We all express love, affection and admiration. Sometimes, it’s a simple hug or kiss on the cheek. Other times, it’s through acts of service, thoughtfulness or concern. And, of course, there are times we just can’t hold it in, so we tell that person, “Hey, I love you.”
We understand these expressions from person to person. But the love language between you and your dog may be a bit different. We show our pups we love them in many ways: we pet them, give them treats, rub their bellies and ask them “Who’s a good boy?” in a high-pitched voice. However, it’s hard to speak the same language when you’re two separate species, which can make it a little harder to get your message across.
Some of us wonder if our dog truly loves us. Since dogs don’t express admiration the same way we do, it can be hard to comprehend their love language through their behaviors and actions. Luckily, we learn more and more every year about how dogs communicate and express their fondness of their owners. Science reveals reasons dogs demonstrate that unconditional love we feel from them.
Your dog communicates using nonverbals
Dogs rely heavily on actions rather than words to express themselves. If you want to understand what your dog may be feeling, watch what they’re doing with their ears, eyes, body positioning and facial expressions. When you’re trying to pinpoint what’s going on inside their head, examine the current situation and how your dog’s entire body reacts to it. For instance, you may associate tail wagging with happiness and excitement. But think about the context of the situation. If your dog is wagging its tail, but its ears and body are stiff, they could be on high alert or even frustrated. On the other hand, if your dog isn’t wagging its tail, that doesn’t always mean they’re flustered. They could also be scared or stressed about a particular event. In those cases, their tail typically sticks down between their back legs. Think about how they react to loud noises like thunderstorms or fireworks.
Dogs will likely do these things if they love you
We’ve all seen our dogs get excited when they hear our names. They may bark, run to the door, and if they’re big enough, they may even tackle you because they love you so much. Other expressions of affection are a little more subtle. These are some other behaviors your pup may show to say you’re the best thing since fresh tennis balls:
They guard you
Many dogs feel a sense of duty to protect you, even when you’re doing relatively non-threatening activities, like eating or relaxing on the couch. When a dog sees you as their pride and joy, they will do just about anything to keep you out of harm’s way. Sometimes, they’ll even shield you from others when you’re out in public. For instance, if you’re sitting on a park bench and another dog walks by, they may stand in front of you to protect you from the other dogs. This can be a sign that your dog truly loves you and sees you as part of their pack. While the gesture can be endearing, some veterinarians say you shouldn’t let your dog do this. They can become territorial and potentially develop behavioral issues if it goes on for too long.
They share their toys with you
If your dog likes to play fetch, they probably have a wet and gross ball or stick they love to run around with. While some dogs may just be itching to get active, others do this to tell you that you matter to them. When a dog shares a beloved ball or toy with you, they’re expressing their love by sharing an item that has significant value to them.
In other cases, they may bring you a toy that needs fixing. Your dog likely sees you as their provider and hero, especially if you’re the primary family member that feeds them. The fact that they’re giving you a stuffed animal or another object to patch up for them is a sign they trust you.
They can tell when you need comfort
While they can’t ask you questions or address the problem you have, many dogs can tell if you’re overwhelmed, upset, or having a tough day in general. They may not know the exact cause, but they can tell when something just isn’t right. If this happens, they’ll usually find some way they can cuddle up to you on the couch. If you’re not sitting down, they’ll still be close by.
They herd you and other loved ones
Your dog loves you when they treat you like part of their pack. But how do you know? They may display something called “herding behavior.” Herding is common among breeds who used to herd livestock, like Australian Shepherds, Australian Kelpies and Belgian Shepherds. You may see herding behavior if your dog tries to keep family members from straying off while out on a walk.
They rub their face on you
Dogs love it when you pet them. In fact, they may have their own way of petting you back. Some dogs will give their owner affection by rubbing their face on them. This is your dog saying, “You don’t belong to anyone else but me.” Face rubbing also gives you their scent so other dogs know they can’t claim you as territory.
However, if your dog is rubbing their face on more than just you, like the couch, the carpet or the nightstand, you may want to make sure they don’t have any rashes, infections, bites or other skin issues.
They worry about you when you lie down
When you get into bed or lie on the floor for the fun of it, does your dog get anxious or freaked out? This behavior may be alarming to some, but there’s no need to worry in most cases. This is your dog’s way of saying they’re concerned about your well-being. In their minds, you might be sick, dying or already dead. If that’s the case, they may repeatedly lick your head or face while you’re trying to rest. While they may have good intentions, this behavior may be bothersome to you. Fortunately, you can keep your bedroom door shut while you’re trying to sleep. Doing so can place a temporary barrier between you and your anxious pet.
Show your pup some love by feeding it well
There’s no stronger bond than the one humans share with their dog. And when you know your dog loves you as much as you love them, it makes you two even closer. Want to know another way you can tell your dog you love them? Feed them nourishing food that can enhance their well-being. At NutriSource, we understand that a healthy pup is a happy pup. We provide the best nutrition to provide super immunity to help protect your dog from harmful oxidative stress that leads to illness and disease. Feed your canine NutriSource for a long and healthy life. You can find our products at your local independent pet retailer. Or, you can get our products shipped to you from the comfort of your own home.