I'm so glad I found this. Every site that I have come across seems to think it is a dominance thing and it is VERY frustrating! Do people not have common sense anymore?! I have had 4 Goldens and all 4 have rested their paws on my arm when I pet them. That is the only time they would rest their paws on my arm. They are clearly happy and content and just enjoying being loved, plain and simple!!
My golden doodle does it all the time! I found this page because I was trying to figure out if it was a dominant dog behavior but it must just be a golden thing, it's only when I pet him though so it must be an attempt to keep the "love fest"'going!
My Golden puts her paw in my hand or on my arm when she is riding in the car. She likes me to hold her paw as if I am holding her hand. This is very much an affectionate gesture from her. She loves to ride in the car second to swimming. She uses her paws like hands for other activities but this is the only time she actually places it on me unless I give her the command to shake.
My golden retriever - Goldilocks - is the reason I was researching this behavior and came across this blog online. She does the "paw-on-arm" all of the time when I'm stroking her chest. I do feel like it's a sign of affection because she does it only when she is being stroked or petted. She almost never initiates it, but will respond to a pet by doing this.
My adorable Golden, Logan, does it all the time while I'm petting him. I believe it's affectionate behavior..or maybe he's trying to let me know, don't stop.
I think it is a Golden thing. When our Golden pup was about 4 months old, we took her to a Feast of St. Francis blessing of the animals. Prior to this, she didn't do the paw thing. At this event, she met an older Golden, named Christopher Wren. He came right up to her and gave her a big old paw and gave her a big old kiss. From that day on, she did the paw thing all the time. It was as if Christopher said to her "if you are going to be a Golden, you have to act like one". Convinced us........
I had a Labrador Retriever (black) service dog for 6 years (retired early due to allergies interfering with her ability to function as a service dog. She, despite being a service dog, would go the paw-on-arm or paw-on-lap behavior. Rather than attempts at dominance, I felt/believed that it was seeking affection. And I gave it to her. But, as she was a service dog, I stopped her behavior, waited, distracted her, then gave her the affection I knew she wanted. Couldn't let her train me!
I suspect it's a "retriever thing," as one respondent suggested.
One of my Goldens does it (female) and one of my Chocolate Labs (female) does it. So I'm not sure if it's a 'golden' thing, or a 'retriever' thing.....or a 'female retriever' thing.....??
My Titan doesn't have this habit yet, however my daughters golden does somewhat.