12 ways your dog shows they love you

Discover the 12 surprising behaviours your dog may exhibit when they’re letting you know they love you!

8th February 2024

Our dogs are part of the family, and we show we love them by offering our treasured pups an amazing life full of affection and adventure. 

But, how does your dog show they love you?

We’re about to explore 12 of the weird and wonderful ways our canine companions show us how they feel…

1 – Tail wagging

While a wagging tail can convey a range of different doggy emotions, if your best fur-iend’s tail wags when they see you, they’re more than likely expressing happiness. 

Nothing beats an excitable greeting when you return home! So, that waggy tail is a signal from your dog that seeing you again (even if you’ve only been gone a few minutes!) is awesome, and they love you.

2 – Kisses

Sometimes, a slobbery lick across the face, or lots of little kisses planted on your hand, can be your dog’s way of letting you know that they love you! Doggy breath may not be the most pleasant of scents, but sharing it with you is a significant sign of fondness from your canine companion.

Next time your dog sneaks a kiss when you least expect it, remember that it’s one of the biggest ways for them to display their affection.

3 – Snuggling

They may have evolved from wolves to become pampered pooches, but your dog’s sleeping habits still maintain a connection to their wild ancestors. In the wild, sleeping is when we are at our most vulnerable, so seeking out a safe and secure space to nap is key, and that instinct still exists today. That means your dog must really love you if they’re comfortable enough to snuggle up with you to sleep!

If your canine companion enjoys snoozing with you on the sofa or curling up in your bed, they’re communicating their trust in you as their pet parent. 

4 – Being your shadow

Another inherited trait of their wild ancestors can result in your dog’s longing to follow you everywhere because you’re leader of their pack. Fear of missing out (or ‘FOMO’) is another theory, as your furry friend doesn’t want to miss out on whatever you’re doing! 

From cooking dinner to using the bathroom, do you ever find your dog stays practically glued to your side throughout the day? As irritating as it might be at times, when you’re almost tripping over them, your dog’s desire to be by your side shows how important you are to them.

5 – Jumping up

Although jumping up isn’t a sign of affection you want to praise them for, your dog’s overexcitement at seeing you could lead to them bouncing towards your face. It’s believed the reason they jump up is linked to your canine companion’s need to feel connected to you and/or make eye contact.

To find out how to gently discourage your dog from jumping up, check out our article about training your canine to stop jumping up.

6 – Eye contact 

Eye contact is a powerful communication tool for dogs. If you share a strong bond with your canine companion, they’re likely to want to maintain as much eye contact with you as possible.

Making eye contact with you also causes your dog to release a hormone called ‘oxytocin’ (a.k.a. ‘the love hormone’), which mimics their mother’s response to them as a puppy! 

7 – Leaning on you

In the same way eye contact has a positive impact on the bond your dog shares with you, leaning is another sign of their devotion to you. By leaning on you, your furry friend is informing you that they trust you because you’re the one who keeps them safe.  

Some situations in which your dog leans on you could be linked to nervousness or anxiety, and they’ll lean against you because you’re their protector. Alternatively, your canine companion’s leaning might be inspired by their need for a cuddle!

8 – Showing their belly

Your dog rolling over to request a tummy tickle is probably associated with asking for attention. However, showing you their belly is the ultimate signal of submission, meaning your best fur-iend trusts you completely. 

As they display their most vulnerable side, your dog shows you their tum because they want to communicate how vastly they love you and appreciate your affection!

9 – Smiling

Smiling isn’t something every dog does, though many canine companions might flash their teeth at you to express their excitement or respond to your smiles at them. Most doggy smiling will be subtle and echo the sentiment you share with your dog whenever you smile in their direction.

There’s a big difference between showing their teeth through aggression vs. affection – if you’re unsure about your dog’s feelings, see where they sit on the canine ladder of communication

10 – Checking in with you

Independent doggos who enjoy alone-time, while their pet parents are otherwise occupied, may come across as a little aloof or indifferent about your company. But, if your dog pops their head around the door to check in while you’re busy working from home or doing the dishes, that’s their unique form of affection.

Nose nudges are another subtle yet significant sign that your pup loves you! Any attempt by your dog to make physical contact with you could be interpreted as their attempt to show how deeply they care. 

11 – Bringing their favourite toy to you

Whenever your dog offers a favourite toy to you, it’s easy to assume they just want to play. However, by gifting you their most prized possession, your pup actually wants to let you know that they adore you as their pet parent and pack leader!

You may find your dog enjoys carrying around items of your clothing too, especially if items have been worn. While holey socks aren’t the best of discoveries to make, carrying your clothes is your canine companion’s way of keeping you close. 

12 – Stretches

Feeling relaxed, or needing to move after a long nap, are just two of the many potential reasons behind your dog’s stretching. Though did you know there’s another special reason your dog stretches in front of you? 

Should your pooch place their paws on the floor and raise their tail to the roof when they’re near you, they’re signalling that they trust you and respect your leadership.

If your dog does any of the above actions to show how much they love you, we want to know! Please reach out to us via Facebook or Instagram.

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