Why Does My Dog Grab or Hug My Leg? (9 Reasons & What to Do)

Though dogs are always tagged “creatures of routine”, they show some pretty strange behaviors once in a while. They can be somewhat quirky, from sniffing people to jumping on them and licking their faces incessantly.

There is no one reason for such behaviors but today we’ll get to know why your dog cuddles up to your leg with his paws and won’t let go.

So, why does my dog grab or hug my leg with his paws?

In most cases, when your dog grabs or hugs your leg, it is considered a sign of affection. This behavior may also convey friendliness, excitement, or anxiety. Perhaps, your pooch is seeking comfort or needs more devotion and reassurance because they’re scared or stressed. Dogs also assume this position when they are trying to hump your leg.

Some experts believe that dogs may see humans as their pack leaders and, as such, will show physical signs of affection to reaffirm their bond or connection with that person.


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Dogs often do this to their owners, but they may also do it to other people they know, such as friends or family members. Each case is different, so it’s essential to understand your canine friend’s personality and behavior to determine better what they’re asking for.

Key takeaways

Dogs may hug legs for attention or affection.
Lack of training can lead to this behavior.
It can be a dominance display.
If problematic, consider professional training.
Certain breeds are more prone to this.
Sudden behavior changes could signal health issues.

What Does It Mean When A Dog Hugs Your Leg?

There are a few different explanations for why dogs might hug your leg. 

One probability is that your canine buddy is trying to tell you that he loves you and wants your attention. Another explanation is that the dog may be feeling insecure or afraid and is using the hug to comfort itself.

You need to consider whether your fur buddy feels threatened by something else in the environment — like another dog or person. Try stepping back and giving him space until he calms down.

You have to really watch your dog closely when he surrounds your legs with his paw because sometimes, he may be humping you as a form of masturbation. You can set boundaries for your dog if you find this uncomfortable or embarrassing

Dogs may also hug your leg if they are trying to ask for diet or a toy and treat. It is also possible that the dog is trying to dominate you. When a dog cuddles your leg, it places itself in a leading situation and proclaims its power.

Dog humping leg

Why Does My Dog Grab My Leg With His Paws? (9 Reasons Explained!)

Your dog has a distinctive way of showing affection. He may grab your leg with his paw and give it a sweet hug. Here are nine common reasons why dogs keeps grabbing or hugging our legs with their paws:

1) Needs Attention

Dogs can be very demanding when it comes to attention. If your dog has been ignoring you lately but then suddenly starts grabbing at your leg while you’re doing home chores, and he starts licking your face while you eat breakfast, it could mean that he needs more attention or love.

Yorkshire Terrier hugging woman's leg

2) Needs Exercise & Mental Stimulation

If your furry friend is getting tired at home all day while you work, he might resort to grasping your leg for some additional stimulus.

It could be anything from chewing on furniture or other objects to jumping up on people and barking incessantly at them to get their attention so they can play with them or go outside for exercise.

If this sounds like your dog, try giving him more workouts by taking walks together or playing fetch in the yard when you come home from work, so he gets plenty of physical activity! 

If you spend most of your day at work, your dog may become bored and frustrated when left alone all day with nothing to do. If this happens regularly, you must make sure he gets enough exercise during the day to have plenty of energy when it’s time for him to relax at home.

3) Needs Some Playtime

Your dog may grab your leg to get you to play with him, especially if he sees something exciting outside or hears a noise that piques his interest. When dogs want to play, they sometimes grab one another’s paws or legs as if they were playing tug-of-war or trying to pick someone up. It is a playful gesture that often shows up when dogs play with their owners or other dogs.

If you’re not feeling playful, ignore the behavior until he stops doing it on his own — but make sure you do so without punishing him for the behavior.

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4) Needs Food & Treats 

If you’re standing near his food bowl, he might grab your leg in an attempt to get some of what’s inside it (or at least be close enough that he can smell it).

It’s also possible that if you’re eating something delicious when he does this, he may be hoping for a taste of what’s on offer — again, ignore the behavior until he stops doing it on his own (and if you give him some of what has caught his attention while doing so).

5) Excited Behavior 

Dogs have very few ways of expressing themselves vocally — so when they get excited about something, they tend to use body language instead. While some dogs bark or howl when they’re happy, others grab their owner’s leg as if they were celebrating together!

brown dog hugging man's leg

6) Dominance

The most common cause of a dog grabbing your leg is dominance. Dominance aggression occurs when a dog tries to establish himself as the pack leader and exert his authority over other family pets and humans. It occurs most often when there are more than one dog in a household and one is higher up on the “pack order” than others.

Dominance does not mean that one dog is more potent than another. Instead, one dog has a higher rank in the pack hierarchy than another.

7) Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is when dogs show signs of distress when left alone for long periods. Separation anxiety is characterized by destructive behavior, excessive barking or howling, or even urinating or defecating in the house.

If you’ve been gone a while and come home late at night, maybe your dog is feeling insecure and needs reassurance that everything is still okay — especially if he hears strange noises in the house or outside while you’re away. Dogs are incredibly social animals. They prefer to be in the company of their human parents than to be alone. 

Dog sitting next to owner's leg in a field

8) He May Be Scared

He may also try grabbing your leg if something new has happened around him that makes him nervous or fearful — like an unfamiliar person or a pet coming into the house or neighborhood or a storm.

The dog may grab at you to get your attention or as a way to try and calm himself down from feeling anxious or scared at the moment. It can happen if your dog has been through trauma in his life (such as being abandoned, lost in the woods, etc.).

It usually occurs because the dog has never been properly socialized or trained at an early age by its owner, who has failed to properly introduce it to other people and animals (including other dogs).


9) Humping

Sometimes, it’s not just the affection and care. Dogs are also sexual creatures and often hump on different objects to vent their energy, masturbate or just play.

If you have a hump-happy pooch, it wouldn’t be uncommon for him to go for your leg since it provides the perfect cushioning and comfort for such activity. Even desexed dogs hump but not necessarily as a sexual behavior.

It can become a problem when your dog uncontrollably humps you or everything he comes across. Effective training can help to curb this behavior before it progresses to become a regular hard-to-break habit.

What’s my dog thinking?

“I want your attention or affection,” or “I’m asserting my presence in your space.”

How to Stop a Dog from Grabbing Your Leg?

There are a number of techniques to stop this action. The first step is not to let your dog grab your leg. If your pet does, immediately say “No” and give it a treat. Don’t scream or pull away from the dog.

It will only make the dog more excited and encourage your furry friend to bite down harder. If you are in a public place, try to keep quiet so there is no risk of scaring people who might be afraid of dogs.

Secondly, bend over at the waist and gently push forward with one hand while pulling backward with the other hand on his collar. It will help straighten out his spine so he can regain his balance and release his grip on your leg. If he doesn’t let go right away, repeat this motion until he does release his grip.

The third step is to distract your dog with treats or toys when he tries to grab your leg. If he holds for attention, give him something else, like a bone or toy. It will teach him that grabbing doesn’t get him anything good, but if he plays with his toys or chews on his bone, then good things happen!

Finally, try not paying attention when your dog grabs your leg because doing so will encourage him to continue doing so to gain attention from you. Try ignoring him entirely until he stops.

It’s important to remember that dogs have different personalities, just like people do, so there are many reasons why one dog might grab another person’s leg while another won’t do it at all.

You should never hit or scold your dog for this behavior because it could cause him to become fearful of people and other animals instead of being friendly toward everyone he meets!

Is It Normal For Dogs To Grab Your Leg?

Yes, a dog gripping your legs is ordinary conduct with several probable justifications. Dogs are pack animals, and they often try to establish dominance by grabbing your leg. Such behavior is normal and should not be discouraged.

If you have any food on your hands or are holding something like a leash or toy, the dog may be trying to get it from you. If the dog grabs your leg during play, this is a way of saying “I’m ready to play” or “I want attention.” It’s a form of communication between you and your furry friend.

But it’s not normal for them to bite or nip your legs while playing. If your dog is doing this, it could mean that he’s experiencing some pain or discomfort.

Dog Breeds That Use Their Paws A Lot

All dogs use their paws, but some breeds are more prone to it than others. Dog breeds that use their paws are often very intelligent and energetic. These include:

  • Beagles
  • Dachshunds
  • Poodles
  • Basset Hounds
  • Border collies
  • German shepherds
  • Australian Shepherds
  • Labrador retriever
  • Boxers
  • Yorkshire Terrier

Final Thoughts!

Hope this article answers your questions as to why dogs keep grabbing or hugging your leg.

It can be a bit of a puzzle to find out the exact reason why your dog is all about your leg. Your dog may be seeking attention, trying to get you to play with him, or asking for food, but it is often a sign of affection. Dogs may also grab your leg if they are anxious or stressed.

By understanding why your dog does this, you can better respond to their needs. Regardless of the reason, it is clear that dogs see us as a source of comfort and love.

However, If your dog regularly and uncontrollably grabs your leg, it might signify that something is wrong. Please refer your canine chum to a veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Thanks for Reading!

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