Do Dogs Know They Are Loved?

By John Martin - August 10, 2022

Dog getting love from owner

Any dog parent will attest that their furry friend brings them immense joy. But have you ever wondered if your loyal companion is aware of how much you love them?

If they are aware of the love, how can you make sure that they are getting it all the time? Read on to find out!

Does Your Dog Know They Are Loved?

Yes, dogs know that their human parents love them. According to scientist and canine cognition expert Dr. Brian Hare, dogs experience feelings and emotions just as humans do.

The tag of ‘man’s best friend’ is well-earned by our furry friends. Humans and dogs share a special bond. When dogs interact with us, our oxytocin levels spike. The same thing happens with dogs when they interact with their loved humans.

According to Dr. Hare, if you catch your dog staring at you for no particular reason, it is simply an adorable way for them to show love. Their stare means they are hugging you.

Studies such as those are an indication that dogs are quite aware that their humans love and care about them.

Signs Your Dog Is Happy and Well-Loved

The science points out several signs that are proof that your dog is happy and aware of how much their human parents love them.

Since dogs do not have the gift of gab, they have more physical ways of showing love and happiness.

Dogs tend to reciprocate the love they feel. When you see an animal displaying affectionate behavior, it is because they are comfortable and feel safe. They are returning the affection they feel.

Below are some obvious and subtle signs (other than the puppy eyes) that are good indicators of dog affection and happiness.

They Get Excited Around You

Dog parents are quite familiar with scenes of excitement and playfulness from their furry friends. Dogs show their happiness with behaviors such as jumping around, happy tail wags, face licking, and sometimes even peeing at the sight of their owner.

These behaviors are especially noticeable when the parent returns home after a long day. Some dogs, especially young ones, get a little too excited when they are happy and may even pee a little.

They Follow You Around

Some dogs show affection by following you around and checking in on you. If you are sitting in another room, it won’t be long before you hear the pitter-patter of their paws heading in your direction.

Shadowing you around is just one way your canine buddy shows affection. It is to make sure you are around and okay. However, just because your dog is not checking in or lying at your feet, it does not mean they don’t love you.

Another sign of affection is wanting to sleep near you. If they are not allowed to sleep right next to you, they will choose to sleep in the same room as you. It is pack behavior. It indicates loyalty and trust.

They Want Physical Contact

Physical affection is an important part of bonding. Your dog will seek out physical affection by leaning against you, giving you a nuzzle, or rubbing themselves all over you.

Though it might be tempting to wrap them in a tight hug, resist the urge and shower them with gentle love. A healthy exchange of cuddles and licks is a strong indicator of a well-bonded relationship between you and your dog.

They Steal Your Dirty Laundry

A sign of attachment is your pooch digging into your dirty clothes hamper and taking off with your sweaty laundry. Some dogs even raid shoe closets and carry around smelly shoes.

While the behavior must not be encouraged, especially if they like to chew on the stolen items, it is a show of love. They love your scent and want to carry it everywhere with them.

They Bring You Their Favorite Toy

Sharing their favorite toys with their favorite human is a show of love. While it can also mean they want to play, it is mostly a presentation of their prized possession to the person they love.

Playful and curious dogs are happy dogs. They show love the way they receive love. A good indicator of their love and level of happiness is their body language and interaction with you.

How to Show Dogs You Love Them

Any dog parent will agree that there is nothing better than the overwhelming love their pets shower on them. This unconditional love deserves to be appreciated.

How can you show your canine companion that you love you in healthy ways?

Shower Them With Attention

Dogs crave attention. Spending time with them and having fun is a good way of engaging their attention and forging a deeper connection.

Reading to them is a good way of spending time together outside of playtimes and walks.

You can also talk to them. Having a conversation with your dog may sound silly, but it is healthy for both of you. It helps lower your blood pressure and keeps the attention on them.

As pack animals, dogs enjoy close physical contact. While they may not like tight hugs, they enjoy cuddles, head pats, and kisses.

Cuddling with them is an ultimate display of affection. Showering them with physical affection will get across the message that you love them!

Use Positive Reinforcement

If your dog is exhibiting bad behavior, your first instinct is likely to punish them. However, it may be ineffective. It will also hamper your bonding and create a rift in your relationship with your furry friend.

Positive reinforcement is an effective training method. It helps motivate the dog and creates a loving and safe environment for them to thrive. Your dog will be happier with rewards rather than punishment and will work with you to gain the rewards.

Rub Their Ears

Dogs love a good rub behind their ears. There are nerve endings on the ear that, when activated, release a gush of happy hormones or endorphins. A gentle rub will melt your pup into a puddle of happiness, and they will definitely feel the love!

Also Read: Why Does My Dog Stretch On Me?

The Takeaway—Love Your Dog!

Dogs know when their human parents love them. It is usually quite evident in their behavior that they are feeling the love.

Their enthusiasm at seeing you after a long day of absence is an indication of their unconditional love, among other behaviors.

As with any other being, there is reciprocity with love. When owners shower their furry companions with affection, the dogs respond in their own language.

A loved dog is a happy dog, so do not be afraid to show your love!