You may know how to tell if your dog loves you, but do you know how to tell your dog you love them back?
Often, the best way to tell a dog you love them is through mimicry. Dogs rely on facial expressions and whole body language to communicate. The better you understand canine communication and how your dog feels, the better you’ll be able to empathize and bond with them, expressing your love right back at them.
Additionally, dogs are descended from pack animals (though there’s still heated debate as to whether they can still be classified as such). Because of residual genetic or evolutionary pack animal inheritance, from times long before domestication, dogs enjoy the connections made from being part of a pack:
- hunting (which we often mimic with play, think retrieving a ball or ripping into a squeaky toy)
- exercising (part of the hunting and scavenging behavior of a pack)
- physical touch (if only we could recreate the den in our modern living rooms)
By learning to interpret dog body language and mimic the pack behaviors your dog craves, you can say ‘I love you’ to your dog in the following ways. We all know that a loved dog equals a happy dog, and dog love equals pure love (just check out the video evidence!)
1. Don’t be embarrassed to use your dog voice
Studies using MRI technology show dogs understand human language better than previously thought. So holding that one-way conversation with your dog isn’t as crazy as you might think.
The news gets better: that high-pitched tone you use to talk to your dog (better known as baby-talk)? Dogs actually like it. Medical News Today also points out that your dog wants to hear words specific to the dog lexicon: treat, walk, good. You know the words.
Also, reading to dogs has been shown to calm anxious and high-energy dogs in shelters, and brings shy dogs out of their shells.
2. Be a good listener
Not sure if you’re getting the message of love across? Your dog’s body language will tell you. Look for all of the dog body languages of love:
- a wagging tail
- eye contact
- a raised eyebrow (see more below)
Conversely, keep an eye out for the warning signs of and anxious dog:
- a tucked tail
- lip licking
- your dog’s eyes are popping out or averted
3. Loving gazes
Your dog’s eyes do much of their talking. You can communicate back to them using the same language of eye contact.
When a dog gives you long, lingering eye contact, it’s a way of saying “I love you.” A recent study shows that oxytocin, the ‘love chemical,’ goes up in both dogs and humans when they share a kind gaze.
Watch your approach, though. Staring down a dog in a forceful manner can be a sign of aggression for your dog.
4. Facial expressions of love
No matter how we may wish to hide our feelings, even from our dogs, most pet owners know that animals are sensitive to our emotional states. Scientific studies have shown that dogs can read human emotions through our facial expressions.
You can be intentional about what your face is telling your dog. Japanese behavioral scientists have shown that when a dog feels connected to someone, they often raise their eyebrows—the left one more than the right. So greeting your dog with raised eyebrows and a relaxed smile tells your dog how happy you are to see them.
5. The lean of love
Did you know that a dog will lean against you as a sign of love and trust? Unless the lean seems to be an anxious behavior or a not-so-subtle push toward the door, this body posture from your dog can be mimicked or reciprocated to show affection.
So go ahead, lean in to show a little love.
6. Cuddles and naps
Part of your dog’s aforementioned residual pack behavior is playing hard and then resting together. Even if you don’t care to let your dog in bed with you, an afternoon nap together on the couch or in the grass will deepen your dog’s feeling of a pack connection.
And like humans, dogs thrive on physical contact. So while your dog may not enjoy a hug, a nice cuddle session offers the connection they crave.
Dogs thrive on routine and schedule, so a daily walk with training mixed in will help your dog understand how much you love and care for them.
Walks and adventures give plenty of opportunities to work on skills like loose leash walking and recall. These shared experiences and training sessions build trust, communication, and that pack connection.
8. The touch of love
Just touching your dog releases oxytocin in you and your dog, so a soothing massage, gentle grooming session, or extended petting time will tell your dog in no uncertain terms how much you love them. In particular, rubbing your dog’s ears works to release oxytocin in their body. Those adorable, soft ears are also packed with feeling receptors.
Human signals of affection that may not translate to dogs
Dog owners also benefit from learning which human signs showing affection make no sense to your dog.
- Hugging: some dogs feel trapped or pinned down when you hug them. Watch your dog’s reaction.
- Kissing: a quick peck on the head is remarkably similar to a playful nip on the neck or a gesture of domination. Your dog may think you’re trying to play or assert your place in the household hierarchy.
- Treats: as much as food can be a sign of affection for humans, treats are best used for motivating behavior and dog training. Think of how quickly your dog’s loyalty disappears the minute someone else offers them treats.
Your canine languages of love
Learning to say, “I love you” to your dog is a simple matter of getting to know both your dog’s individual body language as well as those comforts of pack life that your dog’s animal brain still craves. As a bonus, all of these love languages seem to benefit your sense of well-being, too.
To say that I love my dog would be an understatement. I adore him. He is one of the best things in my life, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to keep him healthy and happy. Showing him how much he means to me can be a little tricky though.
Even though I know that most dogs aren’t the biggest fans of big hugs, I sometimes have to fight the urge to give Chilly a loving squeeze. After all, hugging is one of the most natural ways for humans to show affection. However, for our many of our canine companions, a hug is unwelcome or even threatening, especially if they feel trapped.
Some dog parents make the mistake of thinking that the best way to their dog’s heart is through his stomach. Don’t get me wrong — treats and goodies do have their place (especially as rewards when training), but too many of them can easily lead to weight gain and all of the health issues that come with it.
While treats should be limited and hugs should usually be avoided, there are still lots of ways that you can shower your dog with endless love in language he’s sure to understand.
1. Gaze Into His Eyes
One way to show your pup you love him is through eye contact. Take a quiet moment, speak softly to him and pet him gently, and just stare into his eyes. Try raising your eyebrows (especially the left one). Your dog will view this as a display of affection.
A word of caution: you should only maintain direct eye contact with a dog who knows and trusts you. A dog who is not familiar with you is more likely to interpret this gesture as a threat or a challenge.
2. Rub His Ears
Instead of patting your pup on the top of the head, try giving him a gentle rub behind the ears. Watch his reaction — he will most likely melt into a ball of doggy happiness. This is because rubbing a dog’s ears actually stimulates the release of endorphins – hormones that relieve pain and bring on feelings of pleasure.
3. Lean on Him
Has your dog ever pressed up against your legs or leaned into you while you were sitting together? This is one way that dogs seek affection – kind of like a doggie hug. You can “hug” him back by doing the same thing.
4. Have Fun Together
Spend some time every day doing something that your dog enjoys. Try teaching him a new trick or practicing ones he already knows. Take him out in the back yard or down to the dog park for a game of frisbee or fetch. Not only will your dog feel loved, but the exercise will help to keep him (and you) healthy.
Dogs may not enjoy being hugged, but they love cuddling. Dogs are pack animals, and close contact makes them feel safe and secure. Allowing your pooch to sleep with you is the ultimate display of trust and affection since this is when you are the most vulnerable. However, even if you’d prefer to keep your bed dog-free, you can still create opportunities every day to tell your dog you love him by snuggling up on the couch or in a cozy corner with him on the floor. He’ll be sure to get your message.
One of the best things about dogs is how well they know their favorite people. They can tell when we’re stressed out and when we’re calm and happy. And we can be sure that our voices, our body language, and our actions communicate to them how much they mean to us.
Dogs are one of the best friends you will ever have, but that doesn’t mean your relationship doesn’t take work. Building a bond with a dog can actually be quite challenging, especially if your best friend has a past life that wasn’t very nice. Here are 5 ways you can strengthen your bond with your dog – whether you just adopted him or you have owned him for 8 years.
#5. *Pay attention to their body language
Learn about canine behavior and read up on body language specifically. This will help you understand what your dog likes, dislikes and what scares them. This will allow you to prevent problems before they start, and to remove your dog from situations that scare them or make them uncomfortable. Once they learn that you will keep them safe, the trust between you will grow. Also, this will allow you to prevent bad behavior before it happens, meaning less frustration and less punishment, both of which can hurt the bond with your dog.
#4. *Playing with them
Have fun, let loose and let them be a dog. Toss a ball around the yard or play tug of war. Learn their favorite games, buy some of their favorite types of toys, and just play. Not only will it help strengthen your bond, but it will also relax and allow you to truly enjoy what it means to have a dog in your life. It’s not all hard work and frustration after all!
#3. *Remain calm
Yes, owning a dog – especially a puppy – comes with frustrations and anxiousness. And sometimes it’s not even about your dog, but life in general. But yelling, screaming and throwing a temper tantrum will frighten most dogs, even if that anger isn’t directed at them personally. And if it is, then it’s even more damaging. Do your best to always speak to your dog in a calm voice, even when they just ate your favorite shoes. Yelling doesn’t do anything to fix the problem, it only causes lasting damage to the relationship you have with your dog.
#2. *Have Quiet Time Together
This may sound strange, but when was the last time you really just sat with your dog and focused on him? Petting him in his favorite spots, telling him your secrets? No TV, no smartphone – just you and him? Trust us, your dog notices and appreciates a little “you and him” time.
Yes, a well-bonded dog will be easier to train, but it goes the other way as well. Training your dog will help you bond with them. Not only is a trained dog allowed more personal freedom, but they mere act of training them – in a positive fashion – will bring you closer together.
How can you tell if a dog is showing affection to you? Dogs may not explain how they love their owners by words, but their actions speak it louder than words. It is not surprising to know that dogs are warm creatures, as well. They are, in nature, a very loving and loyal friend that we can always depend on. So, it is very much possible to receive care from doggies.
It may be unfair to our pets not to feel how much we value their affection to us. They deserve to get a reward, so pay attention to what your pets are doing. With that, I cannot wait to share with you the seven ways your dog shows affection without being aware of it. So, here it goes!
Seven Ways Dogs Tell Its Affection
Consider the actions below in finding whether your dog is showing love and care or just being playful. Those two things are different that only fur parents know.
I assure you will understand your pet more at the end of this post. Come and check it all out!
My dog always jumps whenever I get home. At first, I thought it was just a bad habit developed by my pooch. It did not pass in my mind that he is showing its care, especially when I am away from home the whole day. Jumping must be a sign of excitement; it can never express through words. It wanted to get closer to look at your eyes until it starts a welcoming lick on your face
This sign might sometimes be grossed depending on the situation. Who cares? If you are a dog lover, the licking habit of dogs is not a nasty thing. Most dog owners allow their pets to lick on their face no matter what. It is also a sign of giving authority to their owners as it lowers down their social status. The more dogs lick on you, the more it likes you. They may become so wild in licking in which reminds us to be more careful.
Study shows contagious yawning between persons can happen between human and animals too. This sign is proper while having a tiring day with a dog. Whenever the dog owner yawns, there is a high chance of the dog copying its owner. When he did, it is a good sign your dog cares about you.
4. Tail wagging
Tail wagging has different meanings. It could be a friendly gesture or not, but most of the time, it is more on the prior. Observe. If the dog wags its tail to the right of its body, it is a good sign your pet loves you. These are called the happy wags or a full-body wag. Tail wagging is different depending on the person ahead of the dog. It becomes stronger when in front of its owner because of the excitement the dog feels. There will be an awkward tail wag when the dog sees new faces.
5. Eye Contact
Dogs look at you with love, like a mother looking at her newborn child. Eye contact releases the so-called hormone oxytocin, which has to tell about a high degree of attachment. There is a difference between affectionate and threatening eye contact. Be aware of it. Do not dare to have an eye-contact with unfamiliar dogs, for it might trigger them to bite you. Hold eye contact with your pet over time.
6. Sleeping beside the fur parent
Make sure that your dog is well-groomed, so whenever he wanted to sleep beside you, it will not be alarming. Dogs love to cuddle with their fur parent even while sleeping. This gesture is so sweet and caring because, until the last hours of the day, it never leaves your side. Dogs do sleep with their owners because they consider humans as family. What loving creature dogs are.
Leaning is a form of a full hug from dogs. That is so adorable! Dogs may lean on your legs while you sit on a couch. Perhaps the doggy feels anxious and feels safe whenever he/she leans on you. It thinks of its owner’s ability to take care of him/her in a particular scenario. Moreover, the dog still stays on your side even when it feels scared. The pet is showing affection as well as wants to feel the warmth. It is a two-way process.
THE FINAL THOUGHTS
Dogs are not as vocal as compared to people, but they illustrate love in so many ways. Those seven ways of our dogs in showing affection must be noticed from time to time. Do not ignore each sign to avoid hurting your pet’s feelings. They always wanted to make you feel loved when you feel so unloved. Dogs can give you the care you have ever been searching for.
There are countless good things about dogs I want to speak out. If you’re going to talk more about a pup, leave a comment below. I am more than willing to tell extra and beyond how dogs show affection. Thank you for sending the queries and wait for a quick response.