Like parents who ask themselves, “Am I a good parent?,” you may be tempted to ask yourself the same question in regard to your dog. It makes sense that if you are a good dog-parent, your dog will love you, right?
How do you know that your dog really loves you? Like children, your dog will want to spend time with you, show affection, and play with you. Here are 4 sure ways to tell that your dog absolutely loves you.
When you invest in your relationship with your dog, let’s be honest, you want a return on your investment, and though you might be able to say, “Sure, my dog loves me,” what can you point to that demonstrates that your dog loves you?
Your Dog Can’t Wait To See You When You Get Home From Work
There is something awesome about coming home from work and being greeted as though you are the most celebrated person on the face of the earth. I’m not talking about a simple tail wag. I’m talking about a full joyous cry from your dog who jumps up to give you hugs and kisses as you walk in the door.
We have two dogs, a Black Lab, and a Vizla-Shepherd mix. “Riker” (our Black Lab), goes absolutely ballistic if I say the phrase, “Mommy’s home.” Like a wife running to her husband at the airport who has just come home from war, Riker aggressively attacks my wife with hugs and kisses . . . . . every . . . day.
This type of relationship only occurs when you really invest time and energy into your dog. This, of course, will include taking your dog for a walk, but there are other things you can do as well, such as wrestling on the floor with your dog, or hitting balls out into a field with a baseball bat for your dog to chase. To discover more fun things that you can do to invest quality time with your dog, you may want to read, “5 Super Fun Things To Do With Your Dog Today.”
Now, my wife and I spend time with our dogs in different ways, and both dogs have a different type of relationship with each of us. Riker is clearly my wife’s dog, and though Lilo (our Vizsla-Shepherd mix) loves both of us, she shows affection differently to each of us. She likes to cuddle with me, or more aptly put, she loves to lean on me. More on that later.
One final note on this. The joy that your dog expresses when you get home from work, (or the lack of joy), is a direct reflection of the relationship that you have with your dog.
If you want a better relationship with your dog, keep reading, and I’ll show you some things you can do to encourage that relationship. More on that in a minute.
Your Dog Licks Your Face and Gives You Hugs
I have never met a dog who gave hugs to people until Riker came into our lives. He is so affectionate. Yes, he will jump up on his hind legs to give hugs and kisses when Rebecca comes home from work, but he will literally hug us (people-hug us), while sitting on the couch in the living room. When greeting my wife, he will literally stand on his hind legs and places his front right leg over Rebecca’s left shoulder, and his left front leg over her right shoulder and proceeds to lick her face. I’m convinced he thinks that he is a person in a dog body. He hugs just like people do.
There is no question that Riker loves us. More than that, he adores my wife. While Riker will take his time making long slow tongue licks, Lilo is the opposite. Lilo will kiss your face as though your face were made out of gravy on a Thanksgiving Day.
Regardless of how your dog shows affection, the fact that he wants to show affection, is evidence that he truly loves you.
Your Dog Brings Toys To You
When your dog brings a toy to you, he obviously wants to play. He wants to engage with you.
“Play” does not necessarily mean that you have to take your dog out to the local park and throw the ball as far as you can for him to chase. Though that might be fun, it’s not necessarily realistic. Most people can’t go to the park to play with their dog every day, but you can still play with your dog. If you can’t play in the back yard, you can play in your home. Simply play the “retrieve” game within the confines of your house or even apartment.
You see, it’s the interaction that your dog craves. He wants to play “with” you, and if that means that you throw-bounce a ball from one end of your apartment to the other end, he will have a great time doing that as well. Again, it’s the interaction that he wants.
If your dog brings the toy to you, but does not want to let you have it so that you can throw it for him to retrieve, you can try the following. Mind you, this is a brief description, but you’ll get the idea and should see success, all from the comfort of your home.
I’m going to show you how to you can teach your dog the simple command, “Drop it.” The goal is to condition your dog to drop the toy in his mouth, so that you can throw it again. To train him, you will offer him a treat at as a reward.
- Step 1
Because dogs love hotdogs, go into the kitchen and cut up 3 hotdogs so that you have about 25 pieces of hotdog. Now put all 25 pieces into a Zip-lock bag, and stick it in your pocket.
- Step 2
Get Your dog‘s favorite toy and toss it across the room so that your dog to retrieve it. Do this a few times without bringing out the airtight Zip-lock bag full of pieces of hotdog.
- Step 3
Once your dog is fully committed to the game, pull out one piece of the hotdogs from your Zip-lock bag and offer to trade the ball for the piece of hotdog. No doubt, he will drop the ball for the hotdog every time. When he does this, be certain to praise him big time. Once you have given him only one piece of the hotdog (this is important) put it back into your pocket.
- Step 4
Repeat Step 2 and Step 3 until all 25 pieces of the hot-dogs are gone. Be certain that you do not cheat and give him more than one piece of hot-dog for each time that he retrieves the ball and drops it for the reward of a piece of the the hotdog.
- Step 5
Repeat steps 1 – 4 each day for the next four days. On the fifth day, do not offer a reward other than an overabundance of praise when he retrieves the ball and drops it into your hand.
Now that your dog has mastered this behavior, do not reward him with food when he retrieves the ball and drops it for you when you say the words, “Drop it.” Instead, praise him big time and he will have learned that when he retrieves the ball, he will be praised and loved on.
Your Dog Leans Against You
One way in which your dog shows affection is by leaning on you. People are the same way. There is something about physical touch that communicates affection.
While at home sitting at the computer, it’s not uncommon for one of our dogs to come up and lie on the floor leaning against my feet as I am typing away. In fact, last night while sitting on the couch watching some television, Lilo came up and sat next to me and intentionally leaned her entire body into mine. I knew that she wanted to cuddle so I gave her some attention. It was her way of letting me know that she loves me and she was demonstrating it by leaning into me.
How can you encourage the relationship you have with your dog? Invest time. The more time you spend with your dog, you closer the two of you will become.
The more time spent with your dog, the depth of that relationship grows, which is exactly what your dog wants. The more time spent with your dog, the more memories are made, fond memories that you will look back on without any regret.