From the way your furry friend rushes over when you walk through the front door to those warm couch cuddles, it’s easy to see how much your pooch cares about you. In fact, dogs studied in an Emory University research project responded most strongly to the scent of familiar people than any other smell they were presented with—including the smell of other dogs!
While the question, “Does my dog love me?” might not cross your mind often, some of the ways pups show affection might surprise you. Subtle body language and quirky habits can speak volumes about a dog’s feelings. Here are some of the most unexpected signs your dog loves you.
#1: Sharing Their Toys
Has your dog ever dropped their favorite toy in your lap? While they might just be trying to start a round of fetch, it’s also possible your pup is “gifting” their toy to you. Believe it or not, dogs actually enjoy sharing their most prized possessions with people they care about, according to WebMD. Take it as a compliment when your Cadet brings their cherished stuffed animal or chew toy to you (even their bully stick counts!).
#2: Stealing Your Clothes
The last way you’d expect your pup to show their love is to steal from you. However, there is a surprisingly affectionate reason why dogs swipe socks, shirts, and other clothes. Furry friends like items that smell like their pet parents, so taking your garments helps your dog feel closer to you.
Although there is a cute method to the madness, carrying around clothes can pose a choking hazard to your pooch. The next time your dog tries running off with your laundry, take it away and give them a natural dog chew instead to keep them happy and busy.
#3: Following You
When your pooch tags along from room to room, they’re showing you love and trust. According to The Kennel Club, dogs have a natural social behavior to follow people they are close with, which helps them feel safe. Your pup might also pop in to make sure you are out of harm’s way. So, don’t be confused when your dog escorts you to the bathroom; they’re probably just showing they care.
#4: Looking at You
Just look into your Cadet’s eyes the next time you wonder, “How much does my dog love me?” Eye contact releases a hormone called oxytocin for both you and your pup, which is linked to feelings of love and affection, according to Rover. This sign your dog loves you can even help deepen your bond together, and it’s a great way to show empathy for each other. Talk about seeing eye to eye!
#5: Raising a Brow
While dogs do not have eyebrows like we do, they do possess a brow ridge that helps them make facial expressions. A raised brow is not a sign of confusion, but rather a signal your dog is happy to see you, according to Wag! This subtle and unexpected way of showing love is easy to miss, so watch closely for a little brow raise.
Learn more about how to read dog body language.
#6: Licking Your Face
Okay, you’re probably not that shocked to learn this funny dog behavior is a sign of affection. However, the reason behind this sign your dog loves you might come as a surprise. The instinctive behavior is linked to puppyhood, as mother dogs frequently lick their pups. As dogs grow older, they continue to associate licking with care. When your dog licks you, they’re showing you the same love they received as a puppy!
How Does Your Dog Show Love?
There are infinite ways dogs show their infinite love. Whether your Cadet jumps with excitement when you’re around or offers you their most treasured toy, every form of doggy affection shows the love is mutual. Don’t forget to return the favor with tasty dog treats, praise, and cuddles!