If you're anything like me, here's a question you sometimes ponder on.....Does my dog know how much I love them?
The answer may surprise you as it’s a definite yes (though you already had your suspicions), your dog does knows how much you love them!
It should come as no surprise to pet lovers that dogs do indeed care about their owners, but what is surprising is how perceptive they are of the little things that impact you and your well-being. Research shows that dogs may be able to tell when their owners are being snubbed by someone else, and they in turn act coldly toward the people doing the dissing. In the experiment, dogs watched as their owners asked for help and either were rudely ignored or received aid. The overwhelming majority of the dogs whose owners didn’t receive help ignored food offered to them by the person who had snubbed their human. Scientists say this is likely a form of social eavesdropping, or the use of information collected by observing interactions between others, and it shows that your dog has your back.
Dogs and humans have a very special relationship, where dogs have actually hijacked the human oxytocin bonding pathway that is normally reserved for our babies. When you stare at your dog, both your oxytocin levels go up, the same as when you pet them and play with them. It makes you both feel good and reinforces your bonding. Does your dog ever stare at you for no reason? They are just “hugging you” with their eyes.
Want to know more then here are 10 definite tell-tale signs that your dog really does love you;
1. They react positively to the sound of your voice
After a long day in the office, there’s nothing quite as fulfilling as a dog happily running to you when he hears his name. It’s even better when he’s in the middle of chewing a favourite toy or investigating a fascinating scent, and he stops what he’s doing to come and greet you.
2. You smell great
Your scent activates the reward centre, or caudate nucleus, of your dog’s brain — and there’s science to prove it. Neuroscientist Gregory Berns trained dogs to enter an MRI machine willingly and unsedated and then scanned their brains while presenting them with the scents of different people. One type of smell caused each dog's caudate to light up the most significantly — that of someone they knew. Now, it's possible that response could indicate longing or love since these brain activation patterns looked remarkably similar to those observed when humans are shown pictures of people they love.
Consider this. In 2015, scientists conducted an fMRI study to find out how dogs’ brains respond to various common scents. 12 canine participants were exposed to 5 common scents while inside the fMRI chamber.
The scents included:
familiar human (owner)
strange human (stranger)
the dog’s own scent.
All five scents evoked a response in each research subject. But only the scent of each dog’s owner evoked a response in the part of the brain associated with anticipation towards something rewarding, desirable, and pleasurable.
Long story short, when your dog smells YOU, she feels a sense of anticipation and a very positive association. Scientists believe this is one of the signs that your dog loves you.
3. Tail wagging
This may seem like an obvious sign of love, but this behavior is more complex than you may think. A tail wag can have a lot of different meanings — and they’re not always friendly. Thankfully, when your dog gives a full-body wag with the tail held at mid-height, accompanied by other signs of positive body language, the message is pretty clear: She’s happy and excited to see you. Now, if your dog’s tail wags more to the right side of his rear, it just might be an even better sign she loves you. An Italian neuroscientist and two veterinarians discovered this by using cameras to track the tail-wag angles of 30 pet dogs as they were each shown their owner, a person they didn’t know, a cat and an unfamiliar dog. When the pups saw their owners, their tails wagged most strongly to the right side of the body.
4. She snuggles with you
Your dog likes to sleep with you. Dogs are inherently alert to threats in their environment and lay in a defensive position when sleeping in the wild. They place their noses to the wind to pick up threatening scents and their backs to other pack members to form a protective circle. The fact that they are willing to snuggle with us on the couch is a sign that they feel safe with us and consider us part of their pack. We are part of their inner family circle. I don’t know if there’s any scientific proof that snuggling is a sign of love, but it sure feels that way to me. Think about it: Dogs could curl up anywhere, but they often choose to cuddle with us. Other signs of love include leaning on us, sleeping with a head on our feet or laying a paw on our knee. So next time you veg out on the couch, invite your pooch to sit beside you or at your feet and share some quality bonding time.
5.They smile at you
A dog’s smile can have many meanings, but when their mouth is open and relaxed, you’re most likely seeing a calm, happy dog.
Research has demonstrated that when you yawn and your dog sees you, your dog is more likely to yawn as well. Why is this relevant to canine expressions of love?
Reciprocal “contagious yawning” has been a reliable predictor of close social bonds among primates such as chimps.
But this is the first time it has been studied as a measure of empathy and closeness between people and dogs.
Researchers have also demonstrated that when you give your attention to another family pet or even a stuffed animatronic dog, your dog is likely to display jealousy. Whether they snarl at the competitor, push between you and the competitor, snarl at the situation, or even at you, dogs can get very jealous! Here again, jealousy isn’t exactly the same as love but scientists do believe a display of jealousy over a perceived rival for your attention does denote an “important social relationship” your dog wants to protect and keep all to herself!
Whether you're sitting on the floor or couch, if your dog leans against you, it means it feels safe, secure, and totally comfortable. Sometimes dogs will lean against their humans when they're feeling scared or anxious, but that only means it sees you as its protector.
9 Your dog gives you presents. Sometimes your dog brings you his favorite toy ready to play, but often, she presents it as a gift. She wants to “share” her favored possession with the person she loves.
10 After you’ve been gone for a little while, does your dog greet you like you’ve been gone for days, years, lifetimes? Love.
See your dog definitely does loves you! Now remain secure in the affection your dog feels for you and enjoy the loving relationship.