Ways Your Dog Says, ‘I Love You!’

Hello again, readers! This week, I want to talk to you about the many ways your dog tells you “I love you.” I have received many questions on this topic. It’s one of my favorite topics in the dog world because most dog lovers only realize one or two of the ways dogs say, “I love you.” And, it’s great to see they show their affection in more ways than one.

We know when we are showing affection as humans. But, through experience, I have learned most dog lovers aren’t aware of the many ways our dogs show affection to us. We clearly don’t speak the same language … but we are able to learn their language just as they learn ours (awesome, right?).

Dogs do have clear communication skills. And, they tell you everything you need to know. You just need to know what to look for.

First, the nose nudge. Does your dog ever come up to you and press their nose against your body? This is a commonly missed form of affection. When your dog comes up to you, and nudges, they’re looking for your attention, but they’re also saying, “I love you, love me back.” And, usually that’s when we look at our dog, pet her, or we may even get up and grab her a treat. When the nose nudge is accompanied by a long stare … your dog is showing affection to the extreme.

Eye contact is an intimate way of your dog saying, “I love you.” And, for many dogs, this is another way he says, “I trust you” or “you’re my person.” If your dog makes eye contact with you on a regular basis, this is a very good thing. In an earlier article, remember I said when we look into the eyes of our dogs (and they’re returning eye contact), oxytocin is released in us and our dogs. You can think of this as the “happy hormone” or the “bonding hormone” in our dogs. And, it’s important to our relationship.

Remember though, affectionate eye contact is different than ‘whale eye’ contact. If a dog is showing signs of nervousness or anxiety during what you think is an intimate moment, they’re not comfortable with the eye contact. But, this can be adjusted over time by making brief eye contact with your dog throughout the day so you can reach the ‘intimate eye contact’ level of your relationship.

Soft vocalizations, like a soft sigh or a low, slow groan, are also signs of content in your dog. If your dog comes up to you, lays down, and lets out a soft sigh, this is another way of her saying “I am so happy to be next to you.”

And, of course, the licking. Oh, the kisses. We all clearly know this one all too well. Kissing is a universal sign of affection. Clearly when our dogs are giving us kisses, they are saying “I love you, I love you, I love you.” Licking is also a method dogs use to let you know she respects you… isn’t that neat?

Leaning on you gently is an extreme form of trust for our dogs. And, an extreme form of affection. If your dog trusts you enough to lean on you, you have a very strong bond. Think about it … they’re trusting you enough to hold them up.

Then … the troublesome sign. What do you think that is? Your dog may do this … and it might drive you a little crazy. Yes, the jumping! Jumping is the excited form of affection. Obviously, our dogs love us, and they want to be at our height to tell us but jumping is usually not encouraged. Make sure you’re patient if your dog is jumping though. Although this is generally an undesired behavior, he is telling you he loves you. But, he can be redirected to different forms of affection. We’ll talk about this in another article.

If you’re wanting to learn more about bonding with your dog, discuss common behavior problems with other dog lovers, or share how your dog shows you affection, please feel free to join my open group on Facebook. It’s called the Dog Behavior Group, and I would love to have you there!

And, of course, look for more articles here at The Post-Journal.

Thank you for reading. I will talk to you again soon!