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How to Show Your Dog You Love Them

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. February 26, 2018
How to Show Your Dog You Love Them

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Have you ever wondered how to know if your dog loves you? It's a common thought as we can love our pets so much, but may not be able to fully understand their behavior. To get a better understanding, we may even delve deeper into canine language and how they display affectionate behaviors. However, with all this concern over how much our dogs love us, we may neglect to think about whether our furry friends feel loved in return.

It should be natural for any pet owner to want them to feel valued and loved, but the unconditional love dogs can show us means we need to be extra sure it is reciprocated. In this AnimalWised article, we show you how to show your dog you love them with 7 easy steps. It will make your bond stronger and ensure your life together is bursting with love.

You may also be interested in: Where to Pet a Dog to Relax Them


  1. Dedicate yourself to knowing them
  2. Teaching is caring
  3. Learn to say ‘I love you’ in dog language
  4. Invest in quality time with your dog
  5. Prepare their favorite food
  6. Don't mollycoddle them
  7. Respect your dog and its nature

1. Dedicate yourself to knowing them

Although dogs can be aesthetically appealing and have certain common traits thanks to their genetic heritage, each dog is a unique individual. Each dog has the potential for great sensitive and remarkable intelligence, developing its own personality as they grow with you. If you miss the opportunity to get to know them, you may never realize how unique a being your dog can be.

To begin knowing your best friend a little better, study their body language and try to employ more understanding. Investigate the activities they enjoy, those that make them feel tense and those which set them at peace. Keep an eye out for different stimuli in their environment and also how they respond to your voice. Even without emitting a sound, your dog will speak to you with its entire body. Take time to observe their development and allow yourself to be dazzled by their evolution in body and mind.

This habit of closely following your dog's routine will allow you not only to enjoy and surprise yourself with their abilities, but also to quickly identify any change in their appearance or behavior. If you do observe any anomoalies which suggest a problem, visit a trusted vet immediately to achieve an early diagnosis.

How to Show Your Dog You Love Them - 1. Dedicate yourself to knowing them

2. Teaching is caring

Educating your dog is fundamental to its physical and emotional well-being. Dogs are very intelligent animals with a lot of energy which must be channelled properly. Otherwise, they can become tense and may generate negative symptoms in their being.

The initiation of basic training is the best way to get your dog on the right track for appropriate physical and mental stimulation. Also, socialization is essential for teaching them how to relate to people as well as other animals. It also helps them understand a healthy mode of play and to respect the boundaries of your home together.

Therefore, we recommend at least 15 minutes a day of teaching basic obedience commands with your dog. It is important to keep this up throughout the dog's life, staying on track with their progress and promoting a fuller understanding of your commands. Remember, it is necessary to use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior and to stimulate their cognitive capacity.

How to Show Your Dog You Love Them - 2. Teaching is caring

3. Learn to say ‘I love you’ in dog language

While vocalization through barks and growls is an important means of expression, their body language is just as revealing, if not more so. They are also able to use pheromones to communicate in ways we are unable to consciously perceive. Their tails, ears, eyes, legs and body positions express so much in terms of emotion, desire, fear, mood and thought.

Dogs show their affection with their changes in attitude. For example, wagging their tail, paying attention, obeying commands or simply enjoying a nap next to you. If you decide to learn a little more about their body language, you can learn the many ways to say ‘I love you’ in their own language.

If you like to sleep next to your dog, for example, you should know that dogs only have the confidence to sleep next to persons they consider family. This is because they are vulnerable during sleep, so they trust you enough to stay by your side at this time. Spending a lot of time playing and exercising with your friend can provide simple, positive and healthy ways to show your dog affection. Every time you sit down and relax with them, your love if being reinforced.

Just as a heads up, information on the net about the way to show affection to your dog can be confusing and contradictory. For example, staring at them in the eye does not give them a ‘canine hug’ as some reports suggest. Instead, it often conveys mistrust or warning. If you want to know more about some of the confusing signals we can generate, check out our article on 10 things dogs hate about humans.

By knowing how to interpret and answer your body language, your dog will be made to feel more secure and self-reliant as part of the family. This corresponds greatly with improving the self-esteem of your best friend and strengthening the bond between you. Additionally, it can alleviate some of their possible symptoms of boredom, stress or anxiety.

How to Show Your Dog You Love Them - 3. Learn to say ‘I love you’ in dog language

4. Invest in quality time with your dog

We are aware that the hectic routine of our work days and other responsibilities means we can't always be with our dogs as much as we would like to. What we can do is ensure we invest in quality time with our pooches whenever possible. We need to remember that unforgettable moments are made when we share time with loved ones.

Throughout the week, try to reserve at least 30 to 40 minutes to to walk with your dog. You will see that the physical activity and mental relaxation will be good for you both. And if you like to exercise, don't forget you can join up two of your passions by enrolling in a sport with your dog such as canicross.

You can also have more fun with your dog by introducing games or teaching them new tricks. On weekends, you can demonstrate these new techniques by going out on a family picnic or excursion. This way you can share many adventures together. Instead of getting someone to look after them, you can even plan your vacations around your pooch and take advantage of travelling somewhere you'll both love.

How to Show Your Dog You Love Them - 4. Invest in quality time with your dog

5. Prepare their favorite food

Who doesn't like to be surprised with their favorite dish by some one special? Our dogs are no exception. Just as we will enjoy the experience and feel bonded by a culinary experience, the aromas and feelings will stir memories and feelings of affection in our dogs. And, as you may have already noticed, dogs have a remarkable appetite.

If you really want to show your dog they are loved, take the time to prepare some exquisite homemade dog food as a nice surprise. This can be for a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary of them coming into the family. Or, it can simply be a regular occurrence as you lavish more love on your furry friend. If you want some more specific help, take a look at these recipes for dog cupcakes (pupcakes), dog ice cream or more general information on homemade food for your dog.

How to Show Your Dog You Love Them - 5. Prepare their favorite food

6. Don't mollycoddle them

Showing our affection can seem like a limitless process. When we consider the powerful positive effects petting a dog can be for us, it can even be addictive giving so much love to our dogs. However, showing love doesn't mean mollycoddling them and the type of pampering we might think appropriate might not be in their best interests. Also, the way in which we provide affection may not be their ideal. Take hugging for example. While we might see it as a display of closeness, many dogs will feel as if they are being cornered or trapped.

It's important not to mollycoddle dogs as many may also rely on your too heavily and favor possessive behavior. While this might be fine when we are around, it can also lead to separation anxiety when we're not which can be very stressful for dogs. Giving affection to our dog doesn't mean allowing them whatever they want in neglect of a proper education. Overprotection can be dangerous to a dog's health. Your dog must have the freedom to express themselves and feel happy, but also learn to respect the rules of coexistence which can avoid behavioral problems. Additionally, this also means that it is harder to discipline them when they do something wrong.

How to Show Your Dog You Love Them - 6. Don't mollycoddle them

7. Respect your dog and its nature

In actuality, many people confuse loving and caring for a dog with treating them as if they are babies. We need to understand that dogs have their own nature and need to be treated accordingly. We may love them as much as we love human beings, but we need to understand that human nature and canine nature are not one in the same. They have singular aspects with their own needs and requirements.

By treating a dog as if it were a human being, we might be making a grave mistake. This lack of respect for its nature can lead to overprotection and problems down the road. Sometimes, owners will scold a dog for behaving in a way which is completely concurrent with their natural instincts. In these circumstances, we depart education and enter repression of their instinctual personality. Showing you love your dog will is more effective when you respect their own way of being and try to communicate in a common language.

How to Show Your Dog You Love Them - 7. Respect your dog and its nature

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