Any dog owner knows that their dog loves them, and it is essential to reciprocate that love. However, reciprocation can be a tad challenging because humans do not understand canine language and behavior fully.
Treats and toys might make your dog feel good, but do they translate to showing him/her how special they are to you? Just because you do not speak the same language, doesn’t mean that you always have to keep guessing if your dog feels loved enough. Here are some proven ways to show dogs love and affection.
Do you notice how dogs lean in and drift into a trance when you rub them behind their ears? The reason is that their ears are full of nerve endings that send impulses to their brain and trigger the release of endorphins. Endorphins cause an analgesic effect in the dog’s body, which relaxes them, relieves pain if any, and makes them feel good and loved.
2. Raise your eyebrows
A study conducted in 2013 in Japan shows that dogs raise their left eyebrows when reunited with their owners. The study, which utilized high-speed cameras to examine dog behavior, stipulates that the raising of the left eyebrow among dogs is a reflection of their attachment to their owners.
When greeted by strangers, dogs show less facial activity. If there is any activity, it is on the right side of their faces. A dog’s left side of the brain is analytical, and it controls the right side of the face. The right side of the brain, on the other hand, is tied to emotions, and it controls the left side of the face. Therefore, raising the left eyebrow is a sign of emotional attachment.
If you can raise one eyebrow, preferably the left one, your dog will feel loved. Since most people cannot raise one eyebrow, displaying more facial activity when you are around your dog makes them feel loved.
3. Avoid hugging them
According to Dr. Patricia McConnell, a certified applied animal behaviorist, dogs do not like to be hugged. Saddening, right? However, this does not mean that your dog doesn’t love you. They just show affection differently.
Hugging, for dogs, does not have the same meaning as hugging between humans. Dogs never hug at all. The only thing that they do that is close to hugging is putting one or both legs over the shoulder of another dog, which is known as “standing.” Standing is a sign of dominance, so hugging your dog translates to dominance in his/her language.
Dogs are intelligent, and training them helps them focus their energy on activity. It also improves their physical and emotional well-being. Training enables you to show your dog how to relate to people and other animals.
It also provides an opportunity for positive reinforcement (rewarding good behavior), which is a great way to show your dog affection. Some of the rewards you can use for positive reinforcement are food, play, or praise. Through positive reinforcement, you also stimulate your dog’s cognitive capacity.
5. Feed them their favorite food
Like humans, every dog has a dish that he loves best. Preparing your dog his/her favorite food occasionally stirs feelings of affection in them. Since they cannot have the same type of food daily, you can hand feed them when you prepare the food that they really enjoy.
Hand feeding a dog shows him/her that you are the caretaker and provider. It also reduces food aggression and creates a strong bond between you and your dog.
6. Spend time with your dog
Set aside some time for your dog every week. You can spend this time on your sofa, walking or traveling. Also, you can engage in some physical activity that will relax both you and your dog and create a stronger bond.
Take care not to pamper your pooch, as this might affect their health and wellbeing. Pampering can potentially lead to behavioral problems, as well.
Grooming is a great opportunity to spend time with your dog, and it will keep him smelling fresh and looking his best. Regular baths, teeth brushing and nail trimming are all common grooming tasks that you can do yourself. If your dog needs regular hair cuts or trimming, you can also use the best hair clippers to keep Fido looking his best.
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