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  • Writer's pictureKen Botts

3 ways dogs show affection

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

Dogs and humans have been constant companions for more than 20,000 years. No other animal shares as close a relationship with us as dogs do. Dogs and humans understand each other, their unconditional love and loyalty are why we keep them in our lives. Although dogs can’t put their love into words, they have many ways to communicate their love for us - here are just 3 ways dogs show affection:

Tail wagging

Dogs do use their tails to communicate different emotions. If a dog is nervous it'll hold it's tail lower than normal, if it's scared, it'll tuck it between it's legs. On the opposite side of the coin, if a dogs tail is held higher than normal, it may indicate it's stimulated by something, while A tail held straight out means a dog is curious. Then there is the happy tail wag, you know, the one that starts going as soon as they see you and then turns into a full back-end body movement - that's when you know your pup loves and trusts you.

Face licking

Dogs lick for a variety of reasons; grooming, healing or just compulsion. They also use licking to communicate with us, like when they're hungry, need the water bowl filled or just want to be friends. Do dogs lick to show affection? According to Cesar Millan, "the answer is an absolute yes! This is one of the most common reasons that domestic dogs lick their human friends. Just as puppies are lovingly licked by their mothers, dogs want to “kiss” you to show how much they love you."

Eye contact

Making eye contact with your dog is a great way to build trust, deepen your relationship, and strengthen your bond. Dog eye contact triggers the release of of the hormone called oxytocin, Oxytocin is responsible for love and bonding, in both humans and dogs. One study found that dogs experience a 130% increase in oxytocin levels after locking eyes with their owners—while humans experience a whopping 300% increase. That burst of oxytocin helps deepen the dog/human relationship, and offers an opportunity to build trust and create a loving bond.

How does your dog show affection towards you? Please share in the comment section below.

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