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Why Does My Dog Rub Against Me?

The majority of our readers are from North America and Europe where dogs are the most common type of pet by far so it is easy to see why we see so many different questions from the community about the various behaviors of their dog.

The majority of people are fully aware that dogs do have a number of very strange behaviors but some dog owners want to take it a step further and work out why their dogs are doing these behaviors.

One of the more common behaviors that we often see people asking questions about is why their dog is rubbing against them as it can be difficult to work out the consistencies in the behavior to a level where you are able to easily understand what’s happening.

This is usually due to the reasons that your dog will bump into you or rub against me changing and being different depending on the exact situation with the exact same dog often rubbing against the same person for multiple reasons throughout the day.

There are usually six main reasons as to why your pet dog may end up rubbing against you and we wanted to cover them all in this article.

Our hope is that we are going to be able to help as many of our readers as possible better understand why your dog is rubbing against you.

Understanding why your pet dog is doing this behavior can also be a good way to reciprocate to your dog to make it feel loved or give it the attention that it is seeking too.

They Want Attention From You!

One of the most common reasons that your dog will rub against you is due to your dog wanting attention from you be it some scratches, a hug, or just for you to play with your dog for a little while.

This is considered normal behavior for dogs and it often plays to their favor as once they start rubbing against you, they usually end up getting the attention that they want from you.

If your dog is rubbing up against you to try and get some attention and you don’t give your dog the attention that it wants then it may become vocal.

These vocalizations can range from your dog barking to it making a wide range of other sounds to try and get you to notice your dog and give it some attention.

They Are Marking You With Their Scent Glands!

Dogs have scent glands in various areas of their body and they tend to try and mark other members of their pack with their scent. This is a very common reason that some dogs will rub against you as they try to get their scent on you to mark them as their pack member.

The majority of times when a dog does this it will use the scent glands on its head but in rare situations, it may try to mark you with the scent glands on its butt.

The majority of the time the dog will rub against you for around a minute or two and then just walk off once it feels that you have been sufficiently marked with its scent.

They Are Showing You Affection!

Dogs can often be in tune with the emotions of their owners due to the strong bond that can quickly form between humans and dogs.

If your dog feels that your emotions are off and that something may be wrong, they may rub up against you as a way to show you affection and to try and make you happy.

If your dog is rubbing up against you due to try and show you affection they will often be vocal but unlike the vocalizations of when your dog wants attention, they will usually use softer quieter vocalizations.

Dogs who are trying to show their owners affection by rubbing up against them may often end up trying to climb up on top of you to look at you in the face too with this also being a common behavior.

They Have Separation Anxiety!

Due to dogs having evolved to be pack animals, they really can suffer from large amounts of separation anxiety if they are left at home alone without any humans or other dogs to interact with.

This can often result in your dog trying to rub up against you when you get home from work as a sign of relief that it is still in the pack and has not been left behind.

You may be able to see other signs of happiness in your dogs such as rapid tail wagging and happy vocalizations when you return home if this is why your dog chooses to rub up against you.

Your dog may also end up following you around your home for an hour or so after you return too making to that you don’t leave again anytime soon.

They Have Built Up A Habit Of Doing It!

A common reason that your pet dog may rub against you could simply be due to them having developed a habit of doing it and it essentially becoming their standard greeting to you.

These habits can form in a number of different ways due to a number of different reasons but this can often be the reason that your dog will rub against you.

This is one of the more confusing reasons that your pet dog may rub up against you though as it really can be difficult to work out why your dog is rubbing up against you when it is doing it out of habit.

There can often be other signs from the other reasons that we have covered in this article mixed in too as well potentially causing you to think that the behavior is due to something else.

They Are Showing Submissions!

Although rare, some dogs will try to show submission by rubbing against you but exposing their belly to you does tend to be more common.

They may only display this behavior to a single member of the house as they see them as the dominant member of their back and the person who is in charge.

This behavior is very rare though and it is difficult to understand why some dogs do this while others don’t. Other than also showing you their belly before or after they rub against you, it can be hard to work out the secondary signs of this reason for rubbing against you too.


That brings our article going over the question why does my dog rub against me to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the various reasons why your pet dog may end up rubbing against you as well as give you some ideas on how you are able to respond to your pet dog when it does rub against you throughout the day.