For most of us, dogs are as much a part of our family as anyone else in our home. They’re with us through the ups and downs and can often be just the reassuring presence we need after a tough day.
We’re certain you could list hundreds of ways you show your dog affection, but how do dogs show affection to you? Here are our 5 signs that your dog loves you:
Your dog loves to sleep in your bedroom
There are two types of dog owners, those who let their pooch snuggle up in bed with them and those who don’t. While it’s all down to personal preference, sharing a bed is one way that pets and owners can strengthen their bond.
Your dog wanting to sleep in your bedroom is part of their pack mentality, but also a sign of their affection. Just like us with our friends and family, physical affection can strengthen personal bonds and make your pet feel safe and secure.
Your dog is ecstatic when you return home
There’s no better feeling than coming home to be greeted by a joyful dog. It’s a chance to reconnect with your pet whether you’ve simply been out shopping or spent longer than usual away from your pet.
But why does your dog get so excited when you get home? Well, there is some science behind it. According to a study into dog behaviour, the reappearance of a familiar person increases your pet’s oxytocin levels – a chemical linked to pair-bonding and social memory.
These oxytocin levels increase even more when physical contact is involved. To put it simply, your dog wants to get up close and personal with you when you get home to help to build and maintain your connection. If you find your dog gets distressed when you’re apart, they may be suffering from separation anxiety.
Your dog will go out of their way for some physical contact
As with humans, physical contact is just one way your dog shows you they love you. There are lots of different types of contact including:
- Licking. This is a common way for a dog to show affection. According to Dr. Jennifer Coates, licking the face specifically could be a throwback to a dog’s early life – when it licked the face of their mother to try and get food1
- Pawing. This is often a way of getting your attention. It may be that your dog wants to play, wants food or simply a bit more contact
- Resting. By sitting on your lap or snuggling up with you, your dog shows they feel safe and comfortable beside you
It’s also important to your pet where you touch them. All pets have their sweet spots, but most dogs prefer being touched on the stomach, shoulder or at the bottom of their spine. Generally, avoid patting their head or holding their paw for too long. Dogs are much more likely to feel comfortable being with someone familiar.
Your dog brings you their favourite toy
While some pet owners might be greeted with a pup bounding towards them for a kiss, others might be presented with a special present – your dog’s favourite toy . Your dog bringing you their favourite toy might, of course, be an obvious sign they want to play their favourite game.
Remember, you’re the pack leader and you returning home is a big deal for your dog. If they bring their toy, use it as an excuse to play and bond so your dog has a set routine and you both get to spend some quality time together.
While many dogs are happy to play, you might notice your dog loses interest after retrieving their toy. It could be that your dog may know that they get more love and attention when they bring their toy and could just be using this as a clever ploy to get more cuddles. That, or they’re trying to show off – either way, try to engage with your dog and return their attention – you’ll soon figure out what they’re after.
If you don’t currently play games with your dog it can be a great way to increase the bond you have with them.
Your dog holds eye contact with you
We’ve all been there - you catch eyes across the living room and suddenly you can’t stop smiling. While there’s no substitute for a cuddle, dog owners can’t resist a loving look from our favourite pooch. Maintaining eye contact with dogs is an important way to stay connected with your pet.
A dog’s relationship with eye contact can vary greatly by breed and personality, so don’t be put out if you’re not getting loving gazes from over the doggie bowl. The one time you can certainly expect a loving look from your dog is when it’s feeding time. It would appear dogs and humans aren’t so different after all.
Show your dog you love them by protecting them in case the worst happens with pet insurance. Sainsburys Bank Pet Insurance is provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc.
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