Why Does My Dog Put His Paw On My Mouth (9 Reasons Explained)

Why does my dog put his paw on my mouth? We have received this question numerous times from dog owners. Dogs have a habit of pawing their owner but if your dog paws you at unusual places, then there are some explanations for this.

Why Does My Dog Put His Paw On My Mouth

Your dog puts his paw on your mouth because he wants a reward for something, is trying to imitate you, is bored, feels anxiety, or is guilty of something.

But wait – there’s more:

A dog’s act of putting his paws on your mouth is called pawing. Dogs paws for various reasons. Here are nine reasons why your dog paws.

He’s Trying to Imitate You

Dogs take notice of the actions of their owners. And most times, they’ll try to imitate your actions.

Hence, your dog’s behavior of putting his paws on your mouth could result from your habits.

If you show affection to your dog by constantly rubbing his face with your hands, there’s a high chance that your dog is only imitating your behavior. If he tries to snuggle close to you while pawing your face, he’s trying to be as affectionate as you.

According to research carried out by Michigan State University, it is established that dogs imitate their owners. Another study by scientists at the University of Vienna and Oxford revealed that dogs copy the behaviors of the people around them.

To be certain that your dog is trying to imitate you, watch out for other behaviors he exhibits.

He’s Bored

When a dog is bored around its owner, he’ll devise various schemes to liven the moment.

If your dog puts his hands on your mouth before his daily walk exercise or any form of exercise, this is a sign that he’s bored and wants you to take him for a walk.

If he stops pawing after taking him out for a walk, then you’ve got your answer to this question.

Other behaviors accompanying a bored dog include excessive pacing, digging, licking, panting without exertion, and more.


If you are always touchy with your dog, there’s a high chance that he’ll feel anxious when there’s a lack of contact between you. And the only way to ease the discomfort in his heart is to place his paws on your mouth.

Take notice of what makes your dog anxious. If he places his paws on your mouth when you’re about to leave home or focused on work, this is a sign that he’s anxious and needs comfort.

Other behaviors displayed by an anxious dog include tucked ears, raised hackles, yawning, whining, tucked tail, drooling, panting, and more.

He’s Guilty of Something

If your dog has committed an act that’ll put him on bad terms with you, one way of apologizing is by putting his paws on your mouth. In this way, he’s seeking forgiveness.

If your dog shows a guilty and puppy expression while pawing your face, this is a sign that he’s guilty of something.

He may have pooped or urinated somewhere.

comic art of guilty dog with police banner

He Wants A Reward

Dogs are observant animals. They take notice of things that excites their owners, and they repeat them.

If your dog keeps putting his paws in your mouth, he does it if he feels there would be a reward afterwards. This happens if you have always rewarded him after he paws you.

He thinks the reward results from his pawing behavior, so he repeats it.

Reward in this context doesn’t only mean giving him treats. If you praise your dog, laugh at him, pet his head, or give him affection when he paws, your dog will regard this as a reward. Hence he’ll continue pawing.

What To Do: If you have always rewarded your dog unintentionally after he puts his paws on your mouth, the only way to stop his pawing behavior is by not rewarding him in any way. He’ll notice this and stop.

He Wants Something

Dogs use their paws to communicate. And most times, their communication language is easy to understand.

You need to pay attention to his actions before and after he paws. This will help you understand what his pawing behavior means.

If your dog puts his mouth in your mouth, it could be a sign that he needs something. Please take note of your surrounding when he paws.

If your dog tries to put his paw in your mouth when you’re eating, it’s a sign that he’s hungry. If he paws when you’ve been silent for a long time, it’s a sign that he wants you to interact with him.

In addition, If your dog places his paws on your mouth after you kiss him, he’s trying to tell you not to stop.

What To Do: If you find his pawing behavior excessive, you can stop it by ignoring him when he does it or by telling him to stop.

He’s Trying to Stop You From Doing Something

Dogs use facial expressions, posture, and body language like whining and barking to communicate with their owners.

And guess what?

Pawing is a body language used by dogs to communicate. And although it could mean a lot of things, you can easily decipher his language by looking at the behaviors he displays while pawing.

If your dog puts his paw on your mouth while you are being touchy with him, this is a sign that he wants you to stop. If you pet him, and he paws on your mouth, he’s telling you to stop.

In order words, he’s annoyed at your actions and trying to tell you to back off.

To be sure of this, watch out for other behaviors like flattened ears, low posture, whines, whimpers, stiffness, and lowered energy. Your dog will also show signs of pulling away when you try to get close to him.

Most dogs don’t like being petted. If your dog leans away from you, ducks his head away, tucks his tail, paws on your mouth, growls, snaps, or tries to bite when you pet him, then he doesn’t like being petted.

He Wants To Play A Game

As you know, dogs are playful beings. They love to spend their days playing. Hence they’re always ready to try out new tactics that make you join them in playing.

Some of the methods dogs use to make you play with them include the following:

  • Picking up a toy and dropping it at your feet
  • Continuous wagging of the tail around you
  • Jumping up and down in excitement
  • Cycling you in excitement
  • Placing his paws at your feet

If all the tactics above don’t work out, some dogs resolve to place their paws on your face or mouth to get you to play with them.

He Wants Your Attention

If your dog feels that he isn’t getting the attention he deserves from you, he’ll come up with various tactics that grab your attention. One of them is placing his paws on your mouth.

To be certain that your dog needs attention, here are other behaviors he’ll display alongside pawing.

  • Playful barking
  • Playing whining
  • Jumping
  • Nudging
  • Bringing you toys
  • Excessive tail wagging

You need to stop if you always give your dog attention each time he places his paws on your mouth. This is the only way to stop his behavior when it becomes excessive.

He Lacks Obedience Training

If you have not given your dog proper obedience training, he’ll act without manners.

Placing his paws on your mouth without reason is a sign that your dog lacks training. Other behaviors he’ll show include leash pulling, barking, ignoring, and more.

A Sign of Love

Dogs show their affection in various ways. If your dog frequently places his hands on your mouth, it could be his way of showing his love and affection.

To be certain that your dog paws on your mouth as a sign of affection, watch out for other behaviors accompanying this pawing.

Some of these behaviors include:

  • Initiates eye contact with you while pawing at your mouth
  • Leans on you as he places his paws on your mouth
  • Soft eye contact
  • Keeps happy ears
  • Wags his tail happily

But Can Someone Get Sick If Their Dog Put Their Paws On Your Mouth?

It depends! If your dog is out-kept and if you have low immunity, there’s a high chance that you’ll get sick if your dog puts his paw on your mouth.

Out-kept dogs have their paws exposed to gems on the ground and a lot of other bacteria. If this paw that carries many germs gets into your mouth, you could fall sick. But this depends on your immunity.

Most dog owners with out-kept dogs have experienced no form of illness after being touched by their dogs. So it all depends on your body’s immunity.

If your dog is in-kept, there’s a low probability that you’ll fall sick when he places his paw on your mouth.

How To Stop My Dog From Putting His Paw On My Mouth

Most people regard pawing as something cute and affectionate. If you don’t think that day, here’s how to stop your dog from putting his paw in your mouth.

1. Stop Rewarding Him: If you praise, laugh, pet his head, or give your dog a treat after he paws, it’s time to stop. Encouraging his behavior will only make him worse.

If you want your dog to stop putting his hands on your mouth, take a step back whenever you notice he’s about to do it, and do not reward him if he succeeds.

This will deter your dog from continuing his behavior.

2. Don’t Show Sign Of Approval: Next time he paws, show no sign of happiness or approval.

3. Enroll Your Dog In A Dog Training School: Dog training schools teach dogs what to do around people and what not to do. If you want to break this habit, take him to school.

You should visit an animal specialist if your dog continues to show excessive pawing behavior.

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