10 Ways Dogs Show Love

By Tom •  Updated: 01/03/21 •  9 min read
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As pet parents, we show our dogs we love them by taking care of their needs, providing attention & exercise, scratching behind their ears or giving them back a good rub. However, have you ever wondered if your dog loves you? Just how do dogs show us they care for and love us? Can they tell us they love us?

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The short answer is yes! Our fur babies can show us their love and affection—they do so on a regular basis. We just have to know the signs and ways dogs show us their love.

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How Dogs Show Love to Humans

Dog signs of love are shown by pups to their pet parents and other favorite people on a regular basis. The bond between a dog and his pet parent can be very strong. There are stories of dogs knowing their owners were in danger or were on the way home, long before their human families knew this! Here are some more examples!

1. Wagging tails: does your fur baby wag his tail off when he sees you? Some dogs will wag their tails and also squiggle their backs in the excitement of seeing their pet parents! Not all dogs will get this excited; after all, some of the more regal breeds like to appear slightly aloof and not show their full feelings. That’s OK. But most dogs will wag their tails at the sheer joy of seeing you, no matter if you’ve been gone a few minutes or been away on an extended trip.

2. Excitement when you get home: not only may your pup greet you with a quickly wagging tail, but he may be so excited that he jumps on you, brings his favorite toy, rampages around the house and more! This is true love. You can rest assured your fur baby loves you when he greets you in these manners!

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3. Makes eye contact: dogs are not known for looking one another in the eyes. In fact, this can be considered an aggressive act between dogs. Some dogs may even think this is rude or aggressive behavior from humans, too, unless you’re his favorite person. Dogs that love their pet parents frequently look into their eyes with love. They may stare directly into your eyes. You can’t miss it when your dog looks at you this way. The adoration will flood from his eyes to wrap you in a warm puppy hug.

4. Yawning: OK, this doesn’t sound like a nice thing to do when you love someone. Dogs and humans, however, share the impulse to yawn when someone else yawns. When your pup sees you yawn and responds with a yawn of his own, it means there’s a strong bond between you both. Do we need to explain this means your dog loves you? If so, then know he does if he yawns with you, rather than at you!

5. Doggie kisses: dogs greet one another with licks; this is also a way dogs greet their favorite people! If he’s giving your doggie kisses, wagging his tail and squiggling at the same time, you can rest assured your fur baby’s showing you his love and adoration. Doggie kisses are sweet and sometimes slurpy, but don’t bat him away…give him a kiss and hug in return. The bond between you will only deepen and you’ll both feel very happy and content.

6. Leaning on you: does your pup lean on you? If so, this is another sign he loves you! Dogs crave attention, support and affection. By leaning on you, he’s showing his love and affection. It can also mean he’s stressed, scared or nervous. Still, this is love.

He needs your support. If he’s just happy to see you, he’s giving you his love and affection—have no doubts!

7. Smiling: do dogs smile? You bet they do! Dogs smile when they’re happy and excited. The corners of a dog’s mouth will raise, and he’ll show you his teeth, with this whole face lit up with happiness. Be sure to smile back when your fur baby rewards with a smile. He loves and adores you.

8. Doggie hugs: dogs not only kiss and smile, but they also hug. Does your dog ever snuggle up to you as close as possible? Or when you bend down to hug him, does he lean into you, as if he’s giving a hug back? These are doggie hugs! Your canine companion’s saying he loves you.

9. Rolls over for a belly rub: the surest way to your pup’s heart is a loving belly rub. Not only is this a sign of trust in the dog world (the belly a vulnerable part), but a dog will only do this with people he really likes and loves. Most dogs love a good belly rub, but only from those they trust. So, if your dog greets you in this way, you can rest assured he’s saying, “I love you.”

10. Brings his favorite toy: does your dog greet you carrying his favorite toy when you come home? This is his way of saying, “I love you…spend some time playing with me!” Dogs need and want attention from their pet parents. If your dog greets you this way, you’ll definitely need to return his love and spend some time giving him lots of love and playtime.

These are all examples of dogs showing love to owners. Who wouldn’t enjoy being loved in these ways by their beloved canine companion? These are the times when it’s not necessary for you both to speak the same language. This language is heart-to-heart and understood by the both of you. How precious to be held so dearly by a furry companion?

How to Tell If a Dog I Love You

Now that you’ve learned how your dog show his love, how do you tell him you love him, too? We’ve got some ideas for you!

1. Gaze back into his eyes: if your dog gazes lovingly into your eyes, return the favor by gazing with love back into his eyes. Talk with him quietly, pet him and say, “I love you.” He’ll understand. Only do this with a dog who is trusting of you.

For some dogs, looking them directly in the eyes can be a sign you’re challenging them or that you’ll become aggressive. So, only gaze lovingly into your dog’s eyes if you two have a trusting relationship.

2. Talk with your dog: regularly holding conversations with your dog may seem a little bit strange. While he can’t understand everything you say, he’ll enjoy the sound of your voice. And if you’re feeling a little down, he may understand and try to snuggle with you, to comfort you and say he cares.

3. Spend quality time with your pup: nothing says “I love you” like spending quality time with your precious fur baby. He loves you and wants to be with you, so spend time playing with him, petting, exercising with him and more. He’ll love it…and love you even more. The bond between the two of you will only deepen by spending time together.

4. Nesting: whether you spend time just sleeping in the same room, on the couch or let your canine companion have a spot on the bed, sleeping with your dog says you love him. Dogs love to cuddle together, almost like being in a nest. This makes dogs feel safe and relaxed. Nesting with you will have the same effect. Try it—you’ll both love it!

5. Scratch behind his ears: dogs have a hard time reaching their ears, so be sure to scratch behind his ears. He’ll instantly become relaxed and may even have a “contented cow” (a cow chewing her cud—just happy and relaxed) look on his face. Not only will you relieve an itch, but you’ll also stimulate your dog’s endorphins and oxytocin. Endorphins are those “feel good” hormones that relieve pain and more, while oxytocin is the hormone that helps cement relationships.

6. Snuggle time: spend some snuggle time with your dog when he wants to. Some dogs don’t like snuggling—don’t worry, that’s OK. We’re all different, and each dog is an individual. Some like snuggling and others don’t. Don’t force your dog to snuggle. If he shows he’d love nothing better, then spend some time snuggling—you won’t regret it. And your pup will know you love him dearly.

7. Take care of him: our fur babies are completely dependent on us for all their needs—for everything from food to medical care and more. Take care of your dog in every way and he’ll know you love him. Take him to the vet for annual exams or when he’s sick, groom and bathe him on a regular basis and be sure to have a favorite treat on hand once in a while. All these are ways a dog will understand that you love him.

How to Tell If Your Dog Loves You the Most

Chances are if you regularly show your dog affection, you’ll quickly become his favorite person. Look for signs he’s showing his love that we covered in the first section of this article. If you see these signs, you’re his favorite, or at least one of his favorites!

When it comes right down to it, does it matter if you’re his favorite? If you live with a spouse or partner, with your family, a roommate, etc. and your dog’s happy, then does it really matter? As long as he loves you and everyone in your home, then that should be enough. If you have a happy pup, then you’re doing all the right things and you can be assured that he loves you.

We hope this article has helped you learn to see how dogs show their affection, what you can do to show your pup you love him and how to deepen that bond between you two. Like any relationship, it comes down to spending quality time together, taking care of your fur baby and showing him you love him. Doing these things will ensure you have a bond with your pup and that he loves you, and knows you love him, too!

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Tom

Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!

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