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11 Unexpected Reasons Why Dogs Nudge Things With Their Nose

Why Does My Dog Nudge Things With His Nose

Have you ever felt the warm nose of your dog touch you?

If yes, you belong to millions of fur parents around the world who have experienced this!

Our pooches do a lot of cute things.

One of these is nudging stuff with their nose.

Booping is one cute way fur parents call this behavior.

But it can leave us wondering, why do they do this?

Is this normal behavior?

Should you be concerned?

Read on to learn:

  • 7 examples of dogs booping things around them.
  • Whether or not you should see your vet about this.
  • 11 reasons why dogs nudge things with their nose.
  • A whole lot more…

Why does my dog nudge things with his nose?

Dogs nudge things with their nose because it’s their way of trying to learn more about the world around them. They could also be greeting, reminding, grabbing someone’s attention, or are in want of something be it food or pets. Dogs also nudge as a reaction to stimulation around them such as noise.

11 reasons why your dog nudges things with his nose

#1: “Hmm… I is wonder what this is…”

Dogs are naturally smart and curious pets.

If they were able to read and write, they’d probably be beside Einstein testing out theories.

Maybe they’d even solve the mysteries of the universe.

However, their bodies only allow them to discover their surroundings.

Well, this limitation certainly doesn’t stop them from going miles for an adventure.

I mean, going out for walks can be delayed by your pooch trying to sniff out anything that seizes their attention.

From small insects to garbage, nothing is off-limits.

Going out on trails will also change nothing.

Your pooch may stop and smell a tree or nudge flowers to check what they are.

You shouldn’t be wondering why this happens.

After all, dogs learn about the world using their noses.

According to the AKC, your fur babies use their smell as a primary sense.

Scents help them make sense of the world around them.

Unlike humans who use their vision to initially scan their surroundings, dogs use their noses.

Their sense of smell is wired differently.

#2: “Hello, how is hooman doing today?”

We meet our friends and greet them with hugs and kisses.

While it’s cute to think that your dog will stand up on their hind legs to reach out and kiss you, they can’t. 

Not all the time, anyway.

The simplest way they can greet you and other pets is using their snouts.

They’d gently boop you to let you know that they are there and that they’d want to interact with you.

Dogs use their noses to nudge and communicate with you.

After coming home from a long day at work, you might see them run up to you and gently nudge you.

It’s simple, effective, and cute!

#3: “Yooo… do you know what time it is?”

Check the schedule!

Pooches nudge you because they could be trying to remind you of something.

It could be feeding time or playtime.

They might even do this because they have to go to the bathroom.

Whatever the reason may be, always remember to see what activity you guys are usually doing at a given time.

Dogs have incredible memories.

And they use this part of their brains to remember certain activities.

Fur babies adhere to a schedule that they are used to and form habits around it.

Feeding time

If you think that they are nudging you because they are hungry, check if they already ate enough for the day.

You wouldn’t want to overfeed your pooch.

Getting overfed could lead them to have physical issues like:

  • Obesity.
  • Diabetes.
  • Joint problems.
  • Difficulty in moving.
  • Heart-related diseases.

Always consult your vet for the proper amount of food that should be given to your dog.


Much like humans, dogs need exercise, too!

All fur parents are aware of this.

But sometimes we might forget about it due to work and other activities that keep us busy.

If you can make time, a quick run or cycling with your dog can already make a difference.

You can also purchase throwing machines that help your pooch get the exercise they need while having fun.

Watch this fur baby play by himself:

You may also wonder: Why does my dog jump on me when I sit down?

#4: “Hey, attention!”

Zooming around, barking, running circles on you…

These are all ways they try to catch your attention.

Another way is nudging you gently with their nose.

Well, I hope it’s gentle. We don’t want our dogs headbanging on us like metal rock stars, right?

If your dog nudges you, check their immediate surroundings.

Be on the lookout for anything that might be new to them.

It could be insects, other pets, or humans they haven’t met yet.

If this is the case, slowly introduce them to the new thing.

It would be better for them to address it immediately rather than let it go on for a while.

It might give them anxiety trying to figure out the object that is new to them.

#5: “Can I have that, pls? :(“

Are you eating?

Or have something in your hand that looks interesting?

Your pooch might be trying to get some of that.

Our pooch loves to have things that look attractive to them.

It could be anything, it might be your phone or a shoe.

If it looks and sounds new to them, they might want to play with it.

Food is also another thing that they want to ask from you.

Even if they just ate, they can still go to you, nudge you, and ask for a few bites of your pizza.

“Should I give it to them, then?”

As far as human food is concerned, the safe answer is “no”. Especially pizza. It’s tasty, but it’s best to avoid giving it to your pooch since it contains spices and seasonings.

But if you’re holding a non-edible item and your canine expresses interest, let them sniff it. This way they can get familiar with the things you’re holding.

This way they won’t be in want of the object you’re holding.

#6: “Yes, I agree with you… we should increase cuddle time.”

I think it’s pretty normal for fur parents to want their pooch to be able to talk.

Imagine all the conversations we’ll have with them!

We can finally ask them why they love waking us up in the middle of a sleep.

Kidding aside, dogs have several methods of reacting to what we say.

Since they can’t reply back, they sometimes hit us with a gentle nudge.

Dogs probably won’t understand full sentences but they can learn the meaning of a few short words and phrases.

Dogs also read the tone and emotions we are portraying.

If we talk to them softly and lovingly, they might reply back with a boop as a reply.

Pitch is also important in trying to communicate with dogs.

According to research, dog-directed speech can draw your pooch’s attention.

Phrases like, “Who’s a good boy?” and “Come here, baby!” are examples of these.

Next time you go all lovey-dovey with your pooch, expect love boops back!

#7: “Hey hooman, you seem down, is you okay?”

Your Dog Nudges You With His Nose To Comfort You

Dogs are incredibly loving pets.

They are fiercely loyal and will do anything just to keep you happy.

And if they feel like you need a little bit of comfort, they’re there for you.

One of the simple ways they show you that they care is by being beside you.

Having your dog sit near you while giving you gentle nudges is pretty common canine behavior.

They might pair it with small whines and puppy eyes.

Your problems just melt away!

Dogs also do this because they know that you are stressed and sad.

According to research, dogs have the ability to recognize human emotions.

These include negative ones, too!

A long day at work?

Your dog’s got you!

#8: “You seem nice… we’re now friends!”

As mentioned before, dogs sometimes nudge us to greet us.

Well, they do this too when they’re trying to make new friends!

You might have seen this behavior in the park or other places where there are more canines.

They walk around and sniff each other when they’re trying to get to know them.

This is just how dogs learn about other pooches.

You might see them smelling each other’s private parts.

This behavior is equivalent to humans having small talk.

You know those awkward conversations when you’re trying to get to know someone you’ve never seen before?

Yep, dogs smell others instead.

They do this to humans, too!

Remember how your dog acts when a new person is around your house?

If they trust the person, they’d come up to them, nudge them a little bit, while sniffing them.

Your fur baby might also nudge around your friend’s crotch if they stand still in front of the dog.

As long as they’re not causing a major disturbance, this is no cause for worry.

Your pooch is just trying to get to know your friends, too!

#9: “Hmm… can have alone time pls?”

Dogs are social beings.

However, this doesn’t mean they can go on forever trying to befriend everyone.

They get tired, too.

Your pooch’s social battery might already be draining and they want to recharge.

When this happens, they could distance themselves into a corner and sit there quietly.

If you go near them to try to pet them, you might notice that they’d “push” you away by nudging you.

Let your dog rest alone.

“Why does this happen?”

It’s not that your dog doesn’t love you anymore.

Chances are, you might have spent too much time with them.

Too much attention, petting, and playtime could lead to your dog getting tired.

Let them be.

Provide them with the personal space they need.

I mean, when they get recharged, they’ll be the most loving and snuggly creatures anyway.

#10: “I am stressed, hooman… need escape pls.”

Have you ever seen your dog get scared?

Or even stressed from outside stimulation?

Stressors can range from huge moving objects to loud noises.

This could also happen while you are out on a walk.

Especially if you are trailing along a new path or neighborhood.

Everything can be scary to them.

When this happens, according to Malcolm Weir, the first thing you should do is remove them from the stressful situation.

If you don’t, they might nudge you to start walking and moving along.

Help relieve their stress and fear by going to places that are free from the stimulation.

If you are at home, you can also help out by checking out your surroundings.

If you live in a house with a yard, they could’ve seen something dangerous like a snake. Or other people they deem dangerous.

Read next: Why do dogs walk slowly with their tails down?

#11: “Hey, hooman, I is booooored.”

Dogs feel bored from time to time.

Especially when we sometimes get too busy with work and other day-to-day tasks.

Then we forget to spend time and give our dogs the attention they need.

If they start nudging you, they could be feeling bored and want to do something with you.

If you can spare some time, give your pooch a little playtime.

You can also include them in your day-to-day house chores.

Here are a few tasks you can give them to keep them from being bored:

  • Close doors.
  • Get the mail.
  • Picking up trash.
  • Clean up their toys.

They can be useful around the house, let them help!

Check out this article: Why Does My Dog Get In My Face? 9 Reasons + 6 Tips

BONUS: “I nudge cuz you liek it”

It is pretty common for dogs to repeat certain behaviors because they think you like them.

This is because you could’ve been training them to do this.

Most behaviors can be taught to dogs.

The good news is you can also alter and remove some unwanted behavior. All you need is proper training.

In the case of nudging, you might’ve been accidentally encouraging your dog’s behavior.

“That happens? In what way am I doing it?”

Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement.

Examples of these are being nice to them, petting them, and giving them treats when they nudge you.

Because of these actions, they will nudge you more since they think they are receiving rewards for doing it.

7 examples of dogs nudging things with their nose

Here are a few real-life scenarios of dogs nudging their nose and what they might mean.

#1: Dog nudging food with nose

Your dog is nudging their food with their nose because it’s new and they’re trying it out. They might also not feel hungry at the moment. Or they’re picky.

Usually, when they are hungry, they just smell the food and give it a bite if they like it.

No. Questions. Asked.

However, if they do nudge it, it could mean:

The food is new and they’re checking it out

If you’ve given your pooch new treats or dog food, it might take a while for them to get used to it.

They might smell it around first and check if it’s something they’d like.

Your pooch could be sniffing out the flavor.

If they are newly adopted pets, they might have trust issues and don’t easily eat food given to them.

They don’t feel like eating

You might sometimes view it as “playing” with their food.

But if your pooch isn’t hungry or has a bad appetite, they might nudge their food around.

Having a poor appetite could mean that your fur baby is having tummy issues.

They could also be eating too much and have been overfed.

Make sure that nobody else is feeding them or they could become obese and have weight issues.

These will then lead to joint and mobility problems in the future.

Worst case scenario, they might develop heart issues and diabetes.

If your dog isn’t eating as they normally would for a few days in a row, ask your vet about it.

They’re picky eaters

Remember eating broccoli when we were kids?

You probably won’t understand this if you loved eating your vegetables.

I, for one, didn’t like it growing up.

Being picky is normal, and this happens to your dogs, too!

If they don’t like the smell, texture, or flavor of the food you set before them, they probably nudge it.

This is their way of saying they want something else.

#2: Dog nudging puppy with nose

This usually happens when you bring home a new puppy.

Your pooch would likely smell the new family member to learn more about them.

They’ll be sniffing around to remember their scent.

Dogs are inclined to do this because they are naturally born curious.

They could also be teaching new and younger pups how things work.

If they see them trying to jump down a few steps of stairs, they’d most likely nudge them and teach them how to do it.

Just be on the lookout for aggressive dog behavior when they nudge other pups.

If they don’t display any, this is nothing to be wary of.

#3: Dog nudging newborn with nose

Just like how dogs would nudge newly added pups in the family, they get curious around newborn babies, too.

Practically if there is something or someone new in the family they gotta sniff around first.

“Should I be alarmed when they do this?”

You know your fur baby best.

But always be on the lookout for possible aggressive behavior.

However, if they are relaxed and are gently nudging and smelling around, you can just let them.

Pushing your pooch away from the newborn baby might cause them to be more curious.

This could cause them to jump or run fast towards the baby just so they could get close.

#4: Dog nudging other dog with nose

When your pooch is nudging other dogs with their nose, it could be their way of greeting them.

Your fur baby might also be saying to other dogs that they mean no harm and want to be friends with them.

It’s also a way for them to socialize and try to learn more about the other dog.

#5: Dog nudging kitten with nose

Your dog nudges the kitten with their nose to befriend them. 

Much like reason #4, they could also be trying to befriend cats or kittens.

If you are a cat parent, this will be a very common scenario at your home.

Your dog trying to nudge and play around with the cat and not getting the same energy in return.

However, as long as your cat doesn’t mind it and doesn’t react aggressively towards your dog, just let them.

Socializing with other pets can also be healthy for your pooch.

#6: Dog nudging hand with nose

Your dog nudges your hand with their nose to get your attention.

Watch out for cues.

They might be hungry, in need of attention, petting or are eager to play with you.

Check their schedules first and try to see what you usually do at the time they’re nudging your hand.

They could also be trying to tell you something about their surroundings.

#7: Dog nudging blanket with nose

Your dog nudges your blanket with their nose because they like smelling it.

Doing so makes them feel like they’re getting a whiff of your body.

Remember, scents are a dog’s world.

And your scent is one of the most valuable smells in their mind.

They might also be doing this when you’re not around.

It’s a quick way to relieve separation anxiety in dogs.