Have you ever wondered if your dog truly loves you? Let's delve into the fascinating world of canine affection and explore the language of puppy love!
Love is one of the most powerful feelings we can experience, giving meaning and purpose to each of our lives. As human beings, we all have the intense desire to be nurtured, appreciated, and above all, loved. The desire to love and be loved in return is hard-wired within all of us, and fulfilment of those desires can also enhance our levels of happiness. Plus, expressing love not only benefits the recipient, but also the person who delivers it.
As human beings, we experience a whole range of emotions throughout our lives, from anger and resentment, to happiness and joy, yet love is the feeling that seems to unite and encompass all of those emotions, making love almost impossible to measure. For instance, we can experience anger, while protecting someone we deeply love.
So, since love is so vital to us and our wellbeing, how do we know if our dog truly loves us, or do they really just love us for our food? We love our dogs the same way we would love a close family member, or a best friend – so it’d be nice to know if that feeling is reciprocated from our pooch.
We all express our love toward others in our own unique way. What is your love language? Many of us express our love through affection, spending quality time with loved ones, sending gifts, or even just through communication. Fortunately for us, our dogs display their love by presenting some very common behaviours – so keep your eyes open and look out for the loved-up signs! We’ve gone on the search for love and discovered some of the most common behaviours your dog will perform when they feel love toward you.
Signs that show your dog loves you:
Get that body ‘wagging’: The position and movement of your dog’s tail can indicate a whole range of different emotion, but have you ever seen your dog display a full body ‘wiggle’? This behaviour presents itself when your dog moves or ‘wiggles’ their entire body – all the way from their shoulders to the tip of their tail. In some instances, you may even notice their tailspin in circular motions. If your dog exhibits this beautiful full body jig, this is a very clear indication that they feel love toward you. Just like the song by the great Frank Wilson, your dog is saying in their own canine language, “Do I love you? Indeed, I do,” and who wouldn’t want to hear that.
- Let’s get excited: Does your pooch display excitement whenever they see you? For instance – jumping on you, licking your face, and wagging their tail? These are all perfect signs that signify your pooch really does care for you, and indeed, also misses you when you are gone.
- Please budge over: It’s not surprising that a dog that feels love toward their owner wants to sleep near them (if they are allowed to, of course). By nature, dogs will sleep in a pack, where they lay next to each other, and strategically place their noses to the wind to pick up any potential threats. So, if your dog chooses to snuggle close to you, this is a good indication that your dog trusts you, and also feels safe and secure.
- Puppy dog eyes: Has your dog ever looked longingly into your eyes, while presenting a soft and relaxed gaze? Good news – this behaviour signifies that your pooch trusts you. If the gaze is accompanied with a loose, relaxed mouth, this is another signal to express they are happy in your presence. Long and sustained eye contact behaviours are reserved for people they are fond of and feel safe around. Interestingly, a study exploring gazing behaviour from dogs increased the urinary oxytocin (the ‘love hormone’) concentrations in owners, which consequently facilitated owners’ affiliation, and also increased the oxytocin concentration in dogs – a win-win! For more information on this study, please take a look here.
- Let’s have a snuggle: Does your pooch choose to cuddle you, without you having to initiate it? If so, your dog is actively choosing you, and is seeking your physical touch and attention. Whether your dog is leaning on you, nuzzling, or snuggling, they want to be near you – how nice! Plus, researchers in the United States have studied the MRI scans of dogs – to further explore their brain activity. During this study, dogs were presented with a range of different smells. The final results proved that dogs expressed more excitement by their human’s unique scent, when compared with any other smell, including food. Now, a dog that loves you more than food is something to shout about! For more information on this study, please take a look here.
- Sharing is caring: We know dogs bring us their toys when they want to play, but did you know that a dog who brings their favourite toy to you is a heart-warming gesture? Domesticated dogs often bring their favourite toy to their pack leader (you) as a symbol of respect, or even a way to kindly greet you. Plus, this behaviour shows they want to engage with you even more.
So, now that you know how your dog really feels toward you, make sure to return the love with belly rubs, play, toys, and the occasional treat – after all, why wouldn’t you? They’re man’s best friend, after all.