You love your dog, and you think she loves you, but how can you know for sure? Dogs can’t talk, and some of their communications are not immediately clear to us. Our dogs are always trying to find new ways to communicate with us, but there are some things that almost all dogs do to show how they feel about their human family. If your dog doesn’t do all of these things or does them more to another person in your household, don’t worry. You can actively build a bond with your dog and watch these signs of love grow.
Here are ten ways that your dog shows that she loves you. Some of these may be subtle signs of love, such as when your dog puts his paw on you. Learn all of the signs that your dog loves you so that you don’t miss a single indication of your dog’s affection, and so that you never misinterpret her behavior.
1. Staring at You
If you catch your dog gazing at you when you are both relaxing, such as when you are reading or watching TV and your dog is lying in her bed, this is a clear sign that your dog is soaking in the sight of you and learning your every move, intensifying the bond and love between you. If your dog stares at you while barking or pawing at you, you know that she sees you as the source of fun and good things, another indication of how much she needs and loves you.
2. Licking You
We call dog licks “kisses” for a reason. Dogs lick us and one another to show affection, groom, and generally show that they care. A sweet lick from your dog after you pet her is a sure sign that your dog is feeling affectionate and loving towards you and wants to returns the affection you are showing her. Enthusiastic licking when you return home shows that your dog is excited to see you again and can’t do enough to show her love.
3. Putting Their Back to You
It may not seem intuitive that your dog is showing you love by putting her back to you, but dogs only put their back to someone they trust. Assuming this position shows that your dog believes the two of you are facing the world together. Don’t think your dog is being rude if she puts her back to you, instead know that you are her trusted pack member.
4. Play Bowing at You
Play bowing is how dogs invite play and show trust, whether they are interacting with a person, another dog, or any other animal. By putting her head down and showing you her neck, your dog is telling you that she trusts you to play safely with her and not hurt her. Playing with you after the initial bow also shows trust and love, and bite inhibition and control shows caring.
5. Putting a Paw on You
If your dog puts her paw on you, especially while gazing at you, she is telling you that she loves you and is seeking affection and engagement from you. When you dog seeks affection from you in this way, you can be sure she loves you. She isn’t content just to be with you, but loves you so much she needs active engagement.
6. Staying Near You
If you find that whatever room you go to your dog tends to stay nearby, you can feel sure that your dog sees you as a member of her pack. Dogs want to stay near the people and other pack members that they love, so if your dog sticks by you inside and on off-leash walks, you know she doesn’t want to lose you.
7. Lying on Things that Smell Like You
If you find your dog lying on a pile of your dirty laundry or cuddling with your shoes when you come home, you can feel sure that she loves you. Dogs are very comforted by the smells of their loved ones when the loved one is away. If your dog seeks out your smell when you’re gone, you know she missed you.
8. Being Excited to See You
Your dog may be excited by everyone who comes to your house, but if your dog has a special or extra enthusiastic greeting for you, you know she is more excited to see you than anyone else because she has a special love for you.
9. Putting Up With Things
If your dog willingly tolerates things she doesn’t like, like getting a bath or going to the vet, giving you a “Why are you doing this to me?” look the whole time, you can feel confident that she loves you enough to trust you even when she doesn’t like what is happening. Reward her trust with good things like treats and toys during and after the experience.
10. Asking Things of You
Your dog will need to go outside to go potty, desires affection and play, and wants occasional reassurance. If your dog comes to you for these things and has ways of communicating, like pawing at you or whining, you can feel assured that she sees you as a loved provider of what she needs in life.
Your dog does much more than these ten things to show that she loves you. Every dog is different, and your dog likely has unique ways to communicate her love to you. Some dogs see doing a job, like protecting your home or you, as a sign of love. If your dog is overprotective or acting out, teach her other ways to please you and show you love, like helping with chores around the house or performing cute tricks. Remember to actively return your dog’s love, not only with cuddles and affection, but by being a good leader to her and meeting her mental engagement and exercise needs.