6 Ways Your Dog Says ‘I Love You’

We know how we show our dogs love. How do they say it back to us?

black and golden retriever sitting with a little girl at sunset

Dogs can sense how much we love them through our actions, tone of voice, and facial expressions. We can sense when our dogs love us, but what are some specific ways our pets show us how much we mean to them?

Cuddling with you

Physical touch is a way for dogs to bond with other people and/or dogs. If your dog decides to snuggle up with you on the couch, take it as a sign that they love you and want to be close to you. If they plop down with a content sigh, that’s a big plus!

Wanting to sleep near or with you

When they’re in packs, dogs curl up and sleep near each other at night. Similarly, they’ll want to sleep near or around you. If they can relax enough to fall asleep with you, it’s a strong indication that they feel comfortable and safe around you.

Leaning into you

While leaning may cause some issues if your dog is larger, it’s still a positive sign! Leaning against your leg (or whatever part is closest to them) is a big sign that they love you. If you find your dog leaning against you, take a moment to pet him and show him some extra affection.

Sharing long stares

Have you ever looked at your dog and shared a long, affectionate gaze with them? Sharing long stares with your dog triggers the release of oxytocin in both you and your dog’s brains. Over time, this affectionate eye contact builds a sense of trust between you and your dog. This mechanism is the same one used to help mothers form bonds with newborn babies.

Be sure to not stare down a dog you’re not familiar with, though. Some dogs see eye contact as confrontation, so you don’t want to send the wrong message!

Following you around

It may seem like your dog wants to follow you everywhere, even to the bathroom! Rest assured, this is a sign that your dog feels safe around you, or conversely, wants to protect you. In older dogs, this may be a sign of devotion.

Rolling over onto their back

When your dog flops over and rolls onto his back, it can be a sign that he loves and trusts you. They could also be asking for a belly rub, which is another way of asking for your attention. Either way, it’s another way for them to show how safe they feel around you.

These are only some of the ways your dog might show you affection. There are countless ways our dogs are saying ‘I love you!’