People have been making pooches their companions for hundreds of years, meaning that there is plenty of research that explains the bond between the two species. So, what are these alleged signs that your dog loves you, you ask?
Here is a list of ways your dog show their affection
- Showing their Emotions
- The Wagging Tail
- Eye Contact
- Following You
- The Gifts That Keep Giving
- Just Playing Around
- Sleeping Near You
W. Bruce Cameron once said, “You can usually tell that a man is good if he has a dog who loves him.” A dog’s love is often described like no other. Pure in every sense of the word, the affection your dog gives to you is sincere, unconditional, and undoubtedly what the word “love” is all about.
Still looking for the signs in all of this? Maybe your dog simply uses you, right? After all, you do feed it and it knows you are the boss. Perhaps that sweet head on your lab is a means to “suck up to the boss (you),” right?
While the answers may not necessarily be simple, there are plenty of ways to answer the important question of, “How do dogs show affection?”
How Do Dogs Show Affection To Humans
In everyday life, your dog may do things that irritate you, posing the question, “Does this dog really love me or just enjoys testing me?”
Rest assured that the things your canine does that you deem a nuisance, like eating the garbage, having an accident on the brand new rug, or ripping up your favorite loafers, are only mistakes and their affection for you remains the same. Following are some ways they show their affection to you.
Showing Their Emotions
Dog ownership quickly teaches people the obvious when it comes to dog emotions. A wagging tail means the dog is content, while a dog cringing is a telltale sign of fear, so it is believed. Though these assumptions do have merit, it is crucial to understand that dogs experience a wide variety of feelings beyond happiness and fear, including:
These emotions are considered simple, whereas feelings of shame, pride, and guilt are complex and not known to be felt by canines. So, the next time that you accidentally step in that messy, smelly surprise left for you in the morning, try to understand that your dog feels no shame in that mess, no matter how hard you try to instill that guilt.
“Many people might argue that they have seen evidence that indicates their dog is capable of experiencing guilt,” as stated by Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC, but their solemn behavior is usually that of fear. Essentially, your dog is scared that you will be mad at them, but concurrently, they do not necessarily know why what they did is such a big deal.
Conclusively, your pooch aims to please you, whether they understand what that means or not. All of their emotions stem from one, common factor: You. With a basic grasp of how the feelings of your companion work, it will now be easier for you to recognize the simple ways in which your dog is telling you, “I love you.”
The Wagging Tail
As previously mentioned, a wagging dog tail signifies happiness. Going with this theory a bit further, the overall position of the tail combined with other actions, like a full-body wag or spinning in circles, undoubtedly signifies that your dog is over the moon with joy to see you.
So, whether you are coming home from work or coming back from taking out the trash, this reaction from your canine is them showing you how much you mean to them. If only your human friends did this, right?
[Related Article: 9 Cools Facts Why Dogs Sneeze When Play Fighting With Humans]
Eye contact is a salient part of life. “Face/eye recognition is built into the makeup of all vertebrate social species,”as stated by Kirk Janowiak.[Source] All species in the world, including humans, feed off of eye contact. Whether it is taken as a threat or to prove one’s sincerity, eye contact is crucial and telling.
To a dog, holding eye contact with you is a sign of love, trust, loyalty, and affection. In fact, studies have shown that a dog’s oxytocin level increases during a stare off with their humans. Now, if that does not tug at your heart strings, what will?
Additionally, if you ever feel like someone is watching you and turn around to see your pooch looking your way, it is another way for them to show their affection.
Ever get up to go to the bathroom and find your dog following behind you? At that moment, it may be odd and irritating, but it is their pack mentality showing through. Of course, dogs are pack animals and they like to stick together with their familiars. Much like humans, canines are social creatures who love company.
Not only is following a sign of affection, but it also signifies that your dog is trying to protect you. Alright, what dangers are actually lurking in your bathroom? Well, your dog just wants to make sure that you are safe, no matter where you are.
Getting a dog in the hopes to live a clean, mess-free lifestyle is an ill-conceived thought. From dog fur to drool, canines can be naturally dirty. Well, to humans anyways. While the thought of slobber from your dog licking you might make you cringe, the sentiment behind the action will warm your heart.
As puppies, dogs are licked by their mothers as a grooming practice and to make them feel secure. When your pooch licks you, it is a sign of respect, love, and their way of showing you that they are here for you. Also, this shows you that they recognize you as the leader. The affection of a kiss means something, after all!
The Gifts That Keep Giving
On occasion, dogs bring their owners things, especially toys if they are present. Though most people take this as a sign their animal wants to play, it is actually a profound element of respect.
A toy is important to your fur baby, and them giving it to you signifies that they want you to experience the similar joy and pride. Of course, they would not mind some extra playtime as well!
Just Playing Around
Roughhousing with your dog may seem kind of intimidating. While you never want their behavior to turn aggressive, some innocent roughhousing is the top way that your animal shows affection. In fact, this act is an important step in bonding with your canine and it aids in their social development, too.
[Related Article: 7 Best Games To Play With Your Labrador Indoors Or Outdoors]
Sleeping Near You
Sure, not everyone allows their animals to sleep in bed with them, but your furry friend will try everything to find a way around that. As stated previously, dogs are pack animals, and sleeping with their pack is a protective, loving behavior. Wanting to sleep near or on you is a way to demonstrate trust as well.
In sum, dogs show affection in ways that humans often dismiss as poor behavior. What is sometimes irritating is actually the sweetest behavior your animal can show you and that is important to realize.
Simple creatures all around, canines truly are a man’s best friend and knowing the ways that they show their love only strengthens the age-old relationship between dogs and humans.