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Affection can be expressed in many forms. Verbal, physical, or by certain actions we do to express it. This ultimately conveys our message to the recipient. As humans, this is a straight-forward task, its inherent. We were born with extreme physical and mental fluidity. This helps us do what no other animals could do before and maybe can never do after us. We can simply speak and tell our parents that we love them or hug them. Maybe get them a present.
But what happens if you are mute? You walk on all fours; all you can do is bark. You can’t also write because your brain functions are nowhere developed enough to even begin to comprehend sign language. You want to speak but the people you talk to can’t understand your tongue. These are the burdens of a dog. An animal that is so close to many of us. Our friends, family, and we go as far as to treat them as our children.
But how would you feel if you could never understand that your child was trying to say it loves you? Or vice-versa.
Even thou these questions can be haunting to many dog owners. Scientists and researchers around the globe are working 24/7 on understanding the behavior and the emotional implications of animals, such as dogs based on actions and interactions. And as such we have made headway into figuring them out, especially their affectionate sides.
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Do They Understand Us?
For ages, we as humans have domesticated and owned dogs. Once these dogs were savage wolves with an intellect that is on par with a 1-year-old human. Yet today they respond to our commands, praises, and scolding. These actions leave behind the instinctual nature of animals. Bordering between the lines between intelligence and sophistication.
This all has been experienced by dog owners throughout their lives while in a company of a dog
Reading a random article might be hard for you to believe that dogs can understand us. But a scientist or a researcher might be more convincing to you.
In a Hungarian university, researchers found that dogs do understand the tone, pitch, and the difference in our commands. This was done by taking 7 dogs and have them sit still while their brains are imaged by a scanner. The results were “shocking”, a dog’s brains show multiple levels of processing to understand us somewhat.
Perceived emotions like tone and pitch that the dogs got are processed by the left hemisphere of the brain. And words were detected and processed on the right side. The brain activity is very much similar to human brains but in the opposite orientation. They were praised in different tones. Normal praises with upbeat tone got a good reaction out of them. They found that the dogs did in fact like to be praised this way.
What’s more astounding is the fact that the same praise words were said in a more neutral voice, which has made them responded positively. The part of the brain associated with being praise gets activity. But the reaction was very little. This reaction proved that they also process language as we do yet differently. They can understand us somewhat.
After this research, researchers in Atlanta found that dogs can understand semi/pseudowords better. These words are the basic syllables that make up the word but have no perceived meaning. yet this gets a bigger reaction out of the dog’s brains. They cannot understand full words but single words associated with an action or object has a deeper connection to them. By omitting the other objects similar to the word, they keep a special place for another semi word they want to remember.
The biggest gripe is that the scans are not enough to understand what type of information, emotional connections they make with these words. Since there are just some basic reading of brain activity when they are exposed to those praising words. The results are still amazing, being that they do respond to the praiseful words well. They might not know what those words mean or they understand how we love them.
How Do We Know Our Dogs Love Us?
After taking a brief look at how dogs process our words, we need to look at how dogs themselves show us their affection. There are many forms dogs show us their love and it’s pretty common.
When dogs are owned by a person, they tend to always follow them whenever they can do so. Because they are social animals in general, they often make their communities in the wild called a “Pack”. They hunt and live together; a human owner might not be different to them then a friend or a parent. As such they get depressed or anxious whenever the dog’s owner isn’t around. If the dog follows you a lot it can be a show of affection and also companionship.
This also keeps them from having an anxiety disorder.
Licking is often the most associated and well-known way for dogs to show affection and love to someone. Licking is a maternal behavior exhibited by mother dogs to take care of and clean their puppies. This is also a form of reassurance to their loved once that they are safe and a form of sympathetic action. When humans are treated the same, we can see the parallels, dogs see us as families and we are loved and cared for by them.
Nosing or Sniffing
This can be a way for them to seek your attention and also show affection. By pressing their nose on you the come into contact with your smell and they feel safe or at a company with you on multiple levels. They even stare at you after nosing you.
Wagging Their Tails
Dogs wag their tails when they are excited or active. Even more, so that you are about to play with them, they are very excited and energetic to be around you. When they wag their tails around in a circular motion and fast, they show that they are happy.
Rolling on Their Backs
When dogs roll on their back, they show that they love you, trust you a lot, and feel comfortable with you. They want belly rubs and cuddles from you.
Leaning on You
Dogs are often showing a high degree of trust and dependency when they lean on you. They expect you to guard them against falling and give them some space to rest on you. This is a form of unconditional affection they show.
How do I Tell My Dog I Love Them?
There are many ways to show our best buddies that we care for them and truly appreciate their company.
Buy Proper Food and Treats
This is incredibly important. Nothing shows your affection more than being nurturing towards your pet, which involves buying costlier but healthier food for them. Research shows that commercial dog food is linked to canine health problems such as heart disease and arthritis in our four-legged friends. Moreover, certain types of dog treats can be bad for your beloved pet.
They can result in damage to their teeth, unhealthy weight gain, and some will even make your dog straight-up sick. Show how much you care about your dog by doing some research into dog food and dog treats. Find the best brands for canine wellbeing, so not only will your dog look healthier and live longer, but it’ll feel happier, too.
What shows your love for your dog better than a massive blanket with their adorable face printed on it? Companies like Woof Blankets will create a beautiful, super-soft blanket with your favorite picture of your pet on the material. These blankets are great for snuggling together, plus the personal touch can show your appreciation for your furry friend.
Blankets are one of the best options for pet personalization, but things like customized dog food bowls and dog leads are also a great idea. It’s little gestures like these that make your dog feel well and truly loved; even if they don’t fully understand why their face has been super-sized on a blanket.
Buy Them Toys
If you don’t have time for your canine companion, at least give them a friend to play within the meantime. There’s something incredibly sweet and endearing about watching your dog carry around its favorite cuddly toy, as they do seem to form a genuine bond. Don’t stop there though. As mentioned before, dogs have boundless energy, so you need to find ways to keep them preoccupied.
Invest in chew toys and squeaky toys; dog balls and tugging ropes. Showing your dog love is about meeting both their physical and emotional needs – and keeping them entertained falls under the latter. Having a pet is very much like being a parent. Playing with them and their toys will leave them feeling very loved and attended to.
And there you have how you can show your dog you love them. It’s about being nurturing; showing your affection with little gestures like buying them nice toys, treats and blankets. These will all make them feel happier and healthier.
Leaning On Them
As we know when a dog leans on us, they show their love for us and how much they trust us. As such we can also lean on them and pet them to show your love back. This keeps them feeling much more comfortable around us and be aware that we are with them.
Staring At Their Eyes
When dogs stare at you they show that they love you, or are seeing your attention. Staring back at them at their eyes can be shown as a form of love. And they do understand that eye contact with one of the eyebrows raised especially is a very close way to show affection. Keep in mind to make eye contact with dogs or animals you know and trust or else it can be a form of threat or a way to face off. You don’t want to stare at a raging dog intently unless you want to be mauled.
Playing With Them
Playing with our dogs or spending time with them doing what they like is something dogs appreciate very much. These forms of interactions are shown by another close member of a pack and often signifies a close family member. They will know you love them back and you are doing it so for them. This is one of the best ways to bond with your best four-legged buddy.
Rubbing Their Ears And Keeping Them Warm
Softly rubbing the dog’s ears can make your dogs go warm and fuzzy. Its an ultimate way of capturing its heart. It helps them release hormones that calm them down, gives them pleasure and happiness.
Giving Them Treats
Outside of dog food, treating them once in a while can be a form of reward that makes your dogs happy. This satisfies their hunger for a bit and shows them there is a loving person like a parent who always cares for them.
Dog’s psychic state is very complex yet simple based on their actions. Even if we don’t know fully how they interpret us, we do know they can feel our love and somewhat comprehend it and want to love us back. This all can happen if we are considerate enough towards them.