We love showing love for our pups who, like our own children, we’ll continue to see as babies even as they grow older. We feed them, hold them, and scratch their bellies. We buy them toys at Christmas and sometimes ‘just because.’ We forgive them when they’ve broken into the pantry or soiled the new rug. We even talk about them while we’re supposed to be at work or enjoying our vacation. In addition to being great sources of spectacle and joy, dogs are also great protectors of our homes and companions to the blind. Some dogs are also survivors — rescues who have been physically abused — and heroes — like the black labrador Katrina who saved a drowning man during a hurricane. But how do we know the feeling is mutual? How do we know that our dog’s hugs aren’t just a sign of dominance or just another way we anthropomorphize our pets? Check out some of the ways dogs show their love below.According to an article published on Psychology Today, tail wags can function like a human smile. Dogs use this signal when other beings around. However, tail wagging isn’t always a good thing. Experts found that in general, left-biased tail wags were negative while right-biased tail wags were positive. Here are some explanations of common movements adapted from the same publication: – Slight wag: “Hello” or “Just letting you know I’m here.” – Broad wag: The dog is friendly or content. If the hips are involved, they’re probably really happy. – Slow wag: Could mean the dog is insecure or less social. – Tiny, quick wags: Indicates the dog will commit a certain action. If a tail is vibrating and held high, it is probably a threat.
You know exactly what we’re talking about. You know he’s already gearing up to greet you the moment you pull into the driveway. He’s been waiting for you to come home.
And when you finally walk in, he shows you some love. Be observant of how your dog greets you. He doesn’t have to be jumping on you to show he cares. A simple tail wagging is a sign of affection. If your dog jumps on every person that walks in, he might be “promiscuous,” says Modern Dog Magazine. Also, if he’s being ridiculously jumpy he may be experiencing some separation anxiety.
Researchers in Japan conducted a study with dogs meeting with their human, dog toy, an item they disliked, and a stranger. When they saw their human they lifted their brows, most noticeably their left, but when they saw someone they didn’t know, they exhibited less facial movement, and when they did, it was usually with the right brow.
Similar things happened when introduced to items they liked and didn’t like. To be clear, not all dogs have markings that we can refer to as eyebrows. If this is the case, watch for tension in their head and the movement of their ears.
Yawning usually happens in ripples. It’s contagious. Some scientists found that yawning, like smiling and frowning, is used as a social connection and a way to empathize with those around you.
One study showed that dogs were more likely to yawn around their human than around strangers. Yawning for them isn’t always mimicry. Just like us, they yawn when they’re actually tired too.
When dogs stare at each other, it is usually a sign of aggression. This is not the case when it comes to the humans they love. According to Hare, when your dogs sees you (and his eyes are relaxed, indicated by little or no white), oxytocin is released. To compare, this is the same hormone that help mothers bond with their newborns.
In a study later called ‘Scent of the familiar,’ Neuroscientist Gregory Berns had dogs enter an MRI so he could scan their brains while introducing the scents of different people.
Turns out that the dog’s caudate nucleus, the area of the brain that lights up whenever they receive a reward of some sort, were most active when presented with the scent of someone they knew. The results were similar the activation patterns seen among humans viewing photos of loved ones.
Ever feel like your dog understands you? In many ways, this is true. Neuroscientist Attila Andics says that dogs have similar mechanisms to humans when it comes to processing social information. According to a report published in the journal Current Biology, dogs can distinguish between vocal sounds and non-vocal sounds. The study also suggests that they can tell the difference from your happy, sad, and angry voices and sounds.
It could mean one or more of the following: he’s cold, he’s missed you all day, or it’s in his DNA. Animal Planet says that some dogs such as Pomeranians, poodles, and pugs are more clingier than others.