Why Does My Dog Cover Her Face With Her Paws

As you are approaching your beloved dog, you see her quickly covering her face with her paws and only occasionally taking a peep to see if you are still around.

This makes you wonder why she is behaving in this weird way? Is she simply trying to be cute or is there more to that?

Your dog is covering her face with her paws for various reasons, such as to soothe her face discomfort, hiding her guilt or embarrassment, eluding her fear and anxiety, showing you her submission, grooming herself, blocking the light to get sleep, blocking the scent she dislikes and grieving over the loss of a companion.

It’s Her Way of Soothing Her Face Discomfort

Just like you use your hands to rub your eyes, nose or mouth when you have an itch, the same goes for dogs.

Dogs will attempt to scratch themselves when they are itching or if there is some object that gets stuck in their nose or face.

Your dog could have irritants such as pollen, grasses or nasal mites that are stuck in her nose, and she is trying to get them out by scratching her nose with her paws.

She might also sneeze a lot and make a lot of honking sounds.

What you can do is to perform a visual inspection on her nostrils to see if you can find any irritants that may be causing her itching or any bumps or lumps on them.

If you notice something abnormal in her nostrils, bring her to see a veterinarian for further examination.

The same goes for her mouth as well. If she has had a teeth or gum related infection, she is also likely to keep scratching her mouth to ease the pain.

So watch out for that as well.

She Is Trying To Hide Her Guilt

This could be the case that she knows that she has done something that she is not supposed to do, such as digging the trash, chewing on your shoes or having potty accidents, and she is trying to “escape” your eye contact.

She is worried that you will be angry with her and punish her and that makes him try to “hide” her face behind her paws.

This is her way of saying “I am sorry for what I did. Please forgive me.”

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A Haircut Has Left Her Embarrassed

Your dog feels embarrassed by her new appearance and looks sad after a grooming session.

You might have over trimmed her fur and this makes her feel so uncomfortable as she now looks so differently from what she used to be.

This creates great stress on her and can lead her to avoid seeing anyone in the house.

That explains why she covers her face with her paws when you approach her.

It might take time for her to recover from this grooming trauma and get back to her usual self, which is when her fur starts growing.

So, the next time that you are to groom your pet, keep in mind that your dog is going to be very sensitive in her appearance.

She will feel embarrassed and shy if you have her hair trimmed too short and that could lead to her anxiety and stress.

To Elude Her Fear And Anxiety

What would you do when you saw a horror movie that makes your hair stand? You would use your hand to cover your face or close your eyes immediately, right?

This applies to your dog as well.

When she sees something that terrifies her, such as flashing lights “running” swiftly around the walls, she will react in the same manner, that is, using her paws to hide her sight.

This is especially so during the days when there is loud thunder or fireworks going on.

The roaring sounds terrifies your dog immensely, and she tries to get relief by either hiding under a blanket or to use her paws to cover her eyes if there isn’t any immediate “shelter” that she can take cover from.

It could also be the case that she had been abused before, and she is now fearful of certain things, such as strangers or pets.

That explains why she reacts in his manner whenever she sees unfamiliar faces in your home (you have some visitors).

Whatever the case may be, what you have to do is to give her a chance to cope with her fears.

She needs some sort of comfort and assurance from you to make sure that she won’t feel so scared and insecure whenever she encounters something scary or new.

You can take her to a vet or a trainer who can help to ease her fear and anxiety.

She Is Showing You Her Submission

You wouldn’t lock your eyes with another party in a power gaze if you wanted to show him that you were submissive. This is certainly so if he is your BOSS!

This is what your dog is trying to show you with her action – “covering her face with her paws!”.

She wanted to let you know that she looks upon you as her Alpha and that she is submissive to you!

It was her way of showing her respect for you, and you will find her lying down with her ears moving back and curling up her body to make her appear smaller.

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Face-Grooming For Her

If you think that only cats like self grooming, you are in for a surprise!

Dogs like to do self grooming as much as cats because they also have high expectations of personal hygiene.

So, when your dog is covering her face with her paws, she may be wiping her eyes, drying up her wet face or cleaning her teeth with her paws.

Block Out The Light To Get A Sleep

What would you be doing if you were trying to catch sleep under a bright lighting?

You will likely use your hand to cover your eyes to block out the light, right?

That is exactly what your dog is trying to do. Block the lights to take a nap.

And the way to do this will be to make use of his paws to cover his face!

Blocking The Scent She Dislikes

Do you use your hand to cover your nose whenever you smell something that is stinky?

This is also a common behavior that is practiced by dogs when they want to block the scent that they don’t like.

They accomplish this by putting their paws closer to their noses.

You see, your dog’s paw pads possess a strong distinct scent that can help her to mask off other scents that she wants to conceal.

And by putting her paws in front of her nose, she can effectively block out the smell that she dislikes.

Grieving Over The Loss Of Her Companion

Did your dog lose her companion lately? This will account for her recent action of covering her face with her paws.

She is sobbing over the loss of her companion and is trying to get some moment of silence by covering up her face with her paws.

It may take a while for her to overcome this sorrow, and you can help her by giving her your dedicated attention through spending more time interacting with her.

You can also get her another companion to help her walk out of her grief and make her feel better.

The most important thing that you should do is to understand her pain and to provide her with the best possible company that she can have.

This will help her to overcome this sorrow and get back to normal life.

Ease Discomfort Caused By Her Eyelids

She is trying to get some relief from the discomfort caused by the inflammation of her eyelids by pawing on her face. 

Usually you would observe that her eyelid area is red and swollen. The itchiness caused by the inflammation of her eyelids makes her persistently “rubbing” her eyes with her paws to ease her discomfort.

This eye disease is often known as blepharitis and is usually associated with poor hygiene.

Often, blepharitis is due to the clogging of oil glands at the base of the eyelashes, leading to irritation and pain.

Bring your dog to see a vet for treatment as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

She Finds This To Be A Rewarding Behavior

Did you ever happily praise your dog when she acts in this way?

Simple praise such as “You are so cute!” will make your dog feel happy and give her a positive feeling. 

It makes her feel good, and she’s more likely to repeat the behavior.

So be mindful that your reaction to your dog’s behavior will determine her future conduct.

You should NEVER reward your dog for performing the undesirable behaviors that you want her to stop doing.

So stop giving her the wrong impression that you are feeling happy when she starts covering her face with her paws.

And the way to accomplish this will be to give her a calm and firm “No!” and walk away.

This will make her know that this act will make you unhappy, and she will lose your attention.

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