Why Do Dogs Put Their Forehead on Your Forehead?

It’s a common behavior that dog owners have likely experienced at some point: you’re sitting or lying down, and suddenly, your furry friend comes over and gently places their forehead against yours. 

It’s a moment that often elicits warmth and affection, leaving us wondering about the motivation behind this intimate gesture. 

In this article, we will explore the reasons why dogs put their forehead on your forehead, delving into the emotional and biological factors that drive this behavior.

Seeking Physical Contact

Dogs are social creatures that thrive on companionship and physical touch. When a dog puts their forehead on your forehead, they are seeking closeness and physical contact. 

Just like humans, dogs have the capacity to form deep emotional bonds, and this behavior serves as a way for them to express their affection and desire for connection.

Displaying Trust and Submission:

In the canine world, body language plays a significant role in communication. Placing their forehead against yours can be a sign of trust and submission. 

Dogs may engage in this behavior to show that they feel safe and secure in your presence, viewing you as their trusted leader. It is a display of vulnerability and a testament to the bond you share.

Gaining Attention and Affection:

Dogs are incredibly perceptive creatures and quickly learn that certain behaviors elicit attention and affection from their human companions. 

By putting their forehead on your forehead, they are seeking your undivided attention. 

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This behavior often results in verbal and physical affectionate responses from their owners, reinforcing the act as a means to gain attention and affection.

Marking Scent:

Another explanation for this behavior lies in a dog’s exceptional sense of smell. Dogs have scent glands located on their foreheads, and by rubbing their forehead against yours, they may be leaving behind their scent as a form of marking. 

This action serves to create a stronger bond and to establish a sense of ownership over you, as well as your shared environment.

Mimicking Pup Behavior:

Puppies often display an endearing behavior known as “forehead-to-forehead nuzzling” with their littermates and mother. This behavior is a way for puppies to seek comfort, warmth, and security. 

Adult dogs may exhibit similar behavior to harken back to their early days and the positive associations they have with this type of physical contact.

Emotional Support and Empathy:

Dogs have an uncanny ability to sense human emotions and offer comfort when we need it most. When a dog puts their forehead on your forehead, it can be an expression of empathy and emotional support. 

Dogs are highly attuned to our emotional states and may engage in this behavior to offer reassurance and companionship during times of distress or sadness.


The act of a dog placing their forehead on your forehead is a multifaceted behavior driven by a combination of biological and emotional factors. 

From seeking physical contact and displaying trust to gaining attention and mimicking behaviors from their early days, dogs engage in this gesture to strengthen their bond with their human companions. 

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As dog owners, we are fortunate to experience the unconditional love and affection that our furry friends offer, and their forehead-to-forehead gesture is just one more reminder of the unique connection we share with our canine companions.