If your dog keeps trying to get in your face, you’re probably wondering why and what can be done about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why your dog might do it and what you can do to make it stop.
So, why does my dog get in my face? Possible reasons why your dog gets in your face are that it wants to show that it is excited to see you, it is bored, you have inadvertently rewarded the behavior or that it’s trying to get you to do something.
There are actually a number of nuances that you can consider when trying to figure out why it might be doing it. Once you have a good idea of the cause it will become a lot easier to get it to stop.
Why your dog gets in your face
Each of the different reasons that your dog gets in your face will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.
It wants attention
The reason that it gets up in your face could be that it is trying to get attention from you. This would be more likely if it does it when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
Instead of giving it attention, when it does it, you could try to ignore it by leaving the room temporarily and to reward it when it is being well behaved.
Related: Why does my dog lick my pillow?
It is trying to greet you
The reason that it does it could be that it is trying to show that it is glad to see you. This would be more likely if it only seems to do it when you come home. In this case, it would help to train it not to jump up as discussed in this post.
Another common reason that dogs will get in your face is that they are being affectionate. When it’s getting up in your face it’s letting you know that it trusts you and that you are a part of its tribe. This type of behavior is normal and will often happen when you try to pet it.
However, it would help to get it to stop by following the tips mentioned below.
Another common reason that dogs do it is that they are excited. When dogs get excited it’s common for them to express their excitement by jumping up and getting in peoples faces. They do it because they want to greet you at the face and because their mother would feed them from the face as puppies and they would jump up.
This type of behavior can be stopped with training using the methods in the section below.
The reason that it does it could be that it is bored. This would be more likely to be the reason if it does it more when it has not gotten much exercise. If your dog is not currently getting the right amount of exercise for its breed then it would help to make sure that it does.
A lack of training
If you have not spent much time training your dog to behave the way that you want it to then it will not know how it is meant to behave and it will behave the way that it wants to. The way that it wants to behave is unlikely to be the way that you would like.
If you have not given it much training then it would help to do so by starting out with the basics and building up from there.
It’s trying to get you to do something
The reason that it does it might be that it is its way of getting you to do something for it. It could be that it does it because it wants you to feed it, walk it or give it attention. This would be more likely if it does it at the same time that you would normally give it those things.
You have been reinforcing the behavior
It could be the case that you have inadvertently trained it to get up in your face. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things that it wants, when it does it, such as attention, toys or treats.
Instead of giving it things that it wants, when it does it, try avoiding rewarding it, training it not to using the tips below and rewarding it when it is being well behaved.
Things to consider
Below, I will mention some particularly helpful things to consider when trying to figure out why your dog gets in your face. Once you have a better idea of the cause it will be easier to take the appropriate action.
When your dog first started getting in your face
It would help to consider what happened when it first started getting in your face. If it did not always get in your face then it could be the case that there was a trigger that caused it to start doing it.
Things that could have happened could include:
- You inadvertently rewarded it for doing it one time
- You stopped giving it as much training
- You stopped giving it as much attention
If it has always done it then it would be more likely to be due to things such as being excited, trying to greet you or not having been trained not to do it.
When your dog gets in your face
The timing of when it tends to get in your face would also be something to consider.
If you notice that it always gets in your face when you come back from work then it would be more likely that it is showing its excitement. Whereas, if it tends to do it when you would normally feed it or give it exercise or attention then it would likely be trying to get you to give it those things.
How to get your dog to stop getting in your face
There are a number of things that you can do about your dog getting in your face. The best option for your dog will largely depend on the cause of it doing it.
Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do about it.
Don’t reward it
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have been inadvertently rewarding the behavior. Instead of giving it things that it wants, when it does it, it would help to avoid rewarding it and to follow the training tip below.
Use positive reinforcement training
You can train it not to get up at you by making it sit and stay when it gets excited.
To do this do as follows:
- Get some treats that your dog likes
- Get it to sit. If you haven’t taught your dog how to sit yet then you can do this by luring the treat above its head until it sits naturally
- Tell it to stay and then wait for half a second then give it a treat. The idea is to reward it for staying sat and keeping its attention on you so you want to reward it before it has a chance to fail.
- Do the same as above but each time increase the duration that you get it to stay.
- When your dog is able to stay for over 15 seconds start to introduce distractions such as the squeaking of a toy. Start out with minor distractions such as simply showing it the toy and then build up to harder ones such as rolling the toy in front of it.
You can watch the video below to see how it is done.
When training your dog it is important to be consistent. It is unlikely that you will be able to completely stop the behavior with just one training session. But, if you train it consistently, you will be able to get much better results over the course of weeks and months.