A woman and her dog watching the sunset

10 Different Ways Dogs Show Affection

 A woman and her dog watching the sunset

Everyone knows that dogs are man’s and woman’s best friends. They make for fiercely loyal, intelligent, and adorable life-long companions. There’s no doubt our furry friends are an important part of our family.

Dog owners often wonder if their dog loves them back. Well, good news—they do! Dogs express their affection in various ways, some subtle and some obvious, but sometimes, it can be challenging to tell if it’s a positive or negative expression.

Our dogs love us unconditionally, and they express it in different ways. Here are ten signs of puppy love that mean your dog is showing you affection.

Related: Why Your Dog Likes to Be Petted

1. They Make Eye Contact.

Like humans, dogs reserve sustained eye contact for the people that make them feel safe. It’s a way for your pooch to show trust and love. 

Maintaining eye contact can also be a useful tool for training your dog and creating a deep bond. When your dog sees you, their brain releases oxytocin, which is the same hormone that a new mothers’ brain releases while they bond with their children.

The key is to make eye contact with your dog while playing and cuddling to reinforce it as a sign of affection.

2. They Lean Up Against You

Whether you’re sitting on the couch, floor, or in your bed, if your dog starts leaning against you, it means that they feel secure, safe, and comfortable. Many times, dogs will lean on you when they feel anxious or scared, which shows that they see you as their protector and safe space.

Related: Why Your Dogs Lays on You

3. They Sleep In Your Bedroom

Many of us don’t allow our dogs to sleep in the bed for various reasons, but when they still like to make your bedroom their sleep space, it shows that your dog really loves you. They want to be close while you’re sleeping so that they don’t feel separated from their pack—it’s a sign of complete loyalty. Make sure to give them some affection in return with a super comfy dog bed!

4. They're Excited When You Get Home

How does your pup greet you at the door when you get home? Maybe they excitedly jump up and down, bring you their favorite toy, lick your face or hands, or scramble around the house with all their might. When you get home from errands, work, or school, and they show this behavior, it means that your dog is completely thrilled that you’re home. And if you’re like us, you’re probably just as excited to see them, too!

A happy dog with his head in his owner’s lap

5. They Carry Your Laundry Around

Dogs who are extremely attached to their owners love their human’s scent. So much, in fact, that they have a tendency to raid your laundry basket or shoe rack looking for some “stinky” clothing. They do this because your dirty laundry smells like you! It’s a way to show affection, even though it might seem a little gross for your dog to cuddle up with a smelly sock.

Stealing your laundry isn’t always the best thing, especially if your dog is an avid chewer, but if you provide them with engaging toys, you won’t have to worry about chewing as much.

6. They Check Up On You

Some dogs are more independent than others—they might not be curled by your feet or constantly by your side, but that doesn’t mean that your dog doesn’t love you. Quite often, the more independent pups will frequently “check-up” on their owners from another room. They like to make sure that you’re still nearby.

Many dogs do this on walks, also. If you’re ever on a walk and your dog pauses to look back at you, that’s just their way of checking in and making sure that you’re okay!

7. They Actively Seek Physical Contact

You’ve probably heard that dogs don’t like when you hug them. In reality, it depends on the dog. Many dogs actually love physical affection, and they’ll actively seek it out from their favorite humans. 

Now, we’re not saying to pick up your pup and give them the tightest bear hug known to mankind, but rather cuddles, gentle hugs, kisses, and frequent pets!

8. They Urinate (A Little) When They See You

While more common in puppies, your dog might urinate a little when you get home. And no, it doesn’t mean that your dog’s potty training is regressing. Many dogs will pee just a little bit when they get really excited. It’s not only a sign of excitement and affection, but it also shows that your dog respects you as the pack leader.

Related: Why Your Dog Pees on the Bed

9. They Bring You Their Favorite Toy

When your dog brings you their favorite toy, it’s more than a sign that they want to play—even though wanting you to play with them is a major sign of love from your dog, too. As the leader of your pup’s pack, they’re bringing you their most prized possession because they love and trust you. We should feel honored when our companions share their favorite toys with us!

10. They Smile At You

Have you ever glanced at your pup, and you could swear that they were smiling? Well, it’s not your imagination! Dogs can actually learn to “smile” and pull their lips back, revealing a wide, goofy grin. Reciprocating it with a large smile and a big, happy voice will show them the same affection right back!

Show them some affection, too.

Children petting their dog on the couch

No matter how much we love our dogs, sometimes life gets a little hectic and showing them the affection we want often falls to the wayside. 

However, the truth is that it doesn’t take much to show your pup that you love them. Bring them home a new toy, set some time aside for cuddles, and give them their favorite treats! Take them for a walk—even if it’s a short one—or in the backyard for some much-needed playtime!

Show your dog some affection with Runball—the best outdoor doggy toys and homemade treats that your pups are sure to love!