10 Signs That Your Dog Loves You

10 Signs That Your Dog Loves You

Dogs are incredible animals, and they are called man’s best friend for a reason. Dogs have a tendency to love unconditionally and do their best to make their owners happy. They have lots of ways of expressing the feelings they have for you. If you ever notice one of these moments, you can be certain that they’re head over heels for you, their favorite human! Here are 10 signs to let you know in the moment that you are at the forefront of your dog’s mind!

1. They get excited when they hear your name

Of course your dog probably knows their own name, but do they know yours? Chances are, if you are close to your dog, they may have made a connection between your name and your presence! If someone else says your name and your dog’s ears perk up, that’s a sure sign that your dog is always interested in what you’re doing! If you are away and someone says your name, your dog may get excited, pace around, or even look out the window to watch for your car to pull into the driveway. They may do this for other family members too. Dogs can also pick up on your schedule or notice subtle cues that you’ll be arriving soon!

By the way, if your dog is missing your other relatives right now, try giving them a video call! Put them on a big screen where your dog can see them, turn on the speakers so your pup can hear, and watch the fun happen! Your dog may end up really enjoying a virtual visit with its favorite family friends. Chances are it would be a good time for you to check up on them too!

2. They bring you “broken” objects to ask for help

Whether it’s a torn-up-toy or a tightly sealed jar of peanut butter, your dog may bring you something that needs fixing! Sometimes your dog will encounter a problem that it doesn’t know how to fix, but that’s okay! Your dog knows that it can depend on you for help when it runs into trouble.

My dog Cookie is definitely guilty of this one! He has several toys that he’s grown attached to over the years. He knows that if his little stuffed duck starts losing its fluffy filling, he can bring it to me and I’ll stop whatever I’m doing to stitch it back together! He’ll wait and watch patiently, and as soon as I’m done, he’ll gently take his toy back and lay in a corner where he can cuddle his buddy till it feels all better.

Besides toys, your dog might bring you objects that are puzzling and have them stumped. A bag of dog treats it can’t open, something new that was laying around the house, or a puzzle toy... of course they may come across a “problem” that you’re more likely to hide than to fix and hand back over, but it’s still pretty funny and cute when they walk in the room with something interesting to show you.

3. They watch over you while you eat (or do other human business)

If your dog follows you everywhere you go, it’s easy to assume they’re just attached to you and just want to be around you more! It turns out there may be a more interesting reason for this behavior. If your dog seems watchful or concerned about you when you’re doing things like eating, or doing your business in the bathroom, it can seem really weird at first. For your dog though, they are acting as your lookout while you’re in a vulnerable situation. Dogs are aware that there will be times you aren’t necessarily on guard, so they’ll take it upon themselves to step up and fill that position at the most interesting moments!

However, if you’re in a situation where your dog is protective of you to the point of aggression it can become a serious long-term problem. Dogs that are aggressively protective of their owner are actually showing signs of intense insecurity and anxiety. In this situation the best way for you to show your dog that you love them is to take steps to help them feel more comfortable and confident. Take steps to work on behavioral training, and consult a vet or professional dog trainer for help. There are healthy boundaries you can build with your dog, and by helping them feel secure in their home and become a little more independent, you are doing them a great service!

4. They try herding owners and family members

You probably know that some dogs are bred and trained to herd animals. What you might not have noticed is your pup sneakily herding wayward pets or kids back together! A dog’s natural ability to herd more than just sheep is pretty incredible and can be helpful in situations where you may not have noticed that you or one of your loved ones are drifting a little too far off track. Dogs will grab something’s attention and use its body to run along a path that naturally guides someone or something back in the right direction before you know it!

If your dog is exhibiting herding behaviors within your family, it shows that they consider you to be part of their flock to be guided and protected! Not only that, your dog is demonstrating that in the best way they know how- keeping you together and on track!

5. They rub their face on you

There are lots of reasons that your dog may rub its face into your arms or lap. First off, dogs have scent glands in their face, and this can be a way for them to “mark” you as their own human. They’re doing their best to let other animals know that you are one of its favorite people. Your pup may also rub its face on you as a more direct way to ask for a little bit of extra attention and affection! Finally, it can be a sign that your dog feels extra secure around you. Your dog loves to be close to you and find little ways to physically show its affection. Make sure that you return the favor and give your dog some well-deserved headpats to let them know you love them too.

6. You find them gazing deeply into your eyes

In our blog all about dog body language, we talked about how a dog making prolonged eye contact can mean one of two things. While a dog whose posture is stiff and tense during a staring contest, it can be a sign of aggression or aggressive intent. However, that’s not what we’re talking about here.

When your dog seems relaxed around you, it means something completely different when your pup is staring lovingly into your soul. You should take it as a high compliment if your dog finds it comforting to gaze into your eyes for a prolonged period of time. It’s basically the same thing as your pup giving you a big hug! It even releases a chemical called oxytocin making you both feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

In fact, this type of staring can be beneficial. Teaching your dog to make eye contact with you on command can be a great way to gain its focus. This is especially helpful in training situations, where a dog’s ability to focus and be in tune with you and your body language can lead to a much more productive and eventful training session. You can even utilize eye contact when you’re in a distracting situation to ensure your dog knows how much you want its full attention.

7. They have happy facial expressions

Do you sometimes get the sense that your dog is smiling at you? Well you may be right! Dogs have their own totally distinct form of body language that they use to communicate. If you’re getting the sense that your dog is smiling at you, whether through its eyes, face, or even with those tail wags, you’re probably right!

Another way your dog uses body language to show its love and trust for you is by rolling over. When a dog exposes its belly it knows that it is in a safe place where it can feel relaxed. By the way, if you want to know how to interpret even more doggy body language, check out this blog post on how to know exactly how your dog feels!

8. They try to share toys with you

If your dog is comfortable sharing with you or others, you should take it as a high compliment! It shows that your dog cares about you and trusts you. A dog that is willing to share has been well cared for, feels secure in its environment, and doesn’t feel that it is lacking in any resource in its life. When your dog brings you a toy, it may be asking you to play. Your dog knows that its toy makes it feel happy, so maybe it will cheer you up too!

This is especially complimentary because resource guarding, where a dog becomes possessive, protective, or even aggressive around things like food and toys, is a common serious behavioral problem that many owners encounter. If you have trouble with your dog resource guarding, it’s always a good idea to get help from a professional dog trainer who can help you learn more about why this happens and how to fix it. 

Of course, if your dog is happy to share and bring you gifts of its own free will, you can be confident that you are meeting your dog’s needs and that it loves you!

9. They know when you need comfort

Dogs tend to really pick up on even the most subtle cues we give off- body language, tone of voice, it’s almost like they have a sixth sense that tells them exactly what we’re feeling. When your dog knows that you’re not feeling well they will do everything in their power to make it better. Sometimes that means your dog gives you lots of cuddles and snuggles, or even tries to bring you gifts and act as a distraction. If you come home in a bad mood and your pup seems more hyper than usual, think twice before you scoff and walk off to pout alone. Your dog’s not trying to annoy you- it’s trying its best to provide a distraction and a way for you to decompress. Take that opportunity to spend some quality time with your pup and remember that they really love you!

10. They steal stinky shoes or clothes

Cookie seems to have an insatiable obsession with stinky dirty clothes. I have to be careful to keep more than one tall lidded laundry basket around the house to ensure that it’s harder for him to get his paws on an innocent smelly sock (and to convince the hubs to please put dirty clothes in a basket for the love of all that is good in this world it’s not that hard!). But why is Cookie so obsessed with stashing those socks under the couch for later consumption? It’s not because he can’t find a toy- it’s because he loves the smell of his humans!

A smelly article of clothing to your dog is like having a security blanket around. It gives them a sense of comfort. If you have a few old ratty shirts lying around, instead of throwing them out, wear them one last time to get your scent on them, then cut them into strips and braid them into a rope for your own do-it-yourself rope toy! Just be sure that it’s really secure so that your dog can’t pull the fabric strips out and swallow them.

What does your dog do that you really love?

Personally my favorite is when Cookie brings me his toys, either as a gift or to get them fixed. Let us know what your favorite loving behavior is! Thanks again for reading, I hope you’re staying happy and healthy, and I look forward to writing for you again next week!