Why Does My Dog Bury His Head in the Couch?

I bet us dog owners could write a multi-million selling novel on the weird and wonderful things our dogs do. Some of them are entertaining, some make our hearts melt, some make us despair, and some leave us downright confused.

Ever sit next to your pooch and wonder just why they bury their head in the couch? It looks super cute but what does this behavior typically mean in the doggy world? Maybe they bury their heads in other places such as your lap or blanket? Join us as we find out more about this particular habit. 

You will need to understand your dog to get to the bottom of their burying habits. However, there will always be a reason. It could be down to several causes including anxiety, looking for food, scent-marking, nuzzling behavior, getting comfortable, or wiping food off their faces.

Perplexed at why your dog is doing this? Perhaps it’s been a habit since day one and you’ve only recently investigated it, or is it a new behavior out of the blue? Either way, the key is to get inside your dog’s head so you can understand. We will take you there now.

Top Ten Reasons your Dog Buries his Head in the Couch

  1. Ooh, Human Left Me Crumbs – We all have those days when we just feel like having our dinner on our lap in front of the TV. So, it’s no surprise that occasionally we drop a bit of our dinner down the side of the couch. And you can bet your bottom dollar that your dog will realize long before you.
  2. What’s That Smell – Dogs are tuned in to smells like you can’t believe and they often pick up on scents we can’t even smell. So perhaps there is a yummy smell down there to investigate.
  3. Nuzzling Mummy – It might well be a behavior they’ve taken with them from those early days when they fed on their mother. Perhaps a little hint that they think it’s food time? 
  4. A Bit Chilly – Sometimes dogs just get a little cold so they bury their head into whatever they can. This is especially the case for single-coated dogs such as Poodles.
  5. Marking Territory – Let’s face it, we’d rather they rub their face on the couch than peeing on it, right? Dogs have scent markers on their face so by burying their head, they may well be saying this is mine.
  6. Anxious Times – In some cases, burying their head can be a sign of anxiety or stress. Perhaps you’ve noticed them do this as you are preparing to leave the house or go to bed?
  7. Just Chilling – That’s right, it might just be a simple case of your dog relaxing, and this is how they unwind. This is particularly the case if there are cozy throws and things on the couch.
  8. Satisfying That Itch – Sometimes dogs use furniture to scratch that annoying itch that won’t go away. And why not, bears do it against trees don’t they?
  9. Grooming – My dog does if after mealtimes, yep, the couch becomes a napkin it seems. It’s their way of cleaning away any leftover food from around their muzzle area. Nice!
  10. Look At Me Human – They might do it because they were told how cute it was the first time. They got lots of attention then, so they’ll try it again and again.

Now we’ve established some of the main reasons your dog might be burying their head in the couch – what’s next? Are there any potential issues associated with his behavior? Can it be stopped or discouraged at least? Let’s find out.

Can Burying Behavior be Problematic?

Are you worried about this behavior at all? Worried it’s becoming a bit excessive or perhaps you are even noticing some wear on your lovely couch? Let’s look at when the issue might need addressing.

Identify the Trend

To understand the behavior, it’s important to understand how and why they are doing this in the first place. Is it triggered by something, or does it always happen before or after a particular event? Once you know why they are doing it you might be able to preempt their habits and distract them.

One of the obvious things to try is to keep food off the couch as much as possible, and obviously hoover down those pesky sides regularly. You could try a cover that goes over the couch and ties to the legs. This will stop them from burying so much and will also protect the couch.

If you suspect the behavior is stress-related, then maybe they need their own safe space like a crate? Sometimes a simple towel or blanket over the crate so it’s dark can settle anxious dogs. If the burying habit happens just before you are leaving perhaps leave the tv or radio on for your pooch.

Do they always do it after eating? Maybe time in the yard straight after mealtimes will knock this behavior on the head. They may well use the grass instead for wiping their faces.

If the behavior is one of relaxation and comfort, then really the only two options you have are to let it continue or have a no couch rule. This can be hard to enforce if they have been allowed on it to this point and will take patient training.

Can Dogs Burying their Head be a Sign of Aggression?

A dog burying their head in the couch isn’t usually a sign of aggression. It can be a sign of dominance though – particularly if they are trying to bury into you while you are sat down.

This dominance can run the risk of spilling over to something a bit more worrying if it’s not dealt with. A dog should never feel dominance over their owner – it’s time to remind them who is boss.

Excessive Burying

We all know that dog behaviors can sometimes become a little more than a habit and become almost ritual-like. Sometimes this can be a problem, or even dangerous. If you’ve noticed your dog burying themselves more and more it might be time to do something about it.

The worry is what they do while you aren’t home so it might be best to take any throws, blankets, and cushions off the couch in the interim. Having nothing to burrow under means there are no risks of them becoming stuck. The other option, as mentioned above, is an all-over cover that ties on.

To Summarize

You shouldn’t be overly concerned about your latest doggy behavior. Chances are it means they are relaxed, happy, and are simply marking the couch as their happy place. Let’s face it, it’s ours too, right?

It may just be a case of a firm “no” if they start doing it excessively but other than that leave them be. If it is stressing you out or damaging the couch in any way, then don’t leave them there unattended.

Related Question

What Does it Mean when your Dog Burrows into you?

It means love – pure and simple! Your dog feels most safe when they are burrowed into you. They want to feel near you and in colder climates, it will also keep them nice and cozy. So, enjoy those canine cuddles.