Ways your dog tells you that they love you
If you’re anything like me, this Valentines Day will be all about showering my dog in love. It’s not unusual to ask yourself the question though: can dogs really love their owners? And if so, how do we know they love us?
Whilst we don’t have a clear answer for that first question, many experts (myself included!) believe that dogs are capable of feeling love for both other dogs and their owners. Studies
have shown that dogs have co-evolved with us to have a strong emotional bond with humans, and they can experience a range of complicated emotions, including love. While we can't know with complete certainty what dogs are feeling, their behaviour can give us clues. It's clear that dogs can form deep attachments to their owners and express their affection in individual ways. Let’s explore some of the ways your dog might be trying to tell you they love you!
There are several ways your dog might express their affection for you. One of the most apparent ways is through tail wagging. When your dog wags their tail upon seeing you, it's a clear indication that they're happy to be in your presence but it is a bit more complicated than this! Studies have found that the dominant side a tail wags to is an indicator of how their feeling. Specifically, a tail wagging to the right means the dog is happy and confident, whereas to the left tends to indicate fear and uncertainty.
Another way your dog might show their love is through cuddling. Some dogs like to snuggle up next to you or on your lap, they're seeking comfort and safety in your presence. This behaviour is a clear sign that your dog feels close to you and trusts you. Some dogs however are naturally less cuddly and don’t enjoy being on/ next to humans for extended periods of times (especially high energy puppies!). This is totally normal and not a sign that your dog doesn’t love you. They’re all just a little different!
Licking is another way dogs show their affection towards their owners. If your dog likes to lick your face or hands, it's a clear indication that they trust you and feel comfortable in your presence. Licking is a form of communication for dogs and it's a way for them to show you their love. Remember, excessive licking can be a sign of anxiety so if you’re not sure what’s going on, contact a certified behaviourist for help!
Eye contact is also a way that dogs show their love. When your dog looks at you for sustained periods of time, it's a clear indication that they care about you and are trying to engage with
you more. Eye contact is a way for dogs to communicate with their owners, and it's a sign that your dog feels a strong connection with you.
Finally, dogs sometimes bring their owners gifts, such as toys or sticks. This is a clear indication that your dog wants to please you and show you how much they love you. Breeds which will typically show love in this way are golden retrievers, labs, spaniels and tollers. Next time your dog brings you over a rather strange ‘gift’ remember they’re just trying to share some love!