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8 Ways to Show Your Dog How Much You Love Them (According to Science)

From Shakespearean sonnets and cheesy Hallmark cards, we have a million ways to say ‘I love you’ to each other. But when it comes to dogs, well… they’re just not that into Shakespeare. 

Today, we’re not only going to bark up the tree of canine love, but we’re also going to dig up 8 foolproof, tail-wagging ways to tell your pooch,

“You’re my number one!”, “the apple of my eye”, “the juicy marrow in my rawhide bone of existence!”, “the tail-waggingly tantalizing leftover steak hidden in the back of the fridge, next to the questionable cottage cheese!”

We’re breaking down the “woofs” and decoding the “wags” – it’s time to get fluent in doggy love language!

3 Reasons Why You Need To Let Your Dog Know You Love Him

Showing your paw-pal you love them is important for 3 reasons:

First, it helps to strengthen the bond between you and your pup. Remember, dogs are pack animals, and they thrive on feeling loved and accepted by their pack.

When you show your Snuggle Muffin that you love them, it tells them that they are a part of your pack. That they belong. Awww…

Secondly, showing your pup love can help improve their behavior. Dogs who feel loved and secure are less likely to exhibit problem behaviors like non-stop barking, chewing all your furniture, or being an angry little furball.

In fact, a study published in “Applied Animal Behavior Science” found that dogs who received regular affection from their humans were less likely to be destructive or aggressive. SCIENCE!

Finally, showing your pup love can have a positive impact on your own health and well-being. Studies have shown that interacting with pets can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and boost immunity.

So, not only is it good for your Fluffball of Joy, but showing them love can also be good for YOU!

So, let’s get into it. Make sure you stick around till the end and I’ll let you in on 3 reeeeaaalllyy unusual benefits of making your pup feel the love. The benefits no one else tells you about!

8 Scientific Ways to Show Your Dog You Love Him

Here are the 8 scientific ways you can tell your Four-legged Sunshine you love them.

Number 1: Gazing into those sparkling puppy eyes!

Woman gazing into the eyes of hey white dog.

It’s often said that when a mother gazes into the eyes of her baby, it helps them bond. No words, no singing and dancing, just eyes meeting eyes. It’s because of the spike in a hormone called Oxytocin, which is associated with bonding, love, and trust. 

Guess what? According to research, the same hormone is released when you and your Barky Boo gaze at each other’s eyes! Love is being expressed… bonds are being formed… AND, it reduces stress and anxiety in everyone involved.

But be careful! Don’t enter a staring contest with a pup who isn’t that familiar with you. It may be seen as a threat and you may get hurt.

Number 2: Avoiding punishment-based training.

Woman yelling at her black puppy.

Listen, nobody likes being punished—not humans and not pups. This seems like common sense knowledge to me.

But if you need some scientific backing, a study found that dogs trained with aversive methods showed more signs of stress and had a more negative outlook on life than dogs trained with rewards-based methods.

So if you train your Fluff Muffin using punishment-based methods, it tells them that certain things they do may be dealt with anger and something unpleasant, which leads to stress and anxiety.

And they grow up to be pessimistic. And pessimism isn’t a word we wanna associate with dogs.

Instead, rewarding them for good behavior and withholding treats when they are being naughty can teach them stronger and healthier behavior, and of course, let them know you love them.

Number 3: Using the “puppy voice.”

Woman petting and talking to her dog .

I know I know… That high-pitched voice we put on when talking to animals can get a little annoying. Or maybe, REALLY, REALLY annoying. As I’ve been told many times. But you know who loves it? Our little Fuzzy Wuzzy Woofers!!!

A study found that dogs spent more time looking at a person and being physically closer to them when spoken to in a high-pitched voice, compared to a regular adult voice.

So, take THAT, everyone who has ever been around me while I’m with a pup!

Number 4: Having a secure attachment style

Now, if you’re watching this video, chances are, you have a secure attachment style with your pup.

This means you two have a pretty healthy bond and you show plenty of love and affection that they feel safe to come to you when they are feeling stressed or uncomfortable.

They will also know that they are loved and wanted, which means, they know you’ll come back to them wherever you go or for however long, no matter what!

In fact, a study found that dogs are more likely to have separation anxiety if their owners have an avoidant attachment style, which involves avoiding intimate contact and affection. 

I mean… If your Canine Cupcake doesn’t even know you love them, how will they know you’ll come back to them?

Number 5: Giving them your stinky clothes

You know when you fall in love with someone, their scent makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and comfy? Well, it’s the same for your Furry Lovebug when it comes to you and your scent.

That’s why you find them taking a nap on your dirty, stinky laundry from time to time. The whole world might be repelled by your sweaty gym clothes, but not your pup. That boy can’t get enough of it!

It’s because, of course, our pups have a greater sense of smell than we do and it’s that sense they live by the most.

So, while your presence is one of the biggest ways to tell your pup you love them—Hey, remember how happy our dogs were during the lockdowns and how absolutely miserable the cats were? Hmm… Good times!

Anyway, if we are lucky, there won’t be another lockdown in our lifetime. So, we can’t be present at all times. Because… Life!

So, the second best thing to do is to give them an unwashed piece of your clothing while you’re away so that they feel less anxious. And, of course, loved.

Number 6: Letting them take you on a walk.

Woman walking her two dogs.

As domesticated and spoiled as our pups are, they still love to pretend they are a creature of the wild—and walks are a BIG part of it.

One of the best ways to show your Fuzzy Sidekick you love them is to just let them walk you! Let them take the lead.

Of course, you decide the safest route and gently course-correct them but if they wanna stop and smell the roses or dog poo for a solid 2 minutes or inspect the trunk of a tree or the feather of a bird as if it’s some kinda precious stone, just let them.

Our Belly Rub Enthusiasts show some pretty primal behavior while going on walks. It’s a way for them to gather intelligence on their surroundings.

Read messages left on a fire hydrant by a fellow Canine Comrade, and leave a few messages of their own, letting everyone know who owns these streets or informing other pups of any potential danger in the area.

See, a lot is happening that we don’t know about during these walks. Honestly, it’s none of our business so let’s just stay out of it and be a good walking buddy. 

Oh, and don’t forget to mix up the walking route every now and then. Or better yet, if you have a big yard or land, you can even use an invisible fence like SpotOn or Halo and let your pup go wild and free.

Anyway, a new route or a big land to explore means more things to inspect and pee on. Who doesn’t love that?

Number 7: Kissing Your Dog.

Woman kissing her chihuahua on the head.

Remember oxytocin, the love hormone? A study found that every time you plant little kissies on your Slobbering Sweetheart, their oxytocin levels shoot up [1].

Now, some people plant these kisses on the mouth but that carries a lot of risks. This is because dogs’ mouths can harbor bacteria that can be harmful to humans.

So, avoid the mouth, but a few kisses on their cheek or their forehead can mean the world to them!

Number 8: Saying proper hi and bye to your dog.

So, while conducting research, scientists studied how pups reacted to greetings and goodbyes. Some humans greeted the pups with words, some with words and physical touch, and some just ignored the pups altogether. Rude.

It was observed that greeting a dog with both speech and physical touch increased their oxytocin levels and decreased their cortisol levels—cortisol is what they call “the stress hormone”.

Also, petting a dog before leaving them alone led to calming behaviors and a decrease in heart rate.

So, make sure you show proper manners every time you meet a dog. Say hi with a few scratchies and NEVER do an Irish goodbye!

BONUS SECRET: Staring out the window with your pup.

Dog sits by the window and stares outside.

This bonus method of expressing your love for your pup involves zero physical activity.  Before you argue, just go sit beside your pup the next time you see them looking out the window. Trust me on this.

You learn a lot about them, your pup feels pretty special about you showing interest in what they do, AND you get to stare out of windows for a couple of hours. Quietly.

Benefits of Making Your Pup Feel Loved

Alright. We’ve covered all 8 scientifically proven ways to show your Puparazzo some love. Now let me quickly take you through those unusual benefits of making your pup feel loved. Trust me, no one would tell you these except me. It’s a Pampered Pup Exclusive!

Number 1: Your dog may dream about you!

YES! According to some studies, it’s believed that pups have dreams like us. So, if your Tail-Wagger Extraordinaire feels loved and secure, they’re more likely to have positive dreams about you and all the fun you have together!

So, yes, you could be the star of their dreams. How cute is that?

Number 2: You develop mind-reading abilities

Well, not Professor X-level mind-reading, obviously, but loving your pup and investing time in understanding their behavior can actually fine-tune your intuition and empathy. 

That essentially helps you become better at understanding non-verbal cues—that’s as close to mind-reading as we can get!

And finally: Increased chance of survival in a zombie apocalypse and/or alien invasion. 

I’m not kidding. We all know dogs can sense danger and how naturally protective they are. If you think that doesn’t come in handy when faced with the undead or ET, you obviously haven’t seen I Am Legend and I suggest you do it quickly. 

Listen, the chances of these scenarios happening may be very low, but never zero, so a loved and loyal Snuggle Pup can be your only chance to survive the apocalypse. I’m just sayin’.

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