Most dogs show affection in pretty obvious ways. They wag their tail and shower you with kisses every time you walk through the door. But other pups display behaviors that are downright strange. They express love for owners by stealing underwear or corralling them down the street!
No matter how quirky your pup is, there’s an explanation for it. Here are some of the unique ways a dog can show their love for you.
- They make eye contact: Pups show their love by gazing deeply into their owner’s eyes. Sustained eye contact releases a hormone called oxytocin, which helps a dog feel more attached to their human companion. Pet parents should be extremely flattered when their dogs want to make eye contact. This isn’t a gesture they extend to just anyone!
- They sleep in your bedroom: Some people share a bed with their dog, and some don’t. Even if the bed is off limits, adoring pups still want to be in the same room as you. In the wild, canines sleep in a pack to demonstrate their loyalty and to protect each other. Domestic pups have this same instinct, and the ones that love their owners will sleep as close to you as possible.
- They steal your shoes: Shoe hoarding is less appreciated than other signs of affection. Pet parents getting ready to head out the door are often left wondering where their shoes have gone. Chances are, your dog stole them! Dogs carry around shoes, socks and dirty laundry because they’re covered in your scent. Oddly enough, stinky clothes comfort pups who are highly attached to their owners.
- They bring you toys: Dogs are very picky about who gets to touch their favorite toys. Many rescue pups will resource guard, especially if other dogs live in the home. When a dog drops their ball or squeaky toy at your feet, it means they want to share their stuff with you. This act also means the dog acknowledges you as the “pack leader” and presents their valued possessions as a sign of respect.
- They make adorable expressions: Domestic pups have evolved to mimic human facial expressions. They inherited such behaviors to communicate more effectively with their human companions. Dogs can raise their eyebrows to illicit a nurturing response from owners. Believe it or not, dogs can even express joy by pulling back their lips into a toothy smile!
- They recognize your name: Over time, a dog will learn their owner’s name when people mention it in conversation. Speaking your name aloud will make the dog perk up and send them into a tail-wagging frenzy! Dogs show their love by getting excited at the mere sound of your name.
- They sit close while you eat: When you’re enjoying a meal, your dog might sit next to the table with their back facing you. This means the dog is protecting a fellow member of the pack while your guard is down. Guarding behavior might seem flattering, but pet parents should make sure their dogs don’t become aggressive toward other humans or animals that approach.
- They herd the pack: Some dogs show herding behavior when the whole family is out for a stroll. They might gently nudge little ones who stray too far from the group. Herding means your pup is fiercely loyal and will do everything they can to protect you. This behavior is most common in breeds that were historically used for herding livestock.
- They worry when you lie down: Play dead around your dog and see what happens. Concerned pups will whine, lick your face and appear restless if they suspect something’s wrong. This means the dog cares about you! Your pup’s good intentions can come across as overbearing, especially when you just want to catch some shuteye, so dogs who display this behavior probably shouldn’t sleep in your bedroom.
- They comfort you when you’re sad: Dogs are very empathetic creatures. Your happiness makes them happy, and when you’re sad, they can sense it. A concerned dog will sidle up next to you in an attempt to make you feel better. They might also sit in your lap or rest their head on your arm. Loving pups try to lift your spirits by offering companionship.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Your pup might display one of these behaviors, or they might express their love in a whole different way! Identifying your dog’s various quirks and what they mean can help you understand just how much they love you.