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7 Reasons Why Your Dog Pushes You With His Feet



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Have you noticed that your dog just recently started to push you with his feet?

I found it funny at the beginning, but then I was concerned that there could be more to it.

Dogs do things that we do not always understand.

One of those things is when our dog pushes us with his feet when we do something.

Thanks to my experience with dogs and the thousands of discussions I had with pet parents, I am able to answer why your dog pushes you with his feet.

Key Takeaway

  • Dogs may push with their feet due to various reasons including showing affection, seeking attention or play, expressing dominance, asking for something like food or potty time, demonstrating submissiveness, bridging communication gaps, or simply because they enjoy the positive reaction it elicits.
  • To stop a dog from pushing you with their feet, understand the root cause of the behavior and employ strategies like redirecting the behavior to something else, reinforcing positive behavior, ensuring your dog is getting enough mental and physical stimulation, and seeking professional help if needed.

7 Reasons Why Your Dog Pushes You With His Feet

7 Reasons Why Your Dog Pushes You With His Feet

Dogs often push their owners with their feet to communicate a variety of needs or emotions such as a desire for attention, affection, play, or even dominance.

Your dog wants to play

7 Reasons Why Your Dog Pushes You With His Feet

Dogs love to play and they will use their feet to gently nudge you when they’re feeling frisky. My dog is super gentle when he pushes me with his feet.

They are intelligent animals, so if they’re looking for a response from you, pushing you with their feet may be the way they try to communicate.

Dogs often express their affection through physical touch, and pushing with their feet is one way they do this.

Pushing a dog’s feet can be seen as an indication that they want to play or spend time with you.

Dogs enjoy physical activities like running around and playing tug-of-war, so pushing may serve as an invitation for both of you to interact and deepen your bond further.

They want you to stop petting them

Your dog may be trying to tell you they’ve had enough petting and that’s why he pushes you with his feet.

Dogs are highly sensitive creatures and even the slightest amount of overstimulation can cause them distress.

When your pup pushes at your hands with its paws, it could be because they need a break from all the attention; either because they’re getting too hot or feeling overwhelmed.

It wants something from you

7 Reasons Why Your Dog Pushes You With His Feet

Your dog may be pushing you with his feet because he wants something from you.

This could be anything from attention to a treat or toy.

It could also indicate that your pup requires something else from you, like going for a walk or being let outside.

In either case, these are all indications that your pup is trying to communicate with you through physical contact.

Maybe it’s a trick that someone else showed him

7 Reasons Why Your Dog Pushes You With His Feet

Your dog may have picked up this habit from another person. It’s likely that someone has demonstrated it to him and then taught it to yourself, making it likely that your pup does the same.

Dogs are highly intelligent creatures and can pick up on cues quickly; if anyone has ever done this in your presence then that could be why your pup pushes you.

Fortunately, since dogs possess such superior intelligence, they will soon stop pushing you with their feet.

It could be a natural reaction

Dogs often push with their feet as a natural response to something.

It could be the same behavior seen when your pup pushes against you for attention or nudges your hand for petting.

Pushing is usually accompanied by another body language such as leaning, low tail wags, soft whines, or moans from your pup.

Pushing with their feet shows both physical and emotional affection from them; dogs are pack animals so this type of contact makes them feel secure and loved.

It may also serve to demonstrate submission towards you without confrontational mannerisms.

Wants to make physical contact

Dogs are highly social creatures and need physical contact to feel secure.

When your pup pushes its feet against your body, it may be doing so affectionately or as a warning that they need more space for itself.

It is essential for pet parents to recognize when their pup is pushing with its paws so they can respond appropriately and provide comfort.

Pushing with its paws could also be a sign of excitement from your pet.

If you’ve just come home from work or been playing together, your pup might give you small nudges with his feet as an expression of his delight at seeing you.

They might be hungry or thirsty

7 Reasons Why Your Dog Pushes You With His Feet

Dogs pushing you with their feet is a common way they communicate.

Your pup may be doing this because he or she may be hungry or thirsty; many dogs will push when seeking food, water, or attention from you.

If your pup has been pressing you with his paws, it could be indicative of what they need from you.

Watch for other signs that your pup might need something to eat or drink, such as staring at his bowl, pawing the floor near the food dish, pacing around the kitchen where food is usually given, or making small mewling noises says AKC.

(See also: Fur-ever Faithful: Why Dogs Are More Loyal Compared To Cats)

How To Stop a Dog From Pushing Me With Feet

To stop a dog from pushing you with their feet, it is crucial to understand the behavior’s root cause and then employ appropriate training strategies such as redirecting the behavior, reinforcing positive behavior, providing enough stimulation, or seeking professional help.

Understanding the Behavior

As a veterinarian, I’ve observed that dogs push their owners with their feet for various reasons – it could be a way of seeking attention, showing affection, playing, or communicating a specific need.

It’s important to decipher what your dog is trying to convey, which can be done by observing other accompanying behaviors or the situations in which this behavior occurs.

Redirecting the Behavior

If your dog pushes you with their feet while seeking attention or play, you can redirect this behavior toward more appropriate actions.

For instance, when your dog starts to push, you can bring out their favorite toy and engage them in a game. This way, your dog will start associating the urge to push you with playing with toys instead.

Reinforcing Positive Behavior

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for modifying a dog’s behavior. Whenever your dog interacts with you without pushing, reward them with treats, praise, or petting.

Over time, your dog will learn that not pushing earns them rewards and they’ll be more likely to repeat the behavior.

Providing Enough Stimulation

Sometimes, dogs push their owners due to pent-up energy or boredom. Regular exercise and mental stimulation can go a long way in curbing such behavior.

Make sure your dog gets plenty of physical activity and has access to stimulating toys or puzzles.

Seeking Professional Help

If your dog’s habit of pushing with their feet persists despite your efforts or if it escalates into aggressive behavior, it might be time to seek help from a professional dog trainer or a veterinary behaviorist. They can provide personalized training strategies based on your dog’s specific needs and temperament.

Why Does My Dog Push Me When Lying Down?

  • Wants your spot: Your dog might want your spot and since you are not moving, they might try and push you with their feet.
  • Showing Affection: Your dog may be pushing against you as a way of expressing their love and affection for their human companion. Just like cats and humans, dogs often use physical contact to demonstrate how much they care about someone.
  • Seeking Attention: Pushing against you could indicate your pup is seeking attention from their favorite human! This behavior could also be indicative of boredom if they get used to getting extra love when they perform this action.
  • Feeling Secure: Some dogs are known to push against their owners when feeling scared or insecure in unfamiliar settings or circumstances. Your pup could be seeking comfort and assurance by leaning against you as the two of you lie down together during such moments.
  • Comfort: Your pup may find comfort in pressing against you as a sign of closeness and security while they snuggle up. The warmth from your body and security in being close by can provide exactly what they need to feel safe and secure.
  • Seeking Warmth: Dogs use their bodies to regulate temperature, which is why some push against us when it’s cold outside or they’re lying on a cold surface. By pushing against you, they can warm themselves with your body heat!
  • Instinctive Behavior: Dogs often display this behavior out of instinct, pressing up against other members of their pack for physical contact and comfort throughout their lives. Your pup may be doing the same thing when it comes to you!

Why Does My Dog Nudge Me When I Stop Petting?

  • Your Dog Wants More Attention: Dogs are social beings and will always appreciate some extra one-on-one time with their humans. If your pup nudges you when you stop petting them, it could be because they need more attention!
  • Your Dog is Showing Affection Towards You: When your pup nudges you, it could be a sign that they’re showing affection towards you. It’s an adorable way for dogs to show how much we matter and appreciate our kind gestures.
  • Your Dog May Be Seeking Comfort and Reassurance: Sometimes, dogs may nudge us when we stop petting them because they feel insecure and need extra comfort from us. This can especially happen if you’ve recently had a stressful day or your pup has been experiencing anxiety.
  • Your Dog May Be Trying to Communicate with You: Dogs can be very vocal when communicating, but sometimes their intentions may not be obvious. When your pup nudges you, it could be their way of trying to tell you something – like they’re thirsty or need food, for instance.
  • Your Dog May Just Enjoy Being Petted: Finally, your pup may simply enjoy being petted so much that they don’t want it to end! If this is the case, you can treat your pup to some extra cuddles and petting sessions whenever possible.

What Does It Mean When a Dog Puts His Paw On Your Arm?

  • Trying to show you a wound. Maybe your dog hurt his paw and it is trying to show you. Dogs are very intelligent and will often point to whenever they have a health problem.
  • Displaying Affection: When your pup puts his paw on your arm, it can be seen as a sign of affection and consideration from him. This type of display of affection is especially prevalent among smaller breeds like Chihuahuas, but all dogs possess this capacity for showing love.
  • Needing Attention: It could be that when your pup puts his paw on your arm, he simply wants you to give more attention to him! Physical contact like placing their paw on you could indicate they’re lacking quality time with you!
  • Excitement or Anxiety: If your pup puts their paw on your arm when you come home from work or when someone comes over, it could be indicative of either their excitement to see you or fear of the presence of new people.
  • Needing Comfort: Your pup may need comfort when they place their paw on your arm. If they have experienced a traumatic event like being separated from you, they may want to physically show their gratitude and feel the warmth of your love.
  • Asking for Something: Dogs often use physical contact as a way of asking for something – food, outdoor access or simply wanting to play! Be attentive to context clues and other behaviors associated with this gesture; if he’s nudging your arm while looking expectantly at you, chances are he’s asking for something.

Why Does My Dog Push Me With Its Legs?

  • Your Dog Might Be Seeking Attention: Dogs are social creatures and need human interaction in order to feel contented. When your pup pushes you with its front paws, it could be a way of saying “hello” or asking for affection – in which case, show them some love!
  • Your Dog May Be Trying To Play With You: Your pup may be trying to initiate playtime by pushing you with its legs. This could be a sign that they want you to join in on a game of fetch or tug-of-war!
  • Hunger Could Be The Cause: If your pup seems to be asking for food more frequently than usual, it could be an indication of being hungry. Be sure to give them regular meals and treats throughout the day in order to keep them satisfied and contented!
  • Your Dog Could Be Trying To Get You Moving: Some dogs are highly sensitive to movement, so they might try to get you up and moving by pushing you with their legs. If this is the case for your pup, take some time out off the couch and go for a walk or jog with them!
  • Your Dog May Be Feeling Anxious: Just like humans, dogs can experience anxiety. If your pup seems to be pushing you more often than usual, it could be indicative of an underlying concern in their environment. Try taking them for a calming walk or offering them a special toy or treat to distract them from feeling overwhelmed.

Why Does My Dog Push Me Off The Bed

  • Not Comfortable: Dogs require a sense of comfort and security in their environment, including when sleeping. If your pup seems to be pushing you off the bed, this could be an indication that they are seeking out more secure quarters on the mattress.
  • Attention Seeking: Your dog could be trying to get your attention in an effort to develop a stronger bond with you. Pushing you off the bed could indicate they desire extra love and playtime from you!
  • Territoriality: Dogs may become possessive over certain objects or places – like beds – if they feel that something is invading their territory. This type of behavior is common among canines and could result in your pup pushing you off the bed.
  • Seeking Affection: Believe it or not, some dogs may push their owners off the bed as a gesture of affection! Your pup could be trying to snuggle up against you by pushing away other objects on the bed in an effort to get closer to you.
  • Comfort & Closeness: Another possible explanation for why a pup might push its owner off the bed is that they want to be close by while sleeping! Dogs feel secure when around people they care about, so this type of behavior indicates that they want extra cuddles from their favorite person!
  • Seeking Control: If your dog has not been socialized correctly, it may try to assert itself as the leader of the pack by pushing you off the bed in an effort to gain dominance and maintain order within your household.

My Dog Put His Paw On Me And Licks Me, Why?

  • He Wants To Show Affection – Dogs are social animals and need to express their love and affection towards their owners. By placing his paw on you and licking your face, your pup is showing his desire to be close to you as well as conveying how deeply he cares about you.
  • CommunicationLicking is a way for dogs to communicate with both other dogs and humans alike. Your pup may be trying to tell you something when he puts his paw on you or licks your face; this could mean anything from “I want treats” or “I’m feeling anxious,” so take time to read your pup’s body language in order to interpret what he’s trying to convey.
  • He Wants To Play – Dogs love to run around and play, so it’s no shock when they put their paw on you or give you a lick in order to ask for attention or have some fun. If your pup seems antsy, try giving him his favorite toy or taking him for a walk/run to burn off some energy!
  • He Needs Comfort – Much like humans, dogs can become anxious or fearful in certain circumstances; if your pup puts his paw on your arm or licks your face, he might simply be seeking comfort from the one person they adore most – you! Showing affection helps soothe tension and reassures your fur baby that everything will be alright.


Is my dog trying to show dominance by pushing me with his feet?

While it’s possible for a dog to use their feet to assert dominance, it’s more likely that your dog is seeking attention or affection, or simply enjoys the reaction this behavior elicits.

Is pushing with feet a sign of anxiety in dogs?

Yes, dogs with separation anxiety may lean on you or push you with their paws. They may also exhibit other behaviors such as restlessness or excessive barking.

Why does my dog push against me when he wants something?

Dogs are intelligent creatures and understand that certain actions will get them specific responses. If your dog pushes against you, he might be seeking attention, affection, or comfort.

Are there breeds more prone to pushing with their feet?

While pushing with feet can be seen in any breed, it’s not specifically associated with a particular breed of dog. It’s more a matter of individual personality and behavior.

Conclusion and final thoughts

In conclusion, we have discussed the various reasons why your dog may push you with his feet.

It could be a sign of affection, a way to assert dominance or just a playful behavior.

Understanding the underlying motives behind this action is important in building a stronger bond with your furry friend.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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