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Five Ways Your Dog Shows Love

Five Ways Your Dog Shows Love

You love your dog—you give her belly rubs, dry her wet paws, take her on adventures, and feed her  copious treats for being good. You do those things and more to show your dog you care, yet do you ever find yourself wondering if the feeling is mutual? How can you tell? It turns out there are several subtle and unmistakable ways your dog will show you that you’ve filled her heart as much as she’s filled yours. Canine body language experts have been reading our four-legged-loves’ behavior for decades, and here’s what you can know for sure: 

If Your Dog Holds Eye Contact With You...

You’ve likely gotten a hold of her heart. Studies have shown that human-to-human eye contact releases oxytocin, the love hormone. This same biological reaction occurs when humans and dogs gaze into each other’s eyes. Both parties benefit from the release of oxytocin, which elevates bonding and tells your dog she’s gotten a hold of your heart, too. 

If Your Dog Brings You His Toy...

Ever come home and get greeted by not just your dog, but his favorite toy as well? Sure, he’s feeling playful, and he’s definitely excited to see you; but his offering signifies more than that. His gesture indicates he wants to share something he values with you. This “gift-giving” behavior is due in part to genetics (wild dogs learn to carry their food in their mouths), and it’s also an intrinsic gesture learned from watching their humans express joy in response to their adorable and sweet signals. Think of how you smile when your dog brings you a present. That reinforces his behavior.

If Your Dog Bows Down...

If you’ve ever watched your dog play with other pups, you’ll see her offer a bow, which is an invitation to play. In this cute curtsy, she’ll bend at the elbows with her chest low to the ground and stick her rear in the air (now you see where “downward-facing dog” came from). When your pup does this to you, she is associating you as a part of her pack and letting you know you’re play-worthy, too. 

If Your Dog Raises His Eyebrows...

In humanspeak, raised eyebrows can signify incredulity, surprise,  and even ruffled feathers. Among our pooch pals, however, eyebrow movement is more likely to represent positive recognition and familiarity. A study of dogs' facial expressions revealed that when they encountered strangers, they showed minimal brow shifts. But when they were reunited with their pet parents, the dogs’ eyebrows moved and indicated emotive functions (specifically, their left eyebrows moved more when the owner was present). Researchers concluded that brow movement occurs in response to good feelings tied to a pet parent. Next time you see your dog’s eyebrows arch, rest assured, he’s likely not doubting you or rejecting the joke you just told; in fact, he might be asking you to keep ’em coming.  

If Your Dog Leans Against You...

Dogs flourish through physical contact with their owners. After all, they are social animals. Your snuggly pup might sleep with a paw draped over you or may snuggle up close on the couch or in bed. When she tilts her weight toward us—or leans—she’s usually showing affection in yet another mutual and love-inducing way.  While there are debates as to whether this represents a smitten pup or a dominant one, it largely depends on other body language factors to determine intent. When your dog is relaxed and chooses to lean up against you, it’s a pretty safe bet that the late-night walks and behind-the-ear rubs—and the pet parent leading the charge—are nothing short of appreciated.

...And Two Ways to Improve Your Bond with Your Dog

A human-dog bond can always be improved. An easy way to do that is by spending at least 30 minutes with your dog every day. Go for walks or play with her favorite toys.  Your dog will appreciate the extra effort and you'll learn more about your dog’s likes and dislikes if you are paying attention. With the Wagz® Freedom Smart Dog Collar™,  you can track your dog’s walks and even monitor your dog’s Health & Happiness Score. 

Another way to better your bond is simple: train your dog: Training your dog can reduce frustration from misunderstood signals or behavior. A well-trained dog can also enjoy greater freedom because he understands the boundaries and gets rewarded for good behavior. The Wagz Freedom Collar is a great training tool, too, because it offers 100% humane, shock-free corrections to keep them contained safely within designated areas. It’s just another way of developing a loving and trusting bond between you and your pup.

Learning to understand what your dog is feeling before he expresses it allows you to offer better support and him to trust in you.

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