10 Ways Dogs Show Affection for You

When we own a dog, we can’t help but unleash affection on them at all times. (This will be especially appreciated by the most affectionate dog breeds.) How do our pooches return that love, though? There are plenty of ways!

They’re Excited to See You

Dog jumping on his person

It’s been a long day at work and you’re about to ready to plop down on the couch and not move a muscle to decompress. But first, your welcoming committee just might make you smile. Does your dog always excitedly greet you when you come back after work, a quick errand, or just a trip to the mailbox? That’s a sure sign of canine love. This is especially true when their greetings are accompanied by happy jumps, a little tail wag, and maybe even some excited noises.

Eye Contact

Dog making eye contact

Love between humans is often expressed with stolen glances and staring into each other’s eyes. Your dogs want to get in on that action, too. Certain types of eye contact with your pooch are also a sign they love you. Do they hold your stare, along with a tension-free body, relaxed ears, and with their mouth slightly open? This is a display of love, trust, and comfort with you. Exchanging this relaxed prolonged eye contact with your dog also releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin, in both of you!

Wagging Tail

Happy dog wagging his tail

As mentioned before, when your dog greets you excitedly with a wagging tail, that’s them showing you their love. A wagging tail can have a few other meanings, though, like nerves or other emotions. How can you pinpoint what they’re trying to communicate? When it’s love or excitement to see you, it will be part of a full body wiggle, including a relaxed tail spinning in a circular motion at mid-height.

Sleeping Near You

Dog sleeping with his person

When your pet squeezes in on you when you’re trying to get some work done on your computer – or when they take up a huge part of the bed while you’re trying to sleep – it may be a little inconvenient, but there’s a lot of love involved. When your dog chooses to sleep near you, it means they think you’re a safe person to be that vulnerable around. They also see you as a member of the pack, like those their ancestors slept with for safety in numbers. If you have more than one dog, you might witness this snuggling among them, too. You’re all part of one pack.

Sharing Their Toys

Dog with his toy

You may not have much use for a squeaky toy or a little stuffed animal your dog loves that has seen better days, but when your dog decides to share their toys with you, it shows their fondness for you. This is different than when they want to play a tug of war with you. If they leave their toy with you, it’s like them sharing it as a gift. A slobbery, slightly torn apart gift. They’re just trying to love you through sharing.

They Like Making Physical Contact With You

Dog cuddling with his boy

Your 80-pound dog that’s convinced she’s a lap dog? You know, the one that is constantly trying to sit on you, despite her size? This isn’t necessarily her being a little delusional about her build. She just really loves you. When a dog initiates physical contact with you, it’s a sign of affection. This can include nuzzles, cuddles, or leans. These gestures will often come along with warm eye contact and a gentle tail wag, so you can be sure it comes from a place of love. How could you resist returning the cuddle with such a devoted love bug?!

They Lick You

Dog licking his person

It may be a little gross when your dog’s big ole tongue is unleashed and starts licking. A little gross to you, but chock full of love for your dog. Often described as doggie kisses, these licks are a learned behavior from birth, when their mother would groom and communicate with them through her licks. In return, the puppies will often lick around their mother’s mouth. If you’re included in this gesture, it’s in comfort and affection.

They’re Your Furry Shadow

Puppies snuggling with their girl

Have you ever almost tripped over your dog because they seem to pop up every place you go? This tripping hazard comes from a well-meaning place. Since they see you as a member of the pack, as a place of safety, and as good company, they’ll often cling to you. This neediness is just another way of showing their fondness for you.

They Herd You

Australian shepherd herding

If you have a breed that comes from a background of livestock work, like border collies or Australian shepherds, you may have noticed that they herd you or other members of the family. This is a way to show affection for their fellow pack members and to make sure no one gets left behind. You may see this with children in the house, which shows your dog is especially fond of and protective of your kids.

They Sigh

Happy, sighing dog

When you’re working around the house and you hear your dog – who’s lazing around and not being of much help – let out a sigh, it might make you laugh a little. Why are they exasperated when they’re just laying around? The sigh is actually quite often a sign of happiness and contentment. (Well, who wouldn’t be happy when they’re not expected to do house work?) If the sounds come along with a little stretch or a snuggle near you, it’s an even bigger sign they’re happy you’re around.

People, Pets & Planet

Help where it’s needed most at GreaterGood for free!