Dogs are man’s best friends — but how can people tell just what all those body language signals really mean? In this article we will look at some ways that our canine companions let us know exactly how much they love us. We might not be able to read the barks or understand the tail wagging, but it doesn’t matter as long as they’re showing affection!
There are many different types of love between humans and their pets. Some animals seem more demonstrative about their feelings than others. For example, if you’ve ever taken a cat out for its daily stroll then you may have noticed that cats tend to walk beside you rather than alongside you, because cats like to keep an eye on everything going on around them. Dogs also prefer walking in front of their owners instead of behind them, so when taking walks together make sure you don’t veer off course too far from where your pup wants to go.
Whether they’re greeting you at the door or sitting patiently by your side during dinner time, here are several examples of how dogs show their true love for their human pack mates.
1. Dog ownership is a two-way street.
To get started on understanding your dog’s unique way of letting you know how he feels about you, think back to times when someone else was handling him. Did his behavior change? Most likely. That person had become familiar with the various signals used by dogs. When other people handled him, he could sense who it was and respond accordingly. He knew that these strangers were there to help him, which made him feel secure. But now that he knows you better, he can predict what kind of mood you’ll be in and adjust accordingly. If you want to find out what specific signs indicate particular emotions, check out “The Language of Dog” (ISBN 0-7385-0862) by Patricia McConnell, DVM.
2. Greet your dog
When your dog greets you warmly upon meeting you outside the house, that means one thing — she loves you deeply. She probably has a lot of questions running through her head, though, such as why you haven’t been feeding her lately or whether you plan on picking up her poop every day. As soon as she sees you coming near, however, her ears perk up and she begins waiting excitedly for you to greet her. You should give her lots of praise and attention while doing so, even giving her belly rubs. This action shows your appreciation for her eagerness to see you again. It’s also important to remember that before bringing your new puppy home, you must first teach him basic obedience training. Without it, he won’t listen to any commands, including sit, stay or come. Once he learns those skills, he’ll happily greet you whenever you arrive home.
3. Walk with your dog
If your dog takes pleasure in being walked each morning without having to ask you for permission, chances are she enjoys spending quality time with you. During that time, she gets plenty of exercise, fresh air and interaction. After you return indoors, reward yourself with treats or playtime. Your pooch will appreciate getting extra pats and hugs once you get settled into your couch comfy spot. Make certain that you use leashes whenever you go outside, especially when walking on busy streets. Otherwise, your dog could end up chasing another animal or pedestrian.
4. Play with your pet
Your dog may already enjoy playing fetch, chase games or tugging at string toys, but if you’d like her to truly demonstrate her unconditional love, consider trying interactive games. These type of activities encourage both parties involved to work cooperatively together. They include simple exercises such as retrieving dropped items, performing tricks and navigating obstacles. Many professional trainers recommend engaging in fun games with your pet frequently throughout the day to strengthen positive associations and reinforce healthy habits.
5. Show affection toward your furry friend
A soft ball squeeze or a pat on the neck or shoulder indicates affection among dogs. Showing affection toward your dog helps establish trust and closeness between the two of you. An easy way to do this is to offer frequent physical contact, such as hugging, petting or scratching. A firm handshake or brushing against your fur gently tells your pet that you approve of what happened and that you’re proud of your actions. Another option would be to allow your dog to sniff your hand or face, since dogs often interpret this gesture as comforting or reassuring.
6. Tidy up after your dog
Since most dogs spend part of their day outdoors, they need clean areas to rest, sleep and eat. Therefore, keeping your yard free of feces and urine becomes critical to maintaining good hygiene standards. Even if your dog does his business inside the house, you still have to deal with piles of dirty newspapers, magazines and blankets lying everywhere. Throw away anything smelly immediately. To prevent odors from building up over time, try using odor neutralizers in rooms where your dog spends a significant amount of time, such as bedrooms and kitchens. Don’t forget to wipe down surfaces such as counters, tables and furniture that your dog uses regularly. Finally, never leave food uncovered overnight, nor should you feed scraps to your dog unless specifically instructed to do so by a vet. Leaving leftovers unattended encourages bacteria growth, which leads to health problems later on.
Take good care of your pets, and they’ll take good care of you.