How Do I Stop My Dog From Pawing at Me on the Couch?

This is my weimaraner puppy's most annoying habit, and I’m having trouble changing his behavior (or perhaps my own behavior?). Please help.

When we’re trying to relax on the couch, Remy constantly bothers us.

He holds a toy and pushes it into the couch or into my leg. He bites at the toy and ends up biting me. If I grab the toy, he darts away and taunts. If I put the toy away, he sits there and paws at me. When I try to pet him or hold his collar to settle him, he paws and bites or rolls onto his back to thrash around. SUPER ANNOYING.

Remy the weimaraner puppy - how to stop my dog from pawing at me

The reason this is so frustrating is because it’s at the end of the day or on the weekends when we’re tired and just trying to relax (God forbid).

We have a small coffee table in front of the couch, and we can’t keep drinks on it or Remy knocks them over. He’ll purposely bump them with his nose or clunk into the table with his body and move the whole table.

I could really use some ideas on how to encourage Remy to relax with us in the evenings.

How do I stop my dog from pawing at me?

Here’s what we’ve tried with little success:

1. Ignoring him. He keeps at it. I don’t see this working. If we sit up straight, become zombie faced and truly ignore him, he just stands there shoving his toy into us and biting us. Our couch is low and I can’t just turn away from him like I do when sitting at the kitchen table or at my desk.

2. A calm, serious NO. Even a little shove and even a little slap on the nose. He thinks this is a fun game! I end up frustrated and he loves the attention. Other types of corrections like squirting him with a water bottle or compressed air? He thinks these are fun games.

3. A combination of ignoring him with a straight-faced, calm NO. Seems to help slightly when I have the right, serious energy. He might leave for a minute and come back.

4. Teaching him to lie down and stay. He usually starts thrashing around throwing a tantrum and pawing at my hands and biting me. He shreds blankets and towels (or humps them) so a dog bed is out of the question.

5. Using a leash to keep him in a down/stay at my feet. He won’t stop thrashing and biting. I used to tether him to a set of weights, but he chewed through two leather leashes. We bought a chain leash and he started chewing whatever he’s tethered to. I worry he’ll hurt his teeth.

6. Tiring him out. It just doesn’t happen. I feel like I’m doing my part to provide exercise and activities for him throughout the day. I’ve walked him 5 miles, taken him to a dog friendly brewery, worked on tricks and obedience and visited the dog park all in one day and he still wasn’t tired. (And we shoot for 4-5 miles every day, not occasionally.)

Me and my puppy Remy walking on the beach

Now here are some things that do work:

Kong toys. If I stuff a Kong with some dry dog food and biscuits and then peanut butter and freeze it solid, that will last him a good 30 minutes. He will lie down and work on that. Bully sticks also work.

Working on “go to your bed” with treats. He will lie down and stay if he knows I have treats. I started using “go to your bed” and he runs to his shredded up towel (it’s a sad towel) I set out about four feet away from the couch. He’ll lie on it and stare at me if I’m holding treats. Then I toss him a treat every 30 seconds or so. He’ll stay there for as long as I have treats. So we’ve done about 15 minutes of this so far.

Let me know what you think of this plan:

I’m thinking my best bet is to continue practicing the “go to your bed” with treats for short sessions throughout the day. So, when we're trying to watch TV, I could practice “go to your bed” with him for just a few minutes, then give him the Kong for 30 minutes, then another 5 minutes of practicing “go to your bed.” Then crate him if he's still acting wild after that.

What do you think of that?

“Go to your bed” will also come in handy for when we need to get Remy to relax in general or when we have people over. This would be way too challenging for him with guests over at this point, but it would be a long-term goal. See Puppy in Training's post about using this technique to stop a dog from jumping on guests and why it doesn't happen overnight. Training takes TIME.

How have you gotten control of some of your dog's annoying behaviors?

Do you think I'm on the right track to helping Remy be successful?

*This post contains affiliate links.

Related posts:

How to teach your puppy the Off command

My dog won't stop whining for attention

How to stop my dog from pawing at me

Balanced Blends Coupon Code

Balanced Blends Coupon Code

Note: Balanced Blends is a sponsor of That Mutt.

This post is for you if you’re interested in feeding your dog or cat a raw diet or if you’re already feeding raw and want a good deal on pre-made food. 

Balanced Blends is offering “starter packs” of raw food for those who would like to give raw feeding a try. You can order 2 pounds of raw food for your dog and get FREE SHIPPING when you use code STARTERPACK at checkout. Click here.

I really love the idea of feeding all my pets a raw diet.

I enjoy feeding them raw meat and bones and watching them be the meat eaters they’re designed to be.

Perhaps I should’ve been a zoo keeper? Perhaps I watched the Discovery Channel too much as a child? I’m not sure.

I do know dogs and cats are meant to eat raw meat, and raw pet food companies make life easier for pet owners.

Balanced Blends offers:

1. Deliveries right to your door. Saves time, energy and stress. You can order once or you can set up a subscription for regular deliveries (easy to pause, cancel, edit or postpone).

2. Properly balanced meals. If I feed a homemade raw diet, I worry that it’s not properly balanced and my dog is not getting the nutrients he needs over time. Balanced Blends removes that worry.

3. Extra safe raw food. The company calls its raw diets extra safe. This is because the diets are applied with high pressure processing (HPP) in their final packaging to eliminate the risk of recontamination from reprocessing the food again, after HPP, into patties or nuggets. The food is also tested by a third party and is only sold after the pathogen test results come back negative. This gives pet owners peace of mind. 

Remy got to try Balanced Blends

4. Food that is 90% meat, organ and bone. The remaining 10% is fruits, veggies, vitamins and trace minerals. This is exactly how I prefer to feed a raw diet, with just a minimal amount of fruits and veggies. (The cat diets are 98% meat because cats are true carnivores.)

5. No ingredients from China. It's not necessarily bad if a dog food company uses ingredients from China. But ever since so many dogs got sick from jerky treats sourced there, many pet owners are more comfortable knowing a company uses no Chinese ingredients.

6. Optimal calcium to phosphorus ratio. This is a concern of mine when feeding homemade raw. “Am I getting it right?”

7. Optimal Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio. Another concern of mine when feeding homemade.

8. Free shipping when you order 20 pounds or more.

9. Transparency. The company is very straightforward with all of its ingredients, policies and how the food is made. If you have a question, just ask! You can leave them in the comments below if you’d like.

How much does it cost?

The price for Balanced Blends raw dog food ranges from $30 to $35 per 5 pounds of food. That equals $6 to $7 per pound (free shipping when you buy 20 pounds or more).

I know the cost of pre-made raw dog food is a common concern, so here are some ways to justify the cost and fit it into your budget.

How to justify the cost of raw dog food

1. Pre-made raw is a great way to get started. Use it to take away the stress about getting the right balance. Then, over a month or two you could switch your dog to a homemade raw diet as you get more comfortable with the concept of raw feeding in general.

2. Convenient when you're short on time. Even if you prefer to feed homemade raw most of the time, on occasion it's nice to have some food ready to go when you're simply busy or stressed or don't have a lot of time.

3. Feed occasionally for balance and variety. You could feed Balanced Blends every other meal or a few times per week to give your dog balance and variety.

4. Easier for travel. If you board your dog or leave her with a pet sitter, sometimes it's easier if you can provide pre-made raw for the sitter. Or, if you're traveling with your dog, you could have the food shipped directly to your destination. Much easier than packing raw food in a cooler!

My cat trying Balanced Blends raw cat food

How to get started – what questions do you have?

Do you have any questions about the company or how to get started feeding a raw diet? Just let me know in the comments below. I have several raw feeders who follow my blog, and they might chime in to answer your questions as well.

Learn more about Balanced Blends HERE.

Convenient, easy raw diets for dogs from Balanced Blends

How Do You Keep Your Dog Calm When Greeting People?

How would you recommend I handle “overly enthusiastic” dog lovers?

I’ll show you what I mean …

It’s fun having a purebred puppy people are drawn to.

Complete strangers will stop their cars on busy streets only to yell out “Weimaraner! I’ve had 4!” Or “Love your dog!”

I’ll admit, I like this attention.

And on walks, let’s just say my puppy has had hundreds of opportunities to socialize with squealing grown women (and men).

Little kids have been far more appropriate when greeting my puppy compared to adults. Kids will ask if they can pet Remy and then calmly hold out their hands.

Adults screech, flail their arms and praise my puppy for jumping.

And here’s where I’d really like your opinion …

How do you keep your dog calm when greeting people?

How should I handle the grown adults who talk to my puppy in high-pitched voices while doing “jazz hands” and encouraging him to jump?

Is this something I should just put up with?

Or should I be more assertive and say something like, “Please don’t pet him, he’s in training.”

We could also just move away, but sometimes we're trying to sit down and mind our own business.

What I normally do is grip Remy’s collar to prevent him from jumping, but that doesn’t seem fair either because these people are taunting him.

How can I be the best handler for my dog?

There’s a local brewery that’s very dog friendly, and it’s a good place to bring Remy because there’s an outdoor patio area and it’s a good walking distance from our apartment.

Remy is such a good boy when I bring him places. He stays calm and cool until … people start squealing and encouraging him to jump and play-bite.

Is this something I need to accept since I’m bringing a puppy to a bar?

Even when I stand in a corner with Remy between me and a wall, people approach me and lean over me to get to him. No boundaries, I tell ya!

One woman was leaning over Josh’s LAP to get to Remy!

It’s all very comical, of course. I’m not writing this as a rant.

I’m just wondering what you think I should do.

I suppose a bar is one thing, but what about when people act this way on walks or at coffee shops or even in our own apartment complex?

“PUPPPPYYY!!! OH MY GOD!!!”

As my pup goes from calm to psycho …

I also want to say I truly appreciate the rare person who knows how to calmly approach a dog. You know, the person who can just smile and nod and say, “Nice dog.”

A compliment and respect. Thank you to those people!

And of course, dogs do need to learn to contain themselves regardless of the energy around them.

My dog Ace keeps it together no matter how people respond, but fewer people lose their shit over a big, black dog compared to a green-eyed Weim puppy. And Ace has a lifetime of experiencing Crazies.

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Overall, I’m really proud of my puppy. I think he’s doing a good job considering his age and energy and the reactions he’s presented with.

I just want to know what you think.

How can I balance real-world socialization with training?

How can I help my puppy be successful?

Related posts:

How to keep your dog calm at the door

How do you keep your dog calm when greeting people?

Isn’t 6 Months Old the Age Where A Lot of Dogs Get Taken to Shelters?

Remy, don't push it.

It might be a myth that 6 months is the age where dogs are more likely to get dropped off at shelters, I don't know.

But … this is the age where they're past the cute puppy stage. They might seem a little rebellious. They're strong and usually untrained. More serious behavioral problems start to emerge if they're going to. Things like leash aggression, possessiveness, separation anxiety.

Remy the crazy puppy

I'm frustrated with Remy much of the time. He pulls on the leash, jumps on people, pees when he's excited.

Last week we passed a couple with their pug in a narrow entryway and Remy did his “kangaroo hop” on his hind legs trying to get to them WHILE PEEING! Dear God.

On puppy class “graduation night” he ripped the trainer's evaluation sheet right out of her hand and shredded it.

He has little impulse control, bites when he's excited, yips in his kennel at 5 a.m. We can hike with him off-leash for an hour and he never gets tired.

So do any of you still want a puppy? 🙂

It helps to take note of the good moments.

My puppy has a nice temperament. He's not overly assertive, not at all timid. My puppy loves every single person he meets – all ages, men, women, kids. Likewise, he loves every dog he meets. Even when older dogs get grumpy, he respects their space and backs off, wagging his little stub tail.

He has a solid “leave it.” It's his best command.

While he does get up early, he sleeps all night without a peep.

He allows us to take away items from his mouth and to reach into his food bowl. He is not aggressive to our cats or our senior dog and hopes they will someday play or cuddle with him. Yet to be determined.

Remy and Beamer

Remy rides nicely in the back seat of my car, doesn't try to climb into the front.

He doesn't seem to know he could hop right over the baby gate and doesn't try. He hasn't destroyed anything other than our leather leashes, which of course was my fault.

He's getting better at “stay” and can sometimes stay for 2 minutes or so in the living room. That might not sound like a lot, but I'm proud of my high-energy guy.

He can walk as long as we'd like (I have yet to tire him out). He stays close when off leash. And he cooperates for pictures.

My weimaraner puppy Remy

He lets us touch his paws, ears, nose, tail. He gets silly and squirms but is not aggressive.

He hangs out quietly in my office when I blog or work. He has an off switch, settles in and naps.

He's resilient, not afraid of anything. Unfazed by firm corrections. If I lose my temper, he just wags his tail and licks my hand, like, hey don't be so serious!

He's potty trained! I think it's been about a month since his last accident.

He's in the “middle of the pack” with other dogs, almost on the slight submissive side but in a good way. He's easygoing and friendly, plays gently with the shy or smaller dogs, does not challenge the more assertive dogs.

Remy is a very good dog. We've boarded him overnight a few times, and while he did just fine away from us, I missed him.

Yes, I have a LOT of work ahead still, but if you struggle with your puppy or dog like I do, know that it's normal. It's a work in progress for me too. I can always make improvements. And it's more about improving my own attitude than it is about “improving” my dog.

I think how lucky I am to get to help the pup in front of me learn to be a good dog.

Remy … I'll get there!

In the meantime, well … we'll try to be patient with one another.

Weim pup Remy

What challenges are the rest of you facing with your dogs at the moment?

Related posts:

When you regret getting a puppy

Help! My dog is out of control

How to tire out your hyper, high-energy dog

Custom, Embroidered Dog Leashes From dogIDs

Note: This post is sponsored by dogIDs. Use code THATMUTT to save 10% on all dogIDs products. Click here.

I've always wanted a leash embroidered with the words ADOPT ME for the shelter dogs I foster or walk.

I'm not great at starting conversations with strangers, but if a dog is wearing an ADOPT ME leash it welcomes people to ask to meet the dog or to ask questions about her.

And the more I thought about it, I realized an embroidered leash is helpful for a lot of different dogs, not just foster dogs.

Custom, embroidered dog leashes

What would your dog's embroidered leash say?

dogIDs makes custom, embroidered dog leashes, so the message on your dog's leash could say whatever you want!

The leashes are also American made, right in the dogIDs office in Fargo, N.D.

My dogs Ace and Remy do not have embroidered leashes (yet!) but they do wear embroidered collars from dogIDs. The nylon is tough, durable material. Remy pulls like crazy and his nylon collar is not fazed.

The hardware on the leashes is corrosion-resistant stainless steel. (dogIDs is in North Dakota, so they're not joking around when they say their products will hold up to “the elements.”)

Reasons dogs may want to wear embroidered dog leashes:

Identification

The leash could say your dog's name or your dog's name and a phone number. I chose to include Remy and Ace's names and my phone number on their collars, and that's what I would probably put on their leashes too.

Rockey wearing the custom embroidered leash from dogIDs

Working dogs

The messaging could simply say “WORKING DOG” or “SERVICE DOG” or “THERAPY DOG” or it could say DO NOT PET or PLEASE PET ME, depending on your dog's line of work!

Space for aggressive or fearful dogs

Some dogs just need a little extra space from dogs or people during walks, so a message such as these could go a long way:

  • NO DOGS NO DOGS
  • DO NOT PET
  • AGGRESSIVE AGGRESSIVE
  • SCARED SCARED SCARED

With the right color combination, the message can be read from a distance.

Medical issues such as allergies

If your dog has allergies or needs medication, those are things you could consider putting on her leash, depending on how serious her condition is.

Some examples:

  • DIABETIC DIABETIC
  • BLIND BLIND BLIND
  • DEAF DEAF DEAF
  • NEEDS MEDICATION

Embroidered dog leashes

Advertising a business or rescue group

If you own a pet-related business or a blog, you'd be surprised how much attention a message on the leash gets.

Ace used to wear a collar that said THATMUTT.COM and people would always ask me, what is that?

Also, when I started my dog running business Run That Mutt, I had several leashes embroidered with my business name and then gave those out to my clients. Everyone appreciates an extra leash and it was an easy way to advertise my business.

This could also be an easy way to advertise a rescue group or shelter. Wondering how you can donate something meaningful to a rescue? How about an embroidered leash?

What would you put on your dog's leash?

Use coupon code THATMUTT for 10% off embroidered leashes at dogIDs.com. The code will also work for all other dogIDs products.

Visit dogIDs HERE

Remy wearing his embroidered collar from dogIDs

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