We think about them all the time. Worry about them when they’re whining, are happy for them when they learn a new trick and pay, sometimes extortionate, vet’s bills to make sure they’re happy and healthy.
We adore our pups and would do anything for them, but ‘does my dog know I love him’ is a common question for most dog owners.
Can dogs love?
This should be an easy question for any dog owner. Of course, the answer is yes!
There’s a reason dogs and humans have an extra special bond — our dogs can love us back like we love them. We’ve all had it when we’re feeling a little low and our pups come over and sleep on our feet, or poke their noses under our arm.
They want us to feel better because they love us. When we stare at or cuddle our dogs we feel a strong bond and a rush of love — and it’s the same for them. This might explain why they constantly stare at you when you’re on the computer. It’s because they love you! (Or they’re hungry and want to make you feel awkward).
But does my dog know I love him?
What’s the science?
You’ll be happy to know your dog does know you love him, much in the same way a baby knows its parents love them. When we cuddle, touch, or look lovingly at our dogs our oxytocin (otherwise known as the love hormone) levels increase. This hormone instantly makes us feel better and creates a stronger bond between us and our canine friends.
Dogs are somewhat unique (like we didn’t already know that) because their oxytocin levels also increase when they interact with us. When we smile at them, scratch their bellies, give them a treat or even say we love them, their oxytocin levels go up and the bond between us strengthens.
So yes, in other words, your dog does know you love him.
Have you ever seen how your dog reacts when you’re cross with them? Or what they do if they don’t trust someone in the park? That’s because dogs are really good at reading faces and situations.
They know by your face when they shouldn’t have chewed whatever they did and they know by your actions if someone is a friend or a threat.
In much the same way, this is how your dog knows you love him. When you stroke them, smile at them, or speak to them they feel happy and know that you adore them.
So, how do I tell my dog I love him?
Rub his ears
That might sound obvious and almost instinctual, but dog ears are full of nerve endings. When you gently pull or rub his ears endorphins are released. These endorphins are what make your dog feel pleasure and reduce pain. It’s a sure way to make sure your dog does know that you love him.
Just like with us humans, spending quality time with your pup shows them you love them. Make sure you do fun things that your dog loves, like long walks, playing fetch, or running in fields. Repeating the things he likes will reinforce his happy mood and he’ll associate this with you!
Make time for cuddles
This might not be a good idea for everyone’s pooch, it depends whether your dog flees to another room the moment you come near him with your arms open. But for those with dogs that do like cuddles, it’s very important. Physical contact makes them feel safe, warm, and secure. All signs that ensure they know you love them!
Make Eye Contact
This is a great way to show your dog how much you care for them. If your face is smiley, soft, and relaxed whilst you make eye contact with your dog it will increase their oxytocin levels and make them trust you more. They’ll feel secure and loved.
It is, however, a good idea to only make eye contact with dogs that know and trust you. Others may perceive eye contact as a threat or intimidation.
This may sound a bit obvious — but it’s true! Dogs are amazing at understanding intonation and what we say via our body language. Just those three simple words will let your pup know exactly how you feel!
There are lots of things you can do to make sure your dog knows you love him. Do you do anything specific with yours? Let us know in the comments!
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!