You and your dog can practically smell each other’s breath.
Yes, that’s how close your dog’s face is to yours.
Maybe you have dirt on your face?
Or maybe you smell like food to them?
What could be the reason behind their bizarre behavior?
Keep reading to discover:
- 9 possible reasons behind the dog’s weird behavior.
- 6 easy tips on how you can stop your dog from getting too close.
- And much much more…
Why does my dog get in my face?
Your dog gets in your face because they want to tell you something. Getting in your face is their way of grabbing your attention. They could also be bored, hungry, or curious. Usually, there is nothing wrong with them if they do this, but you might find it too much if it happens all the time.
9 reasons why your dogs get in your face
#1: Your dog wants to give you some grooming
“Does my pooch think I’m a dog?”
“You’re not a dog. You don’t even come close. I mean – walking on two feet, having no fur on your body.”
But why does your pooch seem to want to lick you and give you some grooming then?
Grooming is a big part of your dog’s life, especially because they have hair that sheds a lot.
Grooming is also one of the things they learned and experienced the moment they were born.
In your case, your dog licks you to encourage and promote bonding moments between you two.
Now that you are their mommy, they find it fitting to do it to you, too.
You might also want to check out: 13 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Grooms You (+ What It Means)
#2: Your dog needs something
Did your dog suddenly cross that short distance between you two?
Only a second has passed and they’re already inches away from your face?
To add to that, they might have tried to get your attention by pulling off their puppy eyes?
Your doggo does this to tell you they need something.
For example, they’re playing a few seconds ago and they stop immediately. Then maybe their toy rolled under the couch and they’re asking you to get it.
Go ahead, check it if it really is there.
Your dog will be extra grateful to you if you help them with this issue. And they won’t get in your face again because they have something to keep them occupied.
#3: Your dog is hungry
“Hey! It’s already food o’clock.”
Did you forget something?
If you feed your dog at around the same time every day, they’ll probably be getting in your face if their plate is still empty, when they’re already expecting their food.
You can put a reminder on your phone to alert you about preparing it before their mealtime.
That way your doggy doesn’t get hangry – err – hungry.
And they might just stop that weird behavior.
Reading recommendation: Why Does My Dog Bark When I Arrive Home? 9 Reasons + 5 Tips
#4: Your dog trusts and values you
Your dog may be getting in your face because they’re grateful to you.
Other things they do to show gratitude:
- Licking your leg.
- Wagging their tail.
- Staying by your side.
Yes, your dog can be sweet like that. They can be clingy and sweet and adorable.
Surprisingly, they don’t want anything at the moment. They just like to show their appreciation to you by doing what they do best.
#5: Your dog wants to tell you something
“What is my dog trying to tell me when they get in my face?”
Your little pooch may have a bunch of questions on their mind.
They might not be able to ask you directly by talking, but they can always do something to relay it to you.
These questions could be:
- “Where is my food?”
- “Where have you been?”
- “Why do you look so down?”
- “Can you help me with my toy?”
- “Are we not going out to walk today?”
- “What can I do to help you, Mom/ Dad?”
Most of the time your dog will give you clues on what they’re trying to convey.
For instance, if they need help with their toy, they’ll lead you to the couch where their tiny ball went.
Maybe you have forgotten to take them outside for a short afternoon walk?
After staring, maybe licking your face, they will lead you towards the door.
If this happens then it’s a sign that they want to do some outdoor exercise a.k.a. walking.
#6: Your dog is curious
Is your dog staring at you like they’re in love?
Well, they probably are, with you.
Because you give them love in return.
You might be surprised because a study from the Journal of Neuroscience states that canines don’t actually get too excited with the sight of their human’s face or any person’s face for that matter.
Not as much as when they see other dogs.
However, they’re probably looking at you because they’re curious.
Did you just watch a tear-jerking Netflix movie and you ended up crying your eyes out?
Your pooch could’ve sensed that remaining tear or smile on your face.
They’re definitely wondering what happened to you.
Since the only way for them to comfort you is by being close to you, this is what they do. Sometimes they go overboard though.
#7: Your dog misses you
“Where were you when I needed you, hooman?”
Gone for just an hour?
Your dog will still wonder where you went.
They will probably come near you and stare closely at you.
“Where did you go without me?”
The next time you leave them for a bit, you can give them something to keep them busy. This way they won’t be bored waiting for you to return.
Plus, they won’t act all weird when you’re back from a quick errand.
And you won’t get that awkward stare from your pooch, as if you’ve done something illegal.
Some things to keep them entertained:
- Puzzle toys.
- Calming treats.
- Non-edible chewable.
- Place their doggy bed near a window (Yes, dogs love people-watching).
Note: These are also helpful in keeping your dog at bay whenever you are working from home, looking after your kid, or doing some household chores.
#8: Your dog wants your love
“I want nobody but you. You must do the same way, too.”
Dogs can really be clingy, as always.
And they get jealous, too. That is why whenever they feel like you’re too preoccupied and you don’t even turn your head to look at them, they will get in your face to tell you indirectly that they want your undivided attention.
While it may be good to turn your gaze towards them and give them what they want, your action might serve as a sign for them to get in your face again whenever they want you to notice them.
So, it’s better to force yourself to stop noticing them than make that one triggering move that will tell them that getting in your face is acceptable behavior when it really is not.
Further reading: 17 Reasons Why Your Dog Is So Clingy All Of Sudden + 7 Tips
#9: Your dog wants to smell you
Did you eat extra crispy fried chicken just five minutes ago?
If you did and your dog is staring at a close distance, they can probably smell the last meal you had.
This happens even if they’re already full.
They’ll suddenly think they’re hungry again.
If your pooch goes an extra mile and licks your face, then without a doubt, there might still be remnants of that fried chicken on your cheek.
Note: In case you’re wondering, a dog’s saliva doesn’t pose any risk unless the area they licked is an open wound.
6 tips why your dogs get in your face
#1: Keep them busy
“Keep them busy with what?”
Bring out their toys and explore other items that can help them be entertained.
You can even join them to play fetch or play ball. If you’re not busy, you can take them for a short walk in the neighborhood.
Meeting other dogs can also be beneficial to canines, so don’t deprive them of that opportunity.
Some benefits of doggy socialization:
- Builds good manners.
- Provides fantastic exercise.
- Promotes healthy interaction.
- Helps them adapt to new situations.
Playing will keep them busy, and eventually, tired. They won’t even have the time to stare or lick your face because they’d prefer to hit the sack than do unusual things.
#2: Consider the timing
The timing is essential.
Observe your pooch for you to figure out when they like to get in your face.
Is it after you had a good meal?
Or is it when you come home from work?
Or maybe they do it when you’re too busy with work that you end up neglecting your fur baby?
Maybe you are too hooked on your phone that you forgot your responsibilities as a fur mom/ dad.
If they do it after every meal, maybe you should consider washing off immediately after eating.
Check your fingers and hands as well to avoid leaving traces of the smell of the meal you just had. You know how their sense of smell can work like magic.
Knowing the timing your dog does this behavior will help you transition to the next steps.
#3: Spot the trigger
Time to spot the trigger.
“What is a trigger?”
A trigger can be any of the following:
- A vet visit.
- New people.
- Sudden loud noises.
It can be anything that causes stress and fear to your dog.
What is that one thing you did that made them think that you’re okay with them getting in your face?
That trigger can’t be undone, but you can apply things that will let them know that you disapprove of their weird behavior.
Any of the following could have happened before:
- Not letting them play with their toys.
- Stopped training and teaching them lately.
- Not giving them the attention they’re craving for.
- Giving them a treat at some point when they get in your face.
These and a lot of other options could be the reason why your dog thinks it’s okay to get in your face.
#4: Stop rewarding it yet
Say you’ve figured out why your dog behaves that way.
What you can do next is to stop giving them treats or any reward for now.
For example, if the triggering factor is they received a treat before when they get in your face.
Then, if you don’t give them any rewards or treats again if they repeat that act, they will eventually know that you don’t like them being too close to your face.
However, this doesn’t happen overnight. For your dog to realize that you will have to teach and train them slowly and consistently.
Also, don’t be easily swayed by their tiny, convincing howls and round pleading eyes.
Anyway, what you’re doing is both for you and your dog’s own good.
#5: Use the “off” command
This new skill called the “off” command can be taught to your canine. Aside from letting them know that you don’t want them in your face, this trick can also work for other things.
Like when you want them to stop munching on your slippers and shoes, or when you want them to stop feasting on your leather couch.
Basically, this trick can create any boundary you are aiming for.
The steps are easy:
- Prepare a clicker and some treats.
- Let your dog come to you.
- If they’re already beyond the imaginary boundary you had set, lure them using your treat. Lead them to the spot you preferred them to stay while saying “Off!” at the same time.
- If they follow, then give them the treat you have prepared.
- Repeat the steps until they finally do it without you having to tell them “Off!”
#6: Consistency is key
Just like any other dog trick, training your dog to maintain that distance is a constant practice and exchange of treats.
The key to a successful reinforcement of the “off command” (or any other commands) is consistency.
If you keep repeating the act to your dog to instill it in his brain, then they will soon be able to remember and apply it in no time.
You might even be surprised at how fast they adapt.