What does it mean when a dog nuzzles their head into you? Essential Tips

First, Let’s Talk About Dogs’ Scent Glands

Your dog has scent glands on their face so a nuzzle might actually be a sign that your dog is taking ownership of you. This is considered marking behavior. When your dog leaves their scent on you, they’re signaling to other pups in the area that ‘hey, this human is mine. This is part of my family, so you stay away.’ It’s a territorial behavior and one that signals that your pup knows you are their family.

When they’re puppies, dogs have a natural inclination to nuzzle against their mothers. This is a behavior that gives them comfort but is also a way for them to mark their four-legged family as theirs. It’s how they signal that they’re happy and content and when they get adopted by humans, they start to exhibit this behavior with their new family. When you introduce someone new, your dog may sniff around, decide if they like what they sense, and nuzzle against your friend or family member. This is a sign of acceptance and serves as an invitation to become a part of the family.

What does it mean when a dog nuzzles their head into you?

Reasons Why Dogs Rub Their Faces On You

With an understanding that there are scent glands on your dog’s face and that is how they confirm that you are a part of their safe unit, we can move on to explore some of the other reasons why your dog may be rubbing their face on you.


Since this is behavior displayed as a puppy with their dog moms, dogs may nuzzle you when they need comfort. Say, for example, you were on vacation for a week and your dog stayed behind. When you return, they are sure to be jumping off the walls, excited to see you. They may also feel some anxiety thinking that you are going to leave them again. To comfort themselves, they stay close to you, rubbing their face on you, marking you all over again, and letting you know that they’re your family. They try to comfort themselves. They don’t like separation and to feel better about having to endure your absence, they may rub their face on you excessively for that first day back from your trip.

How Your Dog Chooses His Favorite Person

You’re lounging, watching your favorite TV show, and you feel a cold, wet nose nuzzle against your arm. It’s off-putting because it’s cold and wet but it’s your favorite canine companion so you can’t be upset. You’re used to all their antics but what does it mean when your dog rubs their face on you? Is there a message they’re trying to communicate or is it just typical dog behavior? This behavior isn’t too uncommon like some of their other crazy behaviors (you know, booty-scooting on the carpet and such). You may have gotten used to them chasing their own tails, running in circles when released at the beach, and even some of their funky sleeping positions.

Dogs are incredibly expressive — from the way they move their eyes to the range of sounds they make. It’s a never-ending game of guessing and deciphering exactly what messages they are trying to relay. While some of you may have gotten creative and picked up some sound buttons, recorded some keywords, and trained your pup to communicate their exact needs to you, some of you have relied on your telepathic connection with your furry best friend. However you choose to communicate with your pup, it’s important to know what it means when your dog rubs their face on you. Below, we explain how your dog’s scent glands work and all the possible reasons why you keep encountering that cold, wet, and immeasurably cute nose.