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how to tell your dog you love him

7 Ways to Tell Your Dog You Love Them

I love my dog. She is one of the best things in my life, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to keep her healthy and happy.

Showing our dogs how much they mean to us can be a little tricky, though. And if they don’t respond the way you expect, you may wonder “Does my dog love me?”

Here are some ways to tell your dog you love them in ways they’ll understand.

 

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7 Ways to Tell Your Dog You Love Them

 

How to Tell Your Dog You Love Them in Ways They Understand

 

1. Rub Their Ears

Instead of patting your pup on the top of their head, try giving them a gentle rub behind the ears. Watch their reaction — they will most likely melt into a ball of doggy happiness.

This is because rubbing a dog’s ears actually stimulates the release of endorphins — hormones that relieve pain and bring on feelings of pleasure.

 

2. Lean on Them

Has your dog ever pressed up against your legs or leaned into you while you were sitting together? This is one way that dogs seek affection, kind of like a doggie hug. It’s also a sign of deep trust.

You can “hug” them back by doing the same thing.

 

3. Gaze Softy Into Their Eyes

One way to show your pup you love them is through eye contact. Take a quiet moment, speak softly to them while petting them gently, and just gaze into their eyes.

Try raising your eyebrows (especially the left one). Your dog will view this as a display of affection.

In fact, this action will naturally increase your dog’s level of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that aids in bonding.

A word of caution: you should only maintain direct eye contact with a dog who knows and trusts you. A dog who is not familiar with you is more likely to interpret this gesture as a threat or a challenge.

 

4. Play Together

Spend some time every day doing something that your dog enjoys. Try teaching them a new trick or practicing ones they already know.

 

Tulip and I love to play!

Take them to the backyard or to the dog park for a game of frisbee or fetch with their favorite toy. (This is my favorite dog bonding toy.) Not only will your dog feel loved, but the exercise will help to keep them (and you) healthy.

 

5. Snuggle

Not all dogs enjoy hugs, but most love cuddling. Dogs are pack animals, and close contact makes them feel safe and secure. Allowing your pooch to sleep with you is the ultimate display of trust and affection since this is when you are the most vulnerable.

 

Snuggling and taking naps together are great ways to bond with your dog.

However, even if you’d prefer to keep your bed dog-free, you can still create opportunities every day to tell your dog you love them by snuggling up on the couch or in a cozy corner with them on the floor. They’ll be sure to get your message.

 

6. Talk to Your Dog

It’s ok to use your “dog voice!” Dogs love being talked to and they love it when you use their name. Some studies show dogs may understand hundreds of words and phrases.

So go ahead and tell your dog about your day, and talk to them about what you’re doing or what you’ll do together. See how many words your dog knows!

 

7. Go for Walks Together

When you’re home, you may be snuggling with your dog, but it’s unlikely you’re sharing experiences together. You might be watching TV or scrolling on your phone, things your dog could care less about.

 

Tulip and I love to take walks and enjoy nature together.

But when you’re walking together, you’re sharing the experience, all the sights, sounds, and smells that accompany the walk. Although your dog is smelling a lot more than you are!

Enjoying this shared experience can bring you closer together and forge a strong bond.

 

8. Let Them Kiss You

Licking you is their way of showing affection, so when you accept this gift of love, you’re showing your dog how much you love them!

In fact, licking releases endorphins and dopamine, making your dog feel calm and secure.

 

Tulip loves to give kisses!

 

Things to Avoid When Trying to Show Your Dog You Love Them

Hugs: Even though I know that most dogs aren’t the biggest fans of big hugs, I sometimes have to fight the urge to give Tulip a loving squeeze. After all, hugging is one of the most natural ways for humans to show affection. However, for many of our canine companions, a hug is unwelcome or even threatening, especially if they feel trapped.

Treats: While treats are a great way to show your dog attention, especially during training sessions, they should be limited. Some dog parents make the mistake of thinking that the best way to their dog’s heart is through their stomach. Don’t get me wrong — treats and goodies do have their place, but too many of them can easily lead to weight gain and all of the health issues that come with it.

 

Does My Dog Know I Love Them?

The short answer is “probably.” But only if you know how to speak your dog’s love language. As mentioned, things like hugs, kisses, and treats don’t necessarily translate to love in a dog’s native language.

Dogs are pack animals, and they rely on their pack’s queues for signs of approval and love. They do this primarily through body language, physical touch, and group activities like hunting and exercising.

One of the best things about dogs is how well they know their favorite people. They can tell when we’re stressed out and when we’re calm and happy. And we can be sure that our voices, body language, and actions communicate to them how much they mean to us.

The bond between humans and dogs has huge benefits for people and animals. My ebook explains how bonding with your dog can improve your mind, body, spirit, and community. Click here to download your free copy.

 

Bond with your dog. Download the free guide.

 

Kristen Levine is a nationally acclaimed pet expert and influencer with over 30 years of experience in the industry. She's helped millions of pet parents provide the best care at every stage of their pet’s life.

Her blog, Pet Living with Kristen Levine has been featured in Pop Sugar, Good Housekeeping, New York Times, USA Today, and more.

She's also the founder of FWV Fetching, the first marketing agency exclusively serving pet and animal health companies.

Her early work with the SPCA led her to a lifelong career in the pet industry, advocating for pet adoption and rescue as well as for pets and their parents here on her blog and in the media.

She’s frequently booked on satellite media tours and national shows, like FOX & Friends, Good Morning America, and Daytime, to talk about pet trends and new products.

Insanely passionate about pets since she was a little girl, Kristen has had more than 30 pets in her lifetime — including dogs, cats, goats, donkeys, a horse, a gerbil, mice, and chickens!

Today she lives in Florida with her dog Tulip, cat Olivia, and husband Paul.

This Post Has 84 Comments

  1. I do all of these with my 3 but my youngest husky I have had since 6 weeks old and he will look back at me and start to talk and lick my face and jump all over me, the calm down for a good snuggle. My other two I adopted and have yet to built their trust enough to do the affectionate stare however they do love a good cuddle in bed once I showed them the love and affection humans can give… I think my other two huskies were not shown the full amount of love humans can give.

    1. Aww, thanks for sharing Tara! It’s hard to get them used to a loving home after they are rescued from a different place. Thank you for showing them love and being a good dog mom!

      Kristen

      1. I absolutely live for my dog always have had close loving relationships with all my pets over the years. They hold a very special place in my life. I have a wonderful little chiweenie (part chiuahha And part dachshund). Just the cutest little guy you have ever seen. Has a happy personality and loves our life together. He’s curled up under the bed sheets right now while I watch tv. I am constantly petting him and rubbing his ears because it just makes me feel happy and loved and I hope he feels the same way. Just the love of my life! My husband runs a close second lol.

  2. My puppy 🐶 is very smart and has learned a few things I have been teaching him and he catches on pretty quick, however I am having a hard time getting him to stop biting. I have tried some things and they work in the moment but he likes to bite your hands and feet.Can you help me???.He is 7weeks old and he sits and he will come when he is called and he does some other commands. But, he still wants to bite (nip).

    1. Hi Steven,

      Congrats on your new pup! Nipping is definitely a big challenge when it comes to puppy parenthood. It can be challenging to break that habit. More than likely, he is trying to play with you. So, you have to teach him that is not how you play. Since he is so young, now is a good time to start!

      When he nips, take away your hand/foot and sternly tell him “No”. Then replace your hand or foot with a toy for him to play with. Puppies also teeth like babies! So, having teething toys around the house is a must! These gentle toys are great for that: https://amzn.to/399fPOu

      I also have a blog post about this topic specifically that you can read here: https://kristenlevine.com/stop-new-puppy-chewing/

      Hope this helps! Good luck!

      Kristen

  3. My dogs name is Hercules he is a male American Pitbull Terrier. I tried some of these things and now me and my dog have the strongest bond we could have! He and I are best friends. Unfortenetly he is very sick right now, he is 9 years old! Thank you for this.

    1. Ah hope hes ok I’m so attached to my dog shes nearly two I’ve had her from five weeks and had to feed her with a syringe and puppy milk shes doing so well now she sleeps in my arms like a baby

  4. Looking for suggestions on how to stop our 1yr old chihuahua terrier mix from bullying or 13yr old Bichon. She likes to jump on him herd him, chew on his ears. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  5. My Yorkie is 16 years old. She is blind and deaf. Very healthy. I want her to know how much I love her. She sleeps most of the day. Doesn’t want to cuddle or sleep with me anymore. She lets me kiss her all over though

  6. Even I have a puppy.
    His breed is beegle and he is almost 1 year.
    I love him and so does he.
    Sometimes when I wake up I find him on my bed near me sleeping peacefully.
    He mostly sleeps all day and has turned a little bit lazy.
    He loves to jump and lick me.
    He hates to wear clothes.
    His name is Coco.
    And thank you so much! These things actually helped.
    He loves treats and now he starts to cry, beg and ask for extra.
    What should I do? I do not won’t him to eat a lot of cookies and other treats.
    Please answer

    1. It sounds like Coco is a sweet puppy! Dogs are quick to learn what behavior will give them treats. They quickly catch on that if they beg long enough, you’ll eventually give in. It might be tough to say ‘No’ at first, especially if Coco is giving you puppy eyes. But be consistent. Try redirecting your dog’s energy toward physical activity like a game of fetch or playing with their favorite toy.

      Check out my blog post here: https://kristenlevine.com/best-dog-training-treats/
      I narrowed down the best dog training treats so you can reward your dog for good behavior without helping him pack on the extra pounds!

  7. I have a 1yo husky, her love language is she’ll let me rub her belly for hours and she gets really comfortable. We also maintain long eye contact with each other on a daily basis for a few min and this is one of the best things for me! I wanna try the ears now, I feel she doesn’t really like when I keep touching her head sometimes. Thank you for writing this 🙂

    1. Sounds like you two have an amazing bond! A word of caution, though. Not all dogs like all forms of affection we want to give them. So if your pup doesn’t like having her head touched, the ears might be off limits! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.☺️

    1. Avery,

      It’s because of a research study that showed dogs tend to raise their left eyebrow when they’re happy to see their owners. By copying this doggy mannerism, it helps you “speak” to your pup and show you care!

      Wags,
      Kristen

  8. Just found tour site,enjoyed it very much. I have a kotoni,ever hear of that breed. It translates to small greek dog! She looks like a chiweenie. She started staring me in the eyes for long periods of time so I finally returned the love! It is something we do daily now. She has never lucked me in the face ( ugh, don’t like that,where has thier mouth been recently!) So I am glad she doesn’t. What she does do is thoroughly clean the bottom of my feet when we are in bed! A first for me! She also sits on my lap on her bottom and raises her body to a full upright position. Did not do anything to get her to do this. She stares me in the eyes while doing this,like she really has something she wants to tell me! We have a very strong bond!

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