If your dog has been rubbing itself on your pillow 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 you can do to get it to stop.

Common reasons why your dog might be rubbing itself on your pillow are that it has allergies, fleas, or an itch, it is marking its scent onto your pillow or that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded. 

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

Reasons why your dog rubs itself on your pillow

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

Anxiety

The cause could be that it has some anxiety and the scent on your pillow causes it to feel safer. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it more at a time when it might feel anxious. Examples could be if it does it more when you are leaving or when you are away. 

Itchiness

The cause could be that it is itchy and rubbing your pillow because it gets rid of the itch. This would be more likely if your dog does it at random times, it does not do it that often, it also rubs on other things and if it has not been behaving unusually in other ways. 

Fleas or allergies

It could also be the case that it has fleas or allergies that have been causing it to rub itself on your clothes to get rid of the itch. This would be more likely if it has been doing it suddenly, it has also been rubbing itself on other things and if you have also found fleas around the house or it has a rash on its skin.

It smells your scent on the pillow

The cause might be that it likes the smell of the pillow. This would be more likely if it tends to do it at random times and if it also rubs itself on things with your scent on such as your bed, clothes, or the area you tend to sit in.

Encouraging the behavior

It could also be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it rubs itself on your pillow, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. 

It’s marking its scent

The reason why it does it could be that it is marking its scent onto your pillow. 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.

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.

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 it first started doing it

If your dog did not always rub itself on your pillow, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as separation anxiety, allergies, fleas or learning that the behavior is rewarded.

What is different when it does it

If there is a certain time that your dog tends to do it more, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing. For example, if it tends to do it just before you leave home, it would be more likely to be due to separation anxiety. Whereas, if it only seems to be doing it when you are around, it could be the case that it has learned that it gets rewarded. 

What to do about it

Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it. 

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to and to try to avoid giving it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it does not. 

Limit its access to your pillows

It would also be an option to keep your pillow in different locations so that it is harder for it to roll on your pillow or to limit its access to rooms where your pillows are. But, it would still help to try to consider what might be causing it to do it.

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

Since it could be due to having some separation anxiety, it could help to take measures to reduce the possible reasons why it becomes anxious. Things to do would be to feed it, exercise it and let it pee before leaving it alone for long time periods. 

Positive reinforcement training

One option would be to use positive reinforcement training to get your dog to go and lay somewhere else. Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage it to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.

Get help

If your dog has been doing it excessively or it seems like it might be due to allergies or a rash, it would help to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out medical causes. 

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