Your dog has seen you through many stages and transitions in life, and they remain your best friend through it all. How they communicate their love for you is different than a human because… well, we speak different languages!
But as any dog parent knows, that doesn’t stop our beloved pups from expressing their love in other ways. Here’s how to recognize your dog’s love language so you can deepen your bond with your best friend:
Your dog’s five love languages
Your dog’s body language helps you understand what they are thinking and feeling. It’s how we know a relaxed wagging tail means they’re happy to see you, and that pinned back ears and intense eye contact are a warning they’re not liking what’s happening around them.
Here are your dog’s five love languages and how to recognize them:
1. Words of Affirmation
Have you ever noticed your pup getting excited when you mention the words “walk” or “good dog”? They’ve associated these words with things they love, like a treat or playtime at their favourite park, and you’ll usually get a happy bark or wagging tail in response.
2. Physical Touch
Most dogs love a good scratch behind the ears, and cuddles and pets make many dogs feel calm and safe. If this is their love language, you’re likely used to getting lots of demands for attention. But nobody likes too much of a good thing, so make sure to take breaks to check in that your dog is still enjoying the attention – lip licking and shying away mean it’s time to stop, while a nose boop means “keep it up, mum!”
3. Gift Giving
Does your dog bring you things when they’re excited, like holding your shoe in their mouth when you first arrive home? If so, you have a gift giver on your hands! While we’re not 100% sure why dogs do this, it’s thought to be a way they show love and respect to their pack leader.
4. Acts of Service
Is your pet protective of you and members of your immediate family (like kids)? While it’s important to manage this behaviour and make it clear to your dog that you’re in charge, this is another way they show us how much you matter to them.
5. Quality Time
At the end of the day, the most important thing in your dog’s life is YOU! Spending quality time with your dog like short training sessions, long walks, and playing with toys is the best way to deepen your bond and enrich their lives.
How to reciprocate your dog’s love
Show your dogs how much you love and appreciate them by communicating back to them in their love language(s).
Here are some ways to express your love:
- Speak to them in a kind tone of voice and match their energy – if they’re too amped up, a low, gentle voice is the way to go. If they need a little encouragement, try making your voice upbeat and excited.
- Next time you’re cuddling on the couch together, try giving them a gentle massage for relaxation and to ease any sore muscles from running around at the park.
- Switch up the treats and chews to give your dog some variety and help them satisfy their natural instincts. But remember, all things in moderation!
- Take an extended lunch break tomorrow and treat your dog to a mid-day walk around the neighbourhood or hit up your local hiking trail.
How many of these five love languages does your dog demonstrate every day? You know your dog deserves the best, so show your love back to them as often as possible and they’ll reward you ten-fold.
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