Knows Your Companion: How Dog Shows Affection?

Dogs are cute! And they have been awesome human’s companions since the ancient time. To this day, they are still the most popular pet in the world. Of course, we all love these cute and loyal furry companions, but how much do we know about them? And in this case, how dog shows affection towards us human? So with no further ado, let’s find out!


Table of Content:
1. How Dog Shows Affection?
1.1. Tail Wagging
1.2. Jumping
1.3. Licking
1.4. Leaning
1.5. Facial Expression
1.6. Following
2. How Can We Show Affection?

1. How Dog Shows Affection?

Unlike us human, dogs can’t speak and they seem not to have any sort of spoken language (Well even if they do, we probably can never understand such language). For most of the time, dogs rely on body language to communicate with people, so too love expression. Therefore, in order to understand them, we also have to notice their body language. Here are the most common ways dogs show their love:

1.1.  Tail Wagging

how dog shows affection 2

Look at the fluffy tail! (Source: Internet)

This is probably the most common known cue from our beloved furry guy. Tail wagging is adorable and even funny to watch (like Corgi!) but it also tells us about the dog’s affection. When dog raises their tail at mid-height, it means that he is exciting and in happy mood. It is always heart-warming when we come back home and see our dog wagging his tail as a way to say: “Welcome home!” According to Dr. Becker, when the dog’s tail leans more to the right side, it further confirms that he is happy with our presence.

On the other hand; tail wagging does not always mean good things. At certain cases, the tail tells us many other emotions of our four-legged companion. In general, if the tail looks rough and tense, it means he is in negative emotional state like fear or angry. That said; certain dog breeds have different tail wagging signs than most others like Pugs or Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

1.2. Jumping

how dog shows affection 3

Weeee!!!! (Source: Internet)

Besides tail wagging, we also often see our dog jumping around in joy when we return home. Jumping is a sign of showing his excitement and joy, another way to say “Welcome home!” Many dogs do not simply jump like having a little dance, they look like trying to jump and lick our face.  One thing to note though, since our dog can be extremely excited, his jumping may cause troubles and therefore, he may need training.

Then again, jumping does not mean excitement all the times, it can also mean many things. For example, some dogs may jump when see their owners return, but that is because of anxiety rather than pure joy. In certain cases, jumping can prove to be problematic when the dog jumps straight to our face and “head-butt” us with his muzzle. This can easily surprise us (not really in a good way) and we can’t really see things clearly, nor know what our dog is doing.


1.3. Licking

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How cute! (Source: Internet)

For most of the time, licking is a dog’s form of showing love towards his owner. He can lick when greeted, pet, or cuddled by the owner. In “dog community”, licking is said to be originated from the wolf origin in which the wolf cubs lick their mother face to tell her that they are hungry. Nowadays dog’s licking may not have such meaning, but it still retains as the dog’s way to show affection towards human. Or in another word, it’s like the dog’s recognition that he considers the owner as his mother.

Another way to explain this behavior is that licking means obedience towards the alpha in dog’s society. And in human’s society, a dog licks his owner in order to show his love and loyalty towards the master.  In addition, it further strengthens the bond between owners and their companions.

1.4. Leaning

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Isn’t it heart-warming? (Source: Internet)

For people who have tons of time staying with their adorable puppies and dogs, they should be already familiar with dog’s leaning. Leaning is quite a special behavior as it shows mutual trust between the master and the dog. Specifically, this behavior tells us that our furry friend trusts and believes us as people who can give them comfort, love, and protection. And vice-versa, he also wishes to share his affection and protect us from any potential danger. Even if he is nervous, his leaning tells us that he believes in our capability of protecting him.

Sometimes, the dog leans in order to insist us on doing something for him (or letting him do something). But overall, leaning often proves to be a positive sign of showing affection. That said, massive dogs like English Mastiff or Great Dane may cause us problem if they lean onto us (let’s be frank, they are freaking huge!)


1.5. Facial Expression

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Looks who smiling! (Source: Internet)

Human is special living being “which” can express various emotions via facial expression. But certain animals are also capable of showing emotion via facial expression, including our favorite: dog. Dog’s facial expression is definitely not as complex as human’s, but it is still interesting to understand.

One of the important dog’s facial expressions is eye contact. In dog’s society, looking each other for long time period often means aggression. And in human’s world, dog also does not look at a person for too long. Yet, it will be very special when our dog looks at us calmly. To explain this interesting notion, Anderson Cooper said the following: “The most interesting thing that Brian Hare said to me, that has stuck with me, is that when dogs are looking at you, they’re ‘hugging you with their eyes.’” Based on Hare’s explanation, looking often generates oxytocin which strengthens bonds between the mother and her children. And interesting enough, this also applies to human and dog relationship.

Another fascinating fact about dog’s facial expression is that they can smile. Yup, for people who have ever doubted this, it’s true that dog can make a happy smiling face. If they give out a calm and relaxing smile, it means he is happy. Besides smiling, dog can show various facial expressions like sadness and stress. More interestingly, a new scientific research from University of Portsmouth has discovered that dogs will show more expressions when human pay attention to them. Well… the more reason for us to communicate with our faithful companions, isn’t it?

1.6. Following

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Doge Followers Team! (Source: Internet)

Inherently dogs are pack animal, which mean they always travel in group and rarely live alone. This trait still retains among wild dogs or wolves. And for the pet dogs, this trait still lingers in the form of following their master. Except for certain breeds like Shiba Inu, most dogs always follow their owners, wherever they go as long as they are allowed to. Pet dogs often view the owners as their pack leaders and therefore, it is natural for pet dogs to follow their “pack leader”. However, this requires time for them to recognize the owner as “true leader”. In human’s society, pet dog’s following instinct isn’t just simply a sign of obedience to the human leader. This behavior also reflects his love and affection for his master.

It may be annoying for some people who prefer a time period alone after a long day work when their dogs keep “bugging” them. But at least, let’s be aware that they only follow us if they truly care for us.


2. How Can We Show Affection to Dogs?

So now that we have seen how dog shows affection towards us human, it’s time to give him affection in return! Here are several suggestions:

2.1. Let our dog join the day

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Say hello to Mr. Doge! (Source: Internet)

Having a new four-legged companion is like having a new member in the family. And naturally, he also wants to be a family member too. For this reason (and of course, due to their pack animal’s nature), it is highly suggested to let the dog joins us in everyday life activities. Since our dog can quickly respond even to the slightest interaction, spending our time with the dog let it constantly communicates and trains with us. It also shows the dog our affection and let he knows that he is a part of the family.

2.2. Taking a walk is never a waste

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So many legs! Such wow! (Source: Internet)

Walking/jogging is a healthy activity for us human, and of course, it is also necessary, if not a must, for dogs to walk or exercise regularly. Taking a walk everyday allows the dog to get exercise and also to finish their “business”. If you are busy, it is still necessary to take it out for a walk even within 5 minutes.


2.3. Give them praise!

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Woo! That feels good! (Source: Internet)

Although they can’t understand human’s tongue, giving praise is still a good way to encourage good behavior from our dogs. Dogs can’t get our sentence but they can sense our gentle touch and speaking, which gives them a nice feeling of affection. Treat is an additional act along with praising (but remember not to abuse treats too much). Gradually they will also know which activities are good and which ones are bad. If you are patient and consistent, the dog will be a splendid companion in no time.

2.4. Sleeping with each other, why not?

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Let’s have a good sleep! (Source: Internet)

We understand that certain families do not want their dogs sleeping on their beds. But if you want to express more love towards your canine friend, it is pretty much recommended to let he sleep with you. According to Gregory Berns, the author of the famous book How Dogs Love Us, he discovered that sleeping can greatly enhance the bond between the owner and the dog. Since sleeping is when the dog is mostly vulnerable, sleeping with him is a good way to show protection and affection from us.

So, in case you cannot allow your companion to sleep on your bed, you can take few minutes sleeping on the sofa. Sleeping for few minutes can still do a ton.

is the author of and he has spent decades studying the canine brain using MRI. According to his research, sleeping with a human is the ultimate display of love and trust our dogs can give because that is when they are at their most vulnerable.

And that’s it folk! What about your story with your faithful companion(s)? Feel free to share with us and for now, thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!

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2 thoughts on “Knows Your Companion: How Dog Shows Affection?

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