View Full Version : Giving the Paw

05-25-2009, 04:47 PM
Does anyone know what it means, or could mean when our Pyr gives us his paw all the time. He sits, up comes the paw. He'll place it on your knee, or if that's not possible, wherever it lands, which is bad sometimes, and we don't always want his paw because he's somewhat obsessive about it.

And sometimes when we let him give us one paw, he goes on and gives us the other as well.

nick's spirit
05-25-2009, 06:56 PM
I was always told this is "Pyr Paw"
ours always did this to get attention, and with a paw that size they got our attention!!
but it seems they also gave it when they wanted a little love, or if I was brushing them, up comes the paw..."please stop" is what I think they are saying. rubbing their ears..then stop..up comes the paw.."please don't stop"
when my husband reads and the Pyr princess has her head on his lap and she wants to be petted...up comes the paw...on whatever he is reading..."stop reading, pay attention to me" is what I think she is saying.
guess what I'm saying is that the Pyr paw is their very expresive way to get your attention

05-25-2009, 07:08 PM
The Paw seems to be a genetic trait. For the most part, its used to get your attention when yours is elsewhere

Its likely this is a trait that was bred in, so many centuries ago to get the attention of their human shepherds

05-25-2009, 10:05 PM
According to Roger Abrantes in “Dog Language” pawing is a pacifying gesture and can involve actual contact or not. It is done by a submissive dog to a more dominant dog. Brenda Aloff in “Canine Body Language” includes paw lifting as a calming and negotiation signal. She lists several paw lifts, Anticipatory (waiting alertly), Curiosity and Submission Lifting a paw is a natural behavior inherited from wolves. I think many dogs learn that we humans respond to the natural pawing motion by paying attention especially if we are actually touched. Then the pawing behavior becomes a learned way for the dog to request attention. My Pyr, Sheila usually paws me once if she thinks I have quit petting her too soon. If I pet her more she is happy and if I don’t pet her she just goes and lies down. Luckily she only paws once as sometimes her claws scratch my bare arm.
Dogs will also place a paw over another dog’s back to signal dominance.
What do you think you Pry is signaling. Is he asking for attention or could he be signaling dominance? Years ago I had a Lab who was obsessive about pawing to get attention.

05-26-2009, 10:20 AM
Our little/big guy uses has paw when he want to get your attention. Our guy also like us to put our hand in his month and he hold it.

05-26-2009, 11:09 AM
My boy Leo paws us to get attention. He sill sit in front of you and if you don't start petting or if you only use one hand he paws at you. He will also rest his paw on your knee and when you start petting he will put the second paw on your other knee and hold himself up on his rear end allowing you to scratch his belly - he learned this from watching our Lab Rocky who does this to get belly rubs all the time. The pawing in our case is a submissive behavior because he wants attention. He will paw at our Alpha Lab Rocky to try to signal dominance which is quickly put down by Rocky and Leo is reminded that he is NOT alpha in the house. Leo accepts it and goes about his business.

05-26-2009, 02:25 PM
We took Sebastian to have his shots today and the vet was sitting on the exam table next to Sabby talking...he came up to her...turned...and I asked 'is he leaning into you?' She said 'oh yeah, he's a leaner....likes lots of affection, but that's okay.' At that point I brought up the paw to her, and like the rest of you have said, (and he at the same time turned and gave his paw to her)....he's asking for affection.

I love our vet btw. Years ago we had a vet who didn't seem to like dogs. Weird I know. But this vet has been great with our dogs.

I too was totally thrilled that he's all good and ZERO tarter on his teeth. Very glad for that!

05-27-2009, 07:29 AM
lol my male bubba will turn a half circle and lean all his weight on you but my other male yoyo will paw and paw even if you are petting him, i guess he thinks hes not getting enough attention! i always thought it was kinda cute so i let him paw. my female garyann will just come and stand over you. and my little female dog will just take a flying leap lol. fuzzy.....well he has major problems that i am despratly trying to fix. hes a sweetie too though.

and if fiance is playing a computer game and bubba wishes to bless him with his royal hiney....oops meant highness....he will stick his big nose under his arm and start rooting. that usally does the trick, and its extremly funny for me!

05-27-2009, 09:27 PM
Oh my goodness, the arm pit nudge....Sebastian does it from time to time.

05-29-2009, 06:55 AM
Question about "the lean." Cider does this quite often. When I go out to pasture to check on the goats or whatever he will sit down and lean into me as soon as I stop walking. I've wondered if this was affection or if he was attempting to show dominance by "throwing his weight around."
Sounds like 2nd Pyr's vet had no problem with it. So is the lean just a show of affection?

05-29-2009, 09:11 AM
DPW...love that expression on your Pyr's face on your avatar.

05-29-2009, 11:56 AM
The Great Pyrenees Dog Language Dictionary:

1. 'The Pyr Paw' - the method by which a Pyr tries to gain a humans attention by placing the paw (and not very gently) upon the human. This is very inconvenient when the human has on fresh clothing and is about to go out somewhere. This may also be used when the Pyr is interacting with toy dog breeds usually resulting in a small dog with a big attitude.

2. 'The Lean' - the Pyr leans all of his giant breed weight on the humans legs. Very effective if the dog is wet. If done from behind, may cause the humans knees to buckle inwards, thus causing the human to come crashing to the ground.

and I would like to add another:

3. 'The Block' - usually occurs when a human tries to leave the Pyrs territory; the Pyr will try every method to block the pathway leading to the humans goal. This is usually accomplished with a mixture of 'The Lean' and 'The Pyr Paw'.

Please feel free to add more definitions to the dictionary.

05-29-2009, 02:42 PM
Rhodiegal - LOL!! I wish I had more to add.. I knew the paw thing was common across Pyrs, but not the last 2. I see all 3 of those traits in my Pyr daily. :) The toy breed piece was funny because I also have a Pekingese as my Pyr's "big" brother. :)

05-29-2009, 06:48 PM
Alexis1905 - glad to see someone else understands the toy dog and Pyr dynamics. We have a Maltese and he gets soooo angry at my Pyr sometimes - but it only seems to egg him on more! Other times the small one will hang unto his ears or tail and it drives the big guy crazy after a while of it. :o

05-30-2009, 11:56 AM
2ndPyr, I call that expression "mischievous." But to be perfectly honest when I first uploaded the pic onto the computer and really saw it for the first time the word "evil" came to mind. :)

05-30-2009, 12:03 PM
It is so true about the pyr paw and small dogs! There is a little male king charles spaniel in my pup's obedience class. This little male apparently likes tall, white furry girls and for the first class, kept standing up on his hind legs so he could put his front paws and his head over my pup's shoulder. By the second class, my pup learned to play just like him... except that each of her paws is almost as big as his head. All he could see was giant paws swiping from the left, from the right, from the top....

06-03-2009, 08:05 AM
The lean is generally for affection and is common to most giant breed dogs from what I've seen. We had a Newf as a foster that weighed in at about 135 or so and she would give the "Newfie Lean" whenever you started to pet her. We had to warn people that came to see her or met her in public to brace themselves when she would go in for the lean. Leo also does the lean and the paw but he appears to be a bit defective and is really very cuddly. Now, when Leo cuddles someone gets hurt and it's usually me. He will crawl on top of me when I am sitting in my recliner and will flop around trying to get as close to me as possible. He will settle down if I am petting him but if I stop he starts flopping again. Since he's still pretty small - ~85lbs - it's not so bad but the flailing foot and head make for fat lips and bloody noses. I told him I'm going to tell all his Pyr friends that he is cuddly and it would ruin his rep as a big bad Pyr but he doesn't seem to care. They really are a breed like no other.

06-03-2009, 11:14 AM
Oh my these are so funny! The block! I thought this was something Sebastian did to me to be dominant. ??
He plays 'the block' play quite frequently.

But the one we don't allow him to play is the one at the top of the stairs. He's learning, and does better sometimes than others, but he has to wait at the top until whoever is going down tells him he can come down. Otherwise I'm afraid he'll knock someone down the stairs.

Oh they are fun aren't they!

06-03-2009, 12:20 PM
Mine does that when hes happy im home or he wants what im eating but believe its an act of affection and not trying to be Domante.

06-04-2009, 05:29 AM
Our two definitely do this when they want attention...whether it's a feed me now or pet me now....Our pure bread is the worst about it...she often does it when you try to get up and leave her too...I have just come to accept this behavior...lol

06-04-2009, 06:04 AM
I just told my hubby that I think the consensus is unanimous that this breed is known for such attention getting acts. ;)

I have to share...off topic but yesterday after a busy three days of putting near 2000 miles under us, Sebastian was ready for a run. We found a nice big green field and we had a blast running (keeps me in shape too because he's on a long leash so I do have to run with him). He can't run as fast as he is able, being on a long leash but he's gotten very good with running full speed to the end and stopping before he yanks my arm out of socket.

I just love though, watching my Pyr in a full run...it's beautiful and as I tell people...he's the closest thing I'll ever have to a horse. ;)

06-04-2009, 07:10 AM
Another amusing little ploy Cider uses now and again is what I'll call "the hook." Sometimes if he's in the barn and not out with the goats where he is SUPPOSED to be and I'm in there for any number of reasons he will hook a front paw around my ankle when I try to leave.
Most of the time I just ignore him and go on my way but sometimes I just have to stop and give him some lovin'.
As a working Pyr Cider is supposed to interact with the goats much more than us humans. But sometimes we just can't help ourselves. He's so much fun to be around. The personalities of this breed is amazing.