We pet people know in our heart of hearts that our dogs love us just as much as we love them. They are as near and dear to us as any beloved human family member, sometimes more!
The domestic dog has been a faithful companion to humanity for thousands of years, so their behavior is very intertwined with our own. Dogs are social creatures that thrive on knowing their place within a pack, which of course makes them a perfect family pet…but how do you know your dog actually LOVES you in a way that transcends the basic, instinctive need for food and shelter?
Today, for National Dog Day, we celebrate some of the adorable ways your faithful four-legged friend loves you.
They wag confidently when they see you
A waggily tail at mid-height that makes your dog's whole back half quake is the first giveaway to doggy love – your pet is happy and relaxed to see you! Bare in mind that some tail wags can indicate negative signals such as fear, so if a confident, broad tail wag is what your dog is serving up, you are one beloved human.
Smiles and eye contact
Yes, it’s true – dogs show facial expression! We’ve heard that eye contact with a dog can signal aggression and this is certainly true in some circumstances. But if your dog is beaming up at you with a relaxed, open mouth and raised eyebrows then not only should you grab your phone and take an instagram snap immediately, you can bet that’s the face of love.
Cuddling up to you
Whether your dog comes and leans against you when you’re watching TV, or tries to snuggle with you in bed, the meaning is clear. You are their beloved human and there is comfort found in the warmth of physical contact with you. Wild dogs sleep curled up together, and though some prefer not to allow a dog in the bed, this is definitely a sign of a strong canine bond.
Greeting at the door
The best videos on Youtube are surely of owners greeting dogs at the door after some time apart (some do require tissues – sniff!). The sheer delight to see you can be read loud and clear, especially as we know a dog won’t do this for every human it comes into contact with. You are a member of your dog’s family pack, and to have you home again means all is well in the world.
Licking your face
There is a lot going on behind the behavior of licking. Mother dogs groom their pups with their tongues, and a friendly lick can also be a sign of submission or trust between members of a pack. So aside from the fact that you probably also taste really great, we can take this as a sign of intimacy and connection between your dog and you.
Showing they care
This is a fascinating area of science, but evidence suggests that dogs do appear to comfort their owners at times when the human appears distressed – even for no self-comfort or gain. Has your dog ever snuggled up when you were crying, or bought you their favourite chewed-up tennis ball when you were sick in bed? Evidence suggests this is because a dog can recognize that you are unwell and might need a little TLC…which is surely the sweetest thing in the world!