Why Does My Dog Headbutt Me – Is It Normal Behavior?

You never know just how hard a dog’s head is until they use it to headbutt you. This is not only painful but can become very frustrating, very fast. Although it may seem like they are doing this for no reason, there is a meaning behind it. This makes people ask, why does my dog headbutt me?

Dogs headbutt you to get your attention. Headbutting is a form of communication for dogs when they are hungry, tired, irritated, scared, or are feeling anxious. It is also a sign of affection and normal behavior in dogs.

So, before getting angry with your pet for bruising you every time they ram you with their hard head. Try to figure out what it is they want from you. Maybe they are hungry, sick, or want to be cuddled.

Reasons Dogs Headbutt You

The general answer to why your dog headbutts you is that they want your attention. However, there are many reasons as to why they are seeking your attention in this way. Here is a list of some of the most common reasons for your dog to start headbutting you out of the blue.

Your Dog Is Scared

If your pup is ramming you with his head at night or during a thunderstorm, maybe they are doing this because they are frightened. Watch to see what is happening at the moment your dog starts to do this.

It may be when you are going for a car ride or sitting in the waiting room at the vet. If the headbutting is due to fear, you will better understand what your dog is scared of. 

Your Dog Wants To Play

If your dog is an energetic pup and they are sick of waiting for you to come down to the ground for a quick game of tug-o-war, they may start to headbutt you to grab your attention.

Playful dogs do not like to wait; they will let you know when they are ready to play. 

Time For Cuddles

If you notice that your dog is headbutting you while sitting on the couch or floor, they may be letting you know they would like to join you. Some dogs will use their head to push into a spot on the couch or bed, just like a toddler might use their hands.

Your Dog May Be Ill

Check for signs of illness or injuries on your pet if they start headbutting you for no reason. A nudge here and there may be a way for them to inform you they do not feel great and want you to help them. 

If your dog is headbutting you along with any of these other symptoms, they may be sick or hurt and should be looked at by a vet.

● Winning or whimpering

● Excessive licking or chewing

● Stopped eating and drinking

● Hides in quiet places

● Hold tail between his legs

● Shakes often

● It follows you around more than normal

● Vomiting and diarrhea 

● Lake of energy or stops playing

● Lethargic or sleeps more than usual

They Want Something

If you come home and usually hand your dog a treat but forget one day, you may notice he will start to headbutt you to let you know. If your pup wants something only you can give him, such as a treat, food, water, etc., they could use their heads as a way of reminding you.

Your Dog Is Guiding You

Your dog may be using his head to lead you to where it is they would like to go. If your dog is ramming his head into your leg towards the door, they may want to go for a walk or have to pee. 

If you notice your dog is headbutting you towards something, it’s pretty simple to assume they want to go somewhere.

Is It Normal For Dogs To Headbutt You

Although it may seem odd, it is very normal for dogs to headbutt you. Like other behaviors we may not fully understand, dogs have their communication form, and headbutting is one of them. 

Because a dog cannot communicate with you the way you communicate with other people, they will find what gets your attention and what behaviors show results. If your dog wants to go for a walk and you only take him after being headbutted, he is going to use this to get what he wants every time. Why? Because it works.

What Does It Mean When Dogs Headbutt You

When your dog headbutts you, it means they need you. It isn’t a sure sign every time they need something, but they need something. No pup will headbutt his human just because it is fun for them or want to hurt you.

Never ignore a dog’s headbutt; figure out why they are doing it and if it is a good reason to be doing so.

Why Does My Dog Headbutt My Head

If a dog is starting to headbutt your head, it may simply be that you are in a position where that is the part of your body they can easily reach. Although, another reason (a less innocent reason) is to show dominance. 

This is not to say your dog is headbutting you in the head to prove to you they are in charge, but it may be a “playful” way of pushing their boundaries. Headbutting in the wild is a sign of acceptance and play while also portraying their dominance in the pack. 

Should You Let Your Dog Headbutt You

Whether or not you should allow your dog to headbutt you is a personal decision. If your dog only does it to let you know when something is wrong or needs something like food or go outside, headbutting may be an excellent way to communicate. 

For some, the headbutting can happen too often and can be used for less critical reasons like wanting to play or just wanting to get their way in general.

In this case, you should not allow your dog to headbutt you. Reinforcing this type of behavior is only going to make it worse. They will try to push at you every time they want something, and that’s going to get pretty annoying.

If you want to stop your dog from headbutting you for your attention, you are going to have to find another more acceptable behavior to put in its place.

For example, if your dog headbutts you and then goes to the door to let you know they want out, completely ignore the headbutt, but as soon as they sit at the door, reward them with a treat.

Doing this will show your dog that the simple act of sitting at the door is communicating to you that they have to go outside.

Things To Consider

Even though headbutting can hurt and does seem like a violent or mean act, your dog is not doing this to be harmful.

A headbutt is a form of body language that allows them to communicate with their humans because simply asking you is not a possibility. Because of this, they are getting angry at the act isn’t going to help anyone.

Rather than yelling at your dog or pushing them away when they do this, try to figure out what is going on in that moment to determine the meaning behind the act.

If this is something minor and you don’t like them headbutting, correcting the situation and re-directing the act to something more appropriate.

However, if the headbutting seems to have started out of nowhere, keep an eye on it and try to pinpoint the message behind it.

A dog is a man’s best friend, and although it is hard to understand them and their actions from time to time, there is very little they do that doesn’t have meaning behind it.

You know your dog better than anyone else, so if they seem to be showing any odd or off behaviors, getting to the root of the issue is going to be the only way to determine if further action should be taken.

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