Can Dogs Feel Closeness?

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Introduction

Over the decades, humans have developed a very close bond with our four-legged friends. We now treat both cats and dogs as members of the family and as such, often assume that they have the same feelings as we do. 

While our furry friends do not feel all emotions and feelings in the same way as us, there are certainly many that they do feel. As dog lovers, we tend to feel very closely bonded to our pooches but do they feel the same way? Are dogs actually able to feel closeness? 

Well, the answer, in no uncertain terms, is yes they can and this is something that they develop from a deep sense of trust for a particular person or even for another animal.

Signs that Your Pooch Feels Close to You

We all know that dogs and humans have formed a very close bond over the decades. While dogs were once used mainly for working in various industries, they are now much-loved household pets that have become part of the family. This has naturally led to increased closeness and deep trust, with humans and their dogs forming very strong bonds. Dogs are very good at sensing who to trust and when they trust someone implicitly, they do become extremely close to them.

There are various signs that your dog feels closeness with you or another person – and in some cases, even another pet. Your pooch may follow you around all the time, get really excited, and wag its tail as soon as you come in the door, spend lots of time cuddling up to you and licking your face or hands and be extremely affectionate. 

Of course, there are some dogs that are not overly affectionate by nature but this does not mean they do not experience closeness – they may simply show it in different ways. As with humans, the closeness that dogs experience builds up over time and through a strong bond with the people or animals that they are close to. 

In many cases, your dog’s body language will give you an indication of how close it feels to you or another person. Dogs are very expressive when it comes to body language. When they feel close to you, they will often sit very close to you, lick your face and hands, follow you faithfully, and lay their head on your lap. Not all dogs will show signs of excitement when you are around, such as wagging tails and jumping up, although some will. 

Body Language

Some signs your dog may show if they feel close to you are:

  • Staring
  • Jumping up
  • Wag tail
  • Licking

Other Signs

More clues that your pup feels close to you are:
  • Laying its head on your lap
  • Being relaxed around you
  • Following you
  • Snuggling up to you
  • Eye contact

History of Human and Canine Bonding

The bond and closeness that has formed between man and dog has been done over many centuries. Historically, dogs were not considered household members in the way they are now. In fact, their main function was to carry out various forms of work. While royalty and dignitaries may have had dogs as companions throughout history, this was often a status symbol rather than being centered around a close bond. However, over the centuries, this has all changed and these days dogs are part and parcel of the family unit in many households.

It is the result of this growing bond between humans and dogs that this immense closeness has occurred. The key to a dog feeling closeness is its ability to feel trust. When you see a dog that is distrustful of humans, the signs are very obvious. However, when a dog trusts a human there is a natural closeness that continues to grow over time. 

This is why many older dogs are extremely close to their owners because they have spent so many years getting to know them, bond with them, and trust them implicitly. Many dogs are also obviously close with other dogs in the household and in some cases even with cats. 

The Science of Dogs Feeling Closeness

According to researchers, there are various ways in which a dog will show its trust in someone, which in turn means that it will also feel close to that person. For instance, dogs have been found to greet people that they are very close to differently compared to the way they greet other people. 

In addition, the way in which dogs look directly at you – almost like a gaze – shows signs of trust and closeness. Of course, all dogs have their own individual ways of demonstrating their closeness and trust but these are some of the signs that researchers believe demonstrate trust and closeness from our four-legged friends.

Training a Dog to Feel Close to You

You cannot train your dog to feel closeness in exactly the same way that you cannot train a human. In order to feel close to you, your pooch has to trust you completely and this is something that has to be earned. By spending time with you and bonding with you, your dog will build up trust and the more it gets to trust you the closer it will feel. 

This is why puppies do not feel closeness in the same way that adult dogs do. Puppies may cuddle you and follow you around but this is more reliance and habit than trust and closeness. However, as your pup gets older and spends more and more time bonding with you, the trust will begin to develop and your pooch will start feeling close to you. This is why it tends to be older dogs rather than younger ones that are really close to their owners because they have had more time to bond.

One of the things that indicates your dog is very close to you (or to another person) is that they tend to behave differently with the person or people they are particularly close to. The way in which they greet you, act around you, snuggle up to you, and follow you may be quite different to the way in which they behave with other people. Even if they are around other people that they get along with, they still tend to act differently with those that they trust and have bonded with the most.

This shows just how close dogs can get when it comes to their humans. Dogs may also follow and cuddle other animals in the household such as dogs and cats – again, this is a sign of implicit trust and closeness that has built up over a period of time. 

How to React to Your Dog Trusting You:

  • Socialize your dog at an early age.
  • Always treat your dog with respect.
  • Spend quality time with your pooch.