Dogs are some of the best companions in the world. Their wagging tails and sweet eyes make our hearts melt. Unfortunately, some of their behaviors are less than ideal. Here, you will find the answer to the question, “Why does my dog slap me in the face?” Plus, you will learn easy tricks to train him to stop.
Before you read this guide, “Why Does My Dog Slap Me in the Face,” check out: Why Does My Dog Push Me Away? 5 Reasons! (2023) and Why Does My Dog Suddenly Want to Sleep Alone? (2023).
How Do Dogs Communicate?
If you are a dog owner, you know dogs communicate with their families well. Something as simple as a tail wag carries a world of meaning.
Most dogs use their voice as their primary form of communication. Small barks and yips are often enough to get their owner’s attention. Then, they may communicate with eye contact or a tail wag.
However, there are times when we are too distracted to notice our dogs. We may not hear the barking if we are busy calming a screaming baby or talking on the phone. At this point, dogs may choose to get physical.
When dogs use their bodies to communicate, they typically do not try to act aggressively. Even if your dog seems to slap you, it is most likely that he cannot control his energy and is only trying to gain your attention.
Many dogs have learned that using their paws with humans is acceptable. For example, teaching a dog to shake promotes the use of his paws. Naturally, the dog assumes he can apply similar actions to multiple situations.
If you are still wondering, “Why does my dog slap me in the face?” it is time to examine the root cause. There are several reasons your dog may do so, and the context will help you determine the correct one.
As mentioned, dogs may learn that using their paws is desirable. One of the first tricks owners teach is how to shake, and their dogs receive mountains of praise for focusing and learning. Although dogs should use their brains and earn rewards, it can lead to confusion.
Another possibility is that you have unknowingly rewarded your dog for pawing at you. If you pay direct attention to your dog after he slaps you, he will believe this is an effective method of communication.
Even if you scold your dog for the behavior before responding to his wants, he will remember slapping you provided the results for which he was hoping.
Dogs are social animals who crave attention from their owners. They often paw at their owners to feel connected to them, as this is their way of providing physical touch. If you are distracted while sitting on the couch beside your dog, he may slap your face to beg for pets.
Occasionally, dogs will paw at you even while you are petting them. In these cases, they enjoy the attention and do not want you to stop. They may also slap your face to request playtime.
Communicate a Need
Sometimes, life gets busy, and we lose track of time. We may not notice how late it is, but dogs crave routine. Have you noticed that your dog becomes upset after Daylight Savings because his feeding schedule is different? When you change his schedule, he feels the same way.
Your dog may slap your face to remind you it is dinner time or time for a walk. He may do the same if you have not noticed that his water bowl is empty.
Dogs may use their paws to communicate other needs, such as help with an injury. It can be difficult to know when your dog is hurt or sick, but signs like pawing and acting out of character may be early indicators.
Although dogs can get on our nerves, they rarely mean to upset us. Most dogs are people-pleasers and thrive off positive attention. When their owners scold them, dogs typically seek forgiveness.
It may appear to be an act of aggression if your dog paws you after you scold him. However, it is more likely that your dog wants a sign that you forgive him, such as a hug or a pet. It can be challenging to control their energy well enough to paw gently.
Dogs make great emotional support animals because they have a surprising amount of empathy. They are sensitive to their owner’s emotions, and it often upsets them to see a loved one in pain.
If you spend all day on the couch feeling sad, your dog may jump up with you and paw at you. He is not trying to add more frustration to your day — he’s trying to show support.
How to Stop Your Dog From Slapping You
Although dogs’ intentions are often pure when they slap you, it is a dangerous habit. Below, you will find steps to break your dog from this bad habit.
Training a dog to stop slapping will not happen overnight. In the meantime, you should take certain precautions to avoid injury.
Second, be aware of your positioning. Your face should always be clear of your dog’s pawing zone or the area he can easily reach with his paws. This preventative action will also decrease the risk of injury and send a signal to your dog that you will not accept such behavior.
Find the Reason
Like children, it is nearly impossible to eliminate a dog’s behavior without understanding his motivation. For example, a dog who slaps when in need of something will likely stop doing so when you are more cognisant of his schedule.
On the other hand, a dog who slaps to get your attention must see that there are better ways to ask for attention. Dogs who have formed a bad habit of slapping require consistency to learn using their paws is not appropriate in all situations.
Be Aware of Your Dog’s Needs
It’s not always possible to follow a strict schedule with your dog, but keeping your days structured similarly can help decrease slapping. Feed him at about the same times daily to reduce his anxiety over the possibility of skipping a meal.
Bring him on daily walks as close to the same time as possible. If your work schedule varies, take him on a walk after returning from work, regardless of the time. This simple adjustment can add structure to an otherwise chaotic day.
Likewise, make time to play with your dog daily. It does not need to happen at a specific time, but doing so regularly will reassure your dog that he will have the chance to play with you throughout the day.
Finally, take note of temperament changes. Dogs who act aggressive or unusually lazy may need to take a trip to the vet.
Dogs learn most quickly when their owners are consistent. Your dog should know the rules and be able to predict your response to his actions.
For example, you should reward your dog every time he communicates appropriately. If you prefer that he nudges you with his nose or carries his water bowl to you when thirsty, make it clear you are happy with him.
However, speak firmly to him if he slaps you in the face. Tell him no and do not respond until he has stopped this behavior. Keep in mind that you should never shout at your dog. Yelling causes anxiety in dogs, and they struggle to learn when anxious.
Additionally, all consequences should be immediate. It is easier for your dog to understand what he did right or wrong when you respond to his behavior as soon as it happens.
Reward Your Dog
Dogs learn better from positive reinforcement than punishment. You can reward appropriate behaviors with a happy tone of voice, praise, pets, and treats.
When you use these training methods, your dog will be more eager to please and learn more quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before you go, check out these questions related to “Why does my dog slap me in the face?”
Most likely, your dog hits you in the face because it is an effective way to gain your attention.
Dogs slap you with their paws to communicate a want or need.
Using paws to communicate is perfectly normal for dogs. However, there are steps you can take to eliminate this behavior.
Dogs use their noses to communicate needs the same as they use their paws. They may want attention, food, a walk, or something else.
You can convince your dog to stop slapping by being attentive to your dog, setting firm boundaries, and rewarding good behavior.
Conclusion for “Why Does My Dog Slap Me in the Face”
Now that you can answer the question, “Why does my dog slap me in the face,” you can begin correcting this behavior. Remember that dogs use their paws to communicate and show affection more than to act aggressively toward you.
With some patience and training, you can teach your dog to communicate appropriately and foster a healthy relationship.
If you find this guide, “Why Does My Dog Slap Me in the Face,” helpful, check out:
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- Why Does My Dog Suddenly Hate His Crate? (2023)
- Why Does My Dog Lay On Top of Me? (2023)
Learn more by watching “14 Signs Your Dog Doesn’t Love You (Even if You Think They Do)” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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