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 that we care. But do you ever look at your dog 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. Research has shown that this same biological reaction occurs when humans and dogs gaze into each other’s eyes – both are benefiting from the release of oxytocin, which elevates bonding.
Your dog raises his eyebrows
An interesting study was conducted that researched the facial expressions of dogs when they were reunited with their owners versus when they encountered a stranger. The results showed that when dogs’ owners were present, they moved their left eyebrow more. The study suggests that the eyebrow movement was in response to emotional feelings tied to their human.
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 due in part to genetics (wild dogs learn to carry their food in their mouths), and learned behavior (think of how happy we become when our dog delivers his toy to us). Dogs see how excited this act of gift-giving makes us, so they continue it simply to please us!
Your dog bows down
If you’ve ever watched your dog playing with other pups, you’ll see him 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- a sign of admiration.
Your dog leans against you
Dog are social animals, and most of them enjoy physical contact with their humans – like sleeping with a paw on them or snuggling up. Some dogs like to push their weight on their humans when they sit or cuddle. This is referred to as “leaning”. There are debates as to whether leaning is a form of affection, or dominance, but it largely depends on the dog’s body language when it’s occurring. If your dog has a neutral tail and appears to be in a relaxed state as he is leaning on you, this is nothing short of affection!
What ways does your dog show you that he loves you? Tell us in the comments section below!