why do Golden Retrievers put their paw on you

Why Do Golden Retrievers Put Their Paw On You? 7 Possible Reasons

Golden Retrievers are affectionate canines. They love cuddles, pets, and kisses. But just like any canine, your Goldie may develop weird behavior like always putting its paw on you. I’ve observed this on my own dog, but I can’t help but wonder, why do Golden Retrievers put their paw on you?

In this post, I discussed the possible reasons and what you can do about it.

Why does a Golden Retriever put its paw on you?

Is your Goldie putting its paw on you all the time? The following might explain why:

1. They are hungry

why do Golden Retrievers put their paw on you

The most common reason why a dog will put its paw on you is to demand food. Golden Retrievers have big appetites and they often beg for food even if it’s not yet their mealtime.

Your dog will usually put its paw on your arm or leg, whichever part gets your attention. And if you’re eating something, your Goldie will use its paw to get your food. This breed is highly food-driven so they may tend to lose their manners when they smell something delicious.

But before you think badly of your dog, you should first check the clock. It might be past the dog’s mealtime and the pooch is trying to remind you that you’re not following their schedule.

2. They want pets and kisses

Golden Retrievers are sweethearts so they will often beg for affection. If you’re busy working the whole day, don’t be surprised if your Golden Retriever will rush to your side and put its paw on your hand. This is your dog’s way of getting your attention so they will get some love.

Take note that giving in to your dog’s wants will tolerate and encourage the behavior. In the long run, pawing will become a learned behavior, which can be invasive and annoying.

It’s best to schedule bonding time with your dog instead of rewarding their pawing behavior. This way, your pooch will not demand time and develop negative behavior.

3. They need your help

Golden Retrievers are big dogs, but they are not the most independent. From time to time, your pooch will need your assistance for something. It could be their tennis ball that got stuck under the sofa or the cat chasing them around.

Dogs will use their paws to get your attention in an effort to solicit help. Most of the time, this is accompanied by whining and crying.

It’s important to train your dog to wait until you finished whatever you’re doing. This way, it will not paw you every time its toys will get lost. Take note that dogs will sometimes lose their toys on purpose to get your attention.

4. They are sorry

Golden Retrievers are smart dogs and they can understand human emotions. For example, your dog bit your hand while playing. Your yelping sound is a sign that you’re not happy or you’re in pain. And since this will likely stop the playtime, your Goldie will know that something isn’t right with what just happened.

With this, your dog will comfort you by putting its paw on you. It’s also a gesture to apologize, which is often paired with a sorry face. Some Goldies will even try to hug their owners to apologize.

Take note that reacting whenever your dog does something hurtful or uncalled for is an effective training method. This will let your dog know that what he did isn’t right. For example, if your dog resorts to rough play during your bonding time, stop it immediately and retrieve their toys.

5. They want to play

why do Golden Retrievers put their paw on you

One thing you should know about Golden Retrievers is that mentally, they age pretty slow. This pooch remains a puppy even after it reaches its adult. That means your doggo will remain playful, extremely energetic, and stubborn.

Your dog will always put its paw on you to initiate playtime. Sometimes, the Goldie will even carry a toy in its mouth to invite you to play.

Just like the other possibilities listed here, giving in will result in learned behavior. Over time, your dog will keep on pawing you until you play with them. This can be an annoying behavior, especially for poorly trained Golden Retrievers.

6. They want to go outside

Golden Retrievers are not indoor dogs. Their large and athletic bodies are made to run and zoom outdoors. So after a long day of staying inside the house, your dog will paw you so you’ll let him out.

It’s best to schedule daily walks with your Golden Retriever to prevent this behavior. You should also schedule playtime in the yard so your pooch won’t long for it.

However, if going outside isn’t possible, you should offer alternative activities to your dog. You can let the pooch stride in the treadmill or you can set up a small agility course.

By draining your dog’s extra energy, it will not paw you. Instead, the doggo will be sound asleep while you finish your chores or work at home.

7. They want to be the alpha

Lastly, putting its paw on you might be a sign of dominance. By putting its paw on you, your Golden Retriever is trying to show they are in charge. Such a gesture might be done to stop you from eating your food, taking their toys, or standing up. And if you let your doggo stop you, you’re just affirming their dominance.

So the next time your dog tries to stop you with its paws, say a firm ‘no!’. The loud sound will confuse your dog, which will help tip the pack hierarchy to let your doggo slide back under your rule.

It’s important that you set the rules and stick with them. This way, your pooch will not try to test you.

Should I worry about this behavior?

Pawing is typical to dogs, regardless of breed. Since your Golden Retriever can’t talk, it resorts to pawing to get your attention.

But just like any tendencies, pawing can become an annoying behavior. It’s best to correct this as early as possible.

As long as the pawing happens randomly, it shouldn’t become a cause of concern. Just make sure that it won’t go out of hand. When that happens, you have to brush up with the pooch’s training.

How to stop a Golden Retriever from putting its paw on you

If your Goldie’s pawing behavior is getting excessive, you should do something to correct it. The following steps will help a lot:


When it comes to negative behavior, training is the most effective solution. You should teach your dog to sit or wait by command. This will help stop the pawing since your pooch will wait by your side until they get what they want. It will keep you in control of the situation. Positive reinforcement will go a long way in correcting the pawing behavior.

It will also help a lot if you will train your dog to paw at command. This way, your Goldie will only perform the gesture when asked to do so. Make sure that you shower them with treats during training to make it more effective.

Schedule bonding time

Instead of waiting for your dog to beg for your attention, it’s best to schedule it ahead. Set specific playtime sessions during the day. I suggest keeping it short but numerous throughout the day. This way, your Golden Retriever will not invade your private time by pawing.

These short bursts of activity will help drain your Goldie’s energy. If you’re not at home, you can ask other family members to give such bonding time with your dog.

Don’t reward the behavior

You should never associate pawing with attention. When your dog stars pawing you, walk away or turn in a different direction. Never give the dog the attention it wants. Over time, your pooch will learn that pawing isn’t the way to go if they want something.

You should only give attention to your dog once it starts pawing and has calmed down. This will train your dog to control its urges.

Ignore it

Golden Retrievers are smart dogs and they will soon realize that pawing doesn’t do anything if you just ignore it. Remember that dogs only paw at you because it works. So if you want to stop the behavior, it’s about time you cease enabling it.

Always be consistent with this. Avoid accidental attention like when you’re on the phone and your dog starts pawing at you. You tend to pet the dog to stop the disturbance. In turn, your pooch thinks that pawing is rewarded and encouraged behavior.

Final words

Why do Golden Retrievers put their paw on you? Generally, this is your dog’s way of getting whatever it wants. You should never tolerate this behavior or it will get out of hand. Training and correcting this habit should be the solution you should take. That way, your dog will not try to invade your private time.

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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