleeping or eating, he should always be engaged in some activity. This will keep his mind occupied.  

Without toys, bones, or other items to play with, your dog is likely to become bored easily. Get him some chewing toys to keep him entertained as well. 

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He Wants You to Stay With Him

Did your dog start to hug you the moment he saw you taking your car key? This is his way of stopping you from leaving.

Do not be surprised if he follows you to your car if you manage to “break free” from his hug.

He will stand next to your car, staring at you with his watery eyes. You can tell by his eyes that he wants you to stay back and play with him.

Do not be alarmed if you hear a bark or a growl from him. It’s only a sign that he wants you to be with him or to take him along.

Sometimes, dogs cry when they see their owner leaving them behind. This is especially so for dogs that have been abandoned before.

If your dog is reacting in this manner (crying), he could be suffering from separation anxiety.

How can you tell if your dog has separation anxiety?

  • Destructive behavior, mainly directed at the door, or chewing on and destroying things in your house.
  • Noisy behavior – such as barking and howling.
  • Accident in the house – peeing or pooping on the floor.

Why do dogs suffer from separation anxiety?

Separation anxiety can result from a number of things that the dog perceives to be scary.

Dogs might be traumatized by a horrible storm or rowdy fireworks, a change in schedule, or the loss of someone close to them. 

How to help your dog overcome his separation anxiety?

Dogs that have separation anxiety are often afraid of the unknown. If you leave your dog alone for too long, he will feel like his world has been turned upside down. 

He will start pacing and whining, and may even chew on himself.

With the right training, your dog can learn to cope with separation. Start by reducing the length of time you leave your dog alone. 

If you can get away with only leaving your dog for two to three seconds, do so. Then, add a few seconds to that, and so on. When you reach five to ten seconds, your dog can begin to handle longer separations.

Use positive reinforcement in your training. That is, to reward your dog with his favorite treat when he is behaving calm during your absence.

The goal is to make your dog associate being calm when alone with positive experiences.

Before you go out the door, place a stuffed food toy in your dog’s bed. The toy will help your dog associate your absence with a reward.

It will also help to divert his attention from your absence and keep him occupied.

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This Is His Way of Comforting You

Dogs are good at understanding human emotions and can easily know when their owners are happy, sad, depressed or stressed.

Thus, it’s no surprise that dogs are very sensitive to changes in their owners’ moods. When they sense that their owner is happy, they feel good too.

And when their owners are feeling depressed or sad, they will try to comfort them by hugging them with their paws.

This is exactly what your dog is trying to do when he sees you crying in one corner of the house. He is trying to offer you his comfort. 

He is telling you, “Don’t worry, I’m still here!” and trying to take your mind off whatever is making you upset.

His way of showing you he cares for you is through physical contact.

When your dog is comforting you, he will also lick your face, rub his paws over your legs and, of course, wrap his paws around you.

A Learned Behavior from You

Dogs are also good at mimicking human behavior. They are able to read human emotions and interpret our body language.

If you have the habit of hugging your loved ones every morning as a form of greeting, this act could have been picked up by your dog as a way to express love.

He would then happily greet you with a hug every morning or when you are back home from work.

He has associated this act with expressing his love for you, and will continue to do so.

He Is Seeking Your Assistance

Dogs, unlike humans, are not able to speak up and tell their owners what they need or want. They communicate through vocalizing and body language, and it is important for you to understand this in order to know what your dog is trying to convey.

Some common body language signals include tail wagging, ears perked up, pushing his head into you, resting on your lap and even giving you a lick.

When your dog gives you a hug, it could mean that he is telling you that he needs your help. It could be the case that he is feeling hungry, thirsty, or he needs a potty break.

Dogs can express a lot through their body language, and this can be very helpful when you are trying to figure out what message your dog is trying to send out.

Vocalization is another way your dog communicates with you. This can take the form of barking, whining, or howling.

A dog may also be vocalizing when he is expressing pain or discomfort, frustration, fear, or anxiety.

Keep in mind that your dog is always communicating with you. You should always pay attention to your dog’s body language as he may be telling you what he feels, whether sad or happy.

He Feels Insecure and Seeks Protection from You

When your dog is feeling anxious, he may wrap his paws around you and hold on to you tightly. This is a sign that he is feeling fearful.

Anxiety can be caused by changes in your dog’s surroundings, such as the occurrence of a thunderstorm, fireworks or sirens.

He is reacting negatively to something that is happening in his environment and is seeking protection from his pack leader, who is YOU!

You can help your dog to cope with his anxiety by making him wear a thundershirt or giving him a treat. 

The thundershirt will help to calm him down, and the treats will help to distract his attention from his fear.

Attention Is What He Wants from You

Dogs are very social animals, and they need attention, affection, and company. They can be very demanding and will only settle for being near their owners and having their attention.

Thus, if you are not giving enough affection and love to your dog, he will become restless and will want to make sure that you notice him.

By hugging you, he wants to let you know his presence.

This is why you should spend quality time with your dog every day.  

If you want to keep your dog happy, you should do activities with him. You can take him on walks, play fetch with him, feed him and make him feel loved.

Maintaining your dog’s mental and physical fitness will help to keep his energy in check and prevent him from becoming restless and destructive. 

You should also try to take your dog on a daily walk in a dog park so that he can run around and socialize with other dogs.

Spending quality time with your dog will make him feel loved and cared for.

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