If your dog has been pushing its head into you a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what would make each of them more likely.

Possible reasons why your dog has been doing it are that it makes your dog feel safer, it is being protective, it is anxious, it’s looking for attention, it’s learned that the behavior is rewarded or that it is spreading its scent onto you.

Since there are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to figure out how to deal with it.

Why your dog presses its head into you

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely.

Comfort

Dogs evolved as pack animals so they will naturally feel safer when they are around other dogs in the pack or people. The cause of your dog pushing its head onto you could be that it makes it feel safer.

Protection

The reason why your dog pushes its head into you could be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when there are other people or animals around and if it can get overly protective around them.

Anxiety

The cause could be that it has some anxiety and it presses its head against you because it makes it feel safer. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more in situations where it might feel anxious.

If it normally does it at around the same time that you leave home, it would make it more likely that it does it because it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it shows signs of being anxious when you are leaving.

Encouraging the behavior

It might also be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for pressing its head into you. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it does it, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.

Spreading its scent

The reason why it does it might be to spread its scent onto you so that other animals smell it and are less likely to approach you.

It wants something from you

The cause might also be the that it wants something and it is trying to let you know. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at a certain time such as when you would normally feed it or take it for a walk.

It’s looking for attention

The cause could also be that it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.

If you want to get it to stop, it would help to give it attention throughout the day but to avoid rewarding it with attention when it pushes its head on you. To do this you would get it to stop doing it, wait for it to calm down and then to give it attention and to repeat the process if it starts doing it again.

Things to consider

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

The type of body language it shows

It would help to consider the body language your dog shows when it does it. If it shows positive signs such as wagging its tail, having its tongue out and jumping up at you, it would be more likely that it is being affectionate. Whereas, if it shows fearful signs such as shaking, hiding behind you or making itself appear smaller, it would be more likely to be due to things such as fear or anxiety.

What is different when it does it

It would also help to consider if it tends to do it more at a certain time since the timing could have something to do with it. For example, if it does it more when you are about to leave home, it would be more likely that it does it due to having some separation anxiety.

What else happened when it first started doing it

If your dog did not always push its head into, it would also help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as learning that the behavior gets rewarded, a change in its daily routine or something causing it to become anxious.

What to do about it

Below are some things you can do about your dog pushing its head into you.

Avoid encouraging it

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not press its head into you and to stop rewarding it when it does press its head into you.

Give it attention throughout the day

It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it is less likely to try and get attention from you. Ways to give it attention would be to give it exercise, train it and play with it.

Reduce reasons why it might be anxious

It would also help to try to limit reasons why it might be anxious such as by letting it stay in a quieter room or feeding it and giving it exercise before leaving it alone for a while.

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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.