Why Does My Dog Cover His Face? Understanding Canine Behavior

Have you ever found your dog covering his face with his paws or burrowing it under a blanket? If so, you’re not alone. This intriguing behavior has been the topic of numerous dog lover discussions. Delving deeper into canine psychology, this article will explore the reasons why our furry friends might cover their faces and how you, as a pet owner, should interpret it.

Know the reasons: Why Does your Dog Cover His Face?

1. Comfort and Warmth

Many dog breeds, like the Dachshund or the Terrier, have an instinctual behavior to burrow. This behavior can be traced to their wild ancestors digging into the ground or snow for warmth and protection. Covering their face or snuggling under a blanket can give your pup a sense of comfort, warmth, and security.

2. Light Sensitivity

Just like humans, dogs can be sensitive to light. In the morning when the sun starts to rise, or during the day if there’s too much light in the room, your dog may cover his face to shield his eyes and get a bit more sleep.

3. Itching and Discomfort

If your dog frequently paws at his face, it might be due to discomfort. Issues such as allergies, skin infections, or dental problems can cause itching or pain. Always check for signs of redness, swelling, or any discharges. If you suspect a medical problem, visiting the vet is essential.

4. Communication and Emotion

Dogs have a rich body language. Sometimes, a dog will cover his face as a sign of submission or embarrassment, especially after being caught in a mischievous act. It can also be a way of showing that they want to be left alone. Other times, dogs may cover their faces when they feel playful and want to engage in a peek-a-boo game.

5. Sensory Overload

Dogs have keen senses. An overload of stimuli, like loud noises or strong odors, can be overwhelming for them. To cope, they might cover their faces. It’s their way of taking a brief sensory break, especially if they’re in a situation they perceive as stressful.

6. Habit and Mimicry

Dogs are great imitators. They might mimic the behavior if they’ve seen you cover your face when you’re tired or sleepy. Moreover, if they’ve learned that they get attention from you when they do it, this act can become a habit or a way to get your attention.

Tips for Dog Owners

  • Always monitor for any health concerns. If your dog is excessively pawing at his face, it’s crucial to check for signs of distress or health problems.
  • Provide a safe space. If your dog is seeking comfort, ensure he has a cozy spot to relax and feel secure.
  • Engage and play. If your dog shows signs of wanting to play, engage with them. Play is vital for their mental and physical well-being.
  • Seek expert advice. If you’re ever in doubt about your dog’s behavior, always consult with a veterinarian or a canine behaviorist.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Is my dog hiding when he covers his face?
    • Dogs might cover their face for various reasons, including playing, trying to block out light or noise, or simply being playful. Some dogs might also hide because they’re feeling anxious or want to be left alone.
  2. Does covering their face mean my dog is scared?
    • Not always. While some dogs might cover their face when they’re nervous, many do it out of comfort or playfulness. Always consider the context of the situation.
  3. Is it normal for dogs to paw at their face? Yes, dogs might paw at their face to clean it, to relieve an itch, or because something is bothering their eyes or ears. However, excessive pawing can indicate a health issue and should be addressed with a vet.
  4. Could my dog be having an allergic reaction if he’s pawing at his face? It’s possible. Dogs can develop allergies that result in itchy skin or discomfort. If you notice redness, swelling, or other signs of irritation, consult your veterinarian.
  5. Is my dog trying to communicate something to me when he covers his face? Sometimes. Dogs use body language to communicate. Covering the face can be a way of saying they want to rest, feel playful or are uncomfortable with something.


Dogs, like humans, have diverse personalities and reasons for their actions. While the act of covering their face can seem mysterious or even comical, understanding the motivation behind it helps strengthen the bond between you and your four-legged companion. By being attentive to your dog’s needs and ensuring their well-being, you can ensure a happy, healthy relationship for years to come.

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