This post is written by guest author, Britt Kascjak, from Shed Happens.
All Pet Voices may receive commissions from products included in this article.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s the season of love, affection, and acknowledging those that we care about most. There is no love quite like the bond that is shared between a dog and its owner.
Have you ever showered your dog with love only to wonder if your feelings are being reciprocated? Check out these 7 signs your dog loves you!
As humans, we often rely highly on the power of verbal communication. And we aren’t afraid to literally wear our love for our dog. However, our dogs don’t have that luxury when trying to show us how they are feeling.
Instead, we have to watch for subtle clues in their body language and actions.
You may be surprised to learn that your dog is trying to ‘talk’ to you every day, you just have to learn how to listen!
Some signs may seem obvious. For example, most dog lovers grow up knowing that a wagging tail is a sign of happiness and excitement. Others, however, are more subtle.
Are you interested in learning how to listen to your best friend?
Let’s break down 7 specific ways that your dog is communicating love, loyalty, and affection.
Whether you refer to your pup as your buddy, your best friend, or your fur baby, let’s celebrate the bond between dog and owner this Valentine’s Day.
After all, dogs are known as man’s best friend (or woman’s best friend) for a reason!
Check Out These 7 Signs Your Dog Loves You!
#1 – Eye Contact
In the wild, making eye contact can easily be taken the wrong way. For this reason, a dog’s natural response is to avoid eye contact in any situation where they are unsure or uncomfortable.
When you stop and think about it, we’re no different!
Think back to the last time you were in an uncomfortable situation. You were likely looking off to the side, avoiding eye contact, and hoping you could escape. Right?
As your pup begins to know and trust you, however, this will change. A dog that fully trusts you will be able to make and maintain eye contact while remaining relaxed.
Gazing into one another’s eyes will actually cause a release of the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin, a process that’s similar to that of a mother bonding with her newborn child.
NOTE: This only applies when your dog is cuddling on THEIR terms. Holding a dog down, even if it’s in an embrace, can be incredibly stressful for a dog.
#2 – Following You Around
You have likely seen the hilarious pictures floating around social media of the dog sitting proudly in the bathroom door, refusing to give its owner any privacy.
If your dog is underfoot everywhere you turn, it’s a testament to how much he or she cares.
This can also be seen in the dog that may be comfortable keeping its distance but refuses to allow you out of sight.
Your dog is biologically wired to ‘protect its pack’.
Therefore, if your dog is actively trying to keep an eye on you and keep you safe, he or she is telling you that they consider you to be part of that close circle.
#3 – Giving You ‘Kisses’
There are many different reasons that a dog may choose to lick a person. The key is to interpret their body language at the time.
If your dog appears excited to see you, they are licking to greet you. That is a sign of affection.
You may also notice your dog licking you calmly when cuddling. This is about comfort and familiarity. Your dog is licking you just as its mother used to.
One situation that is often overlooked in terms of affection is the act of grooming.
Anytime your dog is licking you as if trying to clean you, this is also one of the signs your dog loves you.
In the wild, dogs often clean other members of their pack as a demonstration of affection and loyalty. They are caring for one another.
#4 – Bringing You Their Favorite Toy
Does your dog often greet you excitedly with his/her favorite toy, ready for playtime? If so, he/she is showing love in two very distinct ways.
Your pup clearly wants to play. Playtime is an activity that is often used to bond members of the same pack starting at a young age.
Therefore, wanting to play for you shows that your dog is happy and considers you to be a loved member of his/her pack.
What you may not realize is that by choosing their favorite toy, your dog is showing you how important you are in their life.
Your dog’s favorite toy is likely its most prized possession and it’s presenting it to you as a sign of affection and loyalty.
#5 – Comes to You After Mealtime
Dogs are generally spontaneous animals, living for the here and now. Knowing this, you can generally identify a dog’s priorities by watching where they focus their attention.
It’s not uncommon for dogs to prioritize food when it’s around. It’s a biologically wired desire. That being said, pay attention to where your dog goes or what he/she wants to do as soon as that meal is finished.
If your dog licks the bowl clean and then comes to you for attention, that’s a sign that you are well-loved.
#6 – Stealing Your Shoes or Laundry
While the other items on this list may be cute and funny, this isn’t always the case when your dog starts stealing your shoes or laundry.
Seeing your dog run around with your stinky sock in its mouth may make you cringe, but it is actually a sign of affection.
Dogs have a powerful sense of smell and it is likely your smell that is attracting them to your laundry basket, not the items themselves.
In fact, studies show that when a dog encounters the smell of a loved owner, it activates areas of the brain associated with pleasure.
In other words, your dog loves you so much that your scent brings them happiness.
#7 – Cuddling/Leaning Against You
Hands down, my favorite sign of affection (and one of the most obvious signs) is that special moment when your dog snuggles up beside you.
I can’t talk about signs your dog loves you without mentioning cuddle time!
There is a full spectrum of behaviors that are all related and fall under this category including placing their head or a paw on your feet while sleeping, leaning against you, and, of course, curling up in your lap.
Those stems back to the way that wolf packs sleep together, keeping one another safe by having everyone close by.
Your dog could sleep anywhere but chooses to sleep curled up with you. If that isn’t a clear sign of their love for you, I don’t know what is!
When all is said and done, one thing is true as a dog owner. Regardless of which signs your dog may or may not show, you know how much your dog loves you and you love them in return!
Do you have any unique examples of signs your dog loves you? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
About the Author: Britt is a proud pet mom, sharing her heart (and her home) with her ‘pack’ which includes her husband John, their 2 dogs Daviana and Indiana and their 2 cats Pippen and Jinx. She has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. In her free time, she enjoys traveling around the country camping, hiking, and canoeing with her pets.