Dogs are too good and pure for this world, which is why you should show your dog how much you love him every opportunity you get, and especially when he’s been a very good boy (or girl).
However, the way humans show affection is different from the way dogs interpret it. For example, did you know that dogs do not like to be hugged because it makes them feel trapped or pinned down?
You may also like giving your dog treats when he’s done well, but feed him too much and he might end up with health complications in the long run.
After all, your dog is a very good boy most of the time, and giving him treats all day isn’t the best idea. Plus, you don’t want your dog to associate food with affection since just about anyone will be able to give your dog a treat or two to win him over.
So how do you really show your dog your affection without food in ways that he’ll understand and appreciate?
Here are 6 ways:
1) Ear rubs
Sometimes when you go to the hair salon, you may get lucky when a hairstylist who is particularly great at scalp massages washes your hair.
Massages like these help you relax as the hairstylist works her magic on your scalp, and not surprising too, since scalp massages help increase the production of serotonin in your body, which in turn, gives your mood a boost.
Similarly, for dogs, the most probable equivalent is you rubbing behind their ears. A dog’s ear is filled with nerve endings that sends signals throughout their body.
When you rub the back of their ears just right, it triggers the release of endorphins, which makes your dog happier and helps relieves pain, if they’re feeling any.
And what better way to express your love for them than to make them happy, right?
2) Say it like you mean it
If you find your voice becoming higher-pitched and excited while talking to your dog, this is probably something you don’t (read: shouldn’t) want to change.
This is because your dog is able to interpret your feelings from your tone of voice, so what you say also matters.
In fact, research shows that dogs can understand what you are saying to an extent, so be sure to pair your upbeat tone with the right words to show your dog how much you love him!
3) Put on the right face
And no, we don’t mean the right makeup, although it may help — who knows?
Dogs are very observant creatures, which means they pay close attention to your facial expressions too. While they are more adept at identifying and responding to canine emotions (obviously), dogs can also tell if you really mean what you said by looking at your face.
When you tell your dog that he’s a good boy, do your best to say it with a happy-looking expression and upbeat tone instead of a neutral one, so that your dog can really feel the affection you feel for him.
4) Take him for a walk
Nothing tells your dog you love him more than you spending time with him.
Dogs also thrive on routine, so even if you’ve got busy days to work through, make the time to take your dog out for walks at the same time daily.
A short 30-minute walk can help the both of you bond, and your dog will savor the chance to spend time with you.
5) Let him lean on you
While dogs aren’t fans of hugging, you may notice that yours tends to lean against you. Think of it as your dog wanting to be physically close to you, which is his way of showing you affection.
So go ahead and lean right back against your dog. Alternatively, take the leaning as a cue to rub the back of their ears. This sharing of mutual affection will let your dog know how much you love him.
6) Cuddle away
If your partner is not in the mood for cuddling, ditch your partner for the dog! No, seriously. Take a lazy afternoon nap on the couch right next to your fur baby.
As descendants of pack animals, dogs are social creatures who like to lean up or cuddle against members of their pack, so letting your dog do just that is the perfect opportunity to let him know how much you love him.
If you love cuddling with your pooch on the sofa, here’s a pro-tip: Get a sofa slipcover that’s the same color (or as close to it as possible) as your dog’s fur, so that any fur shed won’t stand out against your sofa’s fabric.
You can also get pet-friendly fabrics, such as leather or velvet that are much less likely to get snagged by claws and can easily be cleaned with a couple of wipes.
To find the right fabric for you and your pooch, have samples of our sofa slipcovers sent to your doorstep: