If your dog rubs its face on the carpet, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you five common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my dog rub its face on the carpet? Possible reasons why your dog rubs its face on the carpet are having allergies, liking the feeling, anxiety, boredom, or to spread its scent.

It is actually possible that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.

Reasons why your dog rubs its face on the carpet

Below are five common causes and what would make them more likely.

Allergies

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.

It likes the feeling

An obvious reason why your dog might be doing it is that it might like how it feels. This would be more likely if it has not been doing it excessively and if it has not been behaving unusually in other ways as well.

Anxiety

Another possible cause is that something has been causing it to be anxious. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at times when it is more likely to be anxious such as when you are leaving home.

Boredom

It could be the case that it has been doing it because it is bored and looking for ways to stimulate itself. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more before getting exercise and if it tends to do stop 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.

To spread 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 is different when your dog rubs its face on the carpet

If your dog seems to be doing it more at a certain time, it would help to consider what is different about the timing. For example, if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention, it might be the case that it has learned that rubbing itself on the carpet causes you to give it attention.

What else happened when it first started doing it

If it did not always rub its face on the carpet, it would also help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be due to things such as impacted anal glands, fleas or allergies.

How often it does it

It would also help to consider how often your dog does it. If it is doing it constantly, it would be more likely to be due to something more serious such as something causing it to be anxious or fearful, bad allergies or obsessive-compulsive disorder and it would likely help to get professional help. Whereas, if it does it once or twice daily, it would be more likely to be that it is doing it due to something such as being itchy at the time.

What to do about your dog rubbing its face on the carpet

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

Avoid encouraging the behavior

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.

Deal with allergies or a rash

Allergies can be caused by things such as shampoo, other dogs, pollen, a harness rubbing its skin or household chemicals (source).

It would be more likely that allergies or a rash are causing your dog to rub itself on things if it started doing it after something happened that might have caused it to get allergies or a rash. Examples could be using a different shampoo or a harness that rubs its skin.

It would help to figure out what could be causing it to have a rash and to try to replace it with something else. 

Get help

If you’re unsure why your dog has been doing it or it has been doing it excessively, it would help to take it to a vet for a checkup. By doing so, you should be able to rule out medical causes and get expert advice tailored toward your particular dog.

Redirect its focus

It could also help to try to redirect its focus towards something else whenever it seems likely to start rubbing its face on the carpet. By doing so, you should be able to help get it out of the habit of doing it. Things to get it to put its focus on could include toys or a bone.

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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.