Why Does My German Shepherd Puts Its Paw On Me?

  • By: Justin
  • Date: February 19, 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Sometimes GSD’s behaviors can be a little puzzling. 

According to the NCBI, dogs use physical contact to communicate. So, it is not unlikely for your German Shepherd to use its paws to communicate with you.

But, if you’re asking, “Why does my German Shepherd put his paw on me?” the main reason German Shepherds often put their paws on you. Is attention!

However, other reasons are also hunger, stress, etc.

Below, you will find five more reasons to help you better understand your GSD needs.

Why Does My German Shepherd Put His Paw On Me?

5 Reasons Why Your GSD Puts Its Paw On You

1. Attention

The AKC has considered German Shepherds one of the most intelligent dogs. And according to Stanley Coren, the GSD is the second most intelligent dog of all breeds.

So, it’s not unlikely that your German Shepherd may have learned to put its paw on you to get the attention it wants. 

GSDs are brilliant and quickly learn what behaviors get them the desired results.

Then most likely, it continues putting its paw on you to let you know what it wants.

2. Anxiety Or Stress

Sometimes, GSDs will put their paws on their owners as a way of self-soothing when feeling anxious or stressed. 

Sometimes you may notice your dog doing this when there’s a loud noise outside or if there are strangers in the house.

It could be a way of seeking comfort and reassurance from you.

3. Affection

German Shepherds can often come off as intimidating. But like any other dog, this furry friend wants to bond and seek affection.

So, it’s normal if your dog puts its paw on you to show affection. 

If you notice that it’s doing it while getting petted. 

It most likely enjoys it, so it tends to ask for more, especially if you’ve been gone for a while and are happy to see you.

Since it cannot stroke you back, it just puts its paw on you to show love.

4. Hunger

Hunger is another common reason dogs put their paws on their owners.

If your dog is used to being fed from the table, it may start putting its paw on you as a way of begging for food.

Notice if it does this when it sees you eating, or if it does it at other times too, like when you’re cooking.

If that is the case, then it is safe to say that your GSD likely puts its paw on you when food is around, then that’s what it wants.

Also Read: Can German Shepherds Get Along With Rabbits? The Unusual Duo

5. Exercise

If your dog seems to be putting its paw on you more often when inside the home for a while, it could be because it needs to burn off some energy.

Your German Shepherd also needs to burn off some energy. Just like most dogs need plenty of exercise.

And if they’re not getting enough, they may start showing signs of boredom, including putting their paw on you.

If you think this might be the case, try taking your dog for more walks or playing more often.

Now that you know some possible reasons why your German Shepherd may be putting its paw on you.

It is recommended to pay attention to see any patterns in this behavior.

If you can’t figure it out, ask your veterinarian or a dog trainer for any other delaying issues, such as pain due to an injury.

Should You Allow Your German Shepherd To Put Its Paw On You?

Of course. There is no reason for your GSD to stop putting its paw on you, if, it does this occasionally and for good reasons, like when it shows affection.

If you think there may be another reason your dog is doing this, perhaps, being in pain. Then you would help if you went to the vet to check it out.

Now, if it’s something it’s doing all the time and it’s becoming a nuisance, then you may want to stop it.

How To Get Your German Shepherd To Stop Putting Its Paw On You?

If you think your dog is doing this for attention only. And it is getting exhausting. 

You may want to consider checking if you are rewarding this behavior by giving what it wants more than it needs to be.

If the behavior is not desirable and you would like it to stop, try the following:

1. Positive Reinforcement

To help achieve positive reinforcement means: rewarding your dog when it doesn’t put its paw on you instead of punishing it when it does. 

Try giving a treat or some extra attention when you tell them to stop doing it and listen.

In time, it will learn that putting its paw on you is not something that gets it what it wants and will be less likely to do it.

Remember to be consistent with your commands and rewards, and soon the behavior should start to disappear.

2. Stop Encouraging This Behavior

You may be encouraging your dog to put its paw on you if you give it what it wants when it does it. 

If you think this might be the case, try ignoring it or walking away when it does it instead of giving it attention.

3. Give Your Dog Enough Dedication

You want to ensure you’re not punishing your dog for something it doesn’t understand. 

Be sure to give your GSD playtime. Take it for a walk and train it to know what behaviors are ok and which ones are not.

Suppose you’ve been consistent with your commands and rewards. If your dog is still putting its paw on you, it may be time to seek help from a professional trainer or behaviorist.

Check out this related post: Can A German Shepherd Go On A Plane?

Final Thoughts

GSDs are intelligent, loving, and loyal companions. They may put their paw on you for attention, out of excitement, or because they’re asking for something, like food or exercise. 

If the behavior is becoming a nuisance, there are ways to get your dog to stop doing it.

Do you have a German Shepherd that puts its paw on you? Why do you think it does it? Let us know in the comments below.

Related Post: If you are wondering Are Stairs Bad For German Shepherds? Then check out this post.

Justin- Writer & Chief Editor of Bestwatchdogs.com


Justin is a protection dog enthusiast. He has years of experience teaching and training dogs. He enjoys sharing what he’s learned. Read More

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