Why Does My Dog Hate It When I Touch His Front Paws?by Naomi Millburn
If your pooch loves being cuddled but acts annoyed every time you touch his front paws, then he's certainly not alone in his behavior. A lot of dogs get extremely touchy when it comes to the idea of their feet being in another individual's hands, literally. This often is fine and dandy -- until nail trimming time inevitably comes around. Of course, if it's a new problem, make sure your furbuddy hasn't injured his paws.
By getting upset when you touch his front paws, your dog might be interpreting your behavior as being an "alpha" one. Whether you're attempting just to pet his paws or to trim his too-long nails, your pet might perceive your paw-touching action as a display of social status, and in turn might make a big show of expressing to you that he objects to it and won't stand for it. He might even think of it as being an attack -- definitely not your intention.
Your dog might be irritable about contact with his feet because of all of the sensory components that are contained within them. Dogs' paw pads consist of nerves that communicate with oscillations. These are useful for enabling canines to figure out the firmness of terrain for traveling over it, often for running. The spots in the middle of their paw pads feature uber-delicate nerve tips that also might contribute to their deep dislike of their feet being handled by others. In short, dogs often feel uncomfortable -- and awkward -- when people go near their paws, either front or back.
If your dog gets a little testy when you touch his front paws, it could be because you do so abruptly and out of nowhere. Canines are naturally protective about their paws. After all, dogs in the wild often don't stand much of a chance once their paws are wounded -- and this apprehension transfers to lots of modern dogs, as well. By putting your hand's on your dog's quickly, you might just be startling the poor thing -- and creating a negative, frightening association with the action as a result.
Interactions Between Dogs
Dogs tend to be highly tactile in their interactions with fellow canines, whether they're playing together or simply greeting one another. Although they might do a lot of touching, you might also notice that they usually keep away from feet. Not only do they generally abstain from touching others' feet, they also usually abstain from smelling them, too. Disliking having their paws touched might just be an instinctive doggie characteristic. Don't take your pet's dislike of it personally.
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images