Many dog owners may wonder to themselves: does my dog know I love him? Dogs are loyal, loving animals that offer the most conditional love so it’s no wonder why humans want to make sure that they know how much we love them back!
Take a look at your canine bestie. Is her tail wagging back and forth when she sees you? Does she lean into you when you are sitting on the couch? Although our dog pals can’t verbally communicate with how much they love their humans, they sure have ways to show just how much they appreciate us. According to Spots, it’s estimated that 84.9 million Americans own a dog, with the majority of dog owners being Generation X and Millenials. That sure is a lot of dogs and a lot of love!
The question of whether our dog knows how much you love him can simply boil down to one fast answer—yes. But, how, you may wonder? We are about to dive into the ways you can tell that your dog knows you love him. And perhaps, you have been witness to these actions many times before.
How To Tell That The Dog You Love Returns That Feeling
As reported by Wag!, a study called canine cognition has revealed that dogs release the feel-good chemical, oxytocin when they are with us. By releasing this love chemical means that dogs understand everything we do for them is out of love and also, they feel love toward their human.
Although our four-legged pals can’t verbally tell us that they do indeed love us back, they definitely do show us in their body language. A few ways that dogs show their love for us include:
- Snuggling. If your dog spends a lot of time in your lap or doesn’t shy away from you snuggling them, that is a sure sign to know that your dog accepts and returns your love.
- Leaning into you. This super-sweet doggie lean is the equivalent to a human hug, but it’s possibly a bit better! Hug your best friend back by placing your arm around them.
- Staring into your eyes. If you catch your dog staring at you a lot, you should feel honored. They’re letting you know that they love and appreciate you!
- Tail wagging. The common tail wagging. We’re not talking crazy motion here, but a slow, soft wag. This tail-wagging happens because your pooch is happy to see you. They most certainly know you love them.
- Licking. When a dog licks you, it’s actually to groom you, so you should feel pretty loved. A dog will only groom members they accept in their pack, so consider yourself truly loved.
Dog and Human History
Just how far back do the dog and human relationship go? Wag! reported that scientists believe that the domestication of dogs started about 15,000 years ago. This relationship with dogs began when we began to farm rather than hunt and gather.
Most of us know that dogs evolved from wolves. The first theory is that wolves followed humans around until they made their own efforts to domesticate themselves. Another theory falls on that humans caught wolf cubs and made them pets. Whatever theory is true, we sure are glad this happened!
The Science Behind Dogs Feeling Our Love
The biological connection between humans and their pups is a real one, and it has to do with the feel-good chemical called oxytocin. Dr. Brian Hare is a canine cognition specialist and has explained to People magazine in the past just how special the dog-human bond truly is.
“Dogs and humans have a very special relationship, where dogs have actually hijacked the human oxytocin bonding pathway that is normally reserved for our babies. When you stare at your dog, both your oxytocin levels go up, the same as when you pet them and play with them,” Hare stated in his interview, as reported by Wag!
Hare also pointed out that the chemical bond only strengths the more you spend time with your canine pal—so increase your time with your dog to let her know just how much you love her!
Ways To Tell Your Dog Just How Much You Love Him
Every loving dog parent wants to know how they can show their dog how much they love him. With a little effort and much desire, it’s a simple task.
- Communicate with your dog. Of course, your pooch knows what you’re saying to him! According to Rover, a dog is able to learn around 165 words, and even more with intensive training. It may not be a surprise, but research shows that puppies responded better to the recorded voices of women that used a higher pitch.
Instead of telling your dog “no”, try phrases such as “sit” or “leave it.” These basic cues can show your dog which behaviors are desirable and which are undesirable.
- Rub your dog’s ears. The next time your pooch is near you, try giving him a gentle rub behind the ears. Kristine Levine suggests this over head pats due to the release of endorphins, which are hormones that relieve pain and bring on feelings of pleasure.
- Buy them new treats and toys. Every dog enjoys some new toys and tasty treats, and they will certainly feel the love if you spoil them every now and then.
- Spend time with your four-legged pal. A definite easy box to check off on this list! Affectionate dogs just want to be near the person they admire most, so even the most simple act of laying down on the couch and letting your dog snuggle you is enough to show them how much you love them.
- Let your body language tell them. When you return home from a long day, your dog is waiting at the door in excitement of tail-wagging happiness. One great way to show your pooch how much you love him is to let your body language speak for itself—kneel down and pet your dog, let her give you all the face licks.
- Brush your dog. Grab the brush and spend a few minutes grooming your dog. Trust us, they view this as a sign of love.
- Stare back at your dog. If you happen to catch your pooch staring at you, stare back! This will show them that you, too, love them. Dog Adorable recommends to only do this with a dog you trust—dogs that don’t trust you or aren’t comfortable around you would see this as a threat.
Next Time You Ask, “Does My Dog Know I Love Him?”, Know The Answer Is Yes!
Dogs know that you love them thanks to the strong bond formed over the last hundreds of years. There are several ways to know if your dog loves you back—tail wagging, licking your face, and the infamously sweet “doggy lean” are cues to look for in your canine pal. There are so many ways to show your dog how much you love him but perhaps the best way is to simply spend time with your pooch- that is all he wants to do, anyway.
So the next time you are near your four-legged friend and wonder “does my dog know I love him?”, remember a few of these suggestion tips!
Sources: Spots, Wag!, Rover, Dog Adorable, Kristine Levine