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All dogs seem to be social butterflies. But before that pooch learns to send all the love around, you have to earn his heart. The first few days will be filled with anxiety and whimpering. But if you’re willing to wait and show him all the love you’ve got, that pooch will soon yield to your caring arms. Knowing how to make your dog love you is tricky, but it’s all worth it in the end.
The relationship with your dog starts with interaction. Playing with him, providing his needs, and defending him are surefire ways to earn his trust. Everything else will follow – loyalty, obedience, and love.
So if you’re still dealing with an elusive pooch, here are some habits that will develop their love for you.
1. Walking with him
Your best bud loves walking! It gives them the opportunity to explore things, sniff the surroundings, and experience the stimulation they rarely experience indoors. They will appreciate even a simple walk on a leash within the neighborhood. It makes them feel part of their hooman’s daily activities.
Walking your pooch also gives the necessary cardio their body needs. Instead of barking and howling at home when you leave them, you can have them in tow. If they misbehave, punish them by skipping walks the next day. It will make them sad, but at least, they will learn discipline. One of the signs your dog loves you is when he can respect you.
2. Being their comforter
Loud fireworks during New Year’s Eve, an aggressive dog at the park, or the sound of the vacuum – all these can make your buddy afraid. Be a loving paw-rent by comforting them. Cower beside the pooch and reassured him that it will be fine. One way on how to make your dog love you is to pet him gently and give reassuring hugs. Staying with him in a quiet room will be highly appreciated too. Even if they can’t talk, your pooch is thinking, “My hooman cares for me!”
If you’re visiting the dreaded vet, be on their side to make them feel at ease. Those sharp needles and alien stuff can be pretty frightening for your doggo. Give them some love and always be there to comfort them.
3. Doing more of what they love
Like what they say, “a tired dog is a happy dog”. Doing more of what your dog loves is a great way to build your bond with each other. Does he love chasing Frisbee? Go out and give him a few throws. Is she a fan of foot petting? Let him stay under the table and give him a gentle massage. These are some of the signs your dog loves you.
Just be careful because not all the things that your dog loves doing are fun. He may grow fond of digging under the fence, annoying the cat, or giving nonsensical woofs. But if you’re creative enough, you can channel this into something “less destructive”. Give him a digging box, play a tug game, and pretend to talk with him. This will help fix behavioral issues while retaining the fun.
4. Allowing him to sleep on your side
“Hooman, it’s a cold, cold night. Let me sleep in your room!” If your pooch can speak, he will likely be nagging you about leaving him alone in his dog house. For some days, let the pup sleep on your bedroom floor. You can also cuddle with him if you want to (beware of shedding, though) make him feel included.
This is one how to make your dog love you, especially if you have a new pup at home. Being at a whole new environment is very scary for that little bud. Allowing him to sleep close to you is added assurance that you’re there for him. It’s also a good way to let him know that he’s part of the family. Signs your dog loves you will soon manifest.
5. Always being there
Your mere presence is more than enough for your pup in some days. Relaxing with him on the couch while watching TV is appreciated more than you actually think. If you’re sending him to the vet, being there to comfort the pooch builds trust and love. Sit with him outdoors and play some games. These don’t just keep your dog busy; it also forms the bond between the two of you.
6. Giving away some treats
If there’s one weakness you can make use of, it would be your pooch’s love for snacks. Keep a jar of dog cookies and give some to your pup when he obeyed some commands. You can also let some pieces slip from time to time. It’s a good way for him to know that his hooman loves him a lot.
But if the snacking tends to be abused, let him earn for his keep. This will train him to respect you and instill the discipline that not all things can be his if he wishes so. Just imagine that you’re dealing with a toddler and you’ll never go wrong. Both have a short attention span and go bonkers when you don’t suffice their urges.
7. Promoting a sense of belonging
Some dogs have a cuddly personality. And if you have a Velcro dog – the one that follows you everywhere – you have to satisfy that need for belonging. Learn to pee in front of an audience and keep a lint roller handy. They will stick to your side no matter what to the point that you’ll feel guilty about going to work and leaving them behind.
A Velcro dog can be sulky if you leave them for hours. So be prepared with a present to woo their feelings. It will need a little coaxing but they will soon be cuddling with you after a few minutes. Be prepared or else they will start to loathe you or get used to your absence. It’s not one of the signs your dog loves you.
8. Letting them approach you
For very shy dogs that have personal bubbles that can beat extreme introverts, slowing your roll is the key. Crouch slowly but be careful not to loom. Leave at least two feet between you and him so he can approach you when he wants to. Always point your body away from the doggo to avoid intimidating him. And most of all, no sudden movements!
Lay your hand down slowly and let the pooch sniff or lick it. This is the part where he starts to be familiar with your unique smell. After a few days, he will get used to your presence and you can now introduce more activities. Just be mindful of your body language.
If you’re planning to adopt (or have) a very apprehensive dog, this video featuring Cesar Milan will teach you the right approach:
9. Being calm
Your dog knows when you’re in a fit of nagging. Take note that they pay more attention to what you do than what you say. So if you have a fierce face on, they will likely remember it than what you’re actually pointing out. So be calm, stand beside your bud, and talk to him with a firm tone. If he’s done wrong, he will surely look guilty and sorry about it. No need to shout or stomp your feet wildly.
Going on beast mode will only scare your pooch. If he chewed the sofa, the solution isn’t shouting and throwing things. Maybe you bore them too much the whole day or they aren’t trained well.
10. Keeping them busy
Dog breeds like Beagle, Labrador Retriever, and Foxhound are hunting canines. They yearn for the physical stimulation that mimics the act of hunting. They want to run, chew, pull, and chase things. If you don’t keep them occupied, they will vent their attention to your couch or bed.
Give them tasks like lifting grocery bags, opening doors, or keeping the critters out of the yard. They will love every minute of it especially if they have to chase a squirrel away. Dogs love being active and you can channel it through games or a busy afternoon on your yard. Just make sure that they don’t go beyond the limits. Aside from satisfying their urge to be in the move, you’ll also tire them. They will have no longer left to chew your new ottoman.
11. Calling them a good boy/girl
A study from the University of York proved that dog-speak actually helps in building the bond between the owner and the canine. It can be a way on how to make your dog love you! A high-pitch voice, much like with that of baby talk, is a good way to engage puppies. But for adult pooches, a lively pep talk will make a big difference. So be generous with the “good boy” badge from now on. Your doggo loves it!
Talking to your dog in a cheerful tone fosters positive reinforcement. Pair it with a gentle pat on the head and they will reward you with a wagging tail or an adorable dog smile.
But if they misbehave, the firm “bad dog” will be useful in disciplining them.
12. Traveling with them
Much like walking, bringing your dog to road trips delights his heart. If you leave them at home, your dog becomes sad and alone. As you know, a lot of dogs want to be part of your activities and that includes your short trips to the store or a visit to a friend. It gives the pooch a bigger world to discover aside from the usual routes you take when walking him. Besides one of the signs your dog loves you is when he starts running to the car ahead of you.
If you’re driving, crack your window a little to let him hear the sounds of the surroundings. Do the same if you have to leave them to purchase a quick snack at the convenience store. But if you’re headed on a place where you’ll spend a long time, don’t leave the doggo at the car.
13. Paying attention
When your furry buddy gives your lap gentle scratches, it means he wants something. He could be craving for a snack or a pet from his hooman. Paying attention make them feel valued and important. Reading his body language is an effective way how to make your dog love you. He might be hungry, feeling ill, or afraid. Your pup appreciates these little moments when you focus your attention on him.
But keep an eye on rude behavior. If the doggo starts to be demanding, discipline him with a firm “no”. Anyway, it doesn’t hurt to be a doting paw-rent at times.
14. Training them regularly
Dogs love having their mind stimulated and engaged in challenging activities. Training them every day will help them develop their familiarity and love for you. Ask them to pick a piece of paper for you or to bring his dish back to the kitchen. These simple tasks allow them to follow commands while having the attention they want.
Mental stimulation makes your dog happy. If you have a herding or a hunting breed, they will loathe sitting down all day. Take a few minutes to play some tug and catch games with the pooch. His attention will be yours – one of the signs your dog loves you. Besides, after all the hours you make him wait when you’re at work, you owe him some bonding time.
15. Petting them when they want to
Dogs love when their hoomans pet them after accomplishing a task or being a good boy. Send him some love by gently petting him on the head. If you’ve been away for quite a while, jiggle him around the body and give him some kisses. But don’t let the pooch leap aggressively. This could be a sign of disrespect or too much excitement.
Pro tip: If you have a new dog, don’t pet him on the head. This is a threatening move from a stranger. Instead, go on the sides and just before their neck. Slowly but surely. This will get them used to physical stimulation later on.
These habits on how to make your dog love you is a good start for new dog owners. It will also help paw-rents who are struggling to get along with their pups. No matter what happens, patience is always the key to having a good relationship with your furry buddy. Once you earn his love, he will give it to you with nothing in return.
And after you’ve done these steps, here’s a fun video from Wall Street Journal to know if you already won your dog’s heart: