We sure do love our dogs. We shower them with belly rubs, toys, treats, and hugs. They’re our companions, our friends til the end, and sometimes even makeshift therapists. After all, who listens as well as a dog? That’s right, no one!
Simply put, there’s not much we wouldn’t do for our dogs. From special home-cooked meals to extravagant birthday parties complete with pupcakes and party favours, we humans know how to spoil our canine companions. However, there comes a time in every dog owner’s life where they begin to wonder whether the feeling is mutual.
Fortunately, there’s no need to question your dog’s true intentions (hint, they’re not just using your for food), because we’ve got the inside scoop on certain dog behaviour that will lay this worry to rest once and for all. When all’s said and done, you won’t be any closer to actually reading your dog’s mind, but you may be a little better at deciphering dog body language. This way, next time your pup is giving the “I love you” signal, you’ll be able to give it right back!
1) Sharing a Yawn
Although the verdict on dog yawning varies from expert to expert, a study at the University of Tokyo noted that, “Our [research] suggests that contagious yawning in dogs is emotionally connected in a way similar to humans.” By also measuring the dogs’ heart rates while watching the way they reacted to human yawning, the researchers claim they were able to rule out stress as the cause of the contagious yawning. It was even more prevalent when the dogs were familiar with the people who were yawning. Sort of like the idea that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, when your dog “catches” your yawn, it means he’s on the same, loving plane as you.
2) Sharing Your Bed
Dogs are natural pack animals, sleeping together in the wild and in domestic households. Because you are your dog’s pack leader, it’s totally natural for him to want to sleep contently by your side. Although not everyone wants to share their bed with the family dog, sometimes just being in the same room on a bed of their own is enough to feel the love.
3) Post-meal Snuggles
Neuroscientist Dr. Gregory Berns is on a mission to prove that dogs love us more than food, and so far it’s panning out. According to Berns’ book, How Dogs Love Us, if your dog comes over to you for a post-meal snuggle, then she not only loves you, but does so more than any meal she could ever have.
4) A Staring Contest
Next time you and your dog are looking into each other’s eyes, remember this: said to be “comparable of that between mothers and their babies,” the oxytocin loop between dogs and their owners when engaging in mutual eye contact is undeniable. According to one study, altruism and trust are also formed from the hormone oxytocin, proving that the chemical responsible for bonding and love is very real and present in your caring canine.
5) Offering a Toy
When a dog brings you his favourite toy or bone, it likely means that he loves you. Asking to play is a sign of affection, but offering a prized possession signals that you are the pack leader and the most revered member of the household. No matter how scraggly and beat up the toy is, to your dog it means so much more.
6) Leaning Against You
Dog language can be tricky to decipher at times. However, dog leaning is completely harmless and probably does, in fact, represent a display of doggie affection. Believed to be a way to further bonding through touch, it cements the idea that being in the presence of one’s owner releases all of those feel-good brain chemicals responsible for love.
7) Eyebrow Wiggles
Dog signs can be easy to miss, especially when it involves intricacies of the face. However, researchers in Japan didn’t miss a beat. Yahoo News reported on a study that revealed “dogs lift and wiggle their left-hand brow when they first see someone they love.” This was corroborated by the dogs’ reactions to strangers versus their owners. The study continued: “When their parents came into the room, the dogs’ brows moved up and down significantly, while their faces stayed relatively impassive after seeing someone unfamiliar.”
8) A Calm Goodbye
If a worried, destructive, and uneasy dog are signs of separation anxiety, then a calm and easygoing dog upon your departure speaks volumes about the bond the two of you share. This means you’ve not only taken the time to develop trust, but your dog is showing that he has no reason to fear that you’ll never come back. When your dog is chill as you walk out the door, it’s his way of saying, “I love you and I’ll see ya when you get home, Mom and Dad.”
9) An Excited Return
While this isn’t the best display of doggie manners, the moment you walk through that door, your pooch can hardly contain her excitement. Whether it’s been five hours or five minutes, the wagging tail, the spring in her step, and the sloppy wet kisses are all signals that your dog has been patiently awaiting your return and loves you wholeheartedly. I mean, who else is this happy to see you?
10) Stuck Like Glue
If you’re thinking about changing your dog’s name to “shadow,” you wouldn’t be the first. One surefire way to know that you dog loves you is that he wants to be next to you no matter where you are. From the bathroom to the bedroom, your dog is likely right by your side because he’s seeking companionship. Another theory is that your dog imprinted on you as a puppy, which means he sees you as his parent or object of trust. Awww!
When was the moment you realized your dog loved you? Tell us about it in the comment section below!