The one thing that dogs want more than anything on the planet is the love and affection of their human family.
And since they cannot understand the words “I love you”, you have to let your actions speak for you. So how exactly do you show your furry best friend exactly how much they mean to you?
To help you out, we compiled a list of 18 powerful methods to tell your dog that you love them.
18. Use Your Tone, Not Just Your Words
Yes, we said that dogs do not understand actual words. However, this does not mean that they have nothing to offer.
To put it simply, it is not about what you say, but how you say it.
Dogs respond to tonal variation and pitch when it comes to communication with their human friends. So use a loving tone; like you are talking to a baby. They will understand what you mean.
17. You Can Never Give Too Many Treats
Treats are also a nice way to show your dog that you love them. They take advantage of the dog’s innate love for food by giving them something nice to enjoy before their next meal.
For this, find something tasty that you know your dog will actually like.
You could also give them something like hard chewing snacks to keep them entertained while also treating them to something tasty.
16. Give The Dog Some Freedom
Smothering your dog with your affection can actually end up working against you if you are trying to get the pooch to know how much you care. The same case applies to micromanaging their every move and planning every second of their day.
If you truly love your fur baby, you will let them have some time to themselves. Let them walk around the house or your compound. This freedom will let them know that you love and trust them.
15. Keep Non-Threatening Eye Contact
Dogs respond very well to eye contact. This makes them feel safe and is always a sign of goodwill on your part. However, there is a fine line between affectionate eye contact and threatening stares.
It is all in your demeanor and facial expressions. If you smile or talk to them gently as you maintain eye contact, they will know that you mean well and are just showing your love.
14. Lean In For A Hug
This is especially useful with dogs that you already have established rapport with. If it is a new pooch that may find you unfamiliar, give them time to warm up.
Hugs are a fantastic way to bond with your furry best friend as they feed their almost insatiable hunger for affection, attention, and physical contact. It may seem like something small but it actually makes all the difference when communicating your love.
13. Use Gentle Facial Expressions
Dogs are very attentive to facial expressions. They can often tell when you are happy, playful, and affectionate from things like soft expressions and smiles.
They can also pick up on microaggressions in your face that you may not even be aware of.
It is therefore very important that you are careful how you interact with the dog to avoid any mixed signals. And if you really want them to know you love them, a smile might be all it takes.
12. Give Them Some Attention
Most dogs are big attention seekers. While it could lead to mischief and general bad behavior, it doesn’t hurt to indulge their needs every once in a while.
So put your phone down or turn off the tv for a few minutes or hours when you are at home with them. This shows them that they are a priority to you and that you actually truly care about them and will really help build your bond.
11. Teach Them New Tricks Regularly
Regular training will go a long way towards ensuring that your dog knows just how much you care about them.
One way it does this is by giving you a chance to spend more time together while having fun whether you are teaching them a new game or a fun trick.
Training also often involves treats and rewards that no dog can resist which further shows your affection for them.
10. Give And Receive Kisses
If your dog loves you, they will want to lick you and give you kisses. To some dog owners, this is cute and highly welcome. However, if you are on the “ew, gross” side of the line you may want to reconsider.
Rejecting their kisses may not be taken kindly and may have the dog doubting your love.
You should also give them kisses of your own on their foreheads. With time, they will understand what this means.
9. Take Care Of Their Health
Dogs usually hate vet visits and maybe a little moody after a visit. However, they are often smart enough to realize they feel better after these trips whether it was for routine deworming or life-saving surgery.
Whether it is a vet visit or home remedies, a dog will know that you love them if they can associate you with the relief of pain and discomfort so make their health a priority.
8. Treat Them To An Occasional Spa Day
Every dog loves to be pampered whether it is a nice, soothing massage or a calming essential oil-infused bath. So treat them to a nice spa day every once in a while to show them just how much you love them.
This will have them associating you and your presence with feelings of calmness and comfort which is always a good thing to have as a dog owner.
7. Use Physical Contact
A little physical contact with your dog will make a huge difference in their perception of your love for them. It could be anything from a tummy rub to a pat on the back when they do something good or learn something new.
In fact, physical contact is so effective that it could actually be an equally powerful tool when it comes to positive conditioning during any kind of training.
6. Let Them Tag Along On Your Escapades
Many dogs have what is called a Velcro personality. In other words, they can be very clingy and emotionally needy.
If this is the case with your furry friend, then nothing will make them as happy as getting to follow you around wherever you go.
It could be to the kitchen, out to your yard, or even on your errands away from the house so take them with you every once in a while.
5. Make Sure They Are Well Fed
The quickest way to a dog’s heart is truly through its stomach.
Dogs love food, there are no two ways about it. It comes as no surprise that they feel the most loved by those who feed them. You will notice that they hang around you more and are more likely to feed you if they associate you with meal times.
So if you want your dog to know that you love them then all you have to do is feed them.
4. Invest In Play Time
Playtime is a big deal for our furry little best buddies. It is one of the best ways to bond with them. It could be going jogging together or taking them to the dog park. You could even simply have a game of catch inside your home.
As they run around exercising, their brains produce endorphins which are the body’s happy hormones. As a result, they will grow to associate your presence with happiness.
3. Make Time For Cuddles
A lot of dogs love to cuddle from gentle giants like the great dane to little teacup breeds like chihuahuas.
As such it’s important that you let them come in for a snuggle here or a cuddle session there as a way to show them that you love and care about them.
Reports have shown that this could help deal with most psychological issues that plague dogs including anxiety, phobias, and depression.
2. Avoid Any Harsh Punishments
Dogs may be more forgiving than other pets like cats but they are very easily traumatized by harsh treatment. Therefore if your dog misbehaves it is never a good idea to be too harsh on them.
Avoid things like yelling or physical punishments when they get on your nerves.
Instead, go for milder punishments like withholding rewards or pup time-out plans. That way, you can show your displeasure without hurting their feelings.
1. Let Them Sleep On Your Bed
One of the most common causes of separation anxiety in dogs is not being allowed to sleep with or near their human friends. This could trigger feelings of rejection for the dog and cause them serious psychological frustration.
If you want your furry bestie to know that you really love them, consider letting them sleep on your bed with you or at the very least in the same room.
How Do I Know My Dog Is Happy?
The easiest way to figure out when your dog is happy is by observing their behavior. A happy dog may be visibly excited, running around and wagging its tail. They could also be calm and intentionally affectionate in which case cuddles are the best sign that your dog is content.
Do My Dogs Know I Love Them?
Dogs are very intelligent and perspective. Therefore, if you are intentional with your display of affection for them then they will know that you love them. You will notice signs that they are happy when you are around whether it is wagging their tail or insisting on playtime. They may also follow you around a lot.
Why Do Dogs Lick You?
Your dog may be licking you as a sign of affection. This is also a force of habit as the process of licking produces endorphins that make the dog happy. While it is an endearing display of their love, you should be careful not to get any infections either by cleaning up after they lick you or taking active care of their dental health.