Why Does My Dog Rub His Body On Me? (Like A Cat)

If your dog approaches you and begins to rub his body on you, chances are you must have come up with a thousand reasons as to why your dog would do this. However, since this is a fairly common dog habit, you are not alone; many dog owners also wonder about the exact thing.

So, why does my dog rub his body on me? The common reason your dog does it is because of scent, either to get his scent on you or to get a whiff of your scent. He might also be because he needs attention, wants to protect you, is afraid, or just likes the feel of your body.

Want to know all the reasons for this behavior? Keep reading to find them all.

1. He wants to get his scent on you.

Now, this is not a bad thing, when you remember dogs originally come from a long line of pack animals, it becomes easy to associate some of their behaviors to their ancestors.

As pack animals, dogs usually rub on each other to get their scent on themselves. This was a sign of bonding and togetherness among them. Your dog would also want to do the same to you as a way of making the bond between both of you even stronger. It could be that your dog is marking his territory, like the way you put things into a room to show it is yours.

2. He wants you to move or get your attention.

If your dog wants you to get up from your position, the best way he would do it is to nuzzle and rub himself on you. This way, he would be able to get your attention much faster than just sitting at your feet, for example.

He might want to rub on you as a cue to make you come and play with him, or move you away from your trouble. Watch his body language to know what he is trying to tell you, to know if it is a situation that needs your immediate attention or something that can be put off for later.

Apart from wanting you to move, he may also like to call your attention to something, probably something about his health or his mood. His body language will help you narrow down your options.

3. He wants to get your scent too.

Previously, we talked about how dogs get their scents on each other for bonding. He would also rub on you to get your scent, as it also functions in the same way the scent of a pack member would.

You notice this becomes more frequent when you are just getting up from bed or doing some hard work, like a workout at the gym.

Why?

Because of dogs like your original scent, not the scent of your perfumes or the scent of your cream. Getting your original scent is the way your dog gets to know and care for you more.

4. He likes it.

Your dog might be rubbing himself on your body just because he likes the feel of your body on his fur. Dogs love physical contact and sometimes like to get a better feel than just a tap on his head or a belly rub. If you notice that your dog is doing this because he likes it, there is no reason for alarm.

Instead of discouraging him, allow him to rub on you and enjoy the rubbing session too. Just remember to check for fleas or any open sores so that you do not get any side effects.

5. He gets rewarded anytime for it.

Do you always pet your hound whenever he rubs on you? Do you praise him and call him 'a good dog?' Do you give him treats or toys when he does this? If you have done any of the above, you have knowingly or unknowingly rewarded him for rubbing on you.

Dogs love treats, and good words, so they will look for opportunities to receive them. Depending on how you see it, it can be encouraged or stopped. If you do not like it or want to reduce its frequency, you can discourage him by scolding him lightly for a while.

6. He is submissive. 

You are watching tv on a normal day, and suddenly your dog comes to your legs or climbs you and begins to rub himself on you, it could be a sign of submission. You may ask yourself why your dog is being submissive, especially if you have never asked for submission or rarely show signs of dominance.

Showing he is submissive [1] is a sign that he acknowledges your leadership and is good because it puts potential dominance in check. However, if this is done after a serious scolding or punishment, it may be that he is getting scared of you. 

Reassure him that you do not hate him and are just correcting his bad behavior. It will also help if you do not punish him too much or too harshly as it might make him fearful and withdrawn, which are not traits he should have as a healthy dog.

7. He is showing you he loves you.

Dogs have several ways of showing affection, such as licking your face or cuddling up with you. They also show they love you by rubbing their bodies on you. This is his way of telling you that he loves and adores you.

If you find your dog does this often, it means you have a good relationship with him so much that he wants to be near you all the time. Some people find this annoying because it is the same way cats behave. Animals will show affection to each other, be it humans or each other, so no need to be afraid.

8. He needs something for you.

Your dog has needs, as you know. He feels hungry, he gets cold, he needs to be told that everything is okay. Being a warm-blooded animal, He would get cold and rub on you to get warm since humans are also warm-blooded.

In the pack, animals usually huddle together during frigid times to keep themselves warm and prevent being frozen, so he keeps warm the best way he can. Maybe your dog is hungry and does not know how to tell you he is hungry, so he comes to you in this manner so that you can find him. He can also do this because he feels scared, and rubbing on you subdues his fears.

Want to make him stop rubbing his body against you?

If you are not a fan of your dog's body always on you, there are some steps you can take to minimize this, as there is no assurance he would completely stop because it is something that comes naturally to him.

  • One way already discussed is to stop encouraging him. The more you encourage him, the more he will see it as a good habit. 
  • Another way to check him is to give him attention. If you notice he does this more often than not, it may be that he is not getting the needed attention from you. Give him attention, but do not make it too much, so you do not spoil him.

Conclusion:

When there are no health risks or side effects from your dog's fur on your body, the rubbing can be a nice way to feel your dog's body and enjoy his company, it might lead to a great bonding time for you and your pet. We have provided tips you can use to reduce it in the paragraph above.

It provides an opportunity for you to read your pet's body: know what is going on, study his body, and understand his mood. We hope you loved this and would understand your dog better with this article.

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