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Why Does My Dog Rub His Face On Me – 8 Explanations

Why Does My Dog Rub His Face On Me – 8 Explanations

Are you constantly wondering: “Why does my dog rub his face on me?” Well, this quirky behavior has its own roots, and it’s time to decode them!

Dogs nuzzle their owner for a plethora of reasons. Some are rooted in deepest affection, while some have something to do with your pet’s physical health. 

The important thing when detecting the trigger of dog nuzzling is to follow other accompanying signs. Dogs have many different body language tools that they use in the attempt to communicate their primal emotions.

The important thing is to observe, listen to, and understand. If, however, you have some difficulties in understanding your pet rubbing its head on you – here are some of the most common reasons that might help you in that regard!

Why Does My Dog Rub His Face On me?

Dogs rub their head, or “nuzzle”, as a way of communicating with their loved ones. Even though some breeds do this a lot more often than others, nuzzling is a common behavior in all dogs.

Aside from rubbing their head on their owner, pooches use other various body language tools, such as pawing their owner, standing on them, licking their hands, or even pulling their arms.

These quirky behaviors have their own rationale behind them, and they never come in a vacuum. By the same logic, a dog’s nuzzling has its own reasons that need to be detected. 

Most of the time, first-time dog owners find it hard to understand why their pets nuzzle. They find it odd or strange as this sort of behavior sometimes comes out of nowhere, and it is not a part of their normal, routine behavior.

Therefore, here are eight most common explanations that might help you understand and meet your dog even better.

1. Affection

a dog in a woman's lap is petting

In ninety-nine percent of the cases, the “why does my dog rub his face on me” dilemma is rooted in a dog’s deepest affection towards its owner. A dog’s nuzzling is a part of an every-day behavior of many family dog breeds.

Puppies use this behavioral pattern to establish physical contact with their owner

This particular momentum in a dog-owner relationship is quite important for dogs as they use physical communication to express love, affection, gratitude, comforting, and trust.

Many dog breeds prefer using physical contact prior to vocal communication as that’s just who they are. Puppies such as Basenjis and Pugs are known to be quite silent, but at the same time, these pooches are extremely affectionate and physical.

2. Marking Its Territory

It may sound a little odd, but some dog breeds rub their face on their owner in order to mark them with their scent. That’s right! This is not a usual behavior in dogs, and it’s definitely not only aggressive breed-related.

Dogs mark their territory with their own scent in order to clarify and assert their presence. In other words, if your dog is rubbing his face on you – that’s the message to other dogs (or even other people) to stay away.

Some pooches can be extremely clingy and dependent on their owner that they simply don’t want to share them with anyone. On the other hand, some dogs have a tendency to nuzzle their owner when they feel threatened or endangered. 

This way, they are instinctively trying to protect them from potential enemies and predators, which is the same pattern female dogs use to protect their litters. 

If you think about it – this is an indirect expression of deepest love and devotion, which is why we love dogs in the first place!

3. Scratching

The “Why does my dog rub his face on me” phenomenon is sometimes rooted in some external factors, such as a disease or dog fleas. Dogs rub their head on their owner or on some other things when they want to scratch.

If that’s the case – you may want to subject your dog to a preventative vet exam. Scratching doesn’t always come across as bad, but it may be a symptom of dog fleas, irritation, or some other condition.

In order to prevent this from happening, every responsible owner should subject their furry friend to early vaccination and deworming. Furthermore, you should definitely avoid dirty places, especially if your puppy has a medium to long coat. 

Most of the time, treating fleas in dogs is a long-term and high-maintenance job. 

4. Comforting

the dog caresses the woman while she works

One of the best qualities of the smartest dogs in the world is their high intuition. In fact, all dogs have a certain level of intuition in their temperament, regardless of their intelligence level.

That being said, some puppies rub their face on their loved ones in order to express comfort and consolation. Dogs read emotions outstandingly, which is why you cannot hide sorrow or depression from them.

Family dogs (or dogs that spend a lot of time with you) eventually create a strong bond with you. Therefore, they learn how to read certain behavioral patterns, as well as certain emotions without any problem. 

If you’re having a bad day, and you just can’t hide it – your puppy might rub his face on you as a sign of comfort. 

5. Craving Attention

Some pooches are just masters of attention craving. Dogs like Chis and Frenchies are naturally clingy and demanding, which is why they will use anything in their power to get your attention.

That being said, these types of dogs won’t hesitate to use nuzzling to get what they want. This might be cute at first, but it can also become quite overwhelming. 

Another reason why some dogs become clingy and too physical is because their everyday routine is being neglected. If you want your pet not to have serious behavioral outbursts, never skip mealtime, sleep time, and exercise time.

6. Pain

This might be rare, but some dogs rub their head on their owner due to severe pain in their head, eyes, or ears. 

Certain medical conditions, such as canine glaucoma or ear infections can be extremely unpleasant and painful. Instinctively, dogs try to release the pain by rubbing their head.

Luckily, this sort of behavior never comes in a vacuum, and you can easily detect it. Dogs that cope with severe pain are often lethargic, disinterested in any sort of activity, too tired to walk or exercise, and they often refuse to eat or drink.

The best way to treat these conditions is subjecting your dog to a vet check as soon as the first symptoms are noticed.

7. Allergy

One of the main reasons for a dog rubbing his face on you is rooted in allergies. Pet allergy is a minor condition, but it can be a long-term problem if not treated timely. 

Most of the time, dogs coping with allergies have the need to constantly scratch themselves or to rub their head on something

Other puppies, due to strong allergic reactions, feel so weak and distressed that they simply want to spend their whole day in their owners’ lap. Hence – nuzzling.

Recognizing an allergy in time is crucial for the treatment, as in some severe cases, they can leave severe repercussions on your dog. Sneezing, watery nose and eyes, coughing, inability to breathe properly are all the symptoms that require immediate vet intervention.

8. Force Of Habit

a dog rubs its face against a man while sitting on the floor

Any dog owner needs to bear in mind that these furry companions are animals of habit. That being said – a good part of their behavior is based on what they have learned in the past.

By the same logic, some dogs lick their owner’s hands, some enjoy putting their paws on them, while some just love rubbing their face on them.

Therefore, you need to establish a good, positive routine that your pup can rely on in the future.

Summing It Up

If you’re constantly coping with “Why does my dog rub his face on me,” you need to look into other accompanying signals that your dog is giving you. These eight aforementioned reasons for such behavior can be a good place to start your research.

Every dog has its own unique, quirky habits used to express its deepest emotions. In order to detect them, you need to meet your puppy to the fullest. It might be overwhelming at first, but with a lot of patience and commitment – you’ll get there.

Read more: Why Does My Dog Sit On Me? 6 Reasons For This Behavior