They say dogs are people’s best friend and this is quite true.
There are few feelings better than coming home after a long day to your loyal furry companion wagging his tail, happy to see you. Still, although we can get a general mood from our animals at most times, it’s hard to know exactly what they’re thinking or how to communicate with them. Though dogs have their own way of expressing themselves, there are still plenty of ways that we can communicate more clearly with them that we love them.
With no further ado, here are 15 ways to tell your dogs you love them.
1. Talk to your dog.
Although it goes without saying, talking to your dog is a great way to show them that you care about them! Although it definitely helps us to think about our animals as our friends who have their own inner lives and who can understand us, it also helps our dog feel like they’re included in our life. While many of us are probably doing this already, it never hurts to have a reminder to do it even more!
2. Do your best to be a good listener.
Although there are a lot of things you have to do to show that you’re a good listener, this is a good overall tip to remember. When your dog is making sounds and doing different things to get your attention, be sure to turn your attention to the dog and try to understand what’s going on. Showing that you’re receptive to your animal’s attempts to communicate is sure to strengthen your relationship and increase the trust between the two of you. While this includes looking at your dog, using open facial expressions and body language and a bunch of other things, it’s a good overall tip to remember.
3. Use gentle and direct eye contact.
While it goes without saying, eye contact is very important for dogs. Although making piercing or intimidating eye contact can intimidate or cause conflict with your dog, it’s still important to look at your dog in the eyes. Instead of being too intense, though, try using soft and gentle eye contact instead. While this goes hand in hand with being a good listener, it’s important to think about how you’re orienting yourself to your dog in general—especially when it comes to eye contact.
4. Make plenty of expressions using your eyebrows.
Because dogs and humans co-evolved, dogs are genetically hardwired to recognize a wide range of human emotions. Similarly, dogs and humans have plenty of emotional transfer between one another for that reason. Still, you can give your dogs a helping hand by making sure to use your eyebrows and bring expressive with your face so that they can clearly see what types of feelings you’re having. Whether you’re feeling upset or excited or angry, letting your dog see what you’re feeling is sure to help strengthen your relationship.
5. Lean on your dog.
If you’ve ever noticed before, many dogs like to come up to their humans and lay on them or put their body weight on them. Though sometimes a dog will lean on you when it’s trying to show some dominance over you, there are plenty of times where they’ll lean on you in a tender way, showing that they’re afraid or insecure. To show reciprocation, try leaning on your dog a little bit as well when you’re on the couch together to show affection! If you have a cuddly dog in general, they’re sure to appreciate it.
6. Try sleeping next to your dog.
Although some people don’t like to let their dogs sleep in the bed, the feeling of sleeping with your dog is a great experience that everybody should have. Though there are plenty of studies showing that women who sleep with their dogs rest better and have more feelings of comfort and security, it’s also sure to have benefits for your dog as well. Much like the other tips about including your dog in your life and leaning on your dog, showing that you’ll sleep next to your dog as well is sure to build the confidence and trust between the two of you.
7. Take your dog on a walk.
Needless to say, dogs need plenty of physical activity to stay happy. Though you’ll definitely need to walk your dog anyway to let them go to the bathroom and get some exercise, walking doesn’t always need to be so goal-oriented. If you have a big yard, your dogs’ needs will be taken care of—but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go on walks with them! Because dogs love this kind of activity so much, doing it with them just because you want to is sure to bring the two of you closer together.
8. Spend time grooming or massaging them.
Though we all pet our dogs pretty regularly, we might not know just how much they appreciate that kind of attention! Because we can’t speak the same language as our dogs, a lot of the way we communicate has to be physical or otherwise indirect. Because of that, we need to make sure that we make plenty of gentle and loving contact with our animals. Although each dog will be different in what kind of touch they prefer, any kind of touch will definitely be appreciated.
9. Rub your dog behind the ears.
Although this is similar to the tip above, this one is a little bit more specific. If you watch your dog around the house, you’ll probably notice that they scratch themselves quite a lot. Still, there’s a limit to their range of movement and there are some places that they just can’t reach. Just like people like having their hair played with or their back scratched, dogs tend to love being scratched behind the ears. It helps that they can’t reach that area, but it’s a comforting feeling as well! For bonus points, try scratching them on the top rear of their back right by their tail as well—this is another hard-to-reach area.
10. Feed your dogs right out of your hand.
We all have to feed and water our dogs to keep them happy and sustained. Still, you can make this moment of feeding less of a necessity and more of a chance to connect with your dog. Though it can take a little extra work, try grabbing a handful of food and feeding your dog directly from it. This way, your scent will mingle with the food and your dog will associate you with food and other positive things that make your dog feel good. By framing yourself as a provider and caretaker for your dog, you’re sure to strengthen your relationship.
11. Use positive reinforcement.
In addition to all the love you have to show your dog, it can be important to get them some basic training as well. In doing that, it’s important that you remain positive and show your dog that you love them. It can be easy to get impatient and angry at your dog if they don’t learn as fast as you’d like them to. While that’s an understandable response, it’s important to be patient and focus on the positive. Whenever your dog learns something or approximates what you want them to learn, use treats or other rewards to give your dog positive reinforcement! That way, your dog will learn more quickly and it will know that you appreciate their hard work.
12. Be clear and open with your emotions.
Although this is a generalized tip and not a specific one, what a lot of these things have in common is that you need to be open and honest when you communicate with your dog! If you come home feeling angry or anxious or happy or whatever else, your dog will definitely pick up on it regardless of how open you are with them about it. Instead of hiding from your animal, be more aware of your own feelings and how they are affecting those around you. Though this is a lifelong practice, it’s sure to have plenty of benefits outside of just your relationship with your dog.
13. Try starting your day with some quiet time with your dog.
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily routine and to forget to take time out to relax. In some cases, it may also mean that your dog isn’t getting enough of your attention as well. To try to fight back against this, try setting some time aside in the morning apart from your work routine to spend a little bit of time with your dog. Making a little bit of time to be quiet and peaceful with your animal is sure to put you in a great mood for the rest of the day—and your dog will definitely appreciate it as well.
14. Leave plenty of toys around the house.
It’s s shame that most of us can’t work from home or take our dogs to work with us. Still, there’s a way to keep your relationship with your dog going while you’re out of the house. When you leave for the day, be sure to leave out plenty of toys for your dog to play with—and make sure you put your hands all over them before you leave as well. That way, your dog will be mentally stimulated the whole time you’re away and will also be reminded of you through your scent. Though dogs need plenty of physical stimulation, mental stimulation is just as important!
15. Take your dog on plenty of car rides.
If there’s a common theme in all of these tips, it’s that you should try to make your dogs as much a part of your life as you can. To that end, why not try taking them with you when you go out and run errands? Although some dogs panic a little bit in the car (or else they’re too big and wild in the car to safely travel with), many dogs love sticking their head out the window while you drive and seeing everything that passes by. Obviously, your mileage with this tip may vary depending on your dog’s preferences. Still, spending more time with your dog can never be a bad thing!
While having a dog can be a big commitment, it can also be hugely fulfilling and add a lot of value to your life. Though it goes without saying, dogs are so friendly and loyal when they’re treated properly and shown a lot of love. Although every dog is different, the tips on this list are sure to make you more emotionally open and aware with your animal—and it will definitely pay off as well. Do you have any special ways that you show your dog that you love them? Let us know in the comments below.
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