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We love our dogs. I mean, LOVE them. But do they love us back? Fortunately, there are ways to find out. According to experts, the communication between dogs and humans is actually quite strong since we can read each other's body language. So we can often tell if our dogs love us through body language and behavior. Here are five signs (some more obvious than others) your dog uses to say "I love you":
One clear sign that your dog loves you is if he or she stays by your side. Examples of staying close include cuddling up to you on the couch, sitting on your lap, leaning on you while standing, lying on your feet and nudging you. When a dog does what they can to be physically close to you, they're telling you they love you. These actions are called "distance decreasing behaviors."
Pro Tip: When your dog leans on you, it's not typically to show dominance, but rather to decrease the distance between you two and show his or her affection.
One way your dog wants to get closer to you is by jumping on you. So when he or she does jump, it's often another way of expressing love for you. Unfortunately, it's not much of a desirable behavior and so most pet owners will train their dog not to jump. But that doesn't change the fact that when they do jump on you, it's motivated by their affection for you.
Even if your dog isn't physically touching you, they can show love for you by following you around. When your dog loves you, he or she wants to be able to see you as much as possible. This may result in your dog following you around anywhere and everywhere, including the bathroom.
Pro Tip: Sometimes, a dog wants to be with you all day but also shows signs of fear or anxiety when you leave the house. In this case, the distance decreasing behaviors indicate your dog may suffer from separation anxiety. It's best to seek help from a vet or trainer if this is an issue for your dog.
One less obvious sign that your dog loves you is if he or she stretches toward you. This looks like a play bow, except your dog's front legs are together and he or she isn't trying to play. Experts say that this is like a greeting stretch, directed towards someone they love and are happy to see (literally, as your dog will be pointing at you with his front legs, feet and face).
Another less obvious sign that your dog loves you is when he or she turns away from you, even going so far as to stick their bottom in your face. As humans, we don't find this nice but for dogs, this is a sign of affection. A dog that's uncomfortable will never turn his or her back to you, but a dog that loves you certainly will.