Get Your Stinkin' Paws Off Me


Whenever I'm scratching my nutty Border Collie on the chest while he's sitting, he will raise his paw and casually drape it over my arm. I will drop my arm and put it over his leg, and he will promptly drape his paw over my arm again. However, if I take my other arm and drape it over this paw he doesn't seem to mind. Why does he do this?


Pawing in dogs is a behavior that is used in several different contexts and can signify very different things, depending on the situation. Dogs generally paw another individual as: play solicitation, dominance displays, or care seeking behavior. In your case, it is probably in the latter context that your dog is pawing you. It is a method of soliciting further attention and care from their mother (in this case you) and becomes almost second-nature when someone approaches them with affection from the front. It's also why "Shake" is one of the easiest commands to teach a dog, as it's almost a reflex to lift their paw to elicit further care.

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Page last updated September 21, 1997. All material Copyright 2004 Border Collie Rescue, Inc. and Dr. Nicholas B. Carter
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