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Is It OK To Kiss Your Dog On The Head? 15 Signs (2023)

Is It OK To Kiss Your Dog On The Head

Like many dog parents, you might also agree with this:

Your Fido’s head has the best surface for receiving kisses.

Its terrain’s just right to land those smooches.

So it’ll be hard not to kiss it. 

But does your pooch mind if you kiss them on the head?

Continue reading to find out:

  • If it’s ok to kiss your dog on the head.
  • What happens when you kiss your dog on the head.
  • 8 clear signs that your dog is OK with being kissed on the head.
  • 7 must-know signals that your dog hates being kissed on that part.
  • And many more…

Is it OK to kiss your dog on the head?

It’s OK to kiss your dog on the head if they’re not scared or aggressive. But kissing isn’t a thing in a dog’s world. Still, most dogs will understand it over time and realize that we mean no harm by kissing them. However, if your dog’s unhappy about it, it’s best to refrain and give them space.

What happens when you kiss your dog on the head?

When you kiss your dog on the head, they may act excited or return the affection if they like it. But if your Fido hates it, they’ll avoid you, growl, or worse, snap at you. 

Usually, a head or forehead kiss shows adoration, care, and sincerity.

But it can also mean protection, like telling someone…

“Don’t worry. I got you.

You’re safe here.”

So without a doubt, we would also want to relay these messages to our furry friends by kissing them on the head.

But, how will you know if your dog likes it or not?

Kissing your dog on the head – 8 signs your dog is OK with it 

#1: ‘Helicopter tail’

After kissing them on the head, does your pooch wag their tail so fast like a propeller?

If so, your Fido likes it.

“How come?”

Tail wagging often means excitement in dogs. 

And vets say the faster the movement, the happier a canine is.

So a Fido with a ‘helicopter tail’ is a clear sign that they enjoy head smooches.

However, let me remind you that some dogs may also never wag their tail due to a medical condition.

Not only that, but not all tail wagging is a good thing.

For instance, if your dog has a raised tail and wags it rapidly, they’re showing aggression.

To further help you with knowing the difference….

It’s often paired with a stiff body, exposed teeth, and growls. So you can tell an ‘angry wag’ from an excited one.

Trivia: A study found that dogs wag their tail in a specific direction based on their mood. Fidos move it to the right when they see something they like. And they wag their tail to the left if they’re unhappy.

#2: Jumping up

Next, does your Fido spring like they’re on a trampoline after a head kiss?

If yes, they’re also OK with it.

Jumping up and down is another sign of an excited pooch. 

And besides grabbing your attention, it could also be a way of releasing their happy energy.

#3: Staying still and staring at you

If your dog doesn’t like something you’re about to do, they’ll avoid you or go away.

So if your Fido likes receiving head kisses from you, they’ll stay still and not avert it.

Your pooch may also stare at you lovingly if that’s the case. 

Then they’ll look forward to the smooch next time and offer their head to you.

Learn more: My Dog Stares At Me (9 Burning Questions Answered + Tips)

#4: Licking you

It's OK To Kiss Your Dog On The Head If He Starts Licking You

As I’ve said, kisses, in general, aren’t a ‘doggy thing.’

So, Fidos don’t understand kisses. And that’s why most puppies are uncomfortable with how we show affection at the start.

But over time, you can make your Fido less sensitive to kisses.


Dog parents do it by talking in a gentle voice. Or by giving their puppies belly rubs while kissing them.

As a result, their Fidos will learn that smooches aren’t scary at all. And that display of affection is, in fact, a good thing.

Then once the dogs get used to the kisses and snuggles…

They may give back the love they receive in their own doggy way.

“How will they do it?”

To show affection, dogs usually lick their humans. Either on the face, arms, head, or legs.

Watch this adorable clip of a Golden who loves receiving and giving kisses:

Besides affection, dogs can also lick you to show gratitude. 

It’s like their way of saying “thank you” after getting food or a kiss.

Why, you ask?

According to experts, licking is a way to make peace in the doggy world.

The action itself has a calming effect. And this is why dogs tend to lick their paws when in distress.

Besides that, your Fido may also do this to ‘groom’ you.

But it’s not because they find you dirty.

It’s only your dog’s way of expressing that you’re now part of their family. And that they care for you. Which is also why Fidos lick each other.

Read next: 11 Little-Known Reasons Why Your Dog Grooms You + 9 Tips

#5: Nose nudges

Dogs have many uses for their snouts.

They explore the world mainly by smelling. And herding Fidos also nudge animals with their noses to keep them in order.

But apart from these, dogs may also nudge you with their nose if they want something.

Say a treat or a piece of that Lay’s Chips on your hands.

So you’ll also know if your pooch enjoys the head kisses if they boop you with their little nose.

If you translate this into human words, your dog could be saying…

“That’s it, hooman??

C’mon. Me want more smooches.”

So your Fido nudges you with their nose to ask for more. And this behavior is one of the cutest things that Fidos do.

#6: Leaning on you

After kissing your dog on the head, do they end up leaning on you?

If so, it also means that your Fido’s enjoying the moment.

Like nudging, your dog’s trying to tell you that they’re comfortable with your actions. 

So carry on and continue the head smooches frenzy.

#7: Headbutts

Does your Fido headbutt you with a relaxed body once you stop kissing their head?

Then, your dog is telling you they’re OK with it.

“Why? What does it mean?”

This behavior is similar to nudging.

But this time, your Fido uses their head instead to tell you to continue what you’re doing. 

And they might be saying…

“Come on, Mom/Dad. 

I’m offering my head. Do it again, please.”

Also, your dog may headbutt you when they want to play. Or if your Fido’s herding instincts kick in and they want you in line.

Note: Canines can headbutt their humans as a ‘stop’ sign too. If that’s the case, Fidos will also have a stiff body and avoid your gaze.

If you want to know more, read this article: Why does my dog headbutt me?

#8: Cuddling up to you

Cuddling Up To You

Lastly, if they start snuggling with you, you’ll know your Fido is OK with head smooches.

They understand that it’s your way of showing affection. 

And your pooch also feels good about the kisses.

So what better way to end it than a cuddle time?

Now, not all dogs like hugs and kisses. You can see this trait mostly in Basenjis and Shar-Pei dogs.

So this sign is more common in affectionate dog breeds. Say Pugs, Boxers, and Retrievers.

Kissing your dog on the head – 7 signs your dog hates it

#9: ‘Whale eye’

Some dogs can also be ‘head shy.’

“What do you mean?”

It means they don’t like things being too close to their face. 

And they’re uncomfy with people touching or kissing their heads.

So if your Fido’s like this, they’ll hate it when you kiss their head. And this situation can stress them out.

Vets say our dogs get stressed, too, when nervous or anxious.

And one of its common signs is the ‘whale eye.’

“What is it?

And what does it look like?”

It’s when stressed dogs open their eyes widely and look away.

So, as a result, they’ll show more of their ‘sclera’ or whites of the eyes.

Dogs do this when they’re worried about something.

That’s why if your Fido does this when you kiss them on the head, it means they’re uncomfortable.

#10: Averting their gaze

“I’m sorry.

But I won’t look at you, hooman, if you don’t stop kissing me.”

Does your Fido not give you ‘the look’ before or after giving them a head kiss?

If yes, your dog’s avoiding your gaze and asking for personal space.

Your pooch’s saying that they hate you kissing or touching that part.

So, in this case, the best thing to do is respect your dog’s wish. 

And refrain from kissing your Fido’s head until they’re comfortable with affection.

#11: Pinned back ears

You can also spot an anxious Fido by looking at their ears.


Usually, the more pinned back a dog’s ears are, the higher their stress level is.

And this will also come with a stiff body and ‘whale eye.’

#12: Displacement behavior

Aside from averting their gaze…

An unhappy dog may also do random things when they don’t like something you do.

In this case, your Fido doesn’t enjoy you kissing their head. 

But they can’t scold you or harm you for it.

So what would a frustrated dog do?

They’ll do something else to divert their focus. And these actions are usually completely random.

For example, a stressed Fido can be obsessed with sniffing the ground. Or they suddenly scratch the couch as if their life depended on it.

#13: Going away

Sometimes, a nervous Fido may also walk out of a stressful situation.

It’s called an ‘escape behavior.’

So if your dog does this before or while you kiss them on the head, your Fido hates it. To the point where they want to escape from you.

Due to their stress, dogs may also start digging or hiding behind a tree or sofa. All that to escape the situation.

#14: Growling

“Grrr. Grr.

Can’t you see that I’m not up for it?”

Now, this is a clear sign that your dog hates it.

Your Fido growls to tell you they’re unhappy with the head smooches.

And they’re also warning you to stop, or else they might attack you…for real.

But your pooch doesn’t want to harm you, so they ask you politely by letting some growls.

Trivia: Did you know that we can understand dogs’ growls? In a study, 40 people matched the situation of a dog accurately based on their growl 63% of the time.

Also, the researchers found that females guessed more correctly than males.

#15: Snapping at you

Lastly, your Fido might also become aggressive due to stress and fear.

So if they don’t enjoy those head kisses, but you still keep doing it…

Your dog may become frustrated and snap at you, telling you to “Stop!” or “Go away!”

Since canines can’t speak in our language

They send body signals instead to communicate with us.

Therefore, it’s up to you to read and understand your Fido’s messages.

If your dog seems to enjoy the kisses, you may go on as they wish.

But if your pooch shows some of the ‘stress signals’ above, respect your Fido’s wish. 

Then give them the space they need.

Now, don’t fret. There are other ways to show affection to your pooch. 

For example, by giving them yummy meals, playing with them, or simply staying by their side. 

Also, you can stroke your dog in areas they allow (e.g., ears, belly, legs).

And then who knows, soon, your Fido will trust you more and get used to affection.

Don’t forget to check out: 15 Ways To Read Your Dog’s Body Language

About the viral “kiss your dog on the head and record their reaction” trend

The viral “kiss your dog on the head and record their reaction” trend hit a year ago. The challenge begins with parents kissing their Fidos on the head. Then they wait and watch their dog’s reaction.

After receiving a kiss, the dogs in the videos reacted differently.

Most Fidos stared at their parents for a few seconds. Like they were trying to process what happened.

But then, the dogs realize what’s going on. So they start licking (or kissing) their human back.

While other canines gave their parents a heartwarming gaze. Then lean on their chest or face.

In contrast, some dogs also hated the challenge. 

The Fidos went away or growled at their humans after the kiss. 

And this shows that not all dogs like to be smooched on the head. 

So it’s best to pay attention to your Fido’s body language when doing this trend.