While we’re showering affection on our dogs in ways that would be perceived as positive to other humans, dogs don’t translate these actions in the same way – meaning that much of what we do might actually make our pets uncomfortable instead of feeling loved. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that we can’t let our furry buddies know that we love them, it just means that we need to change the way we tell them. Here’s what you can and should change so that you and your dog speak the same love language.Send the Right Signals
As mentioned, human affection doesn’t translate as directly into dog understanding, meaning that what seems like expressing love to us might be something uncomfortable for them. Hugging dogs and patting them on the head may be a sign of affection to us, but dogs tend to perceive this as a show of dominance and are often threatened by it. While many dogs have learnt to tolerate hugs, most of them don’t like them and it would be best if you stopped. Similarly, picking them up (especially smaller dogs) may make them feel trapped and should they struggle, you run the risk of dropping and injuring them.Show Affection That They Understand
Instead of patting and hugging them, show your dogs love in other ways such as rubbing their ears and giving them belly rubs. These are all great spots that your dog would probably be happy for you to pay attention to and will definitely feel loved when you do! You can also try brushing them with a soft brush instead of cuddling them.
Another good alternative is to stroke them with long, gentle strokes which imitates nuzzling – an action that dogs use to display affection for each other and their favourite humans. They’ll be able to understand that and for an even deeper connection, you can maintain long eye contact with them as you’re doing that or stroking under their chin. If you’ve noticed your dog leaning on you, that’s actually its way of giving you a hug! So reciprocate by leaning (gently!) on your pupper for a hug they’ll understand.Non-Physical Affection
You don’t have to get physical to show love! Everything about your tone and body language registers with your dog. Speak in calm and praising tones – be warm towards them and they’ll know you love them. You should also just talk to them because even while they don’t understand everything you say, they can pick up certain words and the tone will let them know that they are being good boyes and gurls. If you wish, you can imitate the expression dogs make when their owners come home which is raising of the eyebrows and a smile! This way, they’ll know that you’re happy to see them too.Have Fun with Them
Spending time with them is also a great way to let your pup know that it’s loved. Take more walks together, have more play time or include them in your daily activities such as watching tv or reading a book. It will make them feel like a part of the family and give them a sense of belonging. In fact, the greatest show of love for a dog is to sleep with its human as this is when it is the most vulnerable. Even if you are not in the habit of sleeping with your pets or letting them on the bed, just taking a nap together on the couch is good as well.
While this guide might help you express your love for your dog a lot better than before, do remember that every dog is unique and has their own preferences. So just keep a lookout for any signs of discomfort and read their body language to see what works and what doesn’t!