8 Reasons Why Your Dog Wraps His Paws Around Your Arm

Categorized as Why Does My Dog
my dog wraps his paws around my arm

Have you ever been walking your dog and seen him wrap their paws around your arm? This is a common occurrence that leaves many dog owners confused. In this blog post, we will discuss why dogs do this and whether dog owners should be concerned with this dog’s behavior or not.

Why Does My Dog Wrap His Paws Around My Arm – Short Answers

Here’s the short answer to why your dog wraps his paws around your arm: They want undivided attention and affection from you, whether they do this because they want to play with you or because they feel unwell and need more attention from you.

Of course, there are a lot more reasons behind your dog wrapping his paws around your arm, but here are the most important ones:

Why Does My Dog Wrap His Paws Around My Arm – The Most Common Reasons

1. Your Dog Seeks Attention and Affection from His Family

Your utmost attention and affection are probably the biggest reasons why your dog wraps his paws around your arm. While hugging is humans’ way to show affection, dogs tend to do it with their body language (i.e., wrapping their paws) instead. In other words, you can say a dog pawing us is similar to the dog hugging us.

After a long day at work, when I come home, my dog usually will wrap his paws around me, and when I give him a nice belly rub, he will go into a “happy mode” and start wagging his tail.

As a dog owner and a dog lover, this kind of behavior never fails to amaze me, no matter how tired I am after work.

2. Your Dog Wants to Play With You

Everyone with their own dog knows how much dogs love to play with us. It’s almost like they want to spend all of their time with us. If a dog wraps his paws followed by other body language signs like tail wagging and jumping, it’s likely that he asks for playtime right there and right now.

Play is important for your dog as it can offer many benefits. For example:

  • It helps you to bond with your dog.
  • It keeps your dog’s health in check.
  • It improves your dog’s overall balance and coordination.
  • It keeps bad behavior in check.
  • It’s also a good way to tire your dog out.

Therefore it is recommended that you spend at least an hour every day playing with your dog.

3. Your Dog May Be Uncomfortable or Scared

When dogs are scared, they may sometimes wrap their paws around you in an effort to protect themselves, especially if it is followed by other signs like cringing body posture and whining or barking. As strange as this might sound, it’s actually a form of self-comforting behavior and not something they do to inflict harm on others.

For example, if someone is scared of the dark, one way for them to cope with these feelings is by holding onto something else (such as a blanket or teddy bear) while trying to fall asleep at night because it makes them feel more secure.

The same applies here; your dog may be scared of certain things such as loud noises or being enclosed in small spaces, so he wraps his paws around you for comfort.

4. Your Dog May Be Stressed or Anxious

Similar to reason no.3, stressed pets might wrap their paws around you in an attempt to seek comfort from their owners.

They may feel anxious about something. For example, your dog might perceive a sound or smell as threatening if he has not seen or smelt it before, such as a new person in the house or other dogs outside. This could result in fear-based aggression (i.e., growling) or anxiety-related behaviors like pawing at you for reassurance.

There are many forms of anxiety in dogs, but the most common related to dogs wrap their paws around the arms of humans is separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety occurs when the dog has a deep attachment to his or her human family, especially if he/she is afraid of being abandoned by a loved one. This type of separation anxiety can stem from many different factors, but the most common is a traumatic event that scared him/her.

Such an event may have happened when you left your dog alone at home for work or when he went missing when you were walking him.

According to a study, the dogs that are more likely to develop this bad behavior are:

  • Male dogs.
  • Dogs that came from shelters.
  • Puppies separated from their mother before the age of 60 days.

5. Your Dog is Hungry

Hungry dogs will do anything to tell their owners they are hungry. You may see them paw at you, yank your pants leg or dog leash to get attention, and sometimes they will even bring their food bowl to you or try jumping on the table for food.

Some dogs may always seem hungry even immediately after eating. Here are some tips to help dogs who always seem to be hungry:

  • Feed a diet with less fat or calories so that you can feed your dog more.
  • Dogs need a diet that has more fiber. This can help them feel fuller and not have to eat as much. Dry food can have 2%-6% fiber- look for one with more than 3%.
  • Give your dog a break after eating. It helps his stomach digest food better.
  • You can distract your dog from his hunger with walks or play sessions. When he is hungry, don’t let him beg.
  • If your dog has an insatiable appetite, feed them small meals often. Give them less food in the morning and at night so that they can have a little more for lunch or an evening snack.
  • Use vegetables as dog treats—some dogs like the taste and crunch of vegetables. The vegetables are good for them because they have many health benefits without many calories (but first, make sure they are safe to eat).
  • If you have a dog who eats too much, you can measure the dog food in separate containers. This way, your dog will get the right amount of food each day.
  • Dogs can sometimes mistake thirst for hunger. Make sure that your dog has access to fresh drinking water all the time.

6. Your Dog Wants To Comfort You

Dogs understand and relate to your thoughts and emotions by taking cues from your scent, body language, and sound. When dogs sense that their humans are upset, the pooch will try to comfort the owner. This may include hugging the owners’ arms or bringing ‘gifts,’ for instance, a sock, leaf, or branch.

7. Your Dog Might Use His Paws to Assert Dominance

Sometimes, dogs dominate their peers by putting their paws on other dogs’ shoulders.

However, dogs normally don’t paw their owners to dominate them. Dominant dogs often choose other routes to dominate their humans or other pets, for example, by starring, barking, growling, snapping, or even biting.

Here are 4 things to keep in mind when dealing with dominant dogs:

1. You need to be more calm and assertive.

Dominant dogs will not follow people who they see as unbalanced personalities. This is why when dealing with a dominant dog, you need to be assertive and do not let the dog walk all over you, but at the same time, you also have to stay calm.

When a dominant dog sees somebody who is being assertive and balanced in their demeanor, he will feel relaxed because he knows this person will take charge of everything needed for the pack.

2. Set rules, boundaries, and limitations

Rules, boundaries, and limitations are the key to deal with a dominant dog. You need to set the house rules and make sure they are clear for everybody in your household, even if you have more than one dog.

If you do not establish these boundaries, things will go haywire quickly; it is important that there are no exceptions to the rule because this can lead to confusion.

For example, at dinner time, make a rule that none of your dogs are allowed to approach while the human family is eating.

3. Don’t force affection.

This is a normal instinct for a dominant dog to be more aloof and independent. Sometimes dog owners make the mistake of pursuing their dogs to give affection, which will only backfire.

For example, if your dominant pooch does not want you to touch him or her, then do not try forcing it. When he wants attention, he will come on his own, and this will put you in the position of the pack leader.

4. Give your dog a job.

Dominant dogs need a job to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Your dog will be less focused on dominating other dogs if he has a task to concentrate on.

For example, you can train your dog in dog sports or obedience, or you can take your dogs on challenging adventures like hiking and have them wear a backpack on the hike.

8. Your Dog May Feel Unwell

It is possible for your dog to use his paws to communicate his conditions; maybe he feels sick and uncomfortable or simply tired. If you see other symptoms of illness in your dogs, such as:

  • Labored breathing
  • Severe vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Unusual lethargy
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Very pale gums
  • Seizure
  • Weight loss
  • Appetite changes
  • Excessive salivation
  • Excessive thirst

If you notice any of these symptoms, visit a vet as soon as possible for an examination.

Related Questions

1. Why Does My Dog Wrap His Paws Around My Arm When I Pet Him?

What does it mean when a dog wraps his paws around your arm while you pet him? While the answer to this question may not seem obvious, there are actually two possible explanations.

One explanation is that dogs do this because they want you to pet and play with them, and another one says that wrapping their front legs around someone’s arms or waist can be indications of discomfort, stress, and anxiety.

2. Why Does My Dog Cross Their Paws?

Dogs cross their paws for a variety of reasons. It could mean that they’re trying to tell you something, feeling comfortable, feeling nervous, or even learning from you.

3. Why Does My Dog Grab My Arm with His Mouth?

Most likely, your dog grabbed your arm because he wanted attention, and if this is a learned behavior it may have come from his fellow canines.

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website TrainYourGSD.com - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.