There are many ways for pet owners to determine if their dog loves them. But how do pet owners reciprocate the gesture in such a way that dogs will understand? Here are seven things you can do to tell your dog you love them in dog language. Take cues from these tips for ways to show your dog your love.
1. Make eye contact
Give your dog a lingering eye contact to show how much you love him. According to the New York Times, when the dog owner and the pet exchange gazes, they build up their oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is known as the love hormone that also develops between a mother and a newborn child. But don't challenge your dog to a stare down as he might regard this as a form of aggression – eye contact should be short and sweet.
2. Raise your eyebrows
Studies show that canines analyze humans' stare, and recognize some of the signals. Try greeting your dog with a raised left eyebrow. Your dog will recognize this as an expression of love, as it's also how they greet someone they are interested in. This expression tells them that you're happy to see your furry pal.
3. Talk to your dog
Dogs are drawn to the sound of your voice even if they do not understand the human language. In fact, scientists have uncovered what they call “dog-speak” which owners can use to communicate to their pets, similarly to the way we talk to small children, according to most recent studies. Use a special tone to build the relationship, and try reading to your dog to show that you love him as he will find your voice calming and comforting.
4. Listen to them
Don't just listen to their audible sound and barks but also understand your dog's body language. You'll have a better connection and have a stronger bond with your pup if you know what cues to pick up from his movements and expressions. Besides, dogs use a lot of body signals to express their thoughts and feelings. If you know how to pay attention, you're essentially telling them you love them a lot to communicate with them.
5. Let them lean on you
If you have a lap dog breed, they're more likely to seek contact with you. Does your dog like leaning themselves against you when you're lying on the couch? Do they stand and lean by your legs when you're sitting on the park bench? This is a sign of trust and love – let your dog lean on you as often as possible to say that you appreciate his company. As social animals, dogs relish in physical contact with their humans.
Some dog experts like Cesar Milan used to say that dogs are expressing their dominance if they're literally leaning on their humans, and this should be viewed as bad behavior. However, there's no proof of this and other experts disagree. It might sometimes be a sign that he's fearful or afraid of something. If you know how to read your dog's cues, then you can act accordingly to curb any behavior that you don't want to be repeated.
6. Take naps together
If your dog has his own bed to sleep on, why not indulge once in a while and let him on the bed with you? Share a wonderful time together by having nap times on a Sunday afternoon for a relaxing and bonding experience. Studies show that there are plenty of health benefits to cuddling and sleeping on the bed with your dog. You’ll feel the stress lifting off of your body and get a proper rest with your pup.
7. Do more than just go for a walk
The bonds are strengthened when pet owners and dogs have shared experiences. A daily walk is a good way of building trust and communication with your dog, and it's great to do this every day and incorporate it as part of your routines. Your dog will definitely look forward to this activity. However, doing more than just daily walks can be even better, particularly when it involves new (for the dog) activities like hiking, boating and more.
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