Whenever those adorable, begging eyes gaze at you and their excited wagging tails welcome you every time you come home, there’s no way that you can resist a dog. Seeing your loving canines stare at you with such interest and longing while tugging on your clothes and asking you to play with them can easily make your heart swell, especially when they show you the same affection even if you left them at home all day.
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Everybody knows that dogs are any man’s best friend and very loyal companions. Just like how they love you, dogs require affection, attention, and the reassuring care that they deserve, whether through belly scratches or rewarding treats. Once you show them any sign of affection, they’ll easily reciprocate it with unconditional adoration that they can ever give you.
But, we as humans can easily show our love for our furbabies through belly rubs, providing dog treats, giving them baths even if they hate it, playing with them, giving enthusiastic scratches on any part of their body, or even snuggling with them on your bed or couch. Likewise, we get used to how dogs move and act around us and around the house, corresponding to our daily routine.
With the simple ways that we can show our love and the routines that we establish with our dogs, they recognize our affection for them, which compels our furry friends to trust us. But, have you ever wondered how dogs show their reciprocated affection? In their adorable subtle ways, have you noticed how they show you that they love you?
Understanding Your Dog’s Feelings
Love, from the human perspective, is a chemically produced abstract emotion that encompasses different portrayals and variations. Likewise, dogs experience love and are capable of developing affectionate feelings. And when they do acquire these fond feelings, it would be warmly genuine and unconditional.
Our furbabies are capable of comprehending through our gestures and emotional expressions, and responding to up to200 human words. But our lifelong conjecture that one day, dogs might finally speak, will never happen. Nevertheless, the way dogs and human show love have certain similarities, even if they are very different. It just takes for the humans to hold more attention for communication and to see how dogs show affection.
Dogs portray their emotions quite straightforwardly using their body language. In return, we as owners think that we know what makes them happy when some instances cause them discomfort and anxiety such as taking them to a party or letting them hang out with your unaware toddler. Still, even if they can't put their love into human words, dogs covey a large repertoire of ways to show they care and love us.
Before understanding the ways on how they show love, here are some emotions to be aware of as a dog owner:
These particular emotions can be triggered in different times. Also, these can have direct to effects on their health, especially when prolonged.
- Fear. Triggered by loud noises, threatening situations, suspicious people, or impending danger even from their own kind, dogs can feel fear. When they feel fear, flat ears, a tucked tail, tension, and piloerection or having standing hair can be observed.
- Jealousy. Like humans, dogs can feel jealous too when not treated fairly or insecure about attention. With this, they will likely stop obeying orders, ask for more attention, or start ignoring you.
- Anxiety. Stress and anxiety is common for dogs, which is triggered by discomfort, separation from the owner, or being placed on a new environment. Signs such as panting, mild shivering, licking, or excessive yawning can be seen when dogs are stressed, which may lead to excessive chewing, freaked tail-chasing, and other damaging actions.
Dogs doing bad stuff or misbehavior are inevitable. A guilty dog will show a submissively bowed head, droopy ears, a hunched body posture, and sad, heart-melting gaze with the knowledge that a dog may get punished for bad behavior.
- Grief. Dogs can also have deep attachments to different things and living creatures. Depression and severe distress may be perceived when a dog is grieving, with either signs of loss of appetite, restlessness, excessive sleepiness, lack of interest, or dreadful decrease in energy.
- Aggression. Canines are wild by nature, and no matter how trained they are, they may still show signs of aggression on different situations. A somehow alarming and stubborn behavior with snapping, muzzle punches, growling, biting, showing teeth, and excessive barking are evident when they are aggressive.
- Joy. This is the most evident and appearing emotion. Either by jumping around, tail-wagging, or teasing for play, a dog’s excitement can be observed. But, a truly happy dog will show a high-held tail, upright ears, a seemingly smiling mouth, especially a calm and gentle behavior.
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How they show their love and affection
There are various ways that your furbabies can show affection, from subtle nudges to adorably theatrical displays of affection. You may be used to their excitement and adoration but there are some love languages that you might not be aware of. Here are some ways on how dogs show their trust, loyalty, and unconditional love.
- Tail Wagging. Everybody knows that tail wagging can mean different things, such as impending participation in an attack or being alert. But, the most common and distinguishable is an excited full-body tail wag held at mid height and with circling motions, especially when you have a good relationship, can translate to them saying that they’re so happy to see you or that they’re glad their hooman is home.
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- Jumping. Although some owners don’t like it when dogs jump on them because of scratches and sudden force, it is a deeper way of showing that they want to get closer to you and that they’re excited to see you. Dogs are not as tall as humans, so jumping is their way of trying to get closer to your eyes, reach your face for a welcoming lick, or being extra bouncy to just show you that they really care.
- Eye Contact. Have you ever noticed your dog casually staring at you with such longing and adoration, like telepathically asking you to notice them and reciprocate their love? If so, that eye contact is a sign of deep trust, and unconditional love.
Several studies have reported that when a dog engages in eye contact with their hooman, the level of oxytocin increases, which is a hormone released by the brain associated with trust, affection and attachment. But, affectionate eye contact is entirely different from threatening eye contact, which can considered as a challenge or a threat to dogs.
- Leaning. Whenever your dog/s come up and nonchalantly leans their full weight against your legs or your body, that is their way of signifying that they’re calm and comfortable around yoy. It could also mean that they’re relying on your protection if they’re scared or nervous, or that they are cheesing on you for treats or to take them somewhere. Nevertheless, leaning can equate to dogs as their full-body hug.
- Following. Dogs descend from wolves, which thrive and stroll in packs. If a dog follows you around, that would mean that you’re the alpha, they are protecting you, and they’re showing you that they love you and just simply want to be wherever you are. This tends to give them separation anxiety when you leave them, even temporarily. But, this will allow you to have a personal guard, even in the bathroom. Convenient, right?
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- Nudging. Dog boops are very adorable. Recognizing their wet noses being bonked at your arm or face, can also be a love language. Sometimes, they may boop or nudge you as a way of greeting or reassuring that your furry pets like you. It can also be a sign of them asking for affection, attention or to guarantee their security. When a nudge is combined with a serious stare, it would mean a demand for attention or to inform you that you’re in their way.
- Bringing Toys and Things. Have you ever wondered why your dog suddenly leaves random things for you? It’s not always because they want to play. Sometimes, it is a sign that as their alpha, they offer their possessions, hoping that you’d like these presents as much as you like your pooches. You can be worth two potatoes or one dead mouse to your dog. You’re that important.
- Sighing. Similar to humans, dogs let out a happy or an annoyed sigh, especially when you’re cuddling them and they just stare blankly into space. A dog’s soft vocalizations such as sighs and low groans convey their contentment and comfort by your side.
- Chewing Stuff. Although it may be really irritating to see a mess in your home as your stuff is chewed and destroyed, this is expression of love. When your dogs chew your stuff, it means that they recognize your scent in it and therefore think of you, and excitedly just wants to get close to you through things.
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- Peeing. When dogs get excited, there comes a time when they pee on you. You may think that you failed in their potty training or that it is a smelly and irritating action, but this is referred to as submissive urination where the dog compliments you and acknowledges that you’re the boss.
- Rolling. This is the ultimate dog attention-ask or welcome-home move. Whenever a dog rolls onto their back and heartily asks for a belly rub, you should know that your dog highly trusts you and really loves you. Also, it would be a borky sin if you don’t scratch them so if they ask for a belly rub, head and ear scratch or back abrades, please do it.
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- Smiling. If you think that somehow, your dog is smiling or is happily smiling at you, you’re probably right. Scientists concluded that humans and dogs use the same muscles when showing emotions, even when smiling. Just like humans do, smiling correlates to being happy. And who could ever resist that toothy grin and those adorable eyes?
- Licking. Wherever dogs are, wet slobbery kisses are basically automatic. I mean, which dog owner hasn’t been licked by a dog at some point? None, right? Just as kissing is the universal sign of affection, your dogs lick you to keep you clean or to simply kiss you.
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A mother dog’s instinct is to lick her puppies to make sure they are clean and secure. Similarly, dogs lick you and your family members to show that you’re the alpha – they respect you, acknowledge your authority, and most importantly, to show their love. In some cases though, licking could signify that they require your attention, they need something, or that they’re stressed.
- Loyalty. Dogs are loving companions that’ll forever be loyal if you love them and treat them well. Once you earn their trust and loyalty, they’ll protect you in any way they can and love you for the rest of their lives. They wouldn’t trade you for anything.
You can’t put a price on loyalty and having a loyal dog – it is a privilege that any owner should never take advantage of.
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Owning or adopting a dog is a fulfilling privilege that can grant you to having such adorably fierce and intelligent companions who will love you unconditionally. But, before they do, it is imperative as an owner to understand them, especially since having a dog will forever change your life.
Since they are very different from human beings, dogs communicate and express emotions in a various ways, even in showing their love. From tender nuzzling to a grand slobbering, dogs show their love using their bodies. Analogously, other emotions such as fear, anxiety, and even depression can be hinted through these body languages.
Developing an emotional understanding with you furbabies and recognizing their emotions is a crucial connection that you have to establish and be knowledgeable of. Also, awareness about their emotions will allow you to foster a more comfortable and warm environment for them, enabling them to fornicate a better behavior.
Remember that once you earn a dog’s love and trust, your dogs will love you more than they would ever love themselves.