Dogs communicate with their whole bodies, using body language, voice, and olfactory. Because of this, you can often tell your dog’s mood and how they feel about you. But how does your dog understand that you love them in return?

Dogs are pack animals that respond well to pack behavior, including hunting, exercising, and physical touch. Your dog may not be hunting for its next meal, but he does enjoy play that replicates hunting behaviors like ball retrieval and tug-o-war.

Dogs respond well to their owners’ actions that replicate these forms of communication and can feel love from their owners. But what are the best ways to show your dog you love them in a way they understand? We’ve got a list of the best ways to tell your dog you love them.

12 Ideas for How to Tell Your Dog You Love Them

Talk to Your Dog Often

recent study discovered that dogs could process language similar to humans. And that dogs will only be happy if your tone of voice correctly matches the words spoken to them. And talking to your dog in a high-pitched rhythmic tone similar to baby talk actually can increase your bond with your dog.

So you should talk to your dog often (preferably in a baby-talk voice) to show your dog love. The more you speak with your dog, the more bonded you’ll become.

Watch and Respond Well to Your Dog’s Body Signals

Dogs don’t hide their emotions, so you need to pay attention to how your dog behaves. If your dog is happy, it will:

  • Wag its tail.
  • Look for eye contact.
  • Raise an eyebrow.

If your dog is showing happy behaviors, you should reciprocate the behavior as much as possible and praise your dog for showing you understand.

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Read to Your Dog

Dogs enjoy hearing your voice, so you should consider reading aloud to them. Allow your dog to snuggle in close as you read them a story using animated expression. You’ll find your dog enjoys storytime as much as children.

Woman sharing gaze with puppy

Share a Loving Gaze

Dogs will often share eye contact as a way to communicate affection. If your dog looks at you in a loving, non-aggressive manner, you should return the gaze. A study found that sharing a loving gaze with your dog can release oxytocin for both of you.

Use Facial Expressions to Show Love

Dogs can interpret human emotions through facial expressions. So be mindful of your dog when you experience heightened emotions. They can often misinterpret your anger and bad mood to be directed at them.

Lean Into Your Dog

A dog will lean against you as a way to communicate love and trust. To reciprocate the action, you should lean into your dog to validate and return their emotions of love and trust.

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Puppy cuddled in owner’s arms

Cuddle Up For a Nap Together

Pack animals often gather in groups for warmth and companionship. By cuddling with your dog, you will show them how much your care about them. Taking a nap while cuddled up would be even better.

Go For a Daily Walk

Dogs love exercise and routine. By consistently walking your dog every day and  following the same routine will show your dog that you prioritize your time with them. Walking together also strengthens your pack connection through trust and communication.

Show Love Through Touch

Dogs crave touch as a way to communicate affection. You can:

  • Pet your dog
  • Groom your dog
  • Massage their belly or back
  • Lean against them
  • Tough their ears
  • Snuggle into them

All of these touch communications show your dog how much you love them.

Play Together

When you take the time every day to spend playtime with your dog, not only will they get the exercise they need, but they’ll also understand that they are a priority in your life. Playtime also strengthens bonds and affection.

Rub Your Dog’s Ears

Dog ears have lots of receptors. So playing or rubbing your dog’s ears releases endorphins that increase your dog’s pleasure and relieve pain. Rubbing the tip of your dog’s ear between two fingers is a dog favorite because of all the endorphin receptors.

woman about to kiss dog

Other Frequently Asked Questions About Showing Love to Your Dog

Here are some common questions about showing affection to your dog:

Do dogs understand when you kiss them?

Dogs do not understand hugging and kissing. These behaviors are not familiar to dogs and can often be interpreted as threatening. While dogs love to lick to show affection, most people do not want to lick their dogs. And for good reason.

Is it good to tell your dog you love them?

Yes, dogs can understand when you say it while expressing love. If you use a baby-talk voice, they will feel more bonded to you and know they are making good dog choices.

How do I make my dog love me?

Some dogs can take longer to show love toward their owner. To help them like you:

  • Respect their space and timing for bonding.
  • Give them treats or rewards.
  • Be present but not forceful.
  • Do not punish them or show aggressive behavior.
  • How do dogs say sorry?

Dogs know when they’ve done something they shouldn’t and are generally quick to apologize. When a dog places their tail between its legs, it is actually an apology for the mistake.

Do dogs know when you cry?

Studies have proven that dogs feel distressed when their owner is crying. And often, the dog will want to help improve its owner’s mood. That’s why dogs make great emotional support animals

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Related Link: 25 of the Best Things to Do With Your Dog