If your dog has been putting its face on your face a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my dog put its face on my face? Possible reasons why your dog puts its face on your face are that it is trying to get attention from you, it is being affectionate, it wants something from you, boredom, spreading its scent or you might have encouraged the behavior by rewarding it.

Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become easier to get it to stop.

Why your dog puts its face on your face

Each of the different reasons why your dog has been doing it will likely come with some clues. Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.

To get attention

The reason why it does it could be that it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if you tend to give it extra attention or things such as belly rubs 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 tries to put its face on yours. It would also help to try to recognize when it is likely to try to do it and to redirect its focus onto something else.

It’s being affectionate

It could just be the case that it is being affectionate. This would be more likely if it wants to sleep when it does it and if it does not try to get you to do anything or to give it anything.

Dominant behavior

Many people jump to the conclusion that their dogs do it because they are trying to be dominant. However, the alpha/beta dynamic has been disproven in studies showing that wolves take turns in taking the lead.

With that being said, it could be doing it due to bullying behavior which would be more likely if it tries to get you to move and if it shows signs of aggression when doing it. In this case, it would help to avoid giving it reasons to feel threatened and to get it to learn to behave the way you want it to with training programs such as NLIF (“Nothing in Life is Free) dog training.

It wants something from you

The cause could be that it is trying to get something from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you are eating or at around the same time that you would normally give it something such as food.

Encouraging the behavior

It might also be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by rewarding it. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it puts its face on yours. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to try to redirect its focus when it is about to put its face on yours.

Boredom

The cause could be that it is bored and wants exercise. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more before getting exercise and it stops doing it after getting exercise. If it is healthy, it would help to ensure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.

Spreading its scent

It could be that your dog is trying to spread its scent onto you so that other dogs can smell it. This is its way of saying that you belong to it so that other dogs will steer clear of you.

To prevent this you’ll need to spend time training it to sit and lay down in certain places. Then you can discourage it from sitting on your chest by telling it to sit or lay somewhere else.

Anxiety

The cause could be that it has some anxiety and it puts its face on 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.

Things to consider

Below are a number of things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog does it.

What else happened when your dog first started putting its face on your face

If your dog did not always put its face on yours, it would 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.

Some things that might have happened could include:

  • You rewarded it one time when it did it
  • You started leaving it alone for longer
  • It started getting less exercise

What is different when it does it

It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to do it more and what is different when it tends to do it. For example, if it normally does it at around the same time that it normally gets exercise, it would be more likely to be because it is trying to get you to give it exercise.

What to do about your dog putting its face on your face

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what you can do about it.

Avoid encouraging it

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that it gets rewards for putting its face on your face.

Instead, it would help to reward it when it is behaving the way you want it to and to try to redirect its focus when it seems likely to put its face on your face.

Positive reinforcement training

One option would be to train your dog not to put its face on your face by teaching it to stay on the floor when you’re sat down.

You can do this by getting it to sit or to lay down when it tries to put its face on your chest and then gradually teaching it to stay there over longer and longer time periods.

You can do this by applying the same techniques as in the video below:

Give it exercise

It would also help to give it the recommended amount of exercise for its age and breed so that it is less likely to do things to stimulate itself.

Reduce reasons why it might be anxious

If it seems like it has been doing it due to being anxious, it would help to take measures to reduce why it might be anxious. Things to do could include making sure that it gets a chance to pee, eat and get exercise before leaving it.

Give it attention throughout the day

It would also help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of exercise, training and by playing with it. By doing so you should help to reduce the amount of attention it feels the need to get from you.

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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.