Tell-tail signs your dog loves you: what dogs love about humans

Leading dog walking and sitting service, Rover.com has revealed the ‘tell-tail’ signs that your dog loves you.

Anyone who’s ever owned a dog knows how special the bond between human and hound can be, which can be seen by the way your dog greets you with their tail wagging. The friendship between humans and dogs goes as far back as 40,000 years – but what is it about humans that dogs are so drawn to?

Dog sitting and walking platform, Rover.com has revealed which traits dogs love in humans:

Eye contact

Similar to humans, dogs actively seek out eye contact when they are in need of comforting. Studies have even shown that staring lovingly into your dog’s eyes can boost levels of oxytocin – a hormone that’s released when you interact with someone you like. So why not take a minute to stare longingly into those puppy-dog eyes.

Their Human’s smell

It’s well known that dogs have a heightened sense of smell, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that just the scent of a dog’s owner is enough to cheer them up. A study published in 2015 found that dogs connect their owner’s scent to pleasure, so when your pooch is feeling down, just your familiar aroma will soon get their tail wagging again.

Dog-directed speech

Do you ever catch yourself speaking to your dog in the most ridiculously high-pitched baby voice? Well, research has shown that happy sounds like this trigger parts of your pet’s brain to ‘light up’, making them feel happy. So, there’s no need to feel foolish the next time you spark up a conversation with your dog – it’s been scientifically proven that dog-directed speech’ (DDS) can turn your pup’s frown upside down.

Part of the pack

In the same way that we would consider our dog as part of the family, dogs view us as part of their pack. The rely on us for protection as well as affection – hence why dogs often run to their humans when they’re frightened or anxious. They are constantly looking out for us, the same way we look after them – if that’s not love, what is?

But how can you tell that you’re pleasing your furry best friend? There are several tell-tail signs that give it away. Since dogs aren’t capable of speech, their primary form of communication is through their bodies.

Ears, tail, mouth, eyes and their bodies all have something to say about a dog’s emotional state. Of course, every dog is different, and body composition may vary but in general a happy dog will appear comfortable and at ease.

Physical signs of a happy dog include:

  • A soft, partially open mouth
  • Ears that are relaxed, not pulled back or taut with alertness
  • An overall related posture, with a raised head, relaxed tail and confident stance
  • A tail wag that involved the whole-body wiggle
  • Rolling over to show their belly
  • Making a ‘play bow’ with their rear in the air and chest lowered to the ground as an invitation to play

Behavioural signs of happiness in dogs include:

  • Happy dogs are generally not destructive. Destructive behaviour can be a sign of anxiety and stress
  • They’re happy to play or take a walk. If a dog is uninterested in play time, they may be feeling down
  • They have a healthy appetite, which indicates feeling physically well and emotionally content. Changes in appetite are usually the first sign of unhappiness.
  • They lean into your hand or body. Happy dogs make a lot of body contact
  • They are excited to see you when you walk through the door.

Nicole Ellis, Dog Trainer at Rover.com, said: “Dogs have been man’s best friend for thousands of years, but it’s great to know that feeling is mutual. Whether we take a minute to gaze into those droopy doggy eyes or squeal with excitement when we see them. It’s important to show our loved ones that we care.”

Rover.com is a dog walking and boarding service, bringing dog owners and trusted sitters together. For more information or to sign up either as a walker, sitter or owner, please visit www.rover.com/uk.