I'll be honest - I've often wondered what it would be like to have the special skills of Dr. Dolittle and know exactly what it is that animals want, feel and think. How cool would that be?
I want to understand things like exactly why my dog starts barking like mad every time I start the vacuum. I'd love nothing more than to figure out exactly what's going on through his mind when he tilts his head to one side and looks right at me with his big brown eyes. Well, here's some science-backed insight.
Thanks to new developments in the science of canine communication, I can say with confidence that I’m pretty sure my dog loves me.
Studies have long shown that dogs carry special physical skills such as with sense of smell. Research has also shown that due to dog and man’s long historical relationship, dogs are particularly adapted to humans and have developed a unique way to express their love for people.
The said behaviors can sometimes be rather subtle. Here are a few. Recognize your dog here?
1. Your dog looks straight into your eyes.
During the US TV show, “60 minutes”, Anderson Cooper met with Brian Had, a well-known dog expert. They discussed how dogs expressed their love. According to Hare, dogs are essentially “hugging you with their eyes” when they give you that warm heart-melting gaze.
As a matter of fact, when you play and cuddle with your dog, both of you release oxytocin, the same hormone that helps new mothers bond with their babies.
2. Your dog yawns when you yawn.
We often hear about how yawning is contagious. But less often about how this also extends to include our sympathetic, friendly canines.
With dogs carrying the instinctive ability to read humans, they’ll also yawn when they see someone they like very much yawning.
One study shows that yawning following someone else is a sign of empathy. It is impossible to measure how empathic dogs are, but researchers believe that dogs yawn when a human they love does due to the emotional connection they have with this person and because they want to show affection.
Studies also reveal that dogs are in fact more likely to yawn when their owners yawn than after a stranger does. This kind of connection is the same with humans. Think about it. When’s the last time you yawned after seeing a stranger do it?
3. Your dog leans against you.
The classic song “Lean On Me” is about offering support and how we all sometimes need someone to lean on. Dogs long and seek that same kind of support.
A dog might, for example, lean against his owner if he is nervous, worried or wants help. What’s significant is that this behavior is also a sign of the dog’s love.
Even if your dog leans against you because they are nervous, the act intrinsically implies that he believes that you are someone who can protect him and keep him safe.
4. Your dog cuddles with you after his meal. .
In the book ”How Dogs Love Us”, author Gregory Berns explains that if your dog cuddles with you after a meal, it is a strong sign of love and proves your dog’s love for you.
Most dog lovers (or even people who have no special relationship with dogs) know that dogs love to eat. But, according to Burns, the automatic next step after many dogs eat their meals is to cuddle with you. This demonstrates the canines’ sense of priority. If your dog cuddles with you after his meal, experts say it’s a sure sign that your dog has very strong ties to you.
5. Your dog lifts his eyebrows.
Humans often refer to dogs’ tails as significantly revealing how they’re feeling, and while that’s true, experts say that their faces are even more powerful conveyors of what they want and feel.
In a recent Japanese study dogs were introduced to their owners, a stranger, a dog toy, and an item they do not like.
When they saw their owners, the dogs immediately lifted their eyebrows (especially the left) but when they saw a stranger their whole face seemed to react.
When they saw an object that they recognized and liked, their left ear inclined backwards. But they saw the object they disliked, their right ear tilted back instead. Experts interpreted this to mean that dogs are more reserved when exposed to something they don’t recognize or something they dislike.
6. Your dog looks calmly at you when you leave home.
Some believe that if a dog panics when you leave them alone, it’s a sign of love.
But this isn’t necessarily true, according to Gregory Berns.
If your dog panics when you leave home, it’s more a sign that they have separation anxiety than that they love you.
If your dog seems rather, to accept that you leave home and stays calm when you go, it means your dog trusts you and feels confident that you will come back.
7. Your dog is crazy with joy when you return.
We all feel special when we arrive home and are greeted by our lovely, four-legged best friend, wagging its tail and with its favorite toy in its mouth while they jump around like they’re having the most joyous moment of their life.
This welcoming behavior is endearing, and with good reason: it’s a powerful and specific way for dogs to show their love.
8. Your dog likes to sleep in your room (and ideally your bed).
Another good way to find out if your dog loves you is to observe where it likes to sleep.
This is (often) a subject of disagreement among dog owners, but if your dog wants to sleep with you in bed, even if you forbid it, it’s a sign that he or she definitely loves you. Now that you know that, perhaps allowing your loving pet in bed with you is worth it :)
9. Your dog gives you his or her favorite toy.
If your puppy brings you his favorite and most cherished toy, it means not only that your dog is in the mood to play.
Although playing in itself is a sign of love, when your dog gives you his or hers favorite toy, it also means that he or she think of you as his respected leader.
When they hand their prized belonging over to you, they trust in your reliability and that their precious squeaky bone or worn frisbee are in good hands. The dog assumes that you will give as much undivided attention to their cherished toy as they do. Remember that the next time they hand you their favorite ball.
10. Your dog enjoys your love.
Do you love your dog? According to Gregory Burns, dogs can actually innately and quite accurately feel if you do.
If you don’t love them, you can’t expect to get much in return.
How much of this reminds you of your dog? Is there anything that your friends would recognize too? Share this to see if your friends also have strong ties with their dogs.
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