Does My Dog Love Me?
As a pup parent, it’s normal to question your dog’s thoughts, behaviors and actions. After all, sometimes our pets can do some strange things which might lead you to wonder: “What are they thinking?” You might even consider your canine companion to be a part of the family, as many owners do, because you love them so much. If so, you wouldn’t be alone in wondering “Does my dog love me?” In fact, almost all dog owners will question this at some point while they raise their pup. So, in this article we’re going to look at how to tell if your pet loves you, signs your dogs love you and if they know that you love them back. Let’s begin!
Do Dogs Have Feelings?
Before we start answering all of these questions, it’s worthwhile learning about canine emotions. You might wonder if dogs feel the way we feel or if they’re even capable of feeling, showing and understanding emotion. We can tell that dogs have emotions through their reactions to people and things, both familiar and unknown. If your pup reacts positively to seeing you or hearing your voice, but is suspicious of strangers and other animals, this is a sign of emotional intelligence. In this situation, your pup recognizes that you are loving, familiar and trustworthy, which isn’t the case when they meet someone they don’t know. In the following examples, we’ll learn what behaviors might indicate that your dog loves you and why they do this, proving that dogs really do have emotions.
Signs Your Dog Loves You
If you want to know how to tell if your dog loves you, have a look at the list below to see if your pup shows these behaviors. If they seem familiar to you and your pup does them regularly, you can rest assured that your canine companion really does love you.
- Tail Wagging
Although tail-wagging has lots of meanings depending on the type, speed and situation, it’s a common behavior which indicates happiness and comfort. There are lots of books and articles dedicated to deciphering your canine companion’s tail wagging so we won’t go into it too much. However, if your dog wags its tail enthusiastically around the same height as their body, smiles and looks at you, this is a clear indication that they love you and enjoy your company. In a recent study by a neuroscientist and two vets, 30 dogs’ reactions were recorded when shown their owner, a stranger, an unfamiliar dog and a cat. When the dogs were showed their owner, their tails wagged more the right side of their body. So, if your pup wags its tail to the right side while looking at you, it could mean that they love you even more.
Although yawning can be triggered by a number of reasons like contagious yawning, or even reading about it, dog’s sometimes show their love for humans through yawning. (Have you yawned yet?) According to a study by Live Science, dogs often yawn in response to seeing their owner yawn which demonstrates empathetic relationship, meaning that they experience things because their owners do. In this study, dogs were observed to be more likely to yawn because their owner yawned, in comparison to seeing a complete stranger yawn. So, if your pup yawns because you yawn and then it could be a sign that they love you. However, don’t worry if your pup doesn’t do copy you every time. Since yawning is a naturally occurring action, it isn’t always triggered in the same way.
- Voice Recognition
If you introduce your pup to friends or family members who they see regularly, over time you’ll gradually notice them becoming more friendly and affectionate. After some time, your pup might even recognize your friend’s voice before seeing them. This kind of recognition (accompanied by other happy behaviors like tail wagging and smiling) shows that your pup enjoys the company and experience of being with this person. While it’s easier to see this process with other people, if your dog enthusiastically responds to your voice and shows signs of enjoying your company, they are essentially showing that they love you. If your pup stops what they’re doing after hearing your voice and comes to meet you then you can be sure that you have a strong connection.
- Canine Cuddles
Just like us, dogs have to be pretty comfortable and familiar with someone before choosing to snuggle with them. Since dogs are natural pack animals, they have to consider you one of their pack before they can comfortably cuddle or sleep beside you. This special connection is made over time and allows your pup to relax while cuddling you as they know you can protect them. The instinctive need for protection results from their feeling of vulnerability when they cuddle or sleep because they would be otherwise exposed if they were in the wild. So, if your fluffy friend feels comfortable enough to cuddle by your side and you do too then you have a mutual feeling of love and affection for each other.
- Eye Contact
Dogs are a bit like us humans in that they like to maintain eye contact when they’re interested and engaged with someone. While staring and eye contact can mean other things, if your precious pooch simply looks at you while smiling and gently wagging its tail, its most likely a sign of love and affection. It’s also been noted that dogs often squint their eyes while smiling and looking at their owner, so this could be a sign that they love you more than others.
Now you know some of the most common signs of affection that dogs do to show love. By showing you these affectionate behaviors, your dog is also acknowledging your love for him too. So, if you’re wondering “does my dog know I love him?” then you can be sure the answer is yes, otherwise they wouldn’t be showing these signs.
- Does my dog really love me? – Penn State