For owners and borrowers alike, it’s reassuring to know that your dog trusts you and feels comfortable in your presence. Edward Davies, My Family Vets vet and Clinical Director at Cheshire Pet in Holmes Chapel, explains how to tell…
They’re happy to see you
Dogs often use body language to communicate. They’re also not great at pretending… If they’re happy to see you when you come home, you’ll know about it.
If a dog comes charging up to you or if they do a little dance, you can take that as solid evidence that they love and trust you… especially if they’ve brought you a toy.
They maintain eye contact
If your dog is staring at you, it can only mean good news. They may want something, but they certainly love and trust you as the person who’ll provide it for them.
Just like humans, dogs will only maintain eye contact with people they feel comfortable around.
Keeping eye contact is a useful tool while training your dog, and can also help to deepen the bond between you. According to scientists, when a dog gazes at their owners, extra oxytocin is produced in both the animal and the human.
They’re relaxed around you
If a dog displays the following body language around you, you can rest assured that they’re comfortable and happy:
- Play bowing
- Moving in a rocking-horse type motion while playing
- Wagging their tail
- ‘Smiling’ – a relaxed facial expression, maybe with their tongue slightly out
- Sleeping close to you
- Snuggling in to you
They check in with you
If a dog is ‘bonded’ to their owner (or borrower), they’ll check in with you once in a while. If you’re at home watching TV, they may sit beside you and nudge at your hand to be stroked, or simply jump onto your lap – depending on their size.
When out and about – especially if you’re visiting somewhere unfamiliar to your dog – they’ll look out for you often, and won’t wander off too far without popping back to check up on you.
Note: if your dog is a keen adventurer and is prone to getting lost on walks, it doesn’t mean they don’t love and trust you – you may just need to work on their recall training.
They steal your things
Left your shoes on the floor by the skirting board and now your dog has them? Draped your jacket over the arm of the sofa and now your dog is snuggling into it?
This means they’re drawn to your scent – so your dog is actually paying you a massive compliment.
Of course, if your dog is excessively attached to you and gets very anxious when you leave, this can cause problems. In extreme cases, you may need the help of a qualified veterinary behaviourist.
But if your dog plays with the items of clothing you leave lying around, it’s just a sign that they’re fond of you.