7 Ways Dogs Show Affection – How To Know if They Love You

Written by Marisa Wilson
Updated: January 24, 2023
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Science has taught us that dogs are sociable, emotional creatures who react to human sounds and odors. They respond to our scent and the tone of our voice with joy. Science demonstrates that a portion of the canine brain is connected to pleasant emotions and that dogs actually sense affection for the people they live and bond with. 

Budapest-based researchers investigated canine brain activity in a related study to understand what happens in dogs’ brains when we speak to them. Similar to how the human brain reacts to pleasant noises, the canine brain activates the auditory cortex in response. 

This demonstrates how well humans and dogs can communicate, supporting the relationship between humans and dogs. Science has proven that your dog can show love, but how does it show you? Keep reading to see how your pup will let you know you are its best friend!

1. Dogs Give You Eye Contact

Dog Park Series - French Bulldog at Dog Park

Dogs utilize eye contact to communicate with their owners.


Generally speaking, dogs utilize eye contact to communicate with their owners and understand what they want them to accomplish. Like humans use eye contact to determine interpersonal connection and reaction, dogs utilize it to provide assurance and understanding. This facilitates our ability to relate to them. 

Dogs use eye contact to show affection, which is terrific news for dog owners in particular. What signs does a dog provide of its love? They stare at you, so that’s a good sign. It’s a positive sign if a dog fixes its gaze on you! Research finds that when humans and dogs share a loving gaze, the hormone known as the “cuddle hormone,” oxytocin, rises.

2. Dogs Enjoy Bringing Toys

Another hypothesis is that they bring toys to demonstrate their confidence in you. Dogs can be very possessive of their toys, so their eagerness to bring them to you might signify that they trust you to take good care of them.

They might simply be attempting to interact with you. Dogs can tell you to pay attention to them by presenting you with a toy. And they usually get attention for doing something you find lovely, kind, or adorable. Dogs enjoy playing. They enjoy playing with toys, other dogs, and you. If they want to play with you, that means they love you! 

3. The Dogs Jump On You Before You Can Close the Front Door

Dog Park Series - Woman with Dog

Dogs often jump up to greet people out of eagerness.

©Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko/Shutterstock.com

Dogs often jump up to greet people out of eagerness. This is the chance they have been waiting for; to see you. They are your welcomers and understand that they will enjoy the attention, treats, walks, fun, and perhaps a belly rub upon your return. 

Given all this joyous attention, what dog wouldn’t be pleased about the possibility? While it’s not just the things you give it, the excited jumping means you make it happy. At the same time, big dogs aren’t as fun to greet you this way as tiny ones; at least they show they love you. 

4. Dogs Lean On You Like a Bill Withers Song

Dogs cling to their owners because they want to be near them. They are a sociable pack of creatures by nature — most dogs like being touched by people. While larger dogs tend to lean in close, smaller dogs can be picked up and cuddled. 

Some dogs are so adoring that it almost appears they want to merge with you! They sag heavily into your space. If a doggie leans against you, it is another way it shows it adores and loves you! Be sure to pet it to let it know you love it back!

5. Dogs’ Tails Wag Like a Feather Duster

dog wagging tail

A vigorously wagging tail shows your dog’s happiness.


A content dog will wag its tail to the right since the brain’s left half is connected to pleasant emotions like love and tranquility. A fearful dog will wag its tail to the left since the right part of the brain is connected to negative emotions like fear and despair. 

A vigorously wagging tail shows your dog’s happiness. It is delighted to see you. Knowing that your dog enjoys having you around is always pleasant. Check out its tail if you’re unsure about your dog’s feelings!

6. The Dog Follows You Everywhere

Based on previous positive contacts and socialization, dogs select their favorite people. Puppies up to six months old are in their critical socialization period because, like humans, dogs are highly impressionable as their brains develop. 

Your dog loves and adores you if it always follows you wherever you go. Oxytocin is released when a dog engages with people it likes. This is known as the “love hormone.” Oxytocin is what gives you that warm feeling when you’re with someone you care about, like your pup.

7. Dogs Lick Your Face, Arms, or Toes

Dog Park Series - Family with Dog

A dog may lick you to show that it is hungry.


Although a dog licking your hands or face may seem friendly, is it really? Both yes and no are correct. It doesn’t mean aggression, but you can tell it wants something. Because your dog has learned the action, licks frequently imply affection. You may respond to licks with cuddles or praise if you find it pleasing or appreciative. So the dog will lick more to please you.

Even more fundamental to canine behavior is that puppies frequently lick their moms to let them know they’re ready for food. Therefore, a dog may lick you to show that it is hungry, receive a dog biscuit in response, and then learn that licks result in a contented owner who gives out food. This means it knows you take care of it and appreciate you!


Your dogs are capable of love, and they can show you several ways. They may jump, lick or wag their tails in excitement when you walk in from work after a long day. Dogs will curl next to you and follow you around like you are the best thing ever. To your dog, you are the best! It can be nice to know that it’s a good thing when it exhibits these behaviors. 

Often, dog owners wonder if their dog loves them as much as they do. Now that you know all the ways dogs can show they care, share with other owners so they know the good news! Other per behaviors that may interest you are linked below, and you should also check those out!

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Arturo Rosenow

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About the Author

Creepy-crawly creatures enthrall Marisa. Aside from raising caterpillars, she has a collection of spiders as pets. The brown recluse is her favorite spider of all time. They're just misunderstood. You don't have to worry about squishing the creatures as her catching, and relocating abilities can safely move stray centipedes or snakes to a new location that's not your living room.

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  4. , Available here: https://www.wisdompanel.com/en-us/blog/signs-dog-loves-you