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What's Your Dog's Love Language?

What's Your Dog's Love Language?

By Dr. John Boyd, DVM and Founder, Dr. Boyd’s Pet Resort

What’s Your Dog’s Love Language?

Dr. Gary Chapman identifies five very specific love languages for humans in his book, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts.” These are as follows: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch. Here, the goal is to discover your significant other’s or even your child’s love language (how he/she most understands/receives love from other people) so you can show them you love them in the best way possible. This same concept can be applied to your relationship with your dog. Here’s how:

Words of Affirmation: You’ve seen little FiFi perk up and wag her tail when you say, “Good girl!” Dogs may not actually understand the words you’re saying, but they understand your tone when you’re saying them. Words of affirmation (i.e. I love you. You’re so smart. You’re such a good doggy!) can have a profound affect on your dog. Harsh words and tones can also have a profound negative impact on your relationship with your dog, as well. So be mindful of using your words for good and not evil.

Acts of Service: Every time you wash your dog, clean out her kennel or feed her, you are performing an act of service. Doing these things confirms that you are the Alpha (or pack leader) and therefore the main caretaker. This essentially puts your dog at ease because he/she doesn’t have to take on the Alpha role and trusts your companionship.

Receiving Gifts: Buying a chew toy or treats for your furry friend certainly shows affection. Some dogs love this more than others! Just remember to offer these things at the right time. Dogs should be in a calm-submissive state before you give them treats or a toy.

Quality Time: Spending time with your pooch says love in a way nothing else can. When you’re gone, Rover misses you and CAN’T WAIT for you to get home! Watching a movie with him on your lap or at your feet counts as QT, but there are better ways to spend quality time together. Long walks, a romp at the park with a ball or a Frisbee or just some one-on-one tug-of-war or ball-tossing fun in your living room are a few excellent ideas. Bonus: this will take care of your doggy’s need for exercise! QT bonds your relationship with our pooch in a loving and healthy way.

Physical Touch: Most dogs love physical touch. A belly rub, a scratch behind the ears – do these things and your dog will be wagging his tail in appreciation. Keep in mind, there are some ways not to touch dogs. Instead of a pat on the head, reach your hand around their neck to pet them. Dogs can become protective or defensive when you approach them head on. Also, some pooches might misinterpret a hug as a threat. So pay attention to your dog’s behavior if he stiffens or tries to move away when you hug him/her.

How Dogs Express Affection To You!
Dogs love their masters and are excited to show it. There are many ways dogs reveal their affection for you. Here are five ways your dog might be speaking to you in his language of love:
  1. Wagging tails – This is a sure-fire sign that your dog is excited and ready to welcome you (on a side note, a stiff and straight up tail means the dog is on high alert and a tail between her legs mean she is scared).
  2. Soft whining, whimpering or barking – This should sound sweet and if combined with a wagging tail means your canine companion really wants your attention. It’s as close as dogs can get to expressing themselves with words (think of this as their words of affirmation for you!).
  3. Licking – Pet owners take a strong stand on this one usually, some love it and others think it’s disgusting. If you’re one who allows your dog to lick you on the face or elsewhere, then you’re allowing your dog to reveal affection in one of the best ways he/she knows how. Licking is a way of grooming and is instinctive for them. Just think of it as an act of service.
  4. Bringing you things – If a dog brings you a toy or something, it means he/she is wanting to spend some quality time playing with you!
  5. Rolling over – This is one of the most common signs of love and affection from your furry friend. Rolling over and revealing his tummy to you means Fido trusts you and wants a belly rub.


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