Why Does My Dog Cover Their Face?

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It's an Instagram-worthy moment when your pooch puts their paws over their face. But while a dog covering their face is adorable, what makes them do it? Curious as to why your dog hides their face? Read on to learn more.

Why Does My Dog Cover Their Face?

Close-up of small young terrier mix puppy hiding face in brown plush dog bedDogs rely heavily on body language to communicate, and hiding their faces, or covering their nose is just one way they try to tell you how they're feeling. Here are the most common reasons why your dog may cover their face, according to iHeartDogs.

To Scratch an Itch

What looks like hiding at first glance might simply be your dog rubbing or scratching an itch. Dogs not only use their front paws to relieve an itchy face or eyes; they also sometimes use them to wipe away eye gunk or substances that get stuck in their fur and cause them discomfort. As cute is it looks when your dog uses their paws like hands, if you notice them doing this a lot, check their face and eyes for redness, discharge or other signs of infection or irritation. Chronic rubbing could be a sign that your pup is in pain and needs to see a veterinarian.

To Express Fear or Anxiety

Feeling stressed or scared can result in a dog hiding their face. While your dog is smart enough to know their paws aren't big enough to hide them from the object of their fear, covering their face is their way of communicating that they're upset. If you see your dog hiding their face, see if there's something that could be distressing them. Try to remove the source of their fear and reassure them that they're safe. If your dog often displays this behavior, it could be a sign that your dog is suffering from an anxiety disorder and that you should consult your vet.

To Show Submission

Another reason dogs sometimes covers their faces or noses is to show deference to their pack leader. Hiding their face could be a sign that your dog trusts you and wants you to know they're not a threat. If this is the reason for covering their face, they may also follow the behavior by rolling over to expose their belly.

To Please You

While dogs don't have a concept of cuteness as you understand it, they're highly perceptive and can tell when their behavior pleases you. Since dogs are often eager to please, they're likely to repeat something that they know amuses you. In other words, when your dog covers their face they might simply be trying to make you smile.

Should You Discourage a Dog From Hiding Their Face?

Brown dog with tongue out holds right paw over eye.Face covering isn't seen as a negative behavior and there's no reason to discourage it, says Wag! That said, if face hiding is caused by pain, itching, anxiety or fear, the behavior should stop, or at least lessen, once the source of the behavior is taken care of.

A dog hiding their face is usually a form of communication. As a dog parent, it's important to pay attention to what your pup is trying to tell you. Check in with your dog to make sure they're okay before reaching for the camera to catch the cuteness in action.

Contributor Bio

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she usually writes under the supervision of a lapful of furbabies.

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