Why Does My Dog Bury His Head in Me?

Since dogs can’t fluently speak English (yet), they have to find other reasons to communicate with us. Sometimes this means barking, running back and forth, or burying their head under your arm or into your chest.

dog burying head

Your dog burying into you is a bonding moment, but it’s also essential to try to figure out what they’re trying to tell you. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons that dogs will bury their heads in their human companions.

Is It Common for Dogs to Burrow Their Heads in People?

Absolutely, especially when they’re with someone they trust, like their owner. But it’s also crucial to know your dog’s temperament so you can gauge if this is normal for your pup. So while it’s not necessarily uncommon for a dog to bury their head in a human, there is a difference between a dog who’s done it since they were a puppy and one who recently adopted the behavior.

The Difference Between Head-Pressing and Burying Their Head

It’s crucial to know the difference between “head-pressing” and the act of “burying” their head into a human. 

It’s very rare, but sometimes a dog will press the top of its head against a wall or other flat surface and hold it there for a while. This is head-pressing, and it’s a sign that you need to immediately take your dog to the vet. Head-pressing usually indicates a medical issue.

Head burying is when your dog forces their head into you, whether it’s under your arm, on your leg, or into your lap. This behavior is completely normal.

Reasons Your Dog Might Bury Their Head in You

They Want to Express Their Love

Some dogs show their love with a wagging tail or jumping, and others show affection by burying their head in the person. The burrowing makes it easier for your pup to smell you, and since their smell is their strongest scent, it helps them bond with you. Since your dog can’t pet you back to show affection, they may simply lay their head on you.

They’re Seeking Comfort

As we mentioned, dogs are great at picking up and remembering different scents. If a dog has a strong bond with a human, their scent will make the pup feel more at ease. Sometimes, your dog will bury their head in you to be close to your comforting scent. 

At the same time, your dog may want to be close to you to feel safer. They feel protected when they’re close to you, and they know that they are close enough to keep you safe as well. If you adopt a dog, they may likely exhibit this behavior, especially within the first bit of time they’re in their new home.

They Think You’re Upset

Dogs are phenomenal companions because they’re highly sensitive to human emotions. Your pup can likely tell when you’re feeling sad, anxious, or frustrated. If they sense that you’re not entirely happy, they may bury their head in you as a way to offer comfort and support. Think of it like your dog is trying to hug you to make you feel better. 

They’re Afraid of Something

Sometimes, your dog will only bury their head in you when they’re afraid, and they want to feel safe. For example, this is common for dogs who grow fearful during thunderstorms or fireworks shows. 

In some cases, the burrowing may occur when your dog is triggered by a noise or action that reminds them of a time they were abused. If your dog was adopted, it’s best to give them the comfort they seek and work to eliminate any triggers if possible. Although it’s terrible to think about what may have happened to your dog in the past, them burying their head in you demonstrates that they see you as a safe place.

They Have Separation Anxiety

Some dogs like to bury their head in you when they think you’re about to leave them. It’s common for dogs to develop separation anxiety when they’re separated from their owners. If the burrowing mostly happens when you’re about to walk out the door, you may want to talk to your vet or local trainer about what you can do to ease your pup’s anxiety.

They Want to Mark Their Territory

Do you know how dogs always seem to know when you’ve interacted with another dog? This goes back to their heightened sense of smell. In some cases, your dog may try to mark their territory by making you smell like them again. Don’t worry—this doesn’t mean that they’ll try to pee on you; they’ll mark you with their nose. 

Is It More Common for Big or Small Dogs?

As most people tend to believe that big dogs are more physically affectionate than small dogs, it is more likely that your big dog will want to bury their head in you. But that doesn’t mean that your small pup will only do it if something’s wrong. It has more to do with your dog’s personality than anything else.

Does a Certain Breed Do It More Than Others?

Yes. Certain breeds are more likely to show their affection by burying their head in their humans, while others prefer to express their love in other ways. Breeds that are more likely to burrow into their owners include Great Danes, Dobermans, and King Charles Spaniels. On the other hand, Alaskan Malamutes, Shiba Inus, and Chow Chows are less likely to show love through physical contact. Some researchers also suspect that shorter-haired dogs are more likely to want to cuddle up to their owners for comfort. 

Do I Need to Correct This Behavior?

Not necessarily. Unless you believe your dog is burrowing out of anxiety, it’s okay to let them bury their head in you. After all, they’re probably trying to make you or themselves feel better.

Here are some other common questions about dogs that may also be helpful:Why Does My Dog Scratch My Bed Sheets? Why Does My Dog Lay His Head on Me? Why Does My Dog Sleep Between My Legs? Why Does My Dog Lick My Pillow? Why Does My Dog Stand Over Me? Why Does My Dog Stretch So Much? Why Does My Dog Put His Butt on Me? Why Does My Dog Sleep With His Tongue Out? Why Does My Dog Lay On My Clothes? Why Does My Dog Nibble My Ear? Why Does My Dog Hump the Air? Why Does My Dog Lick Other Dogs Pee? Why Does My Dog Push Against Me? Why Does My Dog Lick My Legs? Why Does My Dog Lick My Eyes? Do Dogs Get Tired Of Barking? and if you are after our pet portraits, you can see themhere.