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Why Does My Dog Rub His Face on Me?

Whether you are a new dog owner or you have owned dogs for years, you are probably curious about some of their behaviors and you might be constantly finding yourself googling things to see why they might be acting a certain way.

One of the most common behaviors you might see in your dog is face nuzzling onto you.

Why does your dog rub their face on you?

There are many reasons why your dog might suddenly start rubbing their face on you. Almost all of them are good, so you don’t need to worry about this behavior. Rubbing their face on you might be their way of marking their scent or they might be trying to comfort or snuggle with you. 

You might be able to tell the exact reason they are nuzzling you depending on when and where it happens. 

However, most of the time they can be nuzzling for a wide variety of reasons.

Keep reading to find out exactly why your dog might be nuzzling your face and ways you can reciprocate the feeling your dog is trying to give you. 

What Does It Mean When My Dog Nuzzles Me?

One of the main ways that your dog shows love is by rubbing its face on you. 

This is a common way for them to show affection because they want to be close to you and they want to be able to be near you. 

They also know that rubbing their face on you will make their scent come off onto you. 

This can also be a sign that they are marking their territory on you, and they want other dogs to know who they are. 

When dogs are puppies, even from the time they are first born, they nuzzle up to their mom for comfort and warmth. 

When they grow up, they want this feeling of being around their mom and they will begin to you.

It’s a classic sign of affection and it means your dog is enjoying being around you. 

You might also see them nuzzling you when they want to comfort you.

If you notice your dog nuzzling you when you’re sad or distressed, this is a classic sign that they want to be close to you and they want to comfort you. 

Dogs are very in tune with the emotions of humans, and they will often want to comfort you if they see you are crying or scared. 

Sometimes though, a cute nuzzle from your dog doesn’t mean anything more than an itch. 

Dogs have a hard time scratching their face because they don’t want to use their back legs and potentially hurt their eyes. 

If they are close to you or laying on you, they might choose to rub their face on you to get rid of the itch. 

You might even see your dog rubbing their face on you after they eat or drink as a way to clean themselves. 

This can be annoying, but it’s normal for dogs to want to stay clean and they might resort to wiping themselves on you when they want to be clean. 

It’s hard to know the exact reason why your dog might be nuzzling you, but the easiest way to tell is to take into account the timing they are doing it. 

If they do it when you are visibly distressed, it’s probably their way of trying to comfort you and relax you. 

Most of the time it’s an act of affection and it makes them feel close to you and comforted. 

Allowing your dog to nuzzle you is usually a good bonding time because your dog will know you are there for them and you are enjoying their presence. 

You might also see your dog trying to nuzzle you when they are left alone for too long. This might be a sign they have separation anxiety. 

If you see this happening often, make sure your dog is not being left alone for too long. 

Separation anxiety can cause distress for dogs and can cause physical and emotional damage. 

If your dog is showing signs of separation anxiety, you might want to start taking some precaution steps so they can get back to their health. 

Make sure you are checking in on them during work if you can and don’t leave them alone for more than 3 hours. 

You might also want to consider hiring a dog walker or asking a neighbor to come and check on them when you are gone longer than that. 

How Do Dogs Show Affection?

Other than nuzzling you, there are plenty of ways that dogs show affection and love

Knowing when your dog is showing affection to you can ensure you are showing it back to them and that you are bonding.

Some signs are pretty easy to spot, while others might surprise you. 

Each dog is also different, and some will show signs of affection differently than others. 

You might also see your dog showing all these signs of affection or you might see them only showing one or two. 

They Show Eye Contact

Some people think a dog showing eye contact is a sign of aggression and in some cases, it is. 

When your dog meets your face for just a few seconds though and has a soft look on their face, it means they are showing love and affection. 

It’s also a sign they are confident and relaxed in your presence. 

Most of the time, they will only keep eye contact for a few seconds. 

This is completely normal and shows they love you and they want you to know. 

They Want to Lean on You

This often happens when you’re sitting on the couch or on a chair and the dog comes and leans its body or head on your legs. 

It’s a simple sign of affection and it also allows them to rest or take a nap on you. 

Larger dogs are more likely to do this because you will not hold them and cuddle them the same as small dogs that might sit on your lap. 

Cuddling Or Sleeping with Your Dirty Clothes

This might seem like a gross one and confuses many dog owners. However, most dogs are now bothered by the smell of your dirty laundry. 

Instead, they take comfort in your scent that’s on it. 

They might be more likely to do this when you are not home, or you leave them alone as they want to be close to you and they want to smell you. 

If your dog has separation anxiety, you might want to even consider leaving some unwashed items around the house to help them feel comforted when you are not home. 

They Always Want to Lick Your Face

Licking is an instinctive behavior from many dogs that shows they want to soothe you and connect on a deeper social level. 

Licking your face shows a strengthening of relationships and means your dog thinks you’re one of them. 

Even if you try to avoid the kisses and don’t want them to slobber on you, they might continue to try and lick your face to show love and affection. 

Tail Wagging

Everyone probably knows this as a common way that dogs show affection. 

Your dog will start to wag their tail like crazy and might even wiggle to show you that they love you and they want to show affection. 

Tail wagging is also a sign of excitement, and they will usually do it when you come home or when they haven’t seen you in a long time. 

How Can I Show My Dog Affection?

Since you know some of the common ways that your show affection, you might also be wondering how you can show affection in return. 

This is important because you want to ensure your dog knows that you love them, and you want to make sure they feel wanted and appreciated. 

Pet Your Dog Often

Pets and belly rubs are the main way to show your dog affection and love. 

You can also give them ear massages or scratches on the front of their chest.

This will let them know that you love them. 

Always Speak Gently

Your dog will always respond to warmth and cheer in your voice even if what you’re saying doesn’t make sense. 

Dogs will only respond to the warmth in your voice, not the actual words. 

This means you need to make sure not to yell at them or talk to them in a hostile voice. 

You also want to make sure other people are not yelling at your dog and that the energy in your house is always positive. 

Final Thoughts

Your dog nuzzling their head on you is a common sign of affection and love. 

It might also be a sign they are trying to itch themselves or mark their scent on you. 

Dogs show affection in many different ways, but face nuzzling is the main one as they want to comfort you.