Dogs are creative beings. They’re observant and resourceful. They also utilize various means to communicate with their humans. A fake sneeze just so happens to be one of those very means. Let’s dive a bit deeper into what it actually means when your dog purposefully sneezes at you on a regular basis.
Your dog will fake sneeze at you when they’re excited or when they need your attention. Dogs do this as a form of communication and desire for play time and affection. You will need to pay close attention to behavioral responses, whether the sneeze comes from their nose or lungs, and any other circumstances involved as the sneezes could be a sign of allergies or other forms of discomfort.
I am actually a master at the ole fake sneeze. My humans call me out on the action but it still gets their attention so I’m going to keep doing it.
I’ll take you into a bit more detail regarding your dog’s highly over dramatized sneezes.
Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.
Fake Sneezing is a Form of Dog Communication
Your dog has yet to master the mouth movement necessary to form human sound into recognizable words. Because of this, they are forced to get creative in communicating with you on a daily basis.
They do this in many different forms including:
And fake sneezing is just another form of audible communication that your dog has picked up on because it warrants your attention more times than not.
Think about it. What do you do when your dog sneezes? You stop and look at them. This is exactly what they want you to do.
You looking at them is the positive reinforcement they were looking for in order to continue justifying this behavior.
Dogs can even use the fake sneeze as a calming call to other dogs around them. This is most likely what’s happening if you hear your dog fake sneeze in a large dog crowd at the park.
Dogs can exhibit over 30 different calming signals and have become effective in communicating a need for a break or a rest. Again, a sneeze is one of those signals.
Be vigilant in learning to communicate effectively with your dog. Over time you will begin to know exactly what each whimper, grunt, strut, jump and sneeze means.
Do Dogs Fake Sneeze for Attention?
One hundred percent yes.
Dogs absolutely fake sneeze for your attention.
A typical sneeze for attention comes during some form of excitement (which I’ll cover in more detail below). Almost as to say, “Hey! Don’t forget about me down here!”
Hence the sneeze for attention.
Your dog has realized that this type of noise makes you notice them in that moment. If you are okay with them communicating with you in this manner, then be sure to acknowledge the fake sneeze.
If you want to discourage the fake sneeze, then ignore your dog when they attempt to get your attention this way.
Remember, positive reinforcement (your attention, treats, ear rubs, and high pitched voices) aid in the continual behavior of your dog in that particular instance.
Dogs Also Fake Sneeze When They’re Excited
Studies have suggested that dogs will fake sneeze when they’re excited.
Have you noticed your dog fake sneezing at you when you’re getting their harness on and ready for a car ride or a walk through your neighborhood?
Or do they fake sneeze at you when you’re playing fetch with them in the house? Or wrestling around with them in the living room?
This is your dogs way of letting you know they’re enjoying the moment, that they’re excited, and need you to know and remember this event.
It’s best (in my dog opinion) to let them keep sneezing at you.
Think of it as a germy high five in dog terms.
Differentiating Between a Real and a Fake Sneeze
Hear me loud and clear, humans. It’s imperative that you consciously differentiate between your dogs fake (excited) sneeze versus a legitimate sneeze that may be signaling other health related issues.
Fake sneeze 101: A fake sneeze sounds more like a “snort sneeze” and comes from the nose of your dog.
Legitimate sneeze 101: A real sneeze sounds more “pure” and comes from the lungs of your dog.
Having the wherewithal to notice the difference between your dog’s two types of sneezes could save them the agony of suffering from seasonal or food allergies.
If your dog has frequent sneezing fits and you’re not about to go for a walk, or your not actively wrestling with them, and there’s no other reason for your dog to need to get your attention or show excitement, then you may want to schedule a vet visit.
You need to mark any other underlying medical conditions off the list before chalking each sneeze up to your “attention seeking pup”.
To summarize, your dog is not weird if they fake sneeze at you on a regular basis.
As a matter of fact, this is common behavior in most breeds as a means to gain your undivided attention or to highlight excitement.
Again, be cautious of the types of sneezes coming from your dog. There’s a bid difference between a fake sneeze, a health related sneeze, and a sneeze fit initiated by snorting up a tiny bug on your morning walk.
I realize I didn’t really discuss the latter. I didn’t think it warranted an entire section.
Anyway, humans, please just continue to Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies often.
Love you guys,
P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.
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