Dogs will cover their faces for a variety of reasons that will change depending on the situation. This post will show you why your dog might be doing it and what you can do about it.

So, why does my dog cover its face? Likely reasons why your dog covers its face are that your dog is being submissive, it is anxious, it finds it comfortable, it has an itch or that it is showing guilt.

There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog covers its face and it might be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Why does my dog cover its face?

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog covers its face and what would make them more likely.

Comfort

The cause could be that your dog simply finds it comfortable to put its paws on its face. This would be more likely if your dog does it when it is trying to sleep in a room that is cold and bright. This would be less likely if your dog tends to do it more when it might be anxious or being submissive.

It has an itch

Another possible cause is that your dog has an itch. This would be more likely if your dog rubs its face, it has been doing it at random times, it has not been doing it excessively, and if it has started doing it suddenly.

Fearfulness

Dogs will sometimes put their paws on their faces when they are being fearful and it might be why your dog has been doing it. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it more when it might be fearful such as when a person or dog is around that it does not like or when there are loud noises in the house.

It is playing

Another possible reason why your dog does it is that it is playing. This would be more likely if your dog does it when it is showing signs of excitement such as by wagging its tail, having its tongue out and having lots of energy.

Guilt

It could also be the case that your dog is showing guilt. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it when you are annoyed with it after it has done something that it knows that you will not be happy with.

It is being submissive

You may have noticed this yourself in the past: your dog covers its face when it is scared or shy. This is a natural behavior canines have learned to display when they are confronted with scary situations. For example, if your dog is confronted by an intimidating stranger, your dog may put its paw up to its face as a signal of submission.

The behavior is rewarded

It could also be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it puts its paws on its face, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

Nature

A part of the cause could also be that it is an inherited trait. By putting their paws over their faces, when trying to rest, it would have helped dogs stay protected from the elements when they were out in the wild. It might be the case that your dog has been doing it because it naturally is trying to protect its face from the elements which would be more likely if your dog has always done it and it does it more when it is trying to rest.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

If your dog has always covered its face

If your dog did not always cover its face, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be due to things such as learning that the behavior gets rewarded, a change in its environment causing it to become anxious or that it started getting an itch on its face.

What is different when your dog covers its face

It would also help to consider the timing of when your dog covers its face. If your dog covers its face more at a certain time, it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it. For example, if it does it when it is around other dogs or people, the cause could be that it is being submissive. Whereas, if it does it only when it is trying to sleep, the cause would be more likely that your dog puts its paws on its face for comfort.

The body language your dog shows when it covers its face

It would also help to consider other body language signs your dog shows when it does it. If it also does things such as make its body appear small, cry, roll on its back or hide, it would be more likely that it is being submissive or anxious. Whereas, if it does things such as roll around, wag its tail and run around, it would be more likely that your dog is showing excitement.

What to do about your dog covering its face

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding your dog with things such as extra attention, when it does it, and to reward it when it behaves the way you want.

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

It would also help to limit reasons why your dog might be anxious. Ways to do so could include letting it stay in a room that is not too bright or noisy.

Give it a comfortable place to go

If your dog has only been doing it when sleeping, it could help to try giving it a warm spot where it can sleep such as by putting a dog bed down for it.

Let it do it

If your dog has not been showing other signs of being anxious and seems like your dog has been doing it for comfort, another option would be to allow your dog to continue doing it.

Why does my dog cover its nose?

Your dog might cover its nose because it is being submissive or because it is anxious, which would be more likely if your dog does it when other dogs or people are around it. It might also be the case that your dog does it because it makes its nose feel warmer which would be more likely if your dog does it when it is trying to sleep. It could also be the case that it does it because it is embarrassed if it does it when you are mad at it.

Why does my dog put its paws on its face?

Possible reasons why your dog puts its paws on its face are to scratch an itch, it is being submissive, it is anxious, it is embarrassed or because your dog finds it comfortable. It would help to consider the timing of when your dog puts its paws on its face and the other body language signs your dog shows.

Why does my dog cover its nose when it sleeps?

If your dog covers its nose when it sleeps, the cause is likely to be for comfort. However, it could also be due to anxiety which would be more likely if it tends to do it when it might be anxious and if it shows other signs of being anxious such as by hiding.

Why does my dog cover its nose with its paws?

Your dog might cover its nose with its paws for comfort, an itch, anxiety or guilt. It would help to consider the timing of when your dog does it, the body language it shows and how often it does it.

Why does my dog bury its head?

If your dog buries its head into you, it could be due to having learned that the behavior is rewarded, anxiety or because it is being affectionate. If your dog buries its head under blankets, it would be more likely to be for comfort or because it is anxious.

Why does my dog bury its head under covers?

The reason why your dog buries its head under covers is likely to be for comfort or because it is anxious. It would help to consider the timing of when your dog does it and other body language signs that it shows.

Why does my dog hide its nose?

Your dog likely hides its nose due to guilt, anxiety, submissiveness or for comfort. It would also help to consider the timing of when your dog hides its nose and the other body language signs your dog shows.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.