The love of your dog is the closest to unconditional love that you will experience, after your mom's love, of course. Your dog will always be there to greet you happily, cuddle, play, show you affection, and even be a listening ear when you're stressed. Whether or not you deserve it, your dog knows how to show you love and loyalty without restraint. But what about you? Do you know how to show your furry best friend just how much you love and appreciate them?
Here, we'll discuss some ways to show your dog how much you love them in ways that they will understand.
Morning Cuddle Time
Your mornings are probably a little hectic, but if you can carve out a little time for your dog, he'll love you for it. Take them outdoors for a quick pee and then come back inside for a short cuddle time. Here are a few of the benefits of doggy cuddle time:
- Just like us, your dog thrives on cuddles. Physical touch helps them to be happy and healthy.
- Cuddles strengthen your bond. Patting and cuddles increase Oxytocin levels (the love hormone) in both of you.
- Cuddling has health benefits for both of you. Physical affection decreases stress and anxiety and induces a sense of healthy calm in both of you.
Note: Not every dog enjoys cuddles. Some dogs live for cuddles, while others prefer not to be pat all the time. Respect their boundaries.
Read to Your Dog
Like you might read to your child, you can read to your dog. They will enjoy the time they spend sitting with you while you read some short story or a good book with them. Your soothing voice and engagement with the story will be a wonderful end to each day. You can even encourage your children to read to your family dog. Dogs don't judge your style or reading ability - they won't mind your mistakes.
Talk to Them
Your dog can be a great confidant for you. You can engage them in conversation about your day at work, rehearse your upcoming speech, or share your good news when nobody else is around. Talk about whatever is on your mind. Some studies indicate that dogs can understand between 165 and 250 words and phrases.
- Talking to your dog isn't just good for them - it's also good for you.
- It improves your bond.
- Your voice tone and words are interesting and engaging for your dog.
- Your talk is intellectually stimulating for them.
- They will learn to understand some of your words.
- They will pick up on your emotional cues.
Let Them Hang Out With You
Inviting your dog into your space and time is a great way to show your love. Letting them lay on your lap while watching television, stroking their head while you work at your desk, and even letting them accompany you to the bathroom and lay at your feet are all ways of hanging out together. When you have family outings, take your dog along to show they're a member of the family as well. Many dogs especially love car rides while you're running errands.
No way around it, your dog loves to walk with you. If your schedule allows it, why not squeeze in a few quick five-minute walks during the day? Your dog will love a chance to empty their bladder and have a little run-around outside.
If little breaks aren't possible during the day, how about walking in the evening together. A final walk before bedtime is great for your dog. They get to pee or poop and get out that last bit of daytime energy. Try not to spend the whole walk on your phone or otherwise engaged. Talk to your dog, pet them, and let it be a time of togetherness as well as necessity.
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Related: 10 Reasons to Wear Dog Shoes
We all need praise and acknowledgment of the things we've done well. You will reinforce your dog's good behavior when you notice it and praise them for it. Give them 30 seconds of love and attention (and maybe a healthy treat) for doing as you've trained them. Let your voice be kind, calm, and encouraging. They may not understand all of your words, but they definitely understand your tone.
Understand Their Body Language
When you want to show them your love, sometimes it's about understanding what they're saying to you. Your dog's body language will tell you how they're feeling and what they need. Being a pet parent who consistently meets your dog's needs will strengthen your bond and make your dog feel protected and cared for.
For instance, a dog who is afraid will lower their head and tuck its tail. When angry, your dog may hackle with their ears back. If your dog feels cold on a walk, they may whine, shiver, and move anxiously. Learn your dog's unique body language.
What Doesn't Translate as Love to Your Dog
In all of your eagerness to show love to your dog, you should know that some human behaviors don't translate as love to your dog.
- Kisses may be the universal sign of human love; your dog may think that you're trying to assert dominance over them.
- Everyone loves a hug, right? Wrong! A well-intentioned hug may make your dog feel trapped and restricted. Check out their reaction.
- We enjoy feeding the things we love, but dog treats should be reserved for positive reinforcement of good behavior and training.
Related: The Humanization of Dogs
Give Them Gifts
To demonstrate how much you love your dog, think about rewarding their love and loyalty with gifts. Here are a few ideas for gifts your furry best friend will love:
- Toys. Of course, keep their old favorites close, but don’t be afraid to introduce new toys designed to entertain them, challenge their intellects, and give them physical exercise. Ensure they’re high-quality, well-designed items.
- Harnesses and leashes. Invest in well-made harnesses and leashes for those long, enjoyable walks to ensure your dog is as comfortable and safe as possible. They’ll love you for it.
- Dog shoes. Extreme weather conditions or debris on your walking path are potentially dangerous to your dog’s paws. Dog shoes can be just the thing to provide protection (not to mention style) to your dog’s walk.
Along with your human connections, your relationship with your dog pal is essential. Just like they never miss an opportunity to make you feel loved and appreciated, you want to ensure they feel the same. Above are just a few ways to demonstrate how much you love them and show their importance to your life.
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