You love your dog unconditionally, looking into those big sweet eyes it’s hard not to fall paws over tail. But have you ever found yourself wondering if your dog loves you in the same way you love them?
According to doghealth.com, wolves operate under a family-type structure known as a pack. Wolves are monogamous and mate for life. Subordinate wolves show their respect for more dominant wolves by licking their face, approaching with a lowered stance, and wagging their tail. Wolves that are equals in a pack tend to roughhouse a bit more when they greet or play with one another, barking, and jumping around in a rowdy fashion.
Perhaps the sweetest thing about dogs and wolves is that all members of a pack care for and look after one another. Young pups are tended to by the entire pack, and when one dog becomes injured all dogs do their part to help. Bringing food back to the den, and licking at any wounds.
While your family dog is by no means a wild wolf, the two are genetically linked. Many wolf characteristics remain a part of your dog’s inborn natural instincts. This is clear in how dogs operate with their human families, treating people like pack members and displaying key signs of affection used by packs of wild dogs.
Ways Dogs Show Love
There are a number of ways your dog loves on you, showing you that you are their pack member now and forever. Including:
Your dog’s tail can tell you if your dog is excited, nervous, or anticipating an attack. If your dog is simply wagging their tail back and forth this is a sign of sheer happiness.
-Following you around the house
Your dog is a social creature and he or she enjoys being by your side pretty much at all times.
-Wet nose kisses
When your dog licks you it can signal a number of things, including adoration. Dogs have a number of natural inborn reasons why they lick, one is in order to be fed, another is to show they are submissive and not a threat, and they also use licking to groom you and show their affection.
-Jumping on you
Many dogs are taught not to jump on people, although it’s a tricky behavior to stop considering it’s a natural way for dogs to show they are excited to see someone they like. As a puppy, dogs lick their mother’s face and eyes, and they must jump up to do so. When they get older and you become their mommy, they still keep the same habit in tact.
-Sleeping curled up beside you
Wild dogs sleep snuggled up close to their pack members. When you become their pack they like to sleep right next to you too.
-Leaning on you
If you notice your dog leaning up against you they are giving you some attention in hopes you will return the favor.
It’s true dogs really do smile. In fact, research has uncovered that dogs have a wide variety of facial expressions that they use to communicate their emotions.
But Is Puppy Love Real?
While dogs sure act like they know how to love, are they actually displaying signs of affection?
There are a number of different theories about the whole thing. Some animal behaviorists believe that dogs learn how to love because we teach them to. Others think that dogs are not acting on any emotions, but instead just instinctively doing what they are programed to do in order to receive the best outcome.
In other words, dogs are taught to lick your face, cuddle up against you, bark when you return home and make silly faces, all because these ‘cute’ behaviors earn them favorable treatment and rewards. Steven Budiansky, the author of The Truth About Dogs writes, “Dogs probably don’t feel love in the typical way humans do. Dogs make investments in human beings because it works for them…”
It’s easy to dispute this if you have ever owned a puppy. Your puppy might not be trained at all, peeing all throughout the house and chewing up anything they can sink their growing teeth into, but they still give plenty of wet kisses and burrow deep into your bones for a good snuggle. Not because they have been taught to act this way, but because they naturally want to.
Other professionals specializing in dog behavior and health see things in a more loving manner. New York veterinarian, Dr. Ann Marcario, says her dog, “…seems to know when I am feeling down and gives me more attention at those times. She lets me know when she doesn’t like something and when she’s having a great time or if she doesn’t feel good.” That being said, you can’t deny there is something more to dogs’ ultra affectionate behavior than simply trying to get ahead.
According to celebrity dog trainer Cesar Milan, “Love is one of the greatest gifts we can share with our dogs. Dogs are affectionate animals. Touch means a lot to them, both in their natural world and when they live with us.” At Natural Dog, we most definitely agree! There is no denying the special bond you form with your four-legged friends; dogs provide a love more pure and loyal than some humans are capable of.
What do you think; does your dog know what love is?
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