How Dogs Show Love
They can’t say it on the phone or in a text message. And they of course can’t say it in a note either. But your dog is constantly expressing to you just how much they love you — whether you realize it or not! Some are obvious, some are not. Keep reading to learn how dogs show love!
Tail Wagging: Your dog’s tail is one of their most used ways of communicating to both you and to the world. It’s how they say hello, express their confusion, let you know they want to play, and so on.
The position of their tail and how they’re wagging it can even let you know when they’re nervous or being submissive. But love? Look for a relaxed tail with the most telling sign of all: the full-on butt shake!
Face Licking: It might be stinky, messy, and wet but you probably don’t need to be told that your dog licking your face is a sign of affection and love. But while that’s true, they’re licking for more reasons than just to show how much they care about you.
Your dog, or dogs known to you, lick your face not just to show love but also to groom you. To dogs, this is a sign that you are very close to them and they feel a part of your family unit. Dogs unknown to you will lick to show that they are harmless and friendly.
Sleeping With You: Whether they’re allowed on your bed or not, your dog sleeping in your room is a big sign they love you. They can be practically spooning with you or lying at the foot of the bed, but either way they’re showing affection.
According to Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist and dog lover, our pups are able to sense our own love for them, and seek to show it back in ways like this. So when your dog heads to bed with you, they’re saying we’re part of the same pack and I care for you!
Staying With You When You’re Sick: Dogs have an innate ability to sense when you’re not feeling well, so when they respond by comforting you, bet that they’re in love. And having something warm and loving cuddling up to you certainly doesn’t hurt when you’re sick, right?
One quick word of advice, though: while having your dog by your side when you’re under the weather can be a tremendous comfort, be careful with other types of injuries, like scrapes or cuts. Dogs will want to lick the wound to “heal you.”
Leaning Against You: The reasons why they do it can vary, but the love remains regardless. Sometimes when your dog leans on you, it’s a sign they’re nervous or anxious. But just the feeling of leaning on you helps to comfort and relax them.
Other reasons include: just because they love you and want to show affection, they want to go for a walk, it’s their not-so-discreet way of begging for food, or simply that they’re tired and you’re a trusted, comfy post to lean up against.
Staring at You: Nope, your dog isn’t challenging you to a staring contest. When your four legged friends lock eyes with you, it’s just your dog’s own little way of giving you a nice big, loving hug.
And there’s actual science behind it! When your dog looks at you, a pleasurable hormone known as oxytocin is released. If the name sounds familiar to you, that’s because it’s the very same hormone that a mother experiences when looking at her newborn baby.
Bringing You Their Favorite Toy: Sharing is caring, right? But your dog bringing you their favorite ball or favorite rope to play tug with doesn’t necessarily mean they’re looking to play. It can also be a sign of love!
Putting things simply, your dog is bringing you their most treasured toy because they view you as their pack leader. They see you as in charge and they’re happy with that. When they share their toy, they’re sharing their favorite thing with their favorite person.
Yawning When You Do: You’ve probably heard before that yawning causes other people to yawn too, but it carries over to your pup too! (Although your dog is doing it for entirely different reasons than your coworker at the next desk.)
Humans are believed to share in yawns as a way of empathizing with each other. When your dog joins in on a yawn, however, it’s a way of showing their special connection with you. Need proof? Dogs will rarely share a yawn with a stranger.
Going Wild When You Come Home: You’ve probably experienced it. You unlock your door, and before you even turn the knob you can already hear sprinting on the other side of the door. And you know what’s waiting: your dog ready to pounce with all the kisses you can handle!
This one’s pretty simple. Your dog is showing its love because being without you is no fun, and they’re thrilled you’re finally home again! One note, though: if your dog is barking while you’re gone or destroying things, they’re having separation anxiety which needs to be addressed.
Raising Their Eyebrows: It doesn’t take long with a dog before you can read their feelings easily through their facial expressions. But have you been paying attention to their eyebrows? You should, because they use them to show their love!
A study showed that dogs raised their eyebrows (left, especially) when they saw someone they bonded with, and did nothing, or slightly raised the right, when they were presented with a stranger. The same proved true with their ears, so pay attention!
Remember that many of the signs your dog uses to display love are also showing that they defer to you as their pack leader. If you’re not seeing these signs, or having trouble getting your dog to obey your commands, try reading our article on how to be your dog’s pack leader.
Now with all that being said, get out there and show some love to the dog who shows you so much! And don’t forget to pin this in case you want to read up on any of this again later!