If you are a dog owner or have ever been, you know you can sense how much your dog loves you. The way they greet you after coming home from work and give you kisses after they get their favorite treat is an indication of just how much you mean to your pup. But have you ever wondered if your dog loves you just as much as you love them?
Do they even understand what love even is? Although there is no black and white answer, there is some pretty pawsome evidence that your dog really can feel your love for them and they love you back just as much - and maybe even more!
Signs Your Dog Can Feel Your Love
There are a few simple ways to tell if your dog can feel your love and if they love you back. You probably already know your dog loves you, but if you want to make sure, keep an eye out for these signs! If your dog makes eye contact with you a lot and holds your gaze for a long time, this shows they love you. Your dog making eye contact with you shows they have a connection with you and they trust you.
If you are on a walk or somewhere new, your dog will also look back at you and make eye contact. This is their way of checking in to make sure you are still there and everything is ok. Furthermore, if your pooch likes to jump, bark, howl, spin in circles, and make noises of excitement, it means they love you. When you respond back with equal excitement, belly scratches, and hugs, your dog can recognize the excitement and happiness in your body language and facial expressions as well.
Additionally, if your dog comes when you call them, perks up when you say their name or talk to them, carries your shoes and clothing around the house, has calm and relaxed vibes when you are around them, and seeks out your affection (think cuddles and laying next to you,) they love you and they know you love them as well.
History of Dogs Loving Humans
It is no surprise that dogs and humans have a very strong connection and bond, hence the reason "man's best friend" is such a popular expression. The domesticated dog we have today started as a wolf and slowly transition to the dogs we have now likely over 100,000 years ago. However, fully domesticated pups only date back to around 15,000 to 30,000 years ago.
As domestication progressed, the bond only strengthened and canines became almost completely reliant on their human owners to take care of most of their needs. Food, water, health care, bathing, and love are just a few ways dogs rely on their owners on a daily basis. Although your dog can probably survive in the wild if they needed to, it would have its challenges since your dog is not used to taking care of themselves.
Since dogs and humans have such a strong connection, you can see their love for you easily and they can sense you love them as well. One dog owner claims when they go on hikes and their dog is off leash, they will only walk away from a certain distance before they stop, look back, and wait for their owner to get closer. This is a prime example of the beautiful human and canine connection.
Science Behind a Dog's Love
On a more scientific level, your dog knows how much you love them through the rise in your oxytocin level when you stare at your dog. Your dog can sense through smell when your oxytocin levels rise in the brain and they know this is a "feel good" and happy hormone, which, in turn, makes them happy and excited as well.
Scientific studies have also confirmed that your dog thinks of you as their family - their pack. When dogs were presented with scents during an experiment, certain parts of their brain lit up like crazy when they smelled their owner's familiar scent and did not react nearly as strong when they were presented with unfamiliar scents. This study confirmed your dog's connection and love for your abounds over almost anything else.
Bonding Even More with Your Dog
Although you already have a strong and loving relationship with your dog, there is always room for improvement, as with most things in life. Luckily, there are a few, simple ways you can further connect with your dog so the love between you and your furry best friend can grow even more!
Firstly, just try and spend more time with your dog. We are so busy and can often forget to give our dogs the attention and love they deserve. So make it a point to rub their belly, scratch their ears, talk to them, and throw their favorite toy or ball around with them. You can also use the time you exercise throughout the week to spend time with them.
If you go for a walk, run, or hike outside, take your dog with you. They will feel honored to come out with you and pee on their favorite trees, but you both also get your much-needed exercise together. Playing games is another wonderful and fun way to bond with your dog. Dogs love to fetch, chase, and tug so take them outside and toss a ball or frisbee around, get a tug toy, or even just let them run around a dog park.
Furthering your training with your dog will also bond both of you closer to each other. Training allows your dog to know you are their pack leader and it gives them confidence in your ability to control and take care of them in the best way possible. Your dog will learn to listen to your better, develop better recall, give them more of a purpose in their day-to-day life with you.
By a Samoyed lover Kayla Costanzo
Published: 04/20/2018, edited: 04/06/2020