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Why Does My Dog Bury His Head in Me? Is it Serious?

Dogs nuzzle their owners to show affection. Excessive snuggles and burying heads in their owners are not normal for dogs and may indicate a problem.

Dogs are social creatures that love interacting with their owners. Almost all dog owners know the feeling when their canine friend snuggles under their arms or hides its face in their thighs.

A nuzzle from your dog can be a great feeling to experience. The tiredness of a long day at work quickly wears off when your pooch snuggles with you. 

But many dog owners have asked themselves this question several times, “Why does my dog bury his head in me?”.

Dogs are highly affectionate with their owners and love nuzzling them. Frequent or excessive nuzzles are not normal and can be the result of an underlying problem.

This article talks about the main causes of why dogs nuzzle a lot and the tips to help stop this behavior.

Why Does My Dog Bury His Head in Me?

Being related to wolves, dogs have an inherent sense of caring for their pack. Cuddling, nuzzling, and licking are behaviors associated with feelings of affection and unconditional love.

Dogs are affectionate creatures that are loyal to their families. These canines are distant relatives of wolves and share some of their characteristics, such as caring for the pack.

Centuries of domestication couldn’t remove the instinct of being affectionate to the pack members from the personalities of dogs. 

Instead of the pack, dogs now have humans as their family members.

When their owners are sad or crying, dogs can feel some empathy towards them and use nuzzling and snuggling to provide comfort.

dog buries head into me

5 Reasons Why Dogs Bury Their Head

Your dog can be burying his head in you for a number of different reasons. It can be doing it to feel close to you, or it wants to mark its territory by spreading its scent.

Dogs are extremely social. They care for their families and can feel when their owners are sad. Your dog is part of your family, and the only way family members can show support is by hugging, cuddling, and nuzzling.

If your dog constantly buries his head in you, it might be a sign of affection. It can also have a deeper meaning which you should know of.

1. Separation Anxiety

One of the biggest reasons dogs bury their heads in their owners is the issue of separation anxiety[1]

If your dog has separation issues and does not like being alone for long, it can get anxiety from loneliness.

Notice when your dog buries his head in you. If it occurs when you return home, there is a chance that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety.

Separation Anxiety

2. Marking Territory

Dogs are highly territorial, much like wolves. They are protective of their families and do not like visitors intruding in their space.

Dogs also have scent glands[2] on their bodies that produce secretions other animals can smell. 

These secretions serve to mark territories and spread scents. This is how dogs let other animals know that you are part of their pack, and they will protect you from any threat.

3. Providing Comfort

Don’t you love when your dog nuzzles you after a long day at work? 

Dogs have an instinct to be with the pack. They feel safer around members of their pack.

Your family is your dog’s pack. Nuzzling can be a way of comfort, both for you and for your dog. Nuzzling can also be the reason for fear.

If there is something bothering your dog or frightening it, it can bury its head in your lap to feel safer. If your dog starts burying his head in you during a visit to the vet’s office, you can be sure that they are doing it out of fear.

When something or someone is making your dog uncomfortable, it is only natural for him to seek protection from you.

4. Conditioning

A hug or a nuzzle from your dog can be a great thing to experience. It is a feeling out of this world. When it comes to human-canine interactions, dog owners are sometimes at fault for rewarding the wrong things.

If your dog is being affectionate with you and you give him a treat, this subconsciously conditions your dog to believe that this behavior is always rewarded.

If your dog believes that he will be rewarded for burying his head in you, it motivates him to do it more frequently. Once dogs realize that they can get their favorite treat with nuzzling, they do it all the time.

dog Conditioning

5. Sickness

When humans feel ill, they go see a doctor to get treatment. Dogs don’t have that privilege. They are reliant on us to figure out when they are feeling sick and to get the proper medications.

If you see your dog pushing his head into random things or even into you, it can be a sign of a headache or something serious that requires expert attention.

Is Burying Head Normal for Dogs?

It is normal for dogs to bury their heads in their owner. They do so to feel comfortable or to ask for attention. It is natural for them to be affectionate with the family members as they are part of the pack. 

Depending on what dog breed you have, your dog can be either protective or a total clown. It can do various things to get your attention.

Head burying is a form of communication for dogs. There can be several reasons for it. It is essential to know about the intention of your dog’s nuzzling behavior.

You should observe your dog’s body language to better understand what he is feeling:

  • If your dog’s eyes are bright and his tail is wagging, it means he is pleased to see you, and there is nothing to worry about.
  • If your dog is scared and anxious to bury his head in you, there can be an underlying problem that needs to be rectified.
  • If his body is shaking, he is either scared or cold.

It is important that you don’t discourage your dog or shut it down. This can be detrimental to their mental health, and they can feel unloved and isolated.

You should reassure your dog to calm down by talking to it and touching it affectionately. Try to tone down his anxiety. Close the windows in case your dog is bothered by the sounds.

Is Burying Head Normal for Dogs

What Does it Mean When Your Dog Buries Their Head in You?

A dog burying its head can mean a lot of things. It can be the result of fear or anxiety your dog has, or it can be as simple as striving for attention.

Dogs are faithful and affectionate animals. They crave the attention of their owners and sometimes go above and beyond to get that.

Some dogs try to get attention by displaying unique behaviors such as hiding their face on the couch or their owner’s lap.

When your dog buries his head in you, it can mean many things. He can be trying to communicate his feelings, and it is up to you to figure out what he is saying. It can be that he is ill and wants you to care for him.

It can also be that he is afraid of something or someone. Whether the head-burying behavior of your dog feels adorable, you should focus on when this started.

Some of the things to look out for are:

  • When did this behavior start? Was it from puppyhood, or is it relatively recent?
  • Did it start due to losing another dog or a family member?
  • Was it due to your late sitting at the office?
  • Are any loud or disturbing sounds causing this behavior?
  • Is it due to the weather or thunderstorms?

Notice the changes in your dog’s behavior and identify the key issues causing it. You should then work accordingly to care for your dog.

How to Stop Your Dog from Burying Their Head in You?

There are specific steps you can take to stop your dog from burying its head in you. You can go after the root cause or recondition your dog to stop burying his head.

Whether your dog buries his head out of fear or out of affection, you can change his behavior by taking the proper steps.

Cure Their Anxiety

If your dog is showing signs of stress and anxiety, you should address it as soon as possible. Anxiety is not suitable for dogs and can be detrimental to their health.

Try feeding, letting it pee, and talking with your dog before leaving to ensure that he is well cared for and not freak out.

This can help reduce his anxiety and make him calmer. Also, limit any loud noise that can startle your dog so he can lay down peacefully.

Cure Their Anxiety

Avoid Encouraging this Behavior

Regardless of how cozy and unique the nuzzles feel, you should not encourage it. Constant positive reinforcements cause this behavior to develop. 

You should not encourage your dog if he is doing it out of fun or in hopes of getting a reward.

Doing this helps recondition your dog and stops him from nuzzling in you. This doesn’t mean that you should scold your dog or turn him down, and it simply means you should cut the treats, cuddles, and extra attention.

Distract Them with Other Things

Some dogs nuzzle out of boredom or don’t have much to do. You should work to reduce their attention-seeking behaviors. Give your dog something productive and exciting to do. 

Chew toys are an excellent tool to keep your dog focused and away from all the nuzzles.

Let Him Sleep Somewhere Else

Unless your dog is nocturnal, you both probably sleep at the same time. If you share a bed with your dog, you can have a great bond with him. This close bond makes dogs extremely possessive and territorial. Your dog marks his territory by spreading his scent all over you.

You can stop this behavior by making your dog sleep somewhere else, away from you. 

This distance won’t heavily impact your bond with your dog but can make them stop being overly possessive.

Be Authoritative

Dogs are highly authoritative of their owners and form a pack with family members. You should make your dog realize who the alpha of the pack is.

This doesn’t mean scaring him away or shouting at him. It would be best to focus on obedience training which is an excellent method to earn respect from your dog. 

Basic commands like “sit”, “come”, “stay”, and “go” are a good start.

Be Authoritative


Dogs can be fun, loving, affectionate, and weird at times. They form a pack with the family members and are territorial in their behavior. If your dog buries his head in you, you can take the steps mentioned earlier to limit this behavior.

You must learn your dog’s body language to identify the root cause. Observing their behavior can help you determine whether the nuzzling is due to affection, fear, anxiety, possessiveness, or a health issue that must be addressed.

If the behavior persists, take your dog to a veterinarian for better guidance.


Why Does My Dog Hide His Face?

Your dog can hide its face because of fear. You should find out what or who is scaring them and take steps to ensure that your dog feels safe and loved.

Why Does My Dog Bury His Head on the Couch?

If your dog is burying his head on the couch, it can mean that he is scared of something or conditioned to do this. If you feed your dog his favorite treats or cuddle with him when he buries his head on the couch, you subconsciously encourage his behavior.

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.

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