If you’ve ever had a pet of any kind, you’ve probably wondered what they’re thinking. While we may never harness our inner Dr. Doolittle, there have been recent discoveries that help us understand our canine friends a little better. The fine folks over at LittleThings.com put together this list of subtle yet sweet signs that mean your pup loves you.
Excuse me while I go home and hug my dog.
Stares directly into your eyes
According to dog expert Brian Hare, when your dog holds eye contact with you, he is “hugging you with his eyes.” When dogs lock eyes with their owners while playing or cuddling, oxytocin, the hormone that bonds new mothers with their babies, is released.
Yawning when you yawn
We all know yawning is contagious (I bet you just yawned there didn’t you? How about now?) but did you know that dogs have that impulse too? Because dogs have been bred to read humans for so long, they will yawn when the human they love yawns. According to science, when humans cause each other to yawn it’s a sign of empathy, so it’s likely that dogs echo their master’s yawn for the same reasons.
Leaning on you
For anyone who has ever hung out with a Bernese Mountain Dog for longer than 30 seconds will know “The Berner Lean”. Dogs will either lean to show affection, when they are anxious, or when they want something – all are signs of love as they are looking to you as someone who protects and cares for them.
Cuddling after a meal
We all know that food is the biggest motivators for dogs (and humans? Ok, maybe just me). In his book How Dogs Love Us, Gregory Berns says that once a dog finishes his meal, his next actions can show what’s most important to him besides eating (yes, you probably come second to food). So if you pup seeks out some pats post-meal, take that as a compliment.
Lifting and wiggling eyebrows
It’s not just a dog’s tail that can express their mood; their facial expressions are a way stronger indicator. A recent study in Japan revealed that when a dog encounters someone or something they know, they have a lot of facial movement. Dogs were presented with their parent, a stranger, their favourite toy, and an item they don’t like. When the dog saw their parent or their toy, they instantly raised their eyebrows, especially the left. When the stranger and item they disapprove of came out, the dogs only moved the right brow slightly.
Calmly watching you leave
Many people believe that when their dog is anxious as they leave the house it’s a sign of love as they are sad their human is going. According to Berns, that is more a sign of separation anxiety than affection. When a dog calmly watches you go, that means they love and trust you as they’re confident you’ll return.
Freaking out when you come home
Feels so good to be loved!
Sleeping in your room
Dogs are pack animals, so naturally they do not want to be separated from loved ones ever. Whether we allow them to or not, your dog wanting to sleep in your bed is a sure sign of love.
Bringing you his favourite toy
Nope, your pup isn’t just being playful. If your dog brings you their favourite possession, he sees you as the pack leader. His offering is a sign of affection, hoping you’ll appreciate that ratty rope or squeaky ball as much as he does.
Enjoying your love
Do you really love your dog? According to Berns, canines can innately tell whether or not you truly love them.
(All adorable images by Maya Borenstein at LittleThings.com)