10 Ways Your Dog Says "I Love You"

You love your dog. How do you know if he loves you too? You watch his body language, that's how. Here are 10 things your fur child does to tell you he digs you.

By: Leanne Potts

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She stares directly into your eyes.

You're not imagining it. That's a look of love. When you two gaze at one another, your bodies make a chemical called oxytocin that causes the two of you to bond, says Brian Hare, author of the "The Genius of Dogs." It's the same chemical mothers and babies produce when they look at one another, Hare says. "They can make each other feel good just by staring into each others' eyes. Somehow, dogs have hijacked this process."

He wags his tail to the right.

Dogs wag their tails for a lot of reasons, and they're not always positive. But an Italian neuroscientist and two veterinarians filmed the tail wag angles (yes, that's a thing) of dogs as they looked at their owners, a stranger, a dog they didn't know and a cat. The dogs wagged their tails to the right when they saw their owner. Everybody else got a wag to the left. So watch the wag. If it's to the right, your dog child is saying he loves you.

She lifts her eyebrows when she sees you.

Again with the cameras. Japanese researchers filmed the faces of dogs when they saw their owners and when they saw a stranger. The dogs raised their eyebrows when they saw their owner. The stranger just got an ear lift, a sign of doggie caution. Why do they raise their eyebrows? So they can make better eye contact and make those good chemicals that bond the two of you.

He yawns when you yawn.

Yawning when you see another person yawn is a sign of empathy. It's called a contagious yawn, and half of all people do it. Now researchers have found that dogs do it, too. A study found that 70 percent of dogs yawned when they watched their owner yawn. It's a sign of emotional bonding between man and dog. Whether you're bored or sleepy, your dog's on board. He feels you.

She wants to sleep in your bed. Or at least in your bedroom.

Dogs want to belong to a pack. It's a legacy of their wolf ancestors who traveled, hunted and slept in a lupine posse. If your dog wants to be in your bed, or at least in a dog bed in your room, it means you're in his pack and he doesn't want to be separated from you, writes Gregory Berns in his book "How Dogs Love Us." Scoot over and share your pillow with your pack mate.

He brings you a toy.

Yes, it means he wants to play with you, which is a sign of affection. It may also mean he wants to please you, his beloved pack leader, so he is giving you a gift. Another version of giving tribute to the boss: bringing you a dead animal. Some experts say it's a throwback to their wolf ancestors who brought the fruits of the hunt to the alpha dog to show their loyalty. Understand, that dead squirrel is a love offering.

She greets you when you come home.

You don't need science to confirm what your dog is saying when she does the happy dog dance the moment you walk through the door after work. She's ecstatic to see her beloved human, the center of her universe. Let the happy yips, raised eyebrows and right-tail wags begin.

He nudges you to get you to pet him.

Studies show that dogs get a rise in oxytocin, also known as the "hug hormone," when we pet them. Oxytocin makes them feel good and helps them connect with us. So that nudge says, "Hey, let's bond." Get this: Dogs get a higher shot of the hug hormone when they're petted by a woman than by a man. Sorry, guys. Dog may be woman's best friend.

She cuddles with you after dinner.

In his book "How Dogs Love Us," Gregory Berns writes that if your dog cuddles with you after she eats, it means you're the most important thing in the world to her besides eating. And we know how much dogs love food. So if she heads to your lap after supper, take it as a sign of deep attachment.

He licks you.

Mother dogs lick their puppies to groom them, so it's a primal sign of affection when your dog licks you. He's getting pleasure out of it, too, because it makes his brain crank out endorphins, chemicals that make him calm and happy. Note: If you just ate a burger, and there's some ketchup on your cheek you didn't see, love may not be your dog's only motivation for that lick on the face.

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