Pawing is a natural instinct in dogs that can be used to get to food that they want and to get the attention of the one they see as an alpha, or the caregiver of their pack. Pups do it to their mothers, and adult dogs will do it to their humans. Even though it is natural and can be cute when a little puppy is pawing at your leg or hand for attention, it is not always a good thing. There is one major reason to discourage such behaviour – it can quickly move beyond being a small nuisance and become a serious problem, especially as your pup grows and gets bigger and stronger. Pawing can cause severe skin injuries when they catch you with their nails, and an over exuberant dog can knock people over when they paw at someone while they are standing or while they are trying to stand up or sit down.
Thankfully, pawing behavior can be improved with training, in particular by replacing the scratching with preferable alternatives. Presented here are four things you can do to help curb pawing in your pup: