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How do dogs show love?

how do dogs show love

The greeting you get from your dog after a long day is one of the best feelings in the world but you may sometimes ask yourself “Does my dog love me?” because they can’t vocalise it like we do. Loving gazes, wiggly butts and their funny quirks have us all brimming with oxytocin, the “happy hormone” daily – but is the feeling mutual? ABSOLUTELY!

The dog-human friendship is arguably the most successful in nature, dating back many thousands of years ago. A study by Therese Rehn et al (2014) investigated whether or not there is a link between how an owner feels about their relationship, and how the dog feels. Not an easy feat. Of course, it’s easy to find out how owners feel about their dogs: you ask them. However, it’s not quite so easy for pooch participants…

Originally developed for children, Rehn used a measure of attachment method that assessed differences in the dog’s behaviour with their owner and then a stranger. While all the dogs were very social to both owner and stranger, the results showed all the dogs played and explored the room more with their owner present, whilst still remaining close. Put simply, “a dog’s owner is a unique person from whom it seeks comfort, security and reassurance”.

So, how do dogs show love?

Dogs are known for their unconditional love and affection towards their owners. They are loyal, faithful, and often referred to as “man’s best friend”. There are many subtle ways in which dogs show their love, and as a dog owner, it’s important to be able to recognise and appreciate these gestures. So, do dogs love their owners and how do they show it?

They’re excited when you get home

Whether it’s been 5 hours or 5 minutes since they saw you, the certainty of their happy welcome is an indisputable sign of affection.


Why do dogs lick you you ask? Dogs use licking to show affection and love. They may lick your face, hands, or even feet as a sign of affection and to bond with you. Licking releases endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals in the brain, making the interaction pleasurable for both you and your dog. Sometimes when they lick their lips this can often be a sign of nerves or apprehension but if they’re licking you, you can be pretty sure they’re doing it to show love!

Wagging Tail

A wagging tail is a classic sign of a happy dog, and it’s often a sign of love. When a dog wags its tail, it means that it’s excited and happy to see you. The speed and direction of the tail wagging can also indicate different emotions. A slow wag can indicate uncertainty, while a fast wag with the tail held high can indicate excitement and happiness.

Bringing you toys or bones

Dogs bring you toys or bones as a gift, showing that they love and trust you. It’s also a way for them to interact and bond with you. By giving you a toy or bone, your dog is saying, “I want to play with you and share this with you”… So the happy presentation of that mangled squeaky duck toy may mean more than you realise….

Following you

If your dog follows you everywhere you go, it’s a sign of their love and attachment to you. They want to be near you and be a part of your life. Following you is also a way for your dog to feel secure and protected.


How does a dog show affection? Exactly the same we do! Dogs love to cuddle with their owners, and it’s a sign of their affection and love towards you. Cuddling releases oxytocin, which is known as the “love hormone.” When your dog cuddles with you, it makes them feel happy and secure, and it also strengthens your bond with them.

Sleeping with you

As pack animals, dogs will naturally want to bunk down with their leader for safety and security. Be it in your bed or at the foot of your sofa (everyone has different rules!), your dog’s desire to sleep in your company is heartfelt.

Leaning on you

When a dog leans on you, it’s a sign of affection and trust. By leaning on you, your dog is saying, “I feel safe and secure with you.” This behaviour is often seen in dogs who have a strong bond with their owners.

Staring into your eyes

Dogs often stare into their owners’ eyes as a sign of love and affection. This behaviour releases oxytocin in both dogs and humans, and it strengthens the bond between the two. When your dog looks into your eyes, it’s a way for them to communicate their love and affection towards you.

Bringing you comfort

When you’re feeling down or upset, your dog may sense this and bring you comfort. They may come and sit with you, cuddle with you, or even bring you a toy as a way of saying, “I’m here for you, and I love you.”

Protecting you

Dogs are naturally protective of their owners and will go to great lengths to keep them safe. This can include barking to warn you of danger or standing in front of you to protect you.

Remember, each dog is unique, and their ways of expressing love can vary. Pay attention to your dog’s individual behavior and cues to deepen your bond and understanding of their affectionate nature. So the question now is, do dogs feel love? Yes they absolutely do, so keep on building that bond!

How do dogs show love? ~