Why Do Dogs Rub Up Against Furniture?

Dogs are very physical animals who love to be patted, rubbed and scratched. Fido likes to spend time licking, grooming and scratching himself and sometimes will rub his face or body against furniture and carpets. There are a variety of reasons he may do this, including scent marking, feeling itchy, attention seeking and suffering from a medical problem.

Dog Lying on Couch
There are lots of reasons dogs will rub.
credit: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Scent Marking

Fido likes to rub himself against, and roll in, things he likes the smell of: your fresh laundry, a dead rabbit or even a pile of horse manure. He has a different idea from people of what smells good and loves to pick up scents he finds interesting. He also likes to mark territory, but knows he is not allowed to urinate in the house. Rubbing against things transfers his natural odor to claim items as his own. Dogs often do this to their favorite area of the sofa.

Feeling Itchy

If you have an itch to scratch, rubbing against furniture is a good way to relieve it. If you think your dog is doing this, have a good look through his coat to check for fleas, dry skin or possible allergies. Fleas are normally easy to spot and should be treated immediately. Dry skin usually will result in dandruff in the coat and may require a visit to the vet. Allergies have other symptoms such as sneezing and weepy eyes and will require a vet visit.

Attention Seeking

If your dog wants your attention, he may rub against the furniture. He may want to be noticed so you will pat him, rub his belly, play with him, feed him or take him for a walk. If it's worked in the past, he will repeat the behavior.

Other Reasons

If your dog constantly rubs his face on the furniture he could be doing it because he has either an ear infection or dental problems. Have your vet check him out. If he wears a collar and rubs his neck area, the problem may lie with the collar. He may rub because it has become a habit, or he may rub simply because it feels good.