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When you look at your dog, you can't help but feel an overwhelming amount of love for them. Dogs have a special way of improving your mood and making you feel better even after a stressful day. Even the simple act of petting your dog can have a calming effect on you. But, of course, if you've had your pet for a while, you already know they improve your mental health.
Unfortunately, while you can tell your dog how much you love them, they don't speak your language, so you might sometimes wonder what's on their mind. One thing many pet parents wonder is if their dog truly loves them or if they're just content to live in their house and eat food that's given to them. While you probably already know your dog loves you from the way they act around you, you might sometimes look for signs that they feel the same way about you. We love our pets, so it's only natural we want them to love us back just as much. Your dog doesn't speak your language, but they have ways of telling you how they feel. Here are the signs your dog loves you.
- They Display Positive Body Language Around You
- They Make Eye Contact
- They Want To Be Close By
- They Follow You Around
- They Lick You
- They Share Toys With You
- How To Show Your Dog You Care
- Signs Your Dog Loves You: FAQ
- Final Notes
1. They Display Positive Body Language Around You
Dogs communicate with you through body language. For example, when your dog is scared, they might appear stiff with an upright tail. However, when your dog is relaxed, they'll hang their tail a little lower and have a completely relaxed posture. Positive body language is one of the most recognizable signs that your dog loves you. After all, they wouldn't be so relaxed if they felt scared or anxious around you.
Dogs that love you will also greet you when you come home. Unfortunately, many dogs have separation anxiety, so when they see you come home, they can't help but wag their tails and jump all over you. If you've ever wondered if your dog missed you while you were away, see how they react when they come home. However, if your dog seems too jumpy and excited about your arrival, have their separation anxiety issues examined by a vet behaviorist who can help your dog feel more calm and relaxed when you're away. No dog should be upset when you've left the house for a few hours, and separation anxiety can often lead to unwanted behaviors or emotional distress in dogs.
2. They Make Eye Contact
If you ever feel a little awkward because your dog stares at you while you are doing something, don't worry. Dogs make eye contact as a way of showing you they love you. When your dog stares at you, they're saying that they feel safe and trust you. Maintaining eye contact is important when humans bond; the same can be said for your pets.
Your dog's eye contact may also be their way of trying to send you a message. For example, dogs may stare at you when they're trying to tell you they have to go outside or want a treat. If you notice your dog staring at you while you're eating dinner, you can bet they're looking at your steak lovingly and not you. However, when your dog simply randomly stares at you throughout the day when you're not eating and don't have any rewards for them, it can indicate that they love you.
Dogs will typically look away when they're trying to display submission, so if you're ever playing with your dog and you have them on their back, they might look away to show you that you are the dominant one. Additionally, you shouldn't look into every dog's eyes. Eye contact with dogs that don't know you can trigger reactivity, a behavioral issue that stems from anxiety. Many dogs with anxiety fear new people, so don't make eye contact with a new dog you've just met because it could make them more anxious and lead to fearfulness or unpredictable behavior.
3. They Want To Be Close By
Another common sign your puppy is happy and loves you is when they spend all their time trying to be near you. Even the most independent dogs seek attention and affection from their pet parents. So if your dog wants to sleep with you, play with you, lay near you, or constantly rub their face against you, they are trying to tell you that they love spending time with you.
Dogs of all kinds are cuddling their pet parents. In the wild, packs of dogs would all cuddle together to stay warm in the winter and protect each other. When your dog cuddles you, they're doing the same thing they would be doing in the wild with the members of their pack. Of course, dogs have been domesticated for a while, but cuddling is a sign of affection for both humans and their pets.
Cuddling your dog is good for both of you. If you've ever noticed you feel instantly relaxed when your dog snuggles up with you, it's because cuddling releases oxytocin (the feel-good hormone) in both of you.
4. They Follow You Around
Dogs typically follow their favorite pet parent around. For example, you might find them staring at you while trying to use the bathroom. This behavior may be due to their pack mentality. Ultimately, you watch them when they do their business to ensure they're safe, and they'll do the same for you. Dogs follow you around because they want to be where you are and may even view you as their leader.
Even if your dog doesn't follow you around, they may check on you from time to time. Many dogs enjoy their independence and don't need to cuddle you or play constantly, so they may nap or play with toys in another room. However, now and then, your dog may come to check on you if they haven't seen you in a while. Checking up on you is your dog's way of saying they love you because it shows they're wondering where you are and if you're okay.
5. They Lick You
Dogs lick you for many reasons, but one of them is to show you affection. Dogs who lick you are showing you that they want your attention, or they're interacting with you because they care for you. Licking is how mother dogs care for and clean their children, so your dog might be trying to care for you the same way their mother did for them.
Licking can be a form of a kiss, so your dog might be trying to tell you how much they care about you when they have no other reason to lick you. But, of course, dogs have many reasons for licking you, so your dog might just lick you because you taste good to them.
6. They Share Toys With You
Another sign your dog loves you is that they bring you gifts. Dogs may share their toys with you or bring you toys to indicate that they want to play. Often, your pet might present you their toy as a gift, sharing their favorite thing with their favorite person.
Don't be offended if your dog brings you a toy and won't let you have it. Many dogs have difficulty learning how to drop toys and give them to people, even people they love. If you want your dog to drop items or give them to you, you'll have to invest time and effort into training them to do so. Luckily, most dogs bring you toys to play with you, so if your dog doesn't drop the toy, they might be trying to get you to play tug with them.
How To Show Your Dog You Care
We've just talked about the signs your dog loves you, but how do you show your dog you love them back? While dogs can learn a few words, telling them you love them isn't enough. Therefore, you must show your dog how much you love them. Here are a few ways to show your dog you care:
- Play with them: If your dog brings you their favorite toy and wants to play, playing with them could show them you care. Of course, you don't always have time to play on their terms. However, the next time you're watching television and your dog wants to play, pause your show or movie and spend some quality time with them by engaging in their favorite activity.
- Feed them properly1: All dogs need proper diet and nutrition to prevent health conditions like obesity and diabetes. By feeding your dog properly, you can help them stay healthy, which gives them plenty of energy to play.
- Provide good healthcare: Your dog needs a wellness visit every year to check for heartworm and get prescription prevention medication. However, your vet should also keep an eye on your dog's general health and weight. If you're not providing your dog with good healthcare, you may not know the different risk factors for various illnesses. Luckily, taking care of your pet's health is easy with Dutch's telemedicine for pets, allowing you to get the answers to your questions without ever leaving your house.
- Train them: Believe it or not, dogs love being trained because it teaches them the behaviors that make you happy, and your dog wants to see you happy. Training is also a great bonding activity and can help you prevent unwanted behaviors like chewing on shoes. Teaching your pet the basic dog commands can help you bond with your pet while ensuring they know the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
- Show affection: Your dog craves your attention. Any time your dog asks for attention, try to give them some to show them you care. Of course, you can't show them affection all day, but you can give them reassurance in the form of pets, eye contact, and even conversation throughout the day. That being said, never force affection on your dog because it can make them anxious. Instead, let your dog come to you when they're ready for some love.
Signs Your Dog Loves You: FAQ
Can a dog tell if he is loved?
Dogs may not speak your language, but they can tell when they're loved by the way you treat them. If you're affectionate with your pet and take good care of them, they will know how much you love them.
Do dogs pick a favorite person?
Dogs can sometimes show more affection to one person than another because they may feel a stronger bond with that person. However, that doesn't mean they don't love both pet parents or the entire family. Because dogs rely on their humans so much, they may form stronger bonds with those that feed them, play with them, and take them on walks.
How do I tell my dog I love them?
Since dogs can tell that you love them, all you have to do is take care of them. Try to spend time with your pet every day, even if it's just for a few minutes cuddling on the couch or going for a walk outside. Small actions can show your dog how much you care about them, which improves their happiness.
Being a pet parent is a big responsibility. Luckily, the reward of having a dog that loves you is well worth all the work you have to put into taking proper care of your pet. Dogs show love in different ways, and the more attuned you are to your pet's body language and behavior, the more you can understand the ways they demonstrate affection. Many of the signs your dog loves you mentioned on this list are common pet behaviors. However, some of these behaviors may indicate underlying behavioral issues like anxiety. For example, if your pet is overly excited when you walk through the door, it could indicate separation anxiety. Meanwhile, stealing your stuff and destroying it is a common behavioral problem that may have innocent intentions but can quickly become irritating for pet parents.
Luckily, most dogs only need a little bit of training to improve their behaviors and become happier dogs, while others may need medication to help reduce any feelings of anxiousness while you're away. Dutch is here to help. So whether your new puppy is tearing up your favorite clothes or your senior dog engages in destructive behavior while you're away, a Dutch vet behaviorist can help you understand your dog's behavior and learn the different ways you can improve their welfare.
"General Dog Care." ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/general-dog-care.