10 Ways Dogs Are Telling You They Care

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Your dog is constantly telling you how much she loves you. Dogs express themselves with a wide range of communication, primarily body language though I’ve met a few very vocal dogs as well. Your dog is not content to tell you she loves you a couple times a day, she is continually affirming the love and bond between you and expressing her loyalty to you. If you look closely at how she interacts with you, you will see signs of affection in many of the things she does. Here are 10 ways that your dog shows you how much she loves you.

1. Staring at You

boston terrier dog staring up at viewer
Do you ever have the feeling that you are being watched, and, upon looking up, find your dog staring at you? Your dog may be staring at you to get your attention because she wants something from you – like affection or to go out. If, however, your dog doesn’t meet your return gaze with any clear indication of what she wants, it may be that your dog is just staring at you because she loves you.

It is not uncommon for a dog to spend downtime simply gazing at a beloved owner between naps. The image is not uncommon even in historic artwork. If you catch your dog staring at you for no apparent reason, know that she is showing her loyalty constantly through her gaze.

2. Licking You

It may seem kind of gross to you when your dog licks you, but your dog licking you is a sign that she loves you and is trying to show you affection. It is especially common for dogs to lick you when you are petting them or after you have pet them.

Licking is also a way of showing excitement upon greeting. If you find your dog’s licking excessive, you can train her to express her affection in other ways. Even if you find this habit annoying, take solace in the fact that it is just one more sign that your dog loves you.

3. Tail Wagging

Dogs wag their tails for a number of reasons, including anxiety and excitement, as well as affection, but if your dog wags her tail under certain circumstances, you can feel confident that she is expressing love towards you.

If your dog slowly wags her tail when you look at her, this is a good indication that your attention makes her excited and happy. Frantic tail wagging when you get home, especially more frantic than when other people come to your house, indicates that your dog is exceptionally excited to see you, a sign of how much she cares about you and missed you.

4. Rolling Over

Dogs roll over to ask for a good tummy rub and to show you that they mean you no harm, but rolling over is also an indication that your dog trusts you completely. Showing you her belly and letting you rub her throat and stomach indicates that your dog has abandoned all attempts to protect yourself from you and has complete love and trust in your intentions towards her. Don’t take a belly rub for granted: appreciate that your dog is expressing her trust every time she rolls over.

5. Leaning

A dog of any size might lean to show affection, but it is most evident in large dogs, when the leading may be strong enough to make you feel like you’re going to fall over. Dogs lean on people and other dogs who they feel trusting of.

Leaning is a way of affirming that you are together without the dog needing to keep his eyes on you. Furthermore, leaning allows a dog to enjoy physical contact and seek affirmation and comfort from you. If your dog likes to lean on you, this is a good indication that you are a source of comfort and strength for her.

6. Putting Her Back to You

You may think that your dog is snubbing you when she lies down or sits with her back to you, but in fact, putting her back to you usually indicates that a dog trusts you and is setting herself with you against the world. Your dog is literally indicating to you that she thinks that you “have her back”. No matter what happens, your dog is facing the world with you backing her up. This is an indication that your dog not only loves you but also trusts you to help her face whatever challenges the world brings.

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7. Following You

If your dog has a tendency to follow you wherever you go in the house or yard, you may worry that she is anxious or fearful of something. While obsessive following is a characteristic of fearful dogs and may show a tendency towards separation anxiety, many dogs also follow their people simply because they prefer to be near them.

Your dog may feel that she has nothing better to do than be close to you wherever you may go. If your dog likes to follow you around but does not seem especially anxious, she may simply be expressing her desire to stay by the person that she loves the most: you.

8. Walking Next to You

All dogs have a tendency to pull on the leash when they first begin a walk after some time inside. This is normal and shouldn’t concern you, although there are walking aids and techniques to reduce the beginning of the walk pulling. Once your dog has worn out some of her energy, however, where she positions herself in accordance with where you are on the walk can tell you something about how she feels about you.

A dog that chooses to walk by your side or just behind or ahead of you on a loose leash once she has had a chance to wear off energy is telling you that she wants to face the world with you and not leave you, an indication of how much she cares about you.
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9. Putting her Paw on You

If your dog has a tendency to place her paw on your knee, you may find this a very charming and endearing habit. Your dog may be placing her paw on you in order to get your attention because she wants to play or go outside, but she may also be placing her paw on you simply to make a physical connection between you.

A dog that gently places her paw on your knee and stares into your face is communicating the level of love and devotion that she feels towards you. Simply staring at you is not enough. Your dog is going further to point out to you that she is expressing affection.

10. Bringing You Toys

When your dog brings you her toys, she is asking to play and be engaged, but she is also expressing her trust in you with her things. Dogs don’t get very much in this world, and many dogs are a bit protective of the things they do get to call their own. A dog that chooses to willingly bring you her toys and give them to you is showing that she is not afraid that you are going to steal them from her. Your dog brings you toys because she trusts you to do something fun and good with the toy and not take it away.

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About Author

Coral Drake is a long-time dog owner and volunteers with a local pet rescue organization. Her favorite place to learn effective dog communication is at the dog park, where with a little patience and attention you can learn a lot about how your dog communicates with both humans and other dogs.

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