To say that I love my dog would be an understatement. I adore him. He is one of the best things in my life, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to keep him healthy and happy. Showing him how much he means to me can be a little tricky though.
Even though I know that most dogs aren’t the biggest fans of big hugs, I sometimes have to fight the urge to give Chilly a loving squeeze. After all, hugging is one of the most natural ways for humans to show affection. However, for many of our canine companions, a hug is unwelcome or even threatening, especially if they feel trapped.
Some dog parents make the mistake of thinking that the best way to their dog’s heart is through his stomach. Don’t get me wrong — treats and goodies do have their place (especially as rewards when training), but too many of them can easily lead to weight gain and all of the health issues that come with it. Here are 5 Ways to Show Your Dog Love.
5. 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.
#4. Make Eye Contact
Studies show that when you make direct eye contact with a dog, oxytocin is released in both the dog’s brain and yours. Oxytocin is a hormone that plays a role in trust, altruism, and maternal bonding, and can help create a strong emotional bond.
To reap the benefits, maintain eye contact for 30 seconds, then increase to one minute, says Mark Bennett, a certified professional dog trainer, animal behavior consultant, and owner of Brooklyn’s Finest Dog Training. “This gives the dog time to lower his heart rate and calm down while looking into your eyes,” says Bennett. “It also creates a feeling of closeness, similar to being hugged.” types of dog eye infections
#3. Ear Rubs Make Your Dog High On Love
Have you ever scratched behind your dog’s ears only to find that they lean into your hand and slowly drift into a sort of doggy trance? That’s because ear rubs literally make your dog high.
A dog’s ears are full of nerve endings that send impulses all through the body, triggering the release of endorphins. These hormones act as painkillers and are natural “drugs” that are also released when dogs feel love.
When you show your affection for your pups with ear rubs, you can be sure that they’re getting the message.
#2. Just Tell Them You Love Them
A recent study published in Science found that dogs do, in fact, understand some human speech. Dogs were studied in an MRI scanner that showed that they experienced the most happiness when they heard not just a praising tone, but words of praise, as well. This suggests that they don’t just listen to our tone of voice, but they interpret meaning from words, too. So sometimes just telling your dog how you feel is a great way to express your love.
#1. Training and positive reinforcement
An excellent way to communicate your love is through positive reinforcement. Dogs thrive off of structure and learning. Training will let present your dog with their favorite forms of motivation, whether that’s food, praise, or play, and your dog will come to see you as a provider of the things he loves the most. He’ll see that when he works with you, he’s making you happy, and your rewards will make him happy in return. When you both work to make each other happy, you’re both showing your love for each other.