Updated: May 5
Any Fur Baby Pawrent can tell you their dog “TALKS” to them - obviously not in the way we humans communicate with each other, but none the less they do give us signs and signals of how they are feeling, even if sometimes we might not fully understand.
I don’t claim to be an expert, but having had dogs of my own (sometimes several at once) since I was 11 years old (I’m almost 58 now!), having oodles of experience in working with and training dogs over the years, and being a specialist pet photographer - I think I might just know a little something about dog psychology, doggie behaviour, their body language and their modes of communication.
This Valentines Day I wanted to share with you some sure fire signs that your dog really, really does love you!
YOUR JUST TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE…..CAN’T TAKE MY EYE OFF OF YOU!
Eyes are the window to the soul. Eye contact is not something dogs do if they are not comfortable with you, in fact they will actively avoid it at all costs. So if your dog is sitting staring longingly at their favourite human on the planet (aka YOU) be assured they are very comfortable with you. Not only that it means they actually respect you as their pack leader - who doesn’t look up to a good leader? They will watch your every move, and be waiting for any kind of signal that there is something you want them to do, they just want to please and obey you. There is also a physical reason they stare at you -just like humans, when they look at someone they love, their brain releases a “feel good” hormone called Oxytocin,(yep exact same as we do!) and this makes their body feel happy and relaxed. So if your dog is giving you direct eye contact be assured - that’s LOVE BABY!
ME AND MY SHADOW!
When dogs have bonded with someone they just HAVE to be as physically close to them as possible and be near to them - sometimes they will even follow you into the toilet or shower! . Close proximity to you and physical contact is essential for bonding with your dog. They may be a total snuggle bunny and want to sit on your lap - even if they are not lap dogs - I know several LARGE dogs who do this! Or they might just want to follow you and sit or lay near you, or maybe pop their head on your foot. So if you dog likes to keep a keen eye on you and your whereabouts, follows you around and insists on physical contact with you in some way, IT’S A SURE sign they are deeply bonded with you. Sometimes if this dependance on your close presence becomes too excessive it can lead to separation anxiety if you have to be away for any length of time and this an be problematic for both you and your dog. But for most dogs, being your little shadow is just to show you how much they care and really love you.
MAKE ME A FRAGRANCE THAT SMELLS LIKE LOVE (Christian Dior)
If you find some of your unwashed clothing or shoes have gone missing then it’s likely that your dog is stealing your stuff - especially if it’s personal and unwashed! Think of it as that photograph you keep of your loved one in your locket or wallet that reminds you of them and lets you feel close to them.
This is your dogs little treasure from you, the “Scent of a Woman” - Dogs have an amazing sense of smell and they just want your scent around them - yep you smell soooo good!
So if your dog steals things like shoes, socks or dirty underwear its actually because they love you to the moon and back and want to have your scent around them….it can be their way to feel that your are close even when you are away from them.
I WAS JUST WARMING THE BED FOR YOU....
Dogs are descended from wolves, and are pack animals. They like to sleep together, even curled up together, this it totally normal doggie behaviour. So if your dog is strongly bonded to you, they will insist on sleeping close to you, even on your bed, on your side of the bed if they can get away with it. There is conflicting opinion on whether or not to allow dogs on your bed, some people say have a dog bed beside your bed or in your bedroom, others are happy to share their bed with their Fur Baby - no judgment here!
CAN I LEAN ON YOU?
Just as humans lean (both physically and emotionally) on people we admire and trust, especially in times of stress or challenge - so does your dog! You can be standing, sitting or laying down and if your dog leans against you it means they feel safe, secure, connected and comfortable with you. They can do this generally just as part of wanting to be physically close, but it can also happen because they are feeling a list anxious or scared - such as during a trip to the vet or in unfamiliar situations or when people they are unsure of are around. The love and totally trust you as their pack leader to be their protector!
TAKE ME BABY - I’M ALL YOURS!!!
If your dog is a little “tart bag” who rolls over and exposes their belly (and other gooshie private bits) means they trust you and feel totally safe with you. They are prepared to go into this totally submissive and defenceless position that leaves their vulnerable abdominal area exposed. They know that you love and will protect them so they are comfortable to demonstrate and expose their vulnerable side to you. It also signifies that you are their leader and they are submitting to the pack hierarchy. In the wild, the pack alpha will never do this, and dogs will only submit to dogs above them in the pecking order, so GO YOU ALPHA DOG! Go on, scratch that little vulnerable belly and give it a “Rub of Love”!
BABY LOOK BACK…!
When your are out and about with your fur baby, and you have let them off lead to explore, do you notice that whilst they might get ahead of you in their exploring, they will often stop what they are doing and look back at your to “check-in” and make sure you are nearby - that they haven’t lost you? This is because they are strongly bonded and connected to you and to their pack. Dogs who do this a lot are more likely to be obedient, have a great recall response and are highly unlikely to ever run away or get lost.
DO YOU COME HOME TO THE DOGGIE HAPPY DANCE?
In truth, most dogs get excited when they are greeting someone at the door, they might bark, jump about or do the full body tail wag thing for just about anyone who comes to visit. It’s all about degrees - so if your dog goes bananas with excitement when you come home - more than anyone else then this is LOVE! Enthusiasm at your arrival is wonderful, but if your dog goes a bit overboard and ends up being so excited they have a little “accident” (submissive urination) this can be a sign of anxiety and in this case the excitement needs to be dialled down, so it’s recommended that instead of greeting them with the same kind of energy, you ignore them until they settle down and become calmer - that’s when you greet them in a calm and loving way. Love is…how excited your dog is when you get home.
There have been studies with high speed cameras and scientists with no lives, to discover that dogs change their facial expressions, particularly raising their eyebrows and pulling their ears back, on the specific sides of the face in response to different stimuli. Basically if they like you it’s on the left and if they don’t like you its on the right! So next time your are talking with your dog, check it out and see if the research grant was worth it!
YAWN, BABY, YAWN!
Have you ever notices when someone starts yawing it sets off a bit of a synchronised yawning chain reaction in the room. The same thing happens with your dog, yet another study (those poor scientists really do have no lives) found that dogs do this more often with their owners than a stranger. They claim that “catching a yawn” is associated with social skills and empathy. So if your pooch yawns right along with you, they have empathy and connection with you.
SO how did you do out of 10 on the PAWFECT VALENTINE DOGGIE LOVE SCORE?