If your dog has been rubbing itself against things a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog rub itself against everything? Possible reasons why your dog rubs itself against everything are that it has allergies or a rash, it likes the feeling or that it is spreading its scent.
It would help to consider what would make each of the causes more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to figure out what you should do about it.
Why your dog rubs itself against everything
Below are a number of common reasons why dogs do it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
Allergies or a rash
The cause could be that it has gotten a rash or allergies. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been scratching itself a lot. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Impacted anal glands
Dogs have two sacs where their anus is that produce an excretion that has a scent that allows other dogs to know its age, sex and health. Sometimes, the anal glands will become impacted which is where the excretion is not able to escape.
This could be the reason why your dog has been rubbing itself against things. This would be more likely if it tends to rub its bottom along the ground or to have blood in its poop.
If it does seem like impacted anal glands could be the cause then it would help to take it to a vet.
Another possible reason is that it has gotten fleas. This would also be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly, if it has been itching itself a lot as well and if you have found fleas around the house.
It gets rewarded
It could be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it rubs itself against things, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to try to avoid rewarding it when it does it, to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to and to try to redirect its focus when it is about to start rubbing itself against things.
It likes the feeling
The reason why it does it could be that it simply likes the feeling. This would be more likely if it has not been doing it excessively and if it has not been behaving unusually in other ways.
Spreading its scent
The reason why it does it could be that it is marking its scent around the house. This would be more likely if it also does similar things around the house, it occasionally tries to urine mark around the house and if it can be very territorial when other dogs are near the house.
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 your dog first started rubbing itself against everything
If it did not always rub itself against things a lot, it would help to consider what else happened at around the same time that it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as allergies, a rash or impacted anal glands but it could still be due to things such as learning that it gets rewards for doing it.
What is different when it tends to do it
It would also help to consider what is different when it tends to do it most. For example, if your dog seems to only rub itself against things when you are nearby, it could be the case that it does it because it knows it will get extra attention for doing it.
What to do about your dog rubbing itself against everything
Take it to a vet
If it has started doing it suddenly, it has been doing it excessively, it has been acting like something could be bothering it or you are not sure why it has been doing it, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored to your particular dog and to rule out a rash, allergies, fleas, impacted anal glands or an injury as the cause.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that it gets rewards when it does it. Instead, it would help to try to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to, to avoid rewarding it when it does not and to try to redirect its focus when it looks likely to start rubbing against things.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage your dog to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way. It would help to reward your dog when it does not rub against things in situations that it normally would in order to encourage it to stop doing it.