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How to Show Love to Your Dog: 10 Affectionate Ways

Written by: Cassidy Sutton

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

woman owner and her boxer dog at home

How to Show Love to Your Dog: 10 Affectionate Ways

Are you new to owning a dog? Or maybe you’ve had a furry friend for a while and are looking for new ways to show your dog some love. In either case, we’ve got you covered. We’re listing 10 of our favorite ways to show love to a dog.

Here’s a hint: it doesn’t take much effort! Just 10 minutes a day, and your dog will reap the rewards. Let’s dive in.


Top 10 Ways to Show Love to Your Dog

1. Daily Play Sessions

Playing is one of the best ways to show affection to your dog. Psychologically dogs need to play to build relationships with other animals and humans and to develop essential motor skills1. However, the biggest reason dogs play is that it’s pure fun.

When you play with your dog, you do more than ease boredom for a few minutes. You strengthen your relationship and prevent unwanted behavior.

owner playing with toy poodle dog on green grass
Image By:, Shutterstock

2. Outings

Dogs love car rides, no matter how short or long. Taking your dog to the park or running a quick errand will help ease boredom. It also allows you to interact with your dog in public. You can practice socialization, tricks, or enjoy the scenic views.

3. Teach a New Trick or Command

Commands are an important part of dog training. Without commands, your dog misbehaves, leaving you and your dog upset. Basic training will keep everyone stress-free.

But don’t think that training stops at ‘sit’ and ‘stay’. Give your dog a challenge and up the stakes. Your dog will love it (mainly because of the treats).

an adult woman with hat playing with her dogs in the bedroom
Image By: JenRegnier, Pixabay

4. Ear Rubs and Back Scratches

For most dogs, touch is an integral part of showing affection. Gentle gestures are more intimate compared to roughhousing. Plus, the ear has several nerves that release endorphins when touched, so it’s like offering your dog a massage and a treat simultaneously.

5. Cuddles and Snuggles

Cuddling allows you and your dog to be close to one another, like ear rubs and back scratches. Dogs consider you part of the pack and feel safe around you, so it makes sense why they’d want to snuggle. With those big doe eyes, snuggling shouldn’t be a problem!

Keep in mind, not all dogs like to cuddle. Dogs with trauma related to abuse may not be keen on physical touch, and that’s okay. Simply offering will show your dog you care.

woman sitting on the sofa and hugging and kissing her little white maltese dog in the room
Image By: KatMoy, Shutterstock

6. Dog Time

We love our dogs, but we can’t play with them as other dogs can. Canines need to be around each other to practice commands, and etiquette, and to have fun. Dogs respond differently to other dogs using other forms of communication, which means dog interactions are more stimulating.

Show your dog you care by providing proper dog one-on-one time by going to a dog park or visiting a friend with a dog.

7. Loving Gazes

Dogs don’t focus on facial expressions to show emotion as much as humans do2, but they can read our facial expressions, nonetheless. Staring softly into your dog’s eyes and slowly blinking is a noninvasive loving gesture, perfect for dogs who aren’t keen to touch. It may invite your dog into a cuddle session.

well behaved dog looking at his owner while sleeping
Image By: Igor Normann, Shutterstock

8. Treats

Is there a dog in the world that doesn’t like treats? Surprise your pup with a tasty treat you usually don’t offer. It will be a nice change of pace, and it’s delicious. Your dog will love it!

9. Family Events

Part of having a dog is adopting a furry friend into the family. Go a step further and introduce your dog to the rest of the family. Bring your pup to family events, like birthday parties, Thanksgiving dinners, or random get-togethers. Your dog will love the attention.

group of people with a dog sitting on a picnic blanket on the grass
Image By: Helena Lopes, Pexels

10. Understanding Dog Behavior

Having a solid relationship with your dog is more than learning commands, tossing a ball, and offering treats. You must know about dog behavior to show your dog affection in the best way possible.

Understanding why dogs have certain behaviors will offer you and your pet three things:
  • You’ll have answers faster in an otherwise questionable situation.
  • You establish a more profound respect for your dog.
  • You’ll make better decisions for your dog’s well-being, leading to a happier pet journey overall.

Take some time and study dog behavior. It can only strengthen your relationship with your dog.


In Summary

Owning a dog is a huge responsibility, but showing love doesn’t take much effort. Dogs don’t need a shiny new bracelet to feel loved. All they want are the dog necessities- food, dog time, prey stimulation, and cuddles.

Hopefully, this post inspired you to show some love to your pup. If you think you’ve fallen short lately, that’s okay. Tomorrow is a new day. Now, put the phone away and go snuggle with your dog!

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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