If your dog has been nudging you with its head a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of causes and what you can do about them.

Common reasons why your dog nudges you with its head are that it wants something from you, boredom, anxiety, trying to alert you to something or wanting you to pet it.

There are actually multiple possible reasons why your dog might have been doing it and the cause might be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason and there is a number of things you can do about it.

Reasons why your dog nudges you with its head

Below is a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

It wants something from you

It could be the case that it has been doing it because it wants something from you. This would be more likely if it does it more when you are eating or when you are holding something else that it might want such as one of its toys or a bone.

It might also be the case that it does it because it is trying to remind you about something. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at around the same time that you would normally feed or walk it. 

Anxiety

The cause could be that something is causing it to be anxious. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at a certain time such as just before you normally leave home. In this case, it would be more likely that it has separation anxiety. 

It is trying to alert you to something

Another possible cause is that it is trying to alert you to something such as something that happened in the kitchen. This would be more likely if it comes running to you and it behaves abnormally when it nudges you with its face.

It wants you to pet it

Another possible cause is that it wants you to pet it. This would be more likely if it nudges your hand with its head and it shows signs of excitement when it does it.

Affection

It could be the case that it is just being affectionate. This would be more likely if you tend to pet it when it nudges its head into you and if it tends to do it at random times.

To smell you

Another possible cause is that it is trying to smell you. This would be more likely if it does it more at a time when you are likely to smell different such as when you arrive home.

Things to consider

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

What else happened when it first started

If your dog did not always nudge you with its head, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as something causing it to start being anxious or because it learned that the behavior gets rewarded.

What is different when it does it

It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that your dog tends to nudge you with its face. If there is, it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.

For example, if it tends to nudge you with its head, when you have not been giving it attention for a while, it could be the case that it does it in order to get extra attention.

What body language it shows

It would also help to consider the body language it shows. If it shows signs of being anxious such as crying, pacing or hiding behind you, it would be more likely to be due to something causing it to be anxious or fearful. Whereas, if it shows signs of being excited by doing things such as wagging its tail, it would be more likely that it is doing it due to being playful or trying to remind you of something.

What to do about it

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

Give it a routine to get used to

Since it could be the case that it has been doing it to try to remind you about something, it could also help to try to get it used to a certain schedule. If it knows when it can expect to get things such as food or a walk, it could make it less likely to try to remind you to give it food or a walk.

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

It would also help to limit possible reasons why it might be anxious by doing things such as ensuring that it can pee, eat and get exercise before leaving it for long time periods. It would also help to ensure that the room it stays in is not too hot, noisy or cramped. It could also help to give it exercise before leaving it so that it is more likely to sleep while you’re gone.

Don’t encourage it

It could be the case that your dog has learned that nudging you with its head results in it getting rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to avoid rewarding it, with things such as extra attention, when it does not. 

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Author

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.