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Why Does My Dog Rub His Face On Me [7 Unexpected Reasons]

As dog owners, we’re used to dealing with our fluffy buddy’s various quirks every day. 

We see that they keep rubbing their faces on us. But we don’t really understand why they keep doing that.

Why does my dog rub his face on me?

A dog will rub his face on your to convey his affection towards you. Similarly, it’s his way of marking you with his scent and accepting you as his master. Rubbing its face might be a sign that they want you to scratch their head. Oftentimes, they are just asking for more treats!

There are many more reasons behind this cute gesture. Why not find them out by reading this article? You can learn a lot!

Why Do Dogs Rub Their Face on the Owner?

We are all more or less accustomed to our dog rubbing his face on us. Most of us view it as a common quirk pulled by dogs to garner our attention. But the majority of us don’t know why exactly they do that.

To help you understand the normal behaviors of dogs, we’ve prepared this article. That said, here’re the reasons why your dog keeps rubbing his head on you.

Reason 1: To Show Affection

We all know about the “sniffing test”. It’s the best personality test out there! Your dog can tell a lot about a person just by sniffing them.

Once you pass the sniffing test, the dog will let you pet it. Nuzzling is a form of expression that dogs use to ask for your affection. It can also be their way of expressing love and kinship towards you.

Reason 2: To Mark You

Just like cats, dogs too want to mark their owner with their scent. Dogs have scent glands located on their face. Nuzzling helps them spread their scent all over you. 

It’s an attempt to pass down a simple message to other dogs and cats around. “He belongs to me!”

Thanks to the scent, other cats and dogs will think twice before approaching you!

Reason 3: As a Sign of Submission

You might be confused at this point.

How can the same gesture express two polar opposite meanings?

When it comes to understanding dogs, even the tiniest details give a lot of insight. You’ll have to adapt and learn to interpret their expressions over time.

A certain aspect of the dynamics in a pack of canines is to admit submission. The dogs in the pack usually nuzzle against the alpha of the pack. This is considered as a token of respect and submission.

When you see your dog concealing his head on you, he’s expressing submission. He respects and trusts you!

Reason 4: Skin Irritation

Oftentimes, your pooch will constantly prod you to scratch his head. He’ll rub his face on you until you give him what he wants.

This can happen due to certain skin conditions. Skin irritation will make your dog feel itchy and restless. Owing to that, it might be asking you to relieve it from the annoying irritation.

There should be some obvious symptoms in your dog if he’s suffering from skin conditions. Inspect the dog closely to see if you can find signs such as:

  • Bald patches
  • Red, flakey skin patches
  • Sores

Also, try to notice if your dog does the following:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Scooting on the floor
  • Constantly licking body parts

You might also find your dog rolling on his back to get rid of the irritation. Call a vet for help if you spot these signs in your dog.

Reason 5: Asking For a Treat!

Dogs often find certain tasks to be rewarding. As a result, they will try to repeat the task constantly to be rewarded. 

Rubbing his face against you can be a sign that it wants treats. If you have ever given treats to your dog for nuzzling, it can become a habit. Your dog will see this act as acceptable etiquette.

Treats can work as a great motivator to train dogs. The ideal dog treat should contain essential nutrients for dogs besides being yummy. Try out these treats for dogs that we recommend:


Provide your dog with a healthy dose of nutrients in the form of treats. They will love it and be eager to earn more!

Reason 6: It Simply Feels Good

Who doesn’t love to have a cozy, cuddly feeling? Your dog ain’t an exception.

Puppers are clingy in nature and try every trick in their arsenal to get your attention. And what better way than rubbing its face against you?

Dogs like the warmth and soft texture of fabrics against their face. If you’re wearing something that satisfies their criteria, they are going to jump on you.

Reason 7: Dental Pain

Your pooch might be nuzzling against you in an effort to ease his dental pain.

A dog with dental issues will show several signs of pain. It’ll eat less, or in a worst-case scenario, stop eating completely. Your dog will also have bad breath and secrete bloody saliva.

The pain can be excruciating for the dog. You can find your dog resting his head on you to seek some comfort. It can take months for the affected teeth to fall off. The diseased teeth should be treated as soon as possible by a professional veterinarian. 

How Do I Stop My Dog from Rubbing His Face on Me?

While some find this habit extremely cute, some might get irritated at the same time. In that case, you might be looking for ways to stop your dog from doing it again 

Here are 3 tips you should adopt to help your dog leave this habit:

Tip 1: Check for Allergies

Your dog might be struggling with irritations due to allergies. That’s why he’s rubbing his face on you because it might be itchy.

Discourage your dog from performing certain activities that can lead to allergic reactions. 

With the recommendation of a vet, apply flea solutions to your dog.

Tip 2: Make Sure Your Dog’s Dental Health is Okay

Regularly check up on whether or not your dog has healthy teeth and gum. If you notice any sign of infection or bleeding, immediately consult a veterinarian.

Throw away toys that can potentially harm your dog. Get your dog fully checked up at least once a year to avoid health risks.

Tip 3: Training

The third and final step is to train you to stop nuzzling against you. This can be done by ignoring your dog when he rubs his face against you.

Train him to stay in one particular spot on your command. Reward your dog with treats for every small progress. After a while, your dog will get used to it and stop rubbing his face.


Question: How do dogs pick their favorite person?

Answer: Dogs pick their favorite person based on his/her personality and level of energy. They will sniff and weigh up a person before deciding whether he likes them or not.

Question: How to know if a dog is happy?

Answer: Dogs will usually wag its tail, along with a playful posture when they’re happy. Other signs of a happy dog include floppy ears and happy barking. You can spot a happy dog by observing its relaxed posture.

Question: Do dogs like to be hugged?

Answer: Research has shown that dogs, in general, don’t like to be hugged. But their contrasting personalities mean that not every dog dislikes being hugged. Some even welcome a cozy hug.

Parting Words

Hopefully, you got all the answers on why my dog rubs his face on me.

Dogs are very sensitive in nature and always look for acceptance of their affection. You should reward your puppy with occasional head pats to keep him happy.

Best of luck!