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The month of love has finally arrived. Now, obviously due to the current circumstances, we’ll be less likely to head out for a romantic dinner with our significant others - but it doesn’t mean you can’t feel the love in the comfort of your own home...and it’s not just coming from your partner!
When it comes to love, we pet parents are the lucky ones. Not only do we get to snuggle up with our favourite fur babies this Valentine’s Day, but we also get to feel unconditional love each and every day of the year, thanks to our furry friends...
So while your partner brings you flowers and chocolates on February 14th, your pup is also showing you they love you in other ways!
Did you know that dogs have a similar emotive structure in their brain as we do? Thanks to this, there as several ways your pup can express their love and affection to you.
Take a look at the 10 amazing your dog is saying I love you...
According to a study in Japan, they discovered that time spent gazing into the eyes of a dog has a large effect on the levels of oxytocin (the love hormone) produced by the body. Biologists Miho Nagasawa and Takefumi Kikusui found that when a person looked into their dog’s eyes for longer than 2.5 minutes, their levels of oxytocin rose by 20% - compared to when they looked into the eyes for 45 seconds or less. Amazing, right?
It is believed that this hormone would have developed within our furry friends over the domestication years, solidifying the bond between humans and canines.
So, if you really want to make sure your dog loves you - and that they know you love them - just look deep into their eyes. This silent form of communication will increase the levels of the social hormone oxytocin in both of you, building your shared, unconditional love.
Now, we know, as puppy parents just how much our pooches love their things! Blankets, toys, teddy bears, old shoes, and the odd stolen item of clothing can mean a lot to them - and they’re not always happy to share.
However, if your dog offers you their special possession, it is clear action to like you know that they have nothing but love for you - happy to share their favourite item with you.
Dogs are pack animals, sharing extremely close connections with every member - which includes you, their pack leader. To them, your role should be alpha, so if your pup brings you their toy, it is a sign of unconditional love and trust.
When we humans need a bit of reassurance or comfort, a lot of us feel better after a hug. Well, our dogs aren’t too different. Often, dogs will seek closeness with their pack (you and your family) for comfort, emotional support, and protection by leaning on them.
Similar to looking into each other’s eyes, your dog will release positive chemicals - oxytocin - in their brains when they’re with the humans they love. So, to make their bond with your even stronger, your dog will use touch, lean their bodyweight on you, and getting as close to you as possible.
Your dog’s tail movements can show a plethora of emotions. From pointing horizontally and stiff because they’re paying close attention to something interesting, to tilting upwards showing how confident they are, our pup’s can’t talk, but express their emotions through their tails.
And this is the same for showing how they feel about you!
Now, we all know a waggy tail is a good thing and a sign that your pup is feeling happy. The faster the wag, the more excited your pup is. So, if you enter a room and your pup’s tail starts to beat to and fro, it is an extremely physical sign your dog loves you.
Yawing is one of the most contagious and unexplained phenomenons! There are plenty of theories explaining why we involuntary mimic when we see others yawn, but it is commonly believed to be connected to our levels of empathy.
As it turns out, our dogs are pretty similar when it comes to yawning. According to astudy conducted at the University of Tokyo, they found that in a group of 25 dogs, the pooches not only yawned after they saw a human yawn, but they did it more frequently when that human was their owner - leaning the findings towards the emotional bonds between owner and pup.
So, want a true test to see if your dog loves you? Yawn and see if your dog yawns back...
A warm and exciting welcome means that your dog loves you. When you come home, your dog starts to produce high levels of oxytocin and lower levels of cortisol - the stress hormone.
Depending on your greeting routine, always try to make sure that you eventually show your pup verbal or physical attention, as this will help keep your pup’s levels of oxytocin high for a longer amount of time - making them love you for longer, too!
As mentioned in the point above, dogs are natural pack animals, with some of their pack instincts still very present in our domesticated pups of today.One of these behaviours at bedtime...
In the wild, dogs would huddle and stick together for protection - and to share body heat - while they slept. This innate trust in one another helps them to feel less vulnerable, which is why you may find that your pup likes to sleep near you, too. Whether it is in bed with you, next to the bed, or just in the same room, your dog has nothing but trust in you, knowing that you’ll always protect them while they’re sleeping.
Did you know dogs produce more facial expressions when they’re looking at humans they love? It’s not that they mimic our expressions, but they perform their own to express certain feelings.
From raising their eyebrows to make those enchanting puppy dog eyes appear bigger, or showing their tongue, our pups love to show us how much they love us with their cute, furry faces.
Many pet behavioural and training experts believe you should never try to pet a dog by leaning over their head, as they may see this as a threatening gesture. This may be more true with a new dog, as they’re still learning who you are.
However, if your dog does allow it and enjoys it, that is a sure sign that they love you back. But, please remember when you’re meeting a new dog, to avoid touching their head in this way.
Now, if your dog is calm when you leave the room or the house, it is a sign that they trust you and know you will come back.
Unfortunately, some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and attachment issues so they may get nervous when you leave. The best thing to do is to talk to your vet and learn ways you can teach your pup to be okay when they’re on their own.