Holle has owned two Akitas and has trained and bred dogs for decades.
Why Dogs Are Our Favorite Animal Companion
Canines were the very first animal humans domesticated. For more than 10,000 years, canines have helped us find and procure food, alerted and protected us in the face of danger, herded our livestock, and helped carry our belongings from one place to another. More recently, dogs have been trained to locate drugs, bombs, escaped prisoners, and lost humans. Some can even detect human diseases and anticipate imminent escalations of certain conditions. They can also be trained to guide the blind and to aid humans with other debilitating handicaps.
Of course, the role of most dogs today is to be a loyal companion. As a species, we humans love our canine friends . . . but do they love us, or do they just use us to fulfill their needs? The following information might give you some clues as to your pooch’s real feelings.
Does Your Dog Love You?
You've probably heard the old saying, "Sharing is caring." Is your dog willing to share with you? Answer the following questions:
- Does your dog bring you its toys?
- Does it allow you to handle its food bowl or food, even when it’s eating?
- Does it allow you to handle its bed?
- Does it give up its favorite chair when you want to sit down?
Is Your Dog Affectionate?
Affection is usually a sign of love, but not always. Dogs can be manipulative, and the smarter ones learn quickly how to “push our buttons.” When your pooch gives you affection is often an important factor in measuring your dog’s love for you. Check these out:
- Does your dog give you affection even when it doesn’t want anything (like food, water, or to go outside)?
- Does your dog follow you from room to room during the day?
- Does it want to sleep next to you or in the same room you’re in?
- Will your dog give up a comfy spot in another room just so it can be next to you, even if it has to lie on a hard floor?
- Is your dog elated to see you when you come home, even if you’ve been away for just a short period of time?
Does Your Dog Protect You?
Not all dogs are protective by nature, but many are. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll attack a person or animal they see as threatening you. Some might, but there are other ways to show they’re in protective mode:
- When a strange person or dog approaches you, does your dog stand between you and the other person or dog?
- If you and another human are conversing in raised voices or are using excited gestures, does your dog become suddenly interested?
- Does your dog alert you when someone knocks at your door?
- Does your dog let you know when it sees someone or something strange in your yard?
Does Your Dog Show Empathy?
Recent studies reveal that dogs are capable of amazing empathy for humans. More than any other animal, dogs can often read their owner’s emotions and act accordingly. Think about these:
- Does your dog move away from you and rest quietly when you’re angry?
- Does it rest its head on your lap or show other forms of affection when you’re sad?
- Is it happy and excited when you’re happy?
- Provided your dog is capable, health wise, is it always ready to play when you are?
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Does Your Dog Show You Respect?
Respect is a big part of doggie love. Your dog should see you as its pack leader and willingly give you its undying respect and loyalty. See if your pet does the following:
- Does your dog allow you to go through a door first when entering or exiting a room or building?
- Does it show respect to the other members of your pack, provided you've properly introduced them?
- When on leash, does it walk slightly behind you or even with you, but it never walks ahead of you?
- Does it follow commands the first time you give them (provided it has been adequately trained)?
Does Your Dog Trust You?
Another big part of canine love is trust. Your dog should trust you completely. Wild canines in packs unquestioningly and trustingly follow the lead of the pack leader. Since you are your pet’s pack leader, it should have total trust in you. Does your fur kid do the following?
- Does your dog sometimes roll over onto its back and expose its belly to you?
- Does it come to you for comfort when it’s scared or in pain?
- Does it go willingly with you to strange places when it’s on leash?
Does Your Dog Really Love You?
So . . . how did your pooch score? You didn’t have to “check all the boxes” to know if your shaggy pal really loves you. Each dog is different, so not every adoring pooch is going to exhibit all the above behaviors. If you were able to answer “yes” to most of the questions, you can rest assured you are truly loved by your canine friend! I created this questionnaire based on interviews with veterinarians, on information from dog behaviorists, and from my decades of experience owning, breeding, training, and handling canines.
habee on October 01, 2017:
Great to hear from you, Paula! Yep, we have Great Danes, and they are...GREAT!! lol
Suzie from Carson City on September 27, 2017:
Habee...I am baffled! I have not seen hide nor hair of you in so long! I actually thought you had gone elsewhere or just "retired" from HP! Then I somehow ran into you today, so I have to look into why this happened. BUT....
anyway, it's good to see you again and I LOVE this article. I have never doubted my Cocker, "Toby," loves me. He's one huge Mama's Boy and passed your test in Aces. He's beginning to do some unusual things since he's getting up there in age, but for the most part, he's a good boy.
I have to say, your photos are great. I get such a charge when I see HUGE dogs showing love & gentleness....like Gentle Giants! Those dogs are Great Danes, right? The 2 photos in particular of the darling girls hugging one the other of the tiny kitten, & the child sleeping with the puppy, just stole my heart!
I'm off to find out how I lost track of you for so long! Peace, Paula
Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 09, 2017:
Maria, sounds like you have a great doggie pal!
Maria Cecilia from Philippines on May 09, 2017:
oh Habee I really read this because I want to know if my dogs really love me and not fooling me hahaha. I think they got the perfect score. but not when who is the first to enter the door because my female dog is assigned to open the door for me. About walking in leash, I let Mac to walk ahead so he can easily find his spot when you what.... I love this specially to that part of sharing toys, now I know what Mac often come to me with his toy in his mouth.... Yes they sleep with me in my room and they don't want to sleep ahead, they really wait for me.. Excellent hub...
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on April 19, 2017:
Just great. How can one go wrong when talking about dogs and love?
Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on April 19, 2017:
Woohoo! My dog loves me. However, I must admit that when he's walked, he takes the lead and will stubbornly try to go where he wants. He can be very assertive when he's on his walk. LOL. I don't really mind and I've never tried to undo that "personality trait."
Great article. Take care.
Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on April 18, 2017:
Ha,ha,ha...yep ...the dog loves us and so does the cat. However every dog in my family always wanted to get out of the door first. Hmmm? Cat is always respectful though; he says dogs have no manners. :)
Clive Williams from Jamaica on April 18, 2017:
The dog is either with you and shows emotions or it isn't.