If you sometimes question whether your dog loves you, don't worry, they will tell you. You just have to be able to read their signs of affection. Even though your dog can't verbally tell you they love you, they certainly show it. Behaviors like licking you, gazing softly into your eyes, putting their butts against you, and sleeping on or near you are signs of affection your dog likely expresses daily. Learn the 10 signs your dog cares deeply for you, so you can feel confident knowing your dog loves you back.
Do Dogs Really Love Their People?
Yep, science confirms that dogs absolutely love their owners. Oxytocin, which is known as the "love hormone," is released in a dog's brain when they interact with their owners through petting, cuddling, or even just gazing into each other eyes.
However, the way dogs express their love isn't always as obvious as a wet kiss on the lips. These 10 gestures are the most common ways your dog might show you their undying love:
- They greet you enthusiastically
- They lick you
- They sleep near you
- They follow you around
- They present you with toys
- They initiate play with you
- They respond to your name
- They show you their belly
- They know when you need comfort
- They gaze softly into your eyes
1. Your Dog Greets You Enthusiastically
If your dog happily greets you anytime you return home (even if you were only gone a few minutes to grab the mail), it's a clear sign they love you. That might look like a tail wag or a bounding leap. However they show their excitement, it's clear they missed your presence.
2. Your Dog Licks You
Dogs lick their people for many reasons, one of which is love. These love licks, particularly on the face, are the equivalent of a dog kiss, which is something dogs do with each other to show affection. Generally, your pup will give you a few kisses to say, "Love you!", then go about their business, which makes this different from attention-seeking licking.
3. Your Dog Sleeps Near You
Just as with human love, when a dog loves you, they want to be close to you. Sleeping on or near you is another surefire sign that your dog is deeply in love with you. If you're napping too, your dog's position might also be a way for them to guard you against harm.
4. Your Dog Follows You Around
If your dog is always on your heels, it might be because they're smitten. Wanting to be in your presence is a sign of affection, and it also means you make your dog feel secure and safe.
If your dog can't be without you or is an anxious mess when you're gone, they might be suffering from separation anxiety, which should be addressed with behavioral training or medication. But if your dog just likes your company, it's probably puppy love.
5. Your Dog Presents You With Toys
Sharing is caring, especially in the canine world. If your dog presents you with their belongings, including toys, blankets, or bones, take it as them offering you a gift. They love and trust you enough to want to share their things with you. How sweet is that?!
6. Your Dog Initiates Play With You
Dogs are social creatures who play with other members of their pack. If they choose you to romp around with and initiate play with you, it means they see you as a part of their pack. Clearly, they love you as one of their own.
7. Your Dog Responds to Your Name
Does your dog perk up their ears whenever a family member or the pet sitter says your name? Dogs learn to recognize and respond to the names of their family members, so if your pup gets excited when they hear your name and anticipates your arrival, they definitely love you.
8. Your Dog Shows You Their Belly
The belly is a vulnerable area, which dogs generally try to protect when they don't feel safe. But if your dog "bellies up" when you're petting them or sleeps on their back with their tummy in full view, it means they trust you completely. Take this as a sign of affection.
9. Your Dog Knows When You Need Comfort
Dogs become deeply connected with their owners to the point where they can recognize when you're in distress. Studies show they can read human facial expressions and even hear the emotion in your voice. If your dog runs to your side to give you a nuzzle anytime you're feeling down, that's love.
10. Your Dog Gazes Softly Into Your Eyes
Just as humans in love get lost in each other's eyes, your dog's stare could be a sign of adoration. In the animal world, direct eye contact can be an aggressive behavior, but a soft, relaxed gaze with slow blinks is associated with love.
Yes, Your Dog Does Love You
As a pet parent, you love your dog unconditionally, so it's understandable to question whether your dog feels the same way. If your dog shows any of these 10 signs, it's pretty safe to say the feeling is mutual. Rest assured, your canine companion loves you just as much as you adore them, but don't forget to express your fondness in ways they'll understand, too.