Why Does My Dog Nuzzle Me?

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: March 23, 2022

Does your beloved pooch ever nuzzle you or nudge you with their face and nose? If they do, that could mean many, different things. Overall, this is a very positive thing that your dog can do to you, no matter what the meaning may be. Stay tuned in this article to find out what the different meanings that your dog nuzzling you could have. There are also a few reasons that a new dog might nuzzle you as well. Some of these reasons you might already know, but some might come as a surprise to you.


Humans have the amazing benefit of being able to use many different ways to communicate with each other. The most useful is probably being able to verbalize their thoughts and emotions into words for one another. Dogs, however, were not exactly granted this benefit in life. Since they are not able to use words to speak to their humans, they have to use different ways to communicate with them. This could range from barking, whimpering, licking, scratching, growling (in less happy cases), and more. One of the best ways that a dog has to communicate with a human is by being able to use their nose to nuzzle their humans.

Love and Affection

One of the most common messages that this method of communication from dogs to humans is utilized for is for the dogs to be able to show love and affection towards their humans. If your dog nuzzles against you during a snuggle or cuddle session, this means that they absolutely love and adore you. This nuzzling is the best way they know how to convey this to you during cuddling with them. In this situation, love them right back. Pull them close to you, hug them, and overall, just try to show them that you love them in return.

Overall, this is one of the main reasons that your dog might nuzzle you. Some examples of affectionate dog breeds that will probably nuzzle you more include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Boxers, Chihuahuas, English Bulldogs, and Great Danes. With these dog breeds, you can probably expect them to nuzzle you and cuddle with you a lot of the time. They just want to show you that they love you!


Another reason that your dog might nuzzle you is that this is their way of asking you to pay attention to them. In our modern world, it is so easy for us to become distracted and absorbed into our phones, televisions, games, and more. While we have these many forms of entertainment and connection with others, we sometimes forget that we are essentially all that our dogs have. Yes, they have their toys and such but they cannot just call a friend or turn on the television when they are lonely. Our dogs love us and sometimes they need our attention. If your dog begins to nuzzle you, try to take a moment to disengage from the distractions of life and give them a little bit of your time. It will mean the absolute world to them.


Your dog might up to nuzzle you quickly when you have just gotten home from work, or first thing when you wake up in the morning. This is usually their way of saying hello to you. This is just a quick, sweet greeting from your dog. Give them a pat, some kisses, and a little bit of love when they run up and do this to you. Be sure to just say “hi!” back in your own way to show your dog that you are also excited to see them. Most dogs excitedly await their owner’s return when they are not at home. Whether their owner is gone for five minutes or even for a few days at a time, dogs are always so very excited to see their owners when they return home from any length of trip.

Marking Their Scent or Territory

Dogs tend to be very territorial animals. This just comes instinctually to them throughout their breeding and history. If they see or view something or someone as their own, they will usually want to “mark their territory” in some sort of way. Dogs’ faces actually have scent glands in them. These scent glands are very useful in helping them mark their scent or territory onto something. Sometimes, your dog may nuzzle you to mark you as their own. Those scent glands will mark you with their scent so that if another dog is around you, they will smell your dog’s scent and know that you already “belong” to a specific dog. This is actually quite sweet. This means that your dog loves you enough that they want to mark you as their own so that other dogs will always know that you belong to them.

New Friends

When dogs meet new people for the first time, they might nuzzle them to show them that they like them. This is literally the dog saying that they like what they are smelling. Them nuzzling a new person could mean that they are inviting that new person to be friends with them. If a new dog nuzzles you, then you should take this as a great compliment and sign that they really like you. Watch your dog when they meet new people. If you see them nuzzle the new people that they meet, you can definitely bet on the fact that your dog likes the person and that they have made themselves a new friend.


When dogs are small puppies, they nuzzle into their mother’s body for comfort. This could also transfer into their adulthood, just with their humans rather than their mothers at that point. This is a great indication of love and affection towards the people that they are nuzzling. This is also a sign of happiness with your dog. If they feel that level of comfort from you, then you make them very happy. They could also nuzzle against another dog for the same reason.

This comfort can also go both ways. Many dogs are great at sensing the emotions of their owners. If they sense that their owner could be sad or down, they might try to nuzzle them to help them to feel better. They are trying their very best to remedy a sad situation and make it better for their human in some way. Simply, they want to cheer their sad owners up.

Asking for Food

Sometimes, your dog might nuzzle you when they want food or a treat from you. This is similar to when a child acts sweet and loving to get something they want from their parents. This brings a whole new meaning to the saying referring to puppy dog eyes. Your dog might sweetly nuzzle up against you to show this love to you and coax you into giving them a good food treat. This usually works very well for most dogs, it seems, since this sweet display of affection is very hard to resist.


While most reasons are fairly sweet and loving, this reason is not exactly an adorable reason for your dog nuzzling you. However, it is definitely not a bad reason either! Sometimes, your dog might have an itch that they just cannot scratch, and what better way to scratch it than using their trusty humans to do so! This is kind of like when people ask their partners to scratch a specific spot on their backs for them that they are unable to reach. If your dog seems like they might have an itch they are unable to scratch and are using you to scratch it, give them a little help and quite literally scratch them until they seem better. They will love you for this help.


Overall, if a dog nuzzles a person, it is always a positive thing. The most usual reasons are to show love and affection. The nuzzling could also mean that your dog needs to be comforted or that they think that you need comfort from them. Even if what they want is a treat or for an itch to be scratched, this still means that they trust you enough for either of these things. Next time you are around a new dog, see if they nuzzle you. Also, be sure to pay close attention to your dog in situations that they do nuzzle you. Pay attention to the circumstances around the nuzzling to determine which of the listed reasons it could be. Overall, if your dog nuzzles you, then they truly love you. This is one of the very best ways that they have to show that love to you. Try to find ways to show that love and affection in return to them.