We love our dogs - we give them belly rubs, take them on adventures, and feed them top notch food. We do a lot to show our dogs we care. But do you ever look at him and wonder: “do you love me?” How can we tell?
It turns out there are a few subtle ways our dogs show us that their love is real.
Your Dog Holds Eye Contact With You
Human to human eye contact releases oxytocin, the love hormone. Studies have shown that this same biological reaction occurs for humans and dogs when they gaze into one another’s eyes - both benefit from the release of oxytocin, which elevates bonding.
Your Dog Brings You His Toy
Have you ever come home to an excited dog, and the first thing he does is pick up his favorite toy and bring it to you? This means more than just wanting to play. Dogs want to share something they value with you. This “gift-giving” behavior is part genetics - wild dogs learn to carry their food in their mouths - and part learned - think of how excited we become when our dog does this. Dogs learn that this altruistic behavior simply makes us happy so they continue it!
Your Dog Bows Down
If you’ve ever watched your dog playing with other pups, you’ll see them offering a bow, which is an invitation to play. He will bend at the elbows with his chest low to the ground and his butt in the air (think downward-facing dog). When your pup does this to you, he is associating you as a part of his pack.
Your Dog Raises His Eyebrows
An interesting study was conducted that researched dog’s facial expressions when they were reunited with their owners versus when they encounter a stranger. The results showed that the dog’s left eyebrow moved more when the owner was present - which suggested that the eyebrow movement was in response to emotional feelings tied to their pet parent.
Your Dog Leans Against You
Dogs are social animals, and most of them enjoy physical contact with their owners. Some sleep with a paw on us or snuggle up when we are on the couch. And some like to put a lot of their weight on us, referred to as “leaning”. There are debates as to whether this is a form of affection, or dominance, but it largely depends on other body language factors. When your dog is in a relaxed state, and chooses to push his body weight against you, that is nothing short of affection!
What ways does your dog show you that he loves you?
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