Sometimes (or all the time), the love you have for your dog is so overwhelming you can't keep it in. The way they tilt their head when you talk to them and how they have this wonderful tendency to always fall asleep in a cute position; it's impossible to not fall head over heels in love with your dog.
Dog owners want to declare our love from the tallest mountain and scream it from the rooftops, but even that won't be sufficient enough to convey your feelings to your furry friend. You and your dog share a special bond, but a language barrier is keeping you from expressing all you have to say.
So, how do you say to your dog, "I love you," and be sure they get the message? Here's how.
1. Rub Those Ears
Rubbing a dog's ear will literally make him high on love. Have you ever started scratching that sweet spot right behind your dog's ear only to have their eyes drift shut while they keep their head firmly pressed against your hand? That's because a dog's ears are a hot spot for nerve endings.
When activated, those nerves send messages all throughout the dog's body while releasing endorphins. Endorphins are the body's natural happy drugs, and they leave everyone, not just dogs, feeling the love.
2. Share a Quiet Moment
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The next time you have your dog cuddling in your lap or sleeping by your side, take the opportunity to look into his eyes and speak softly to them. Give him a loving gaze and watch his facial expressions. According Dr. Brian Hare, a professor at Duke University, eye contact coupled with a calming atmosphere releases another kind of love drug called oxytocin.
Oxytocin is at least partly responsible for forging the strong bond found between a mother and child, and there's really no better way to describe your relationship with your dog.
So share some quiet time with your dog. Cuddle, take your canine companion for a daily walk, spend some time just petting your pup, and enjoy all of the dog feels that this quiet, focused, distraction-free time provides.
3. Feed Them by Hand
The fastest way to a dog's heart is usually through his stomach. You've already seen the way your dog stares at the last slice of pizza, and dinner time is probably his favorite part of the day. But being offered food is about more than basic sustenance and deliciousness.
When you feed dog treats directly from your hand, you show that you're the food provider and directly responsible for his momentary euphoria. But it's also an intimate experience that tells your dog you care.
4. Train with Positive Reinforcement
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Dog training isn't about one party simply telling the other what to do. It's a partnership that requires you and your pup to work as a team. The more you train and the better you work together, the stronger your bond will be every day.
Using positive reinforcement training methods creates a reciprocal relationship where your dog is working to make you happy so that in turn, you can make him happy with a chosen reward. These training sessions give you and your dog a great bonding opportunity. Training is also important for your dog's well-being and safety.
5. Let Your Emotions Show!
Dogs are extremely perceptive animals. They pick up on emotions, social cues, and body language. Your pooch is a good listener, and he observes more than you probably know. If you're excited about something, don't be surprised when your dog gets a sudden burst of energy. If you're feeling stressed or anxious, your dog will often mirror those feelings.
The same goes for feelings of affection. Letting your doggy best friend know you love them is as easy as acting normal and letting those emotions shine through.
The language barrier dividing you and your dog isn't as thick as you think. You don't communicate through emails, texts, or even face-to-face conversations, but your actions are more effective than your words.
These simple actions carry a lot of meaning, and they're the perfect way for pet owners to say, "I love you."
This article was originally published January 31, 2020.