Adorable Ways Your Dog Says “I Love You”

A boy laying on a bed hugging his puppy.

The unconditional love of a pet is one of life’s blessings. Pets don’t talk back, they never judge and they somehow know when we are happy and when we’re not.

That being said, we can go deeper into the minds of our pets thanks to new developments in the science of dog communication. Similar to studies that show dogs have uncanny powers and/or enhanced physical senses we can also identify unique ways dogs express their love for humans.

Here are 10 adorable ways your dog is telling you that he/she loves you:

  1. Stares into your eyes
    When your dog stares directly at you, he/she releases a hormone called oxytocin which is the same hormone released by moms with their babies. When your dog is staring into your eyes it is hugging you. Go ahead, try this at home but don’t have a staring contest with your puppy or he/she will know something is not right. Just naturally maintain eye contact during your normal routine and see how your dog responds.
     
  2. Yawning when you yawn
    Yawning is contagious among humans but have you noticed the same with your dog? It’s true, dogs also yawn when someone they love yawns. A study in Japan shows that when humans mimic yawning it is a way of expressing empathy. It’s not possible to know if dogs feel empathy because they cannot tell us how they feel, but it’s logical to deduce that when a dog mimics the yawning of its owner, it’s doing so because of the bond they share. The study also shows that dogs are more likely to yawn when their owners do as opposed to a stranger.
     
  3. Leaning on you
    If your dog has ever been frightened or anxious you’ve probably noticed it lean on you for support, safety and security. Dogs tend to physically lean on us when they want something, but leaning is also a great sign of affection. When your dog leans on you – rest assured – he’s telling you he loves and trusts you.
     
  4. Post-meal cuddling
    Author Gregory Burns wrote in his book How Dogs Love Us that when your dog cuddles with you after eating that it is a sure sign he loves you. Berns points out that since dogs are food-motivated, than what they do after they eat is a good testament to their priorities. So, after you feed your dog his next meal, if he wants to play or cuddle with you, then you are important to him.
     
  5. Lifting and wiggling eyebrows
    We know dogs use their tails to communicate but did you know they also use facial expressions? A study in Japan analyzed how dogs reacted when confronted by their owners, a stranger, a dog toy and an item they did not like.
    • When the dogs saw their owners, they lifted their eyebrows, specifically the left one. When they were introduced to strangers, their facial expressions were limited to a lifting of the right eyebrow.
    • When the dogs saw a toy that they liked they shifted their left ear back, yet when they saw an item they did not like they shifted the right ear.
       
  6. Acting calmly when you leave
    Most people think that when a dog panics or freaks out when its owner leaves that it’s a sign that the pet loves the person but this is not necessarily the case. When a dog panics upon its owner’s departure it’s more a display of separation anxiety according to author Gregory Burns. If a dog acts without fear or panic when its owner leaves it is a sign of trust that the owner will return.
     
  7. Excitement upon your return home
    Pet owners know that wonderful feeling of coming home to a beloved pet. An excited dog usually jumps with joy when its owner returns home and this is a distinctive display of love and trust.
     
  8. Sleeping in your room
    If your dog wants to sleep in your bed, even if you do not allow it, then you can bet it loves you. Dogs are pack animals and wanting to be with you at night is a sign of loyalty and shows it does not want to be separated from the pack.
     
  9. Brings you his favorite toy
    When your dog delivers you his favorite toy, you might think he just wants to play. Wanting to play is a sign of affection but when your dog brings you his favorite possession he’s signaling that he considers you the pack leader and wants to please you. Your dog is offering you his most favorite possession because he thinks you’ll like it as much as he does. How cute is that?
     
  10. Enjoys your love
    Just like we know when our pets love us, they know when we love them. They run, jump and play in our presence and they feel happy upon receiving our approval. If you do not love your dog, you will not receive love in return.