How Do You Know If Your Dog Loves You

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I’d like to believe that my dog Sadie loves me from the way she sits with me. When we are on the couch, she is on her side, with all four of her paws on my legs. She always has to be next to or touch me. It’s the same when we sleep at night — she is right up against my legs.

Our other dog, Oscar, loves to groom my husband. Every night, he sits next to him on the couch and grooms his bald head. Maybe Oscar is just self soothing with all that licking. However, we like to believe it’s his way of showing that he loves us.

sadie licking leah with oscar nearby
My dog Sadie licking me because she loves me.

How Do You Know If Your Dog Loves You

I’m guessing that my husband and I aren’t the only people who wonder, “How do you know if your dog loves you”? That’s why I put together this round up of different signs and behaviors to look for in dogs that, experts say, show they really do love you.

Dogs who love you are excited to see you

Dogs often express love and attachment through their level of excitement. If your dog gets visibly excited, happy or enthusiastic when you come home or come into view, this is a good sign that they love you.

They want to be in physical contact

Dogs that love their owners enjoy cuddling and touching. They may lean against you or sit close to you. Think Sadie and her need to have all her paws on me when we sit together.

Some other dogs enjoy licking their owners’ hands or faces as a sign of affection. So, I guess Oscar’s habit of grooming my husband each night really is his showing him that he loves him.

Here are ways to understand a puppy’s body language.

Keeping tabs on you

Dogs that are closely bonded to their owners pay attention to them. They may check in with their owner frequently by making eye contact or observing their owner’s body language. Or, they may check in if you’ve left the room to see where you’ve gone.

My dogs will come “get” me if I’ve spent too much time in another room away from them. Or will follow me into the bathroom. Dog owners never pee alone. I know I’m not alone in this lack of privacy in the potty.

Comfort you if you’re upset

There is evidence that dogs can understand when their owners need love from them. For example, dogs that are well bonded with their owners respond strongly to signs of distress. If you’re crying or upset, they will try to comfort you.

Have you ever taken a sick day from work or school, and your dog wouldn’t leave your side? This is definitely a sign that they love you and want to be with you until you’re feeling better.

Final thoughts on how to know if your dog loves you

If you love to hug your dog, that’s fine. But when you think that your dog is hugging you — for example, standing on hind legs with paws on your shoulders — that’s not a doggie hug. Your dog is probably trying to tell you he wants something, like to go out or a treat.

That being said, the American Kennel Club says that, over time, dogs can learn that hugs from their owner usually mean something positive. They associate it with affectionate behaviors like petting, treats, play and more.

Finally, experts say dogs are more likely to understand love through behaviors they can naturally relate to, such as eye contact, playfulness or sleeping close together, like Sadie does with me.

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