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Why does my dog push his face against mine?


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#1 Chopper

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 12:44 AM

Thoughtful dog question, wondering if anyone knows?

This isn't a problem, FYI, I rather enjoy the behavior, it is very (seems) affectionate, but odd. I've never known another dog to behave this way and wondered, with all our great dog experts on HC, has anyone else experienced this and if so, what does it mean?

My dog, 4yo JRT/ACD mix neutered male, enjoys pressing his face against mine while being petted/cuddled. Always has, since puppyhood although if anything he does it more now then ever before. He presses his eye socket area against my mouth or cheek and holds it there. It is very deliberate action, but not specific really. Sometimes he presses the area of his stop (right between the eyes) or the top of his head, sometimes his eye socket. But always very deliberate, and with great force, not at all bashful about it shall we say.

The behavior is very cat like, but more forceful. Where a cat will gently rub against you, he presses hard and holds it. He leans in so hard that if I were to move suddenly he would tumble head over heels on his face.

He is a dominent dog by nature (terrier like) but a strong working dog. He is obedience trained to a "T", even dabbled successfully in some agility. He is well behaved with no behavior problems, I have no complaints. He truely believes I am his goddess so I don't believe this is a dominence issue BUT he is a sneaky little thing and has a way of running the household before you take notice so who knows.

Any thoughts?

#2 shann1turner

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 01:09 AM

I don't have any ideas but WD does something similar to my husband and me. He puts his paws on your shoulders, points his nose straight up and lays his exposed chin/jaw/neck against your face. We call it the "weenie hug". Odd thing is he never does it to the kids.
The bad thing is he also likes to do it when you're sleeping- he'll lay his chin over your mouth. Can kind of freak you out cause you wake up thinking somebody's trying to smother you.

#3 painthorse77

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 04:44 AM

In my opinion it sounds like a dominence issue. I am not sure though.

#4 This Is It

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 08:38 AM

Not sure about the first behavior, but the second (the dog putting his paws on your shoulders, leaning into you with his head up) that is a dominance behavior. Every time he does it, he's re-establishing his dominance. He's probably not doing it to the kids because he doesn't have to re-assure himself that he is dominant over them.

#5 qhridinGA

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 08:44 AM

My rescue cattledog puts his head on me. To me with my dog, it is reassurance. If he happens to leave my 6 foot circle he will come back immediately and rub his head on my leg really fast. He has done that since I rescued him. Either that or his eye itches and he is using me....

#6 This Is It

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 08:56 AM

qhriddinga - my lab mix does that. That's not dominence, its more of a "checkin in" reassurance kinda thing. When they put themselves above you, like jumping up on you, standing on your lap, humping your leg, biting your heals, etc, that's dominent behavior.

My Doberman leans on my legs and stands on my feet, but thats just the breed. Every Dobbie I've met does the same thing.

#7 qhridinGA

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 09:01 AM

My rott does that. He is just lazy. I have had many, many cattle dogs, I have never been heeled. Odd isnt it? My dogs will only jump on us when told to.

I think with her it may be some cattledog oddity coming thru. They can be very strange, and have strange habits. But they can be very dominant. But with her dog she says that he is very obedient. That may be how he has figured out to tell her how much he loves her. They can be very smart dogs. I knew one lady whose cattledog put together a sentance on day. It was bizarre.

#8 Chopper

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 09:56 AM

Thanks for the replies. Qhridin reminded me of some other odd leaning behavior that he does. If I am in a seated position and initiate some petting/loving, he will push his face into my hand and rotate his body (while sitting) until his bottom is squarely lined up between my feet and he is facing away from me. He especially likes it if my feet are together so he can really push in and brace there.

I should get some video of the weirdo [Big Grin] .

#9 Chopper

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 09:59 AM

qhridin, how did the lady's cattledog put a sentence together? I am intrigued.

I'm starting to really like these ACD's. I may actually some day get a [Shocked] purebred!

#10 Highlandlass

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 10:31 AM

The head mushing thing is a terrier thing. Mine and my folks only do it with people they like. It is not a dominance thing. It is affection. Every breed seems to have their thing. My westie rolls and spins under your hand when you start scritching him or petting him after he hasn't seen you in a bit. My Dobes it was they would either lean against your legs while sitting or standing on your feet. Or they would stick their noses between your knees for an ear rub and snort. My rottie did the lean thing too. Each breed is different.

#11 Tuckaway

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 10:33 AM

Lets look at this from a pack situation.Sub wolves in a pack go to the leader.Lick them in the mouth,rub up against them,belly ups,trying to get attention as well as show respect.
If he is not giving you direct eye contact with a stare.That is how I would see it, if I could see it. [Big Grin]

[ 10-04-2006, 11:34 AM: Message edited by: Tuckaway ]

#12 Guest__*

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 11:00 AM

quote:
Originally posted by Tuckaway:
Lets look at this from a pack situation.Sub wolves in a pack go to the leader.Lick them in the mouth,rub up against them,belly ups,trying to get attention as well as show respect.
If he is not giving you direct eye contact with a stare.That is how I would see it, if I could see it. [Big Grin]

Ditto. I learned a lot when I worked at a wildlife sanctuary and could sit and watch the wolves interact with one another. Very intresting to see how the subs act for the alpha's attention and approval of even the slightest things.

#13 qhridinGA

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 11:13 AM

Ok here is what her dog did.
The dog had 2 barks. One for "I want to go outside and play ball" and another for "If you dont let me out now I am going to flood your floor" She said she was sitting at the table working on something and came up and did her "I want to go outside and play ball bark". She said that she looked at the dog and went "Oh what do you want" The dog went to the door and back to her and barked again. She said that once again she said "What do you want?" The dog barked again went to the door and then went to her shoes that she wears in the yard that were right next to her other shoes and bumped them and came back to her" Then she said once again "What do you want?" The dog went to the door, to the shoes and grabbed her ball and took it to her. With a look like "You are the stupidest human alive for me to have to spell it out like this."

ACDs are very, very smart. If they are not exercised enough, or stimulated enough, they will be your worst nightmare. I have 2 now, and I love them to death. If they are not trained correctly they will heel children, and dominate the house. They are hard working and free thinkers. And yes, i swear, they can reason. I have 2 of them and a lab and a rottie and a jack russel. They by far outshine the rest. The lab acts partially retarded around them. I love the breed and I can go on forever about them. Can you tell?

#14 QH_LUV_R

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 11:43 AM

Now that all you dog experts are tuned into this, may I ask why all my dogs, and there have been a lot, take their dry dog food onto my rug to eat it?

My daughter thinks it's to keep from contaminationg their food bowl. Is she right or is there some other explaination for this behavior.

And, our little Annie, (Rat Terrier/chihuahua mix) that died a few weeks ago, would stand on her hind legs and put her head in my neck as I bent over and hug me. She put her front paws on my shoulder. I would always quit hugging first and if she wasn't through, she'd do it again until she'd had enough. It's what I miss the most about her because she started this and would do it with only me, it was our special thing.

#15 horse_gal_jen

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 12:30 PM

hahah my puppy does that when she ha stuck her face in the shower when daddy is showeering then she coems and rubs her face against mine to dry off!!! lol

but she does do that ocasionaly to cuddle too.

#16 Chopper

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 07:47 PM

Thanks for all the neat responses, very interesting. Tuck, I agree with likening dog behavior to wild wolf pack interaction, I've just never seen one wolf shove his eyeball into the others mouth... however... now that I type that, yeah ok, I see it now [Big Grin] [Duh]

QH_LUV_R, I always assumed dogs did that to prevent the dropped pieces from skittering across the tile floor and (possibly) becoming lost. On the carpet kibble doesn't "travel".

#17 JrRodeoMom

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 11:31 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Chopper:
QH_LUV_R, I always assumed dogs did that to prevent the dropped pieces from skittering across the tile floor and (possibly) becoming lost. On the carpet kibble doesn't "travel".

My boston will get several kibbles at a time in his mouth drop them onto the floor and than eat them. My Mom had Japanese Chins for a while and they would do the same thing. I use to tell mom it's cause of the squishy faces. [Razz]