Dr James Greenwood, resident vet on ITV’s The Pet Show, reveals the top signs that your dog really loves you and the best ways to express your affectionate for them too
Have you ever wondered if your dog really loves you as much as you love them? Turns out there are some clear signs you can look out for.
From tail wagging to jumping, licking and snuggling, dogs express their affection in many different ways – and it’s basically their manner of saying ‘I love you’.
Dr James Greenwood, resident vet on ITV’s The Pet Show, spoke to Webbox about the tell-tale signs pet owners can look out for, and dogs’ favorite ways to receive affection in return.
Now, you’ll never question if your dog is truly devoted to you again.
Getty Images/Mint Images RF)
Sign up to our TeamDogs newsletter for your weekly dose of dog news, pictures and stories.
What are the top signs that your dog loves you?
“It’s all about the tail with dogs! They can express a whole range of emotions through their tail wag,” Dr Greenwood said.
“Whilst it’s important to note not all tail wagging is a sign of happiness, there are two types that signal pure joy in our dogs.
“Firstly, the whole-body wag that starts at the shoulders and wiggles all the way down to the tip of the tail is quite literally their happy dance!
“Secondly, the helicopter tail wag is usually reserved for those who are viewed as especially important.”
Interestingly, Dr. Greenwood says dogs rarely enjoy being hugged or restrained.
But if they choose to come and snuggle into you on their own terms, it’s likely they see you as a trusted member of the family.
“Finally, that super excited greeting when you get back from leaving the house – the jumping and licking, sometimes they may bark or bring you a toy – is a genuine signal that they are pleased to see you,” Dr Greenwood added.
What’s the best way to show your dog you love them?
Most dogs enjoy nothing more than spending time with their owners, but there’s lots of ways you can make the day extra special.
Dr Greenwood explained: “A daily walk is essential; dogs love using their senses to smell and explore and need to burn off calories exercising.
“I would also suggest setting up obstacle course or using puzzle feeders to get them thinking and problem solving.”
“Food is also a big motivator for dogs and you can use this to your advantage when training by using treats as a reward for good behavior.
“It’s also worth teaching our dogs how to be alone – gradual time spent on their own, with long lasting chews or toys to keep them occupied, is key to their development.
“Independence is necessary so they don’t become overly reliant on their pet parents or develop attachment issues.”
Is there anything you shouldn’t do when trying to bond with a pet?
While you might want to shower your puppy with love every minute of every day, it can hinder their teaching and training.
“[You shouldn’t] try to make everything positive and avoid punishment techniques,” Dr Greenwood said.
“If your pet doesn’t seem comfortable with a certain situation (they may back away, try to hide or even show some early signs of aggression) then it’s important we pick up on this and don’t force them into anything they’re not doing comfortable.
“Instead, take small steps using positive reinforcement (eg with treats) to gradually introduce our pets to these new situations and give them time to realize everything is ok.”
Do you have a dog story to tell? Contact email@example.com.