Does my dog love me is a common question I am asked. I have asked myself the same question myself after adopting a dog that was over 9 months old. Although bonding can take time with some dogs. However, there is scientific proof that dogs show us their love is in many different ways. A dog’s love is deep, genuine and unconditional. It is a love that will last forever. Lets start with how dogs show affection.
Affectionate Doggy Body Language
How do dogs show affection?
Eye Contact With Your Dog
Scientists have proven that when we use eye contact to bond with our pets. According to CBS news, it caused by a hormone called Oxytocin. “This is the hormone associated with trust and maternal bonding – it increases when you’re close to someone you love and gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside.” This is also the same hormone that is released when a dog has puppies to encourage bonding between the mother and the puppy.
If your dog can look at you in the eyes and focus on exactly what you’re saying or doing. This is a sign of trust if they are relaxed and not crouching or cowering. If they can be confident with you. It is showing you trust. That your their leader and they want to learn more about what you’re saying or doing.
When eye contact is a problem
Some dogs that you do not know well, will not appreciate that same eye contact. Eye contact with fearful dogs can be a sign of aggression or threat. They may not react all sweet as you would expect. Always approach another dog cautiously.
For instance, when we adopted our dog she has some severe fear aggression towards people and other animals. We had to build trust. She was a rescue dog in which we had no idea what happened to her in the past. We had to build trust to be able to look at her in the eyes otherwise she found us threatening to her.
We also told anyone that we hadn’t introduced her to previously not to look her in the eyes and let her approach you when she is ready. Also, we had a no petting patch on her harness until she was totally trained and gained her trust back towards humans.
Licking- Do dogs lick to show you they love you?
If your dog licks you and holds you down. They may be well trying to groom you. Showing you that they care. After all, we do that to them to show affection. Although it may come from instinct of wolf puppies that wait in the den for their mother to return after hunting. The Pups will lick her muzzle and wait for her to regurgitate the food for them to eat. Before they can hunt they have to learn how to enjoy and eat food.
Some experts say that it is a food-seeking behavior. However, it can be a sign of affection as well. Allowing the dog a feeling of security or comfort. For instance, the dog when it was licked by its mother before their eyes opened. They can very well be giving you that love with kisses by licking.
When licking becomes a problem
If a dog is licking themselves obsessively on the paws or other parts. This could be a sign of allergies or other medical reasons. I would recommend taking them to see your veterinarian. If you want to train your puppy to stop licking your face or a stranger. I would recommend positive reinforcement training.
Teaching them to only lick you when asked. You can easily distract your puppy by offering a treat or favorite toy. This will offer them a better choice. Eventually, after repetition, your puppy will understand what your trying to say.
The Wagging Tail-Does my dog love me by wagging its tail?
When the tail is wagging it is usually a sign of happiness. However, wagging speed can mean different things such as these below:
I call our dog the queen of wags. She is unique by her wag is up and down rather than side to side. The speed of her wag can give me mixed signals at times. It reminds me of a barometer. If a dog stops wagging their tail suddenly they could be giving you a warning.
A friendly wag is most common on the approach of someone new or sees something that makes them happy. Excitement wag is that crazy wag when you’re coming in the door. They will also pick up their favorite toy or bone and be bouncing around in excitement. If a dog’s tail is more to the left than the right it could mean your dog has some sense of insecurity or aggression. It is important to understand your dog’s body language. This is a poster that I was able to find by Lilli Kim -CCL It will help you understand what your dog is trying to say to you.
Cuddles Your Belongings
There could be many factors why your dog cuddles your belongings. One is that they may be trying to keep warm. Other reasons may be that your scent is on the belonging. It can be a gesture of bonding. Wanting to be closer to you. This may offer them a sense of security. If you allow your dog to sleep in bed with you or not this behavior is quite normal in the bonding process. They may steal your socks or shirt to cuddle with on their bed.
If your dog is nuzzling up to you, that could mean they are not only marking you but wanting some affection or attention. Because they have scent glands in their muzzles they may rub up against you to mark you. Some nuzzle, for instance, can mean they want your attention. Like, let’s play or go for a walk.
Some dogs may lean up against you. This is good, they are showing the bond they have with you. It can take some time before your dog does this, some may never nuzzle. It all depends on the comfort level with your dog.
Although we love it when our dogs show such great excitement when we walk in the door. Jumping can be their way of showing your affection and telling you that they missed you. It can become very problematic for those that have a fear of dogs. You will want to limit this behavior when greeting strangers. Training them to socialize at an early age is crucial to good doggy etiquette. Teaching the basics and the command down can really help in these situations.
Wanting to play
Our dog will grab her favorite toy and walk around when she is happy. But it doesn’t mean she wants you to take away her toy and start playing. Again body language is important here. Other times she will choose a toy and walk over to us allowing us to play with her.
According to the Dodo, it can also mean that they think of you as a pack leader. It is their way of showing trust and respect to those they love. If they roll over on to their backs this means they trust you. As long as it not a fearful reaction you can be reassured this is a signal of love and trust.
Yawning- Showing some dog love
Yawning is a way a dog will tell you that they are relaxed with you. If you yawn and then your dog yawns it could be a sign of affection. In some cases, a yawn may mean they are anxious or nervous. If you follow the yawn in this case you can reassure them it is going to be ok.
When you approach a dog that is nervous around you. Try to yawn and see what their reaction is. This signals to the dog that you are not a threat, even though you are nervous. It can be a calming effect as well.
Facial Expressions- Lifting their eyebrows
There was a study done in Japan on the facial expressions of your dog when they see you compared to a stranger. They found that dogs lift their eyebrows when they see their caregiver. Especially the left eyebrow. The right tends to be more prominent when they meet a stranger.
Does my dog get jealous of other dogs or pets?
Dogs can show traits of jealousy. However, there could be reasons that are behind that such as:
- A new baby or pet in the home
- Recent move to another neighborhood
- New Partner or spouse in the home
- Change in schedule
In a study that was done it discussed some of the reactions of jealousy. There is evidence that dogs do get jealous in a similar way to humans under certain circumstances. These may include:
- Snapping at or showing aggression towards a certain object
- Distraction can also cause them to seek attention by pushing the object out of the way
- Show interest that they normally would not under different circumstances.
Most of these are attention-seeking behaviors rather than jealousy. However, you do always want to make sure you make them feel important and loved to avoid any of these situations. Show your dog that you love him in ways they can relate to. Work with a trainer if you feel that is more an aggressive reaction towards these situations.
So does my dog really love me?
If your dog shows you trust and affection you can bet he really loves you. They need to be around people and they crave love and attention from their humans. If your dog does any of the following I can almost guarantee that they absolutely love you! Science has proven to us that your dog can really love you. They love with no boundaries. They prove their loyalty to us in so many ways as an expression of their true love for us as their favorite human.