The tell-tale signs your dog really loves you and how to spot them

There are lots of ways we show our dogs that we love them, such as playing in the park, giving them treats and of course always being on hand to provide belly rubs.

And it turns out that there are some clear ways that our four-legged friends show that they love us just as much.

Tail wagging, jumping, licking and snuggling are just some of the ways that pups say ‘I love you’ and show that they are genuinely happy to see us.

Dr James Greenwood, expert vet on ITV’S The Pet Show, explained to Webbox about the different ways our dogs express their affection, and their favourite acts of endearment to receive in return.

What are the top signs that your dog loves you?

“It’s all about the tail with dogs! They can express a whole range of emotions through their tail wag,” Dr Greenwood said.

“Whilst it’s important to note not all tail wagging is a sign of happiness, there are two types that signal pure joy in our dogs.

“Firstly, the whole-body wag that starts at the shoulders and wiggles all the way down to the tip of the tail is quite literally their happy dance!

Dr Greenwood says dogs rarely enjoy being hugged.
Dr Greenwood says dogs rarely enjoy being hugged.

“Secondly, the helicopter tail wag is usually reserved for those who are viewed as especially important.”

Interestingly, Dr Greenwood says dogs rarely enjoy being hugged or restrained.

But if they choose to come and snuggle into you on their own terms, it’s likely they see you as a trusted member of the family.

“Finally, that super excited greeting when you get back from leaving the house – the jumping and licking, sometimes they may bark or bring you a toy – is a genuine signal that they are pleased to see you,” Dr Greenwood added.

What’s the best way to show your dog you love them?

Most dogs enjoy nothing more than spending time with their owners, but there’s lots of ways you can make the day extra special.

Dr Greenwood explained: “A daily walk is essential; dogs love using their senses to smell and explore and need to burn off calories exercising.

“I would also suggest setting up obstacle course or using puzzle feeders to get them thinking and problem solving.”

There are lots of ways a dog shows that they love their owner.
There are lots of ways a dog shows that they love their owner.

“Food is also a big motivator for dogs and you can use this to your advantage when training by using treats as a reward for good behaviour.

“It’s also worth teaching our dogs how to be alone – gradual time spent on their own, with long lasting chews or toys to keep them occupied, is key to their development.

“Independence is necessary so they don’t become overly reliant on their pet parents or develop attachment issues.”

Is there anything you shouldn’t do when trying to bond with a pet?

While you might want to shower your puppy with love every minute of every day, it can hinder their teaching and training.

“[You shouldn’t] try to make everything positive and avoid punishment techniques,” Dr Greenwood said.

“If your pet doesn’t seem comfortable with a certain situation (they may back away, try to hide or even show some early signs of aggression) then it’s important we pick up on this and don’t force them into anything they’re not comfortable doing.

“Instead, take small steps using positive reinforcement (e.g. with treats) to gradually introduce our pets to these new situations and give them time to realise everything is ok.”

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