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10 Signs Your Dog Loves You (Vet Approved)

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

happy dog getting pet by owner

10 Signs Your Dog Loves You (Vet Approved)


Dr. Ashley Darby Photo


Dr. Ashley Darby

BVSc (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Dogs are companion animals that are able to form strong bonds with humans. They can feel a range of different emotions and are capable of showing affection to their favorite people. Just like humans, dogs have different personalities and will express their love in their own special way. Some might be very obvious and make loud declarations of love, like barking excitedly when you come home. Others may be a bit more reserved and show their love by simply choosing to be in the same room as you.

We’ve listed a few ways that dogs are known to show affection. If your dog does any of these things to you, it’s a very good sign that your dog loves you and likes being around you.

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The 10 Signs Your Dog Loves You

1. They Want to Be Near You

Dogs are social animals, so they’ll love spending time with the people they love. Your dog will certainly enjoy your company when you play with them or offer them treats. However, you’ll really know that your dog loves you when they just prefer being near you. Some dogs may choose to lay by your side or sit on your lap. Other dogs with more independent personalities may not want to sit at your feet, but they may just enjoy being in the same room as you.

Cute dog relaxing on woman's lap at home
Image Credit: Drazen Zigic, Shutterstock

2. They’re Excited When You Come Home

Dogs that have formed a strong bond with their owners will be excited when their owners return home. A research study published in 2014 found that dogs may experience an increase in oxytocin and a decrease in cortisol levels when they’ve reunited with their owners. Oxytocin is a hormone that’s associated with promoting positive feelings, and cortisol is known as the main stress hormone. Essentially, dogs in this study felt happier when they were reunited with their owners and were able to de-stress and stabilize their state of being.

3. They Seek Physical Contact

Physical contact can cause both dog and human brains to release oxytocin. This is why people typically enjoy petting their dogs, and dogs enjoy being petted. So, if your dog wants you to pet them, it usually means that you make them feel happier or that they’re seeking comfort. Some dogs just might be a little pickier than others, and they may only prefer being petted in certain places and for a short time.

Welsh Corgi dog being petted by owner outside at a park
Image Credit: Tanya Consaul Photography, Shutterstock

4. They Lean Against or Sit on You

Similar to petting, dogs may want to lean against you or sit on you. This form of physical contact may release oxytocin, which makes them feel happy and can increase the bond shared between you two. The size and breed of your dog doesn’t matter. Sometimes, bigger dog breeds like Australian Shepherds are known to prefer sitting on their owners and acting like lap dogs.

5. They Find Comfort in Your Scent

Dogs find comfort in their owners’ scent and may even go as far as stealing their laundry. One study discovered that dogs may experience positive emotions when they sniff their owner’s scent. In this experiment, dogs were presented with items that had the scent of humans that were familiar to them. Researchers saw that their caudate nucleus activated upon sniffing these items. The caudate nucleus is a part of the brain that’s associated with positive expectations. The findings in this experiment may help explain why many dogs find comfort when they’re left with an article of clothing that belongs to their owners.

Jack Russell Terrier Dog lies in a laundry basket with freshly washed folded and ironed laundry indoor
Image Credit: thka, Shutterstock

6. They Want to Play With You

As social animals, dogs typically enjoy playing with their owners. They’ll want to play fetch or tug or may enjoy going on leisurely walks together. Dogs can be preferential with whom they choose to play with. Your dog may prefer to play with you over other humans because you know how to rile them up and make playtime more fun and interesting for them. They’ll also trust and expect to have a fun time with you rather than with a stranger.

7. They Ask for Belly Rubs

Dogs don’t expose their bellies to unfamiliar people because it’s a vulnerable area for them. Therefore, they often roll over on their backs when they’re trying to appease others or when they’re feeling extremely relaxed and comfortable.

If your dog enjoys getting belly rubs from you, you can take it as a compliment. This means that your dog trusts you and feels relaxed around you.

dog enjoying belly rub from owner
Image Credit: Evelyn Chou, Shutterstock

8. They Sleep Near You

Many dogs prefer sleeping on the same bed as their family members. This desire for closeness is an indication of affection and trust. Some dogs may be content with curling up at the foot of your bed, while others may prefer sleeping with their bum facing towards you. Dogs may choose to sleep in this position because they feel comfortable and trust that you won’t attack them from behind. They may also be doing this to keep watch over you as if they’re agreeing to watch your back if you watch theirs.

9. They Show You Loyalty

Dogs were bred for companionship, so they’ll eventually develop trust with their humans and become very loyal to them. Dog breeds that have stronger guarding instincts, such as Dobermans and German Shepherds, may be protective of their family members and be watchful whenever strangers are nearby.

However, even the most social, extroverted dogs will show preferential treatment to their owners. They may come to you first to play with you before asking others. They can also follow you from room to room around the house.

woman training german shepherd to stop
Image Credit: artimageserandi, Shutterstock

10. They Give You Gifts

Some dogs may develop the habit of bringing you gifts and dropping random objects at your feet. In most cases, this is attention-receiving behavior. Somewhere along the line, your dog has learned that presenting you with a toy or any other object will draw your attention to them. Therefore, they may do this if they want to play with you or receive some pets or praise. It’s often a sign that they like receiving attention from you and enjoy your company.

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Dogs don’t really show love like how humans typically show love. Therefore, it’s important to learn how they express their affection so that you’re aware that you’re on the receiving end of their love. Learning how dogs show and receive love will help you know when your own dog is expressing their love for you and help you reciprocate in a way that they understand. This will only improve how you and your dog communicate with each other and ultimately strengthen the bond shared between you two.

Featured Image Credit: Bachkova Natalia, Shutterstock

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