No doubt about it – dogs love their people. It’s easy to tell when they wag their tails and follow you around. But there are also more subtle ways that your dog is saying, “I love you,” to their favorite humans.
1. They make eye contact.
In the animal world, eye contact between two wild creatures is rare. However, dogs have picked up many human social cues as they evolved alongside us, including prolonged eye contact with those they love and trust.
It may be more difficult to get your dog’s undivided attention in high distraction areas, such as the park. If your dog makes eye contact with you even in an exciting environment, it’s a sure sign that they enjoy spending time with you as much as they enjoy exploring the sights and smells around them.
Getting your dog to engage with you on walks instead of pulling ahead usually takes some training. A no-pull harness can help teach your dog to focus on you by removing the opportunity to pull ahead. Switching up your walk with games and training helps keep your dog engaged.
2. They look to you for help.
When your dog is in a scary or confusing situation, they’ll turn to a human they trust for guidance.
Maybe your dog looks to you to help them get their ball out from under the couch, or runs to you when their dog park buddy is playing too rough.
Comforting your dog when they are scared is perfectly acceptable. You won’t make their fear worse. Help your dog develop positive associations while teaching them that’s best to go to you for help, rather than trying to fight off whatever is bothering them.
3. They wag to the right.
A dog’s tail can tell you a lot about how they are feeling – and it goes beyond looking for wags.
A dog’s tail wags towards the right side of their body when they’re feeling happy and friendly, while a wag with a left bias indicates the dog is anxious or stressed.
4. They yawn when you yawn.
Yawning is contagious. You’ve probably seen someone yawn and suddenly felt the urge to do it too. It turns out yawning is more likely to be contagious when it’s done by someone we love, rather than a stranger.
Recent studies show strong evidence that dogs have the same reaction: They are more likely to yawn with people they love rather than with strangers.
This is a fun, easy experiment to try at home. Just start yawning and see how long it takes for your dog to catch on.
5. They bring you gifts.
Toys and bones are your dog’s most prized possessions. So, when your dog brings objects to you, you can be certain that they love and trust you. Your dog might bring you a toy when you come home, or they may drop a toy in your lap while they’re playing near you.
Your dog might like it when you hold their bone while they chew. They also might enjoy playing tug-o-war with you, especially if you let them win most of the time. If good things happen when your dog brings you things, they’ll do it more often.