We love our dogs unconditionally and would do almost anything to make sure they are happy and healthy. But do our dogs love us as much as we love them? How can we know? It’s normal to ask these questions. If you’re wondering how to tell if your dog loves and trusts you, there are quite a few signs!
10 Signs Your Dog Trusts and Loves You
1. They Know Your Routine
Dogs and humans view trust differently. For your dog, “trust” means having a reliable, consistent routine that they can count on. They feel safe and know how you will react in certain situations. This is why one of the best ways to build a bond with your dog is to create a consistent, predictable schedule.
If you feed your dog or walk them at the same time every day, they will naturally develop expectations for certain things at certain times. Then, they trust that you’ll stick to it.
So, if you find your dog at the door with their leash at the same time every day, it’s because your dog trusts you to hold up your end of the bargain.
2. They Sleep Near You
Dogs like to sleep somewhere they are comfortable and feel safe. If your dog likes to sleep in your room, it is an indication that they feel safe with you. While there are definitely pros and cons to be considered when letting your dog into your bed, sleeping on the floor close by is still a sign that your dog trusts you.
3. They Steal Your Clothing When You’re Away From Home
As annoying as this behavior can be, your dog may be snuggling with your dirty laundry because they love and miss you while you’re gone. It’s not uncommon for a dog to raid the laundry room for a piece of their owner’s clothing while they’re home alone. They do it because you represent comfort and the clothes smell like you.
If you come home to your dog curled up with your stinky socks, try not to be angry; they’re doing it out of love.
4. You Understand Your Dog’s Language
Each dog acts slightly differently around their owners. Some are excited, while others are calm and cuddly. But you know what’s normal for your dog. Over time, you get to know your dog’s signals. You know how they tell you, “I need to go to the bathroom,” “I’m cold,” “I want to play,” and so on. You’ll also be able to recognize behavior changes that may indicate illness or pain.
When you learn your dog’s signals, they trust you to understand them. The more you listen to what your dog is saying, the more trust you build. This is especially important for respecting your dog’s space and needs.
5. They Wag Their Tail a Certain Way Just for You
Most dog owners know that all tail wags aren’t created equal. If your dog has developed a special tail wag that is only for you, it means they love and trust you as their companion.
6. They Follow Your Cues
Dogs that trust their owners will look to them for help when they are unsure or fearful. They are also more likely to explore the world when their owner is with them. If your dog is confident when you’re around but shy and fearful when you’re not, this indicates that they trust you to keep them safe.
7. They Give You Puppy Eyes
According to a study conducted at the University of Japan, when dogs stare into their owner’s eyes, the oxytocin levels of both the dog and the human increase. What does this mean? Oxytocin is the “love hormone.” It’s released extensively in new mothers and spikes shortly after birth to aid in mother-baby bonding. The increase of the hormone in dogs suggests that when they are gazing at you with “puppy eyes,” they are feeling love.
For wild animals, eye contact is often a sign of aggression. So, dogs reserve it for people they trust.
8. They Check In on You
Does your dog poke their head in to say hi while you’re in the shower? Or do they sit patiently outside your bedroom door, waiting for it to open? Maybe they’re your permanent shadow, and you trip on them everywhere you go. Checking in and wanting to be near you is an indication that your dog loves you. They want to make sure you’re still there and that you’re doing okay.
9. They Give You Kisses
Dogs lick you as a gesture of affection. They want to interact with you and be near you. The licking is a way of telling you that they care.
If your dog likes to give you their toys or place toys in your lap, it is truly a sign of love. They are trying to share their possessions with you. If they love playing with a squeaky ball, why wouldn’t you enjoy it too?
What the Science Says About Dogs Feeling Love
Studies have shown that when presented with a selection of smells, dogs get most excited about the smell of their owner, even when also presented with food. MRIs show that a dog’s brain activity significantly increases when they hear praise and positive voice tones, along with smells that represent comfort.
So, yes, dogs really do “feel” love. They are hardwired to do so!
There are numerous ways to tell that your dog trusts and loves you. Dogs really do show affection. While some of their behaviors can be annoying, they do it because they care and trust you to take care of them. When you show your dog love, they reciprocate it in spades.
Featured Image Credit: Tadogami, Shutterstock