Is It Dominance When A Dog Puts A Paw On You?
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A student of mine recently asked whether it is dominance when a dog puts a paw on you? She was told by her pet store trainer that it was dominance, and that she should tell her dog a firm “No” and make the dog get off of her.
No, it isn’t dominance.
No, you shouldn’t discipline a dog for doing this.
Often, this is just an affectionate way of your dog relating to you. Or the dog is asking for some other type of care. I know of a Standard Poodle that does this when you greet her. She “gives you the paw”. And when you stop petting, she will raise her paw again as a way of asking for more affection. She is in no way a dominant dog.
People that don’t know a thing about behavior shouldn’t be giving out behavioral advice. Correcting a dog for socially appropriate behavior will result in aggression or neurotic behaviors. Is that what you want?
Why are you so willing to listen to everyone about your dog? Use your intuition. Read your dog. And if you aren’t sure, then get some advice from someone qualified. In science, usually the simplest answer is the correct answer… I”m sure you can tell a lot more about your dog than some artificially trained pet store trainer.
It is pretty rare to be dealing with a truly dominant pet dog these days. Quit worrying about all that stuff. Train your dog well and that will be sufficient.