Does my dog show love? Understand 12 signs of affection from dogs

Leaning is a common sign of affection from dogs. This behavior signals that your furry friend wants to be close to you.

When it comes to animals, none are as beloved by humans as dogs. If you own a dog or have ever been around dogs, you know that they can show tremendous love and affection for their owners.

But how do dogs show their love? Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common signs of affection from dogs.

Tail wagging


One of the most recognizable signs of canine affection is tail wagging.

This behavior is usually synonymous with happiness, but more complex emotional states can be at play here.

Depending on how your pup wags its tail and what body language it presents, you can determine whether it feels excited or anxious.

For example, if your pup’s tail is held high and moving in wide arcs while the body is still, this usually indicates excitement or joy.


Dogs love showing affection, and licking is one of their primary forms of expression.

Essentially, a good lick from your pup is like a canine hug.

Licking is often a way to communicate with you and demand your attention.

Additionally, licking stems from what’s known as the “bonding behavior” facilitated by dog mothers, which originates in puppyhood.

As a result, taking cues from their motherly example, adult dogs will often lick to display affection.

Whatever the reason, having an extra wet kiss or two is always nice when you come home.

Nudging or leaning

When dogs sleep with you, it shows affection and signifies selfless dedication and loyalty.

Sometimes dogs will nudge their owners with their noses or lean against them to show affection.

What does it mean when a dog leans on you? This behavior signals that your furry friend wants to be close to you.

Dogs also use nudging to get attention from their owners. They can nudge you with either their nose or paws.

If your pup nudges you while playing together or walking around together, chances are it just wants some extra love.

Bringing toys or treats

One of the most common signs of affection that dogs show their owners is bringing them favorite toys or treats.

When your dog brings you something, it often means it wants to share something tangible with you as a sign of love and appreciation.

This generosity could also be an invitation to play st an attempt to make you happy.

Whatever the case, this gesture is a sure sign that your puppy loves having you around and wants to ensure you’re equally thrilled.

Cuddling or snuggling

Cuddling or snuggling beside you is another way dogs express their love for their owners.

Snuggling next to someone provides comfort and security for both parties involved.

So, if your canine companion cuddles up beside you during nap time, take it as a sign that it trusts and loves you unconditionally.

Playing or wrestling with you

When dogs roll over on their backs, recognize this is one of the common signs of affection. When your dog shows you its belly, it’s showing its love for you.

A great way to tell if your dog loves spending time with you is if it invites you to playtime or a wrestling match.

Whether fetching balls outside or playing tug-of-war indoors, these activities symbolize a bond between you and your dog.

Not only does playing together create memories, but it also helps strengthen your bond and build trust between you two.

Jumping on you when you come home

If your dog jumps up on you in greeting when you come home after work or school, this could be seen as an expression of love and excitement.

Dogs jump up on people because they want our attention and can’t wait to be near us.

Of course, it can be seen as poor behavior if your pup jumps up on people, so always be aware of this and provide proper training when necessary.

Following you everywhere

Have you noticed that your dog follows you around everywhere?

If so, considers yourself lucky — not all dogs follow their owners everywhere.

This behavior shows that your dog has formed an unbreakable bond with you and considers itself part of “your pack.”

Sleeping with you

Sleeping with you is one way your dog may show affection, as it is a reminder that it is nearby to protect and comfort you when you are deep in vulnerable slumber.

For canine friends, sleeping nearby could signify selfless dedication and loyalty.

Sleeping with humans likely traces its roots to the wolf ancestor of today’s domesticated canines, as wolves are also known to sleep alongside one another.

Therefore, choosing to rest beside us manifests this instinctual behavior as pack animals and allows our furry family members to show you how much you mean to them.

It also shows that your dog trusts you in return and feels safe with you, as it is vulnerable when asleep.

Showing you its belly

Another sign that shows our canine friends love us is when they lay on their backs and expose their bellies. This may seem odd, but it’s pretty meaningful as it shows trust and vulnerability.

When dogs roll over on their backs, they expose themselves completely, which is a huge sign of trust since they risk being hurt by potential predators when lying like this.

So next time your pup rolls on its back in front of you, know it’s showing its love for you. It’s also a shameless plea for belly rubs.

Smiling at you

Dogs love showing affection, and licking is one of their primary forms of expression.

Believe it or not, dogs do smile. Observing how their facial expressions change makes it easy to recognize when our furry pals are happy and content with their current situation.

When a dog feels loving and relaxed, its facial muscles will loosen up, allowing for a subtle doggie smile.

Often, the mouth will hang open with the tongue lolling out endearingly.

A wide-eyed look and lifted ears may also accompany a canine smile.

Taking care of you when you’re sad

Dogs are some of the most loving, loyal creatures in the world.

They’re renowned for their ability to form close bonds with humans, which is why they make such wonderful companions.

One of the unique aspects of this bond is a dog’s capacity to sense emotions.

If you’re sad, your pup might come and sit next to you or make a fuss around you as a sign of comfort and affection.

It’s thought that dogs can pick up on subtle changes in the body language and scent of someone feeling down, which triggers an instinctive response.

This heartfelt display lets us know that despite being unable to comprehend all of our words, they still understand us on some level.

Final thoughts on signs of affection

Dogs are amazing creatures, full of loyalty, intelligence, and affection for their beloved owners.

Each one expresses these qualities differently than another pup might, yet they all still send unmistakable signs showing you how much you mean to them daily.

The endearing ways dogs show affection is one of the best things in the world.

Are puppy kisses safe? Should you let your dog lick your face?

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