If your dog rubs itself against you like a cat, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get your dog to stop doing it.
So, why does my dog rub against me like a cat? Possible reasons why your dog rubs against you like a cat are that it has a rash, it wants something from you, it’s being affectionate, to spread its scent onto you or that it has learned that it gets rewards when it does 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 a lot easier to figure out what you should do about it.
Why your dog rubs against you like a cat
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make them more likely.
It might be the case that it has been doing it due to having a rash on its skin. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly, it has also been rubbing against other objects and if it has been rubbing the same part of its body when doing it. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
It wants something from you
The reason why it does it might be that it is hoping to get something from you or that it is waiting to get something from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at around the same time that you would normally give it things such as a walk or exercise.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that it does it because you have encouraged the behavior. If you tend to give it rewards such as extra attention, toys or treats, when it rubs itself against you, 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, to try to avoid rewarding it when it does not and to try to redirect its focus when it seems like it is about to rub itself against you.
The cause could be that it is just being affectionate. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you are sat down, it tends to sit with you and if it tries to get you to do things such as to rub its belly when it does it.
Dogs evolved as pack animals so they will naturally feel safer when they are around other dogs in the pack or people. The reason why your dog rubs itself against you could be that it makes it feel safer.
The reason why it does it might be that it is actually being submissive. This would be more likely if it does it in a way such that it is actually hiding behind you, it shows other signs of being submissive in its body language and if it does it more when other dogs or people are around.
The reason why it does it might also be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when other people or animals are around and if it also tends to be overly protective when they are around.
The reason why it does it might be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and the prospect of being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely to be the reason if your dog does it more when you are about to leave home and if it gets anxious when you are leaving.
To spread its scent
It might also be the case that it does it in order to spread its scent onto you so that other dogs don’t approach you. This would be more likely if it can get overly protective when you are around other dogs.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started rubbing against you
If your dog did not always act that way, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it would make it more likely to be due to a rash especially if it also started scratching itself a lot and rubbing itself against other things.
What is different when it does it
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that your dog tends to do it since the timing might also have something to do with it. For example, if it tends to do it more when you normally leave home, it could be due to some separation anxiety.
What to do about your dog rubbing against you
Below are a number of things you can do about your dog rubbing itself against you.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for doing it. Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it rubs itself against you, to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to try to redirect its focus when it seems like it is about to rub itself against you.
Ensure that it is not due to an injury
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it has been doing it due to a rash on its skin. If it seems like it might be doing it due to a rash or an injury, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Give it attention throughout the day
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day by training it, exercising it and playing with it so that it is less likely to feel the need to seek attention from you.
Train it not to do it
Another option would be to train your dog not to rub itself against by teaching it to go somewhere else. You can do this by teaching it to sit or to lay down somewhere and then by gradually training it to stay there over longer and longer time periods.
You can do this by applying the same techniques as in the video below:
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