Doggie love?

We humans love to be loved and, especially, by our dogs.

I am certain that all of the people who read Learning from Dogs on a regular basis are dog lovers and, just as important, your love for your dogs means that they in turn love you.

But unfortunately not everyone thinks of dogs in such a beautiful manner. For example, not far from here on Hugo Rd are a group of dogs, 4 or 5 I think, that I cycle past, and they live in outside kennels.

If you are an uncertain owner or a new owner you may want to understand more about your dog’s behaviour, or more accurately, whether your dog loves you. This article on The Dodo explains this very well.

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Does My Dog Love Me?

How to tell what those happy wiggles really mean ❤️️

By DANIELLE ESPOSITO
PUBLISHED ON 8/19/2020

Humans loveeee love. Which means we want the people — or animals — we love to show us they love us back.

But it’s sometimes hard for us to tell whether or not our dogs truly, deeply, madly love us — especially if you’re a new pet owner.

Who doesn’t want to feel all warm, fuzzy and loved by our pets?

To help you get that confirmation you’re looking for, The Dodo turned to Dr. Vanessa Spano, a veterinarian at Behavior Vets in New York City, to understand how dogs show their love.

“It is so important to understand your pets’ body language, as that is their way of communicating with us,” Dr. Spano said.

Here are some of the most common ways to tell that your dog, in fact, abso-freakin’-lutely loves you.

Your dog has a relaxed, wiggly body

“When interacting with your dog, body language signs to look out for that may indicate comfort and positivity include a relaxed body (or wiggly body during times of excitement, like play or you coming home), soft, forward ears and soft, rounded eyes,” Dr. Spano said.

He wiggles his eyebrows at you

You read that right! Doggos in love are known to raise their eyebrows when they see their owner. In fact, a 2013 Japanese study used a high-speed camera to record dogs’ faces when their humans walked into the room. It found that dogs raised their eyebrows when they saw their owners, but not when strangers walked in. *happy cry*

He wants your attention

“It is also a good sign if your dog is soliciting attention from you, such as with a play bow,” Dr. Spano said.

This can also be seen when he brings you one of his favorite toys.

He leans against you

A dog will lean on humans for a few different reasons — sometimes it’s because he’s anxious or he wants you to do something — but it’s also a sign of affection. And regardless — even if your dog is leaning against you because he’s nervous — it still indicates that he thinks of you as someone who can protect him and keep him safe.

Confusing body language to look out for

According to Dr. Spano, there are some things dogs do that humans typically consider to be signs of affection, but aren’t always.

“Confusing signs include wagging tails and exposed bellies,” Dr. Spano said. “A dog wagging his tail simply means he is aroused by the situation. This can be a good thing, but not necessarily; it depends on the context of the situation.”

This means that it’s good to notice the situations that cause each of your dog’s behaviors and begin to build an understanding of your individual dog’s moods.

For example, maybe you notice your dog always wags her tail when you walk into a room — you can equate that situation with her being happy in those moments. On the other hand, maybe you’ve also noticed she wags her tail just a bit stiffer when she sees a strange dog, and it’s almost always followed by raising her hair and growling. While she is wagging her tail in both of these situations, it’s not the same kind of tail wag.

“Similarly, a dog showing his belly may be asking for belly rubs, but it can also indicate fear,” Dr. Spano said. “Dogs do have the capability of trusting and loving you, but depending on their own fears, stress level and past experiences, it may take some time.”

So in general, look for those relaxed and wiggly bodies to know how happy your dog is to see you. Other behaviors you’ll learn over time — and it’ll just help your bond grow even stronger since you’ll be the only one who can truly detect your dog’s moods and emotions.

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Yes, it certainly takes time to really get to know a dog. Although one might think that having a number of dogs in the household makes it easier, and generally that is the case, even in a largish group one can have tensions that exist between a couple of the dogs. Knowing both dogs as well as you can enables one to adjust things so that the tension no longer exists or it becomes a very rare event.

But it is rare and, luckily, loving dogs is the normal!

I will close with a photograph of dear Oliver who is one of the most loving dogs I have come across.

Oliver. Taken at home, 17th May, 2020.

9 thoughts on “Doggie love?

  1. Oliver has beautiful, expressive eyes. I also think another sign that your dog loves & trusts you, if they let you get near their face. Experts will usually say, show your dog affection by rubbing their ears or petting their body. All our dogs liked hugs & never tried to run. Great article, Paul.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our Brandy is a great leaner and his weight sometimes causes Jeannie to struggle resisting his loving. Indeed, all our dogs show their love in many ways, as we would expect because we love them so much. It’s a very happy family, Susan!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. One of the biggest compliments for me is when you give the dogs a treat and they trot off with it and hop up by you on the sofa to eat it. Means they feel safe, secure and happier to eat or play with it closer to you rather than feel a need to take it somewhere and not run any risk of it being taken away.

    Not that it means dogs with a preference for taking it some-place to enjoy alone don’t feel they can trust you – I have one of each and we joke when she gently takes a piece of food off you then trots off rapidly she’s “taking it to my lair….”

    The younger dog is a nervous, troubled soul and takes a while to make his peace and feel at ease with new toys because of what was a debilitating fear of squeakers. Might take a day or two of him giving one a wide berth but when he finally decides to brave it, he’ll usually trip off upstairs to play with it on my bed because that’s his little safe place and he seems to feel if he takes it there, nothing bad will happen.

    It just warms my cockles and reinforces my belief they trust us implicitly and never feel worried about anything being on borrowed time when they tuck into a Kong stuffed with peanut butter 😀

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    1. What a lovely, thoughtful and loving reply from you! So frequently dogs bring out so much goodness in us humans. They are beautiful animals and our love for them and their love for us puts much of the angst in the world into perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Over the years and with age and experience I’ve come to realise my dogs are and will always be the best teachers, trainers and friends I’ve been privileged to know. They never fail to teach me new things, throw me a completely new problem I’ve never had before but it forces me to figure out how to do things a little better than before.

        I have to stop thinking and trying to approach things from a human’s perspective, take time to step back and observe the little things, figure out why they do certain things and behave like that and then find a way to communicate things to them so we can work together and start helping them feel better.

        It’s heartbreaking how many dogs I’ve known whose stories are similar to Ray’s and sadly, the bigger, more physically powerful breeds like GSD’s tend to cop it from the very worst type of person who expects if not demands a certain temperament, nature and behavioural traits purely because of their size and strength.

        When they’ve had clearly distressing and poor experiences we can’t be certain about but just strongly suspect and work with as best we can, there’s such a fine line between helping them to reset that switch and form new associations so it helps them grow more confident and not overdoing the reassurance and leaving them totally reliant on us and unable to cope with new or scary things but not flooding them with too much too soon and potentially leaving them on the opposite end of that scale.

        Difficult one to get right but as you rightly and wisely say, no two dogs are the same and there’s no one approach to anything it’s entirely dependent ton each dogs, it’s individual personality, nature, home environment – us their owners and people with whom they now base what they feel and think about humans etc.

        My youngest dog Fleet (the one I mentioned has a fear of squeakers) came to us as a non-worker. Lived outside in tiny, cramped kennels all his life, slept on a bare concrete floor, never knew or had seen toys, ran away from a tennis ball we tossed him to play with the day we first him at the farm – had never seen a ball until then – and until the day we brought him home he’d never been inside a car or even stepped foot inside a house.

        To his entire credit, he settled in almost immediately, adapted and within that first week had been exposed to so may new, different and sometimes scary experiences but took them all in is stride needing me to just tap my leg and give one gentle “C’mon sweet it’s OK let’s go” before he followed and grew more cautious and interested.

        The only thing that was completely different was the fear of squeakers which we later discovered was due to rats that got in through the mesh on his kennels, stole his food and bit him something shocking. A thousand pennies dropped all at once i.e. blind panic and debilitating reaction to hearing a squeaky toy the first time, deep bite wounds and bald spots on his face, snout and legs, how he gulped his food down so fast constantly with his eyes darting all over as though expecting that meal would be his last. The worst and most frightening thing was how he went insane trying to get at my daughter’s hamster and lunged, snapped and literally tried to bite through the cage bars needing to be physically dragged away and out of the room.

        Gradually desensitised him to the sound by having a small toy in different rooms and getting someone to hold it underneath a cushion and dull the sound, press and let him hear it from a muffled, quieter distance then carry on like we didn’t hear a thing. The aim was only just to get to a point where he’s at least able to hear it without going into a blind panic and understanding that even though he still hates it, nothing bad will follow the noise like it did.

        Was so happy when he stopped inhaling his food and constantly panicking which happened pretty quickly and meant he could go back to a normal “big boy bowl” instead of the anti gulp dish. Then he started doing what he still does which is really take time to enjoy his food, have a few mouthfuls, look up and have a glance to see what the other dog is doing, where we all are, wags his tail happily and then goes back to eating but it’s not rushed, panicked or thrown down his neck.

        Even hear his paws pitter-pattering on the floor sometimes when he’s really enjoying his grub and taking little steps all round his dish to get right in at every last morsel.

        I’m glad Ray found his way to you and I’m absolutely certain it was no accident. You’re both lucky 😀

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      2. You are so right when you write, “Over the years and with age and experience I’ve come to realise my dogs are and will always be the best teachers, trainers and friends I’ve been privileged to know. They never fail to teach me new things, throw me a completely new problem I’ve never had before but it forces me to figure out how to do things a little better than before.”

        I started Learning from Dogs because circumstances brought me to living with Jean and her many dogs, at times nearly 30 but in the main 20 animals, and their qualities were so obvious especially their unconditional love.

        Clearly you are devoted to your own dogs and had, for example, the patience to stay with Fleet until his phobias had subsided.

        Please, please write me a guest post with some photographs. It would be so good!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Of course no problem!! No idea if that’s a case of me creating a post and sharing it with you to link / share alike but let me know Will gladly share some of the many stories, tales and snippets of dogs past, present, loved and lost. They’re all different, all barmy and have their own unique story.

        I’m honestly trying to imagine what it must really be to live with and alongside up to 30 dogs.

        I refer to our home and lives as being an absolute casserole of nonsense but yours must be the slow cooker / giant “All you can eat buffet” version

        Another person definitely worth considering as a guest post is a young lady from US I’ve been friendly with a few years, followed her progress and the incredible results and relationship they have.

        Anyway leave it with me Paul I’ll get back 🙂

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      4. I will republish what you write but whether you write it especially for the event, so to speak, or it is an existing article I leave up to you. All I ask is that is contains some photographs and also I will want a short bio of yourself. My email address is paulhandover(at)gmail(dot)com

        Oh, and please link me to that lady in the US when you have a moment.

        Liked by 1 person

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