dog cuddling up to his boy
Dog and his boy

If your dog loves you, it is unconditional. So, how can you tell your dog loves you? Our furry family members do not care if we are fat or thin, short or tall, rich or poor. Our paycheck is not important to them, and our IQ means even less.

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They are not judgmental about us in any way. Do you make your bed when you first get up? Is your home spotless, or is it cluttered and in need of being vacuumed? Dogs do not care one way or the other.

Although we feel the warmth and love emanating from our dogs, there are also ways that you can tell your dogs love you. They cannot verbalize their love in our language, but there are different ways they do express their love. Several canine behaviors are well known to be indicators of their love for us.

How Does Your Dog Respond to Your Leaving the House?

If your best friend does not suffer from separation anxiety, he will not go crazy when you leave home. A dog that loves and trusts his owner to return at the end of the day will pick a place to wait, often by a window. After some time, he moves away but often returns about the time he expects you to return. Some dogs have an uncanny sense of timing when it comes to a loved one coming home.

dog waiting in the window for owner
Mavis waits for Mom to come home



If you take your dog for a walk before you leave the house it helps alleviate his fears. Turn on the TV or radio before you leave. Some dogs calm down with background noises.

There is a nice article about canine separation anxiety cited at the end of this article. Even anxious dogs love their dogs so be sure to check out the other ways you can tell your dog loves you.

How Does He Greet You?

Does it warm your heart when your dog races to greet you? Is he wriggling about and wagging his tail with joy when he first sees you walk in the door? If your dog rushes to see you, and his entire body demonstrates his excitement, there is no doubt that he loves you.

Our furry friends are much like us in this matter. Whether canine or human, when we love someone, we miss them when they are away. We cannot help but show our excitement when they get home. Our dogs react in much the same way.

girl, lady, woman
tranmautritam (CC0), Pixabay

Is Your Dog Your Shadow, Following You Wherever You Go?

No place is off-bounds! Your dog will follow you everywhere, including rooms traditionally considered private. When your canine companion has so much love to show and wants more time with you, even the bathroom is fair game in his mind.

If it seems as though your dog is attached to you a bit too much, more one-on-one time may be needed. Taking an evening walk with your best friend may alleviate his need to follow you everywhere. Showing him that you want to spend time with him may be all it takes to help him relax a little bit.

Man outside with dog
man and his best friend

Cuddling after meals

We are all aware of how easily edible treats motivate dogs. Dog trainers often use food to reinforce behaviors they wish to encourage. Dogs are smart and know ways to encourage us to give them treats. Sometimes, I think that they train us!

I am suspicious when they start displaying signs of affection without any apparent reason. Maybe they are hungry and need a snack, and this is their way of getting you to give them a treat. However, if he has recently been fed and still shows affection, it is not about the food. This indicates that you are more than his source of treats. You are the most important thing to him at that moment, and he wants to tell you that he loves you.

Dogs Can Tell When You Need Comforting

A dog that loves you won’t leave your side when you are hurting, physically or emotionally. Our canine companions still carry a few of the wolf family traits their ancestors passed on. Members of a wolf pack take care of any injured member. The uninjured members of the pack encircle the injured one to keep him safe. In addition to protection, they lick any wounds. Licking is thought to encourage the healing process and to give emotional support as well.

Studies show that our dogs can tell when we are in need. (see citation at the end of the article) Not only do our dogs rush to our side when they think we need them, but they also do not want to abandon us when we are down.

They want to protect us and show their love. If you have an injury, they may go so far as to try to lick your wounds. While they mean well, licking can lead to a serious infection. So, without hurting his feelings, do your best to avoid this demonstration of love. He doesn’t know the risk to your health, but you do. Be sure to clean the wound, extensively, if he was successful in licking it. The bacteria in even a healthy dog’s mouth can infect an open wound.

Speaking of Licking, This is Another Sign That Your Dog Loves You

How many times have you witnessed a dog licking another dog? They are simply acknowledging the other dog as a member of their pack. Licking your face is one way your dog indicates that he considers you a member of his pack. It is his way of showing you affection and saying, “I love you!”


Playing and Sharing Toys is a Big Deal!

Going back to the inherited traits that domesticated dogs still carry today, everyone knows that dogs are territorial. Some breeds and individual dogs are more territorial than others, but all of them are to some degree. Dogs aren’t usually eager to share with others. If they willingly share a toy or brings one to you, this is a big deal. This sharing of his toys is more than an invitation to play. Sharing is caring and is one way your dog tells you that he loves you.

dog with toy wants to play
come play with me!

 Does Your Dog Want to Sleep In Your Bed?

Your dog will not want to sleep in your bed unless he really trusts and loves you. All dogs need to feel safe in their sleeping space. Remember the wolf-like traits he inherited? One of those is the need for a den or a safe place to rest. Their den is only shared with their trusted and loved pack- members. Sleeping in your bed is one way of saying that you are a member of his pack and that he loves you.

There is a myriad of reasons why it may not be physically possible for your dog to sleep with you. Don’t let the situation make you feel bad or worry that you may hurt your dog’s feelings when you have to say “No.” Placing a comfy sleeping space on the floor near your bed will do just fine. As long as he is near you, he will still feel safe and loved. It is more important for both of you to be able to get a good night’s sleep.

mastiff sleeping with small girl
The Beast and Sleeping Beauty

Regardless of how your dog demonstrates his love for you, it is essential for him to feel your love as well. How do you show your love for your dog? Some of the best ways to show your dog that you love him are:

  • Scratch behind his ears. His ears are full of nerve endings that release endorphins (feel-good hormones) throughout the body. You may notice his eyes glazing over and wonder if he is going into some kind of trance. He may be experiencing a natural “high” on love.
  • Tell your dog that you love them. A published study using an MRI found out that dogs are the happiest when hearing both words and tones of love or praise. There are certain words that dogs seem to recognize and understand.
  • Feeding your dog by hand occasionally, especially when they are still puppies. Hand-feeding forms a strong and loving bond and decreases food aggression. As they grow up, feeding them an occasional treat is ok but do not overdo it.
  • Training your dog gives you the chance to communicate love with positive reinforcement. They learn that making you happy leads to rewards, and that will make them happy, too. Rewards can be nutritional treats, scratching behind the ears, playtime, etc.
  • Pay attention to what your dog is attempting to tell you. Some dogs do not enjoy being hugged. No matter how much you enjoy it, if your dog does not, hugging does not show love. If you pay attention to what he is trying to tell you, it isn’t hard to figure out the best ways to do so. Love requires communication regardless of the species.

If you want to learn more about ways to get your dog to love, trust and respect you, go to:

If you want to know more about canine separation anxiety:

Why does your dog want to cuddle with you?


Thanks to our friends at petsnap:

Photos courtesy of my personal collection and Pixabay

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As Wife, Mother of 5, and Nana of many more, I have known and loved many dogs who were treasured members of our family. My education, experiences in showing, breeding, and developing pedigree-based breeding programs for others gives me a strong background upon which to base articles of interest to most dog lovers. However, it is my great love for dogs that gives me the passion to share them with other dog lovers.


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