You love your dog — but how do you know if your dog loves you back, or if they're just trying to get more treats for dogs out of you? Thankfully, dog body language is pretty easy to read with a little bit of knowledge, making it simple to know if your dog loves you. Here are 12 signs to look out for:
They give you kisses.
We all know that licking is a sign of affection from dogs, but did you know that it’s also used to signal status? By licking you, your dog is acknowledging your social authority as well as showing you how much they love you. Dogs also use licking to comfort people (and other dogs) if they seem to be hurting or sad.
They wag their tail.
A wagging tail is another universal sign of affection and happiness and is a sure sign that your dog loves you. A wagging tail is also a signal that certain ambiguous actions, such as leaning against you, are signs of happiness and not anxiety. If your dog is wagging their tail, then they are happy and relaxed around you — no questions about it!
They bring you their favorite toy.
Presenting you with a favorite toy can totally be a ploy to get you to play fetch, but there might be more to it than that. In your dog’s eyes, you are the pack leader and they are presenting you with their most prized possession, which is a sign of affection and respect.
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They carry around your clothes and shoes.
In a reverse situation, you might also find your dog carrying around your belongings, specifically your worn clothes and shoes. These items smell like you, and your dog is probably grabbing them as a way to feel close to you. If your dog is chewing on them, you can help burn the behavior by giving them a chew toy or some bully sticks for dogs instead.
They hold eye contact with you.
Dogs will only sustain eye contact with you if they feel safe with and loved by you, so if you catch your dog staring into your eyes a lot, consider it a win! Don’t try to force eye contact, though. Some dogs perceive unwanted eye contact as threatening, and it can make them nervous. Let your dog initiate most of the eye contact, and don’t turn it into a staring contest.
They lean against you.
When a dog leans their full weight against you, then you know that they trust you completely. Know that leaning can sometimes be a sign of anxiety as well, so look out for other indicators that your dog is happy, such as a wagging tail and a slightly open mouth. These additional body cues will confirm that your dog is giving you their equivalent of a hug instead of coming to you for comfort and protection because they’re nervous.
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They want to sleep near you.
If you don’t allow your dog to sleep in the bed with you, but they still want to be near you when you sleep, that’s definitely a sign of love! This means that your dog considers you part of their pack and doesn’t want to be separated — even during sleep. If the bed is off limits, then make sure that they have a cozy dog bed of their own to sleep on so that you can both get a good night’s rest at the same time.
They check in on you.
Have you and your dog ever been doing your own things in separate rooms, and they randomly come to find you to check in before wandering away again? This is your dog’s way of making sure that you are okay (and sneaking in some pets) and should be seen as a sign of affection. Keep in mind that even if your dog needs some space from you, that doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. Some dogs get overstimulated very easily and need alone time to recover, just like some people.
They roll over for belly rubs.
Rolling over to show the unprotected belly is a vulnerable position that shows your dog loves and trusts you completely. Most dogs won’t show their bellies to someone until they have gotten to know them for at least a few minutes. So this action isn’t just a way to get pets — it also demonstrates how relaxed they are around you.
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They jump up to greet you.
Jumping can be annoying and even dangerous if you have a big dog, but it’s simply your dog’s way of showing that they are excited to see you after being apart. The jumping may sometimes be accompanied by a little bit of peeing as well. While you definitely don’t want to encourage this behavior, it’s just your dog’s expression of excitement.
They happy sigh.
Just like humans, dogs make a range of sounds — and also just like humans, they may sigh in either exasperation or contentment. After you spend enough time with your dog, you might notice that they release a long, happy sigh when cuddling with you on the couch or napping after enjoying a dog treat subscription box.
They smile at you.
Dogs’ smiles aren’t exactly the same as humans, but they do signal a state of relaxation and also submissiveness. Dog smiles usually involve opening their mouth and panting slightly with their tongues out, so don’t confuse bared teeth and curled lips for a dog’s smile. That’s actually a sign of aggression!
Now that we’ve talked about how your dog shows you love, tell us how you shower your dog with affection in the comments below!