I have always fantasized about having the same powers as Doctor Dolittle — mostly because knowing exactly what animals are thinking and feeling would be some really valuable information to have.
For instance, why does my dog bark at the vacuum cleaner or hide in a corner whenever the lightest bit of rain starts to fall?
I don’t think I’ll ever know the answers to those questions, but thanks to new developments in the science of dog communication, I now know whether or not my dog loves me.
Much like studies that have found that dogs have certain “powers” or enhanced physical senses, scientists have also uncovered that because dogs and humans have been so deeply intertwined through history, dogs have developed unique ways to expressing their love for humans.
The signs are very subtle and they’re not always obvious, but as we break down in this exclusive, all you need to know are the tiny signs that prove your dog’s love for you…
1. Staring directly into your eyes.
On a 60 Minutes segment, Anderson Cooper met with Brian Hare, a well-known dog expert, to discuss how dogs express love. According to Hare, when your dog looks you in the eye, he is “hugging you with his eyes.”
When a dog looks at you while the two of you are playing with one another or just cuddling, oxytocin is released. It’s the same hormone that helps new mothers bond with their babies. If you want to test this out with your dog, don’t go home and a have a staring contest with your pooch. He will sense something is off, and look away because he feels awkward.
Instead, try to naturally maintain eye contact with him during your normal routines and see how he responds.
2. Yawning when you yawn.
Yawning is contagious. But did you know this impulse isn’t limited to just humans?
Dogs, because they’ve been bred to read humans, also yawn when someone they love yawns.
A study found that when humans echo another’s yawn, it’s because they’re empathetic, like sympathy pains. It’s impossible to measure if dogs are empathetic, but it’s possible that a dog yawning the same time as a human happens because the dog has bonded with that person.
The study also found that dogs were more likely to yawn when their owners yawned, as opposed to a stranger.
3. Leaning on you.
The song “Lean on Me” is all about offering support and dogs crave that same kind of security.
Sometimes a dog will lean on a human because he is anxious, wants you to do something, or take him somewhere. But leaning is also a symbol of affection.
Even if your dog is leaning on you out of pure nervousness, he is still doing it because he thinks of you as someone who can protect him and keep him safe.
4. Cuddling with you after a meal.
In his book, How Dogs Love Us, Gregory Berns, if your dog cuddles with your after eating, it’s a strong sign that they do indeed love you.
Most dogs lovers (or even people who don’t like dogs) know that pups are motivated by food. But according to Berns, once a dog eats all its food, his next action can signify what’s most important to him besides eating.
Sometimes your dog may have to do his “business” right after a meal, but watch how he reacts in the morning and at night. If he’s snuggling up with you after one of these meals, then there’s some definite puppy love on his end.
5. Lifting and wiggling eyebrows.
We think we can read a dog by its tail, but its facial expressions are a way more powerful indicator.
In a recent study in Japan, dogs were introduced to their parent, a stranger, a dog toy, and an item they didn’t like.
When seeing their parent, the dogs immediately lifted their eyebrows (especially their left), and when they saw a stranger there was a lot less facial movement, except for movement of the right brow.
Yet, when they saw an item they knew and had bonded with, the dogs shifted their left ear back. But if it was an item they didn’t like, their right ear shifted. According to the study, this suggests the dog is more reserved when they are engaging someone they don’t know or something they disapprove of.
6. Watching you leave calmly.
Some people think that if a dog panics when they leave that it’s a sign that they love them.
That’s not necessarily true, according to Gregory Berns.
If your dog panics when you leave, it’s more of a sign that they have separation anxiety than that they love you.
If a dog goes into his crate or is accepting of you leaving, i.e. they’re calm when you leave, it means your dog loves and trusts you and is confident that you will return.
7. Freaking out when you return.
We all feel special when we come home and we’re greeted by our dog with his tail wagging, a favorite toy in tow, and he’s jumping all over the place like a crazy kangaroo.
And it’s a good thing we like it, because it’s a very distinctive way a dog shows you his love for you — and it’s love in its truest form.
8. Sleeping in your room.
Another way to figure out whether your dog loves you is observing where he likes to sleep.
It’s part of a big controversy, but if your dog wants to sleep in your bed — even if you don’t allow it — he definitely loves you.
According to Gregory Berns, if a dog wants to sleep on your bed, it’s a good test of his loyalty because he doesn’t want to be separated from the pack.
9. Bringing you his favorite toy.
If your pup brings you his favorite, most coveted toy, it doesn’t just mean your dog wants to play.
Although wanting to play with you is a sign of affection in itself, when your dog brings you his favorite ball, it may also mean he thinks of you as his pack leader.
Because of this, he wants to please you by offering you his finest possession, be it a squeaky toy or well-worn Frisbee. He thinks you’ll like it as much as he does, and as they say: “sharing is caring!”
10. Enjoying your love.
Do you love your dog? According to Gregory Berns, dogs can actually innately sense whether or not you love them.
So if you don’t love them, you’re not getting it back in return!
How does your beloved pup most often show you their love? Let us know in the comments below!
Please SHARE if you believe dogs truly are man’s best friend!
You are considering adopting or buying a dog, and one breed you are considering is a Pit Bull Terrier, or one of several breeds that are closely related to this breed. It is important that before you take any steps towards becoming an owner that you thoroughly research the breed so that you understand the challenges of owning this loyal, yet controversial breed.
99% of issues that arise with pit bulls have to do with owners who are idiots. The truth is that this breed has many good traits. A super-dog, if you will. And although the media focuses on the negative aspects, in reality they can be awesome pets for the smart owner. Here are six reasons why:
1. Pit Bulls are Affectionate Companions
Pitbulls are wiggly, cuddly, affectionate dogs. If you don’t like dog kisses then consider another breed, because most pitbulls love licking. The same goes if you have children and you don’t want them to be a regular target for face washes.
Pitbulls are not aloof – they like to remind you regularly of how they feel about you, and in general this means a lot of tail wagging and kissing.
2. Generally Healthy and Easy to Care For
Yes, pit bulls require a reasonable amount of attention. They do not, however, need a lot of care. They have short coats and are normal shedders, and only need to be brushed semi-regularly.
They don’t tend toward genetic disorders like some other breeds, although they should be inspected at puppyhood for signs of hip dysplasia, but this is a good idea for most medium to large breeds anyway. Most pit bulls do not get larger than 50 to 60 pounds, although there are some larger sub-breeds.
And as long as you exercise the dog regularly, a pitbull can be very comfortable in a small dwelling.
3. People-Orientated, When Socialized Properly
Pitbulls love people. Although this breed frequently gets a bad rap in the media, if you have ever met a pitbull that was raised by a loving, conscientious family then you will understand how much they like to be with people.
The downside of this personality trait is that they can get overexcited when they meet new people, which is something that needs to be addressed through training and positive reinforcement.
4. Pit Bulls are Loyal to their Owners
Your pit bull will be you and your family’s best friend from the day you take them home to the day they pass away. While they will be naturally protective of their family and their property, because pitbulls are so people-orientated they do not make good guard dogs.
Unless you just want them to smother intruders with hugs and kisses.
5. Eager to Please
A pitbull will always do it’s best to make you happy, as long as you are clear about what you expect from them. Many people will mention the fact that this breed is notoriously stubborn, but once they realize that you are the boss, they will work hard to ensure that you were happy with them.
This breed can be challenging, and is not recommended for first time dog owners as you need to be comfortable and confident that you can handle the breed, otherwise they will pick upon the fact that you are less than sure of yourself.
6. High Tolerance for Pain
Sometimes presented as a negative trait, the fact that pitbulls have a high pain tolerance makes them exceptional family dogs. They easily (and happily) put up with the rough play of children without reacting. At the same time, pitbull owners may have to invest in prong collars, as the shoulder and neck strength of the pitbull means that sometimes an average collar will not do.
It is important that when considering a pitbull as a pet that you carefully screen all puppies and adult dogs to ensure that they respond positively. Dogs of any breed that show fearfulness or aggression towards people or other dogs should be avoided, particularly as a family pet, unless you are willing to put in a lot of extra time and money into behavioural training.
To be a successful and responsible pitbull owner you need to at all times have your pet under control. Dogs should never be left unsupervised with other dogs or children, and should never be allowed to roam off leash except in controlled dog-friendly spaces. Remember that as a pitbull owner you are charged with showing the positive side of this breed, so make sure that you always have a friendly and well behaved pet.
In a word: no. Many people THINK they are, and if you ask them for proof, they send you lists of bite statistics and news reports of Pit Bull attacks.
But that doesn’t prove anything.
Rarely do the writers perform actual research. One obvious question they could investigate: Was the dog actually a Pit Bull? It’s impossible to determine breed by appearance alone. And given that the CDC non-fatal bite statistics come from counting newspaper reports of attacks claiming it was a “pit-bull type” dog, there are bound to be gross inaccuracies.
No DNA tests were ever done, which are required to determine breed.
This is highly related to the reason why breed specific legislation doesn’t work. And it never will. Even the CDC agrees:
“Breed-specific legislation does not address the fact that a dog of any breed can become dangerous when bred or trained to be aggressive. From a scientific point of view, we are unaware of any formal evaluation of the effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in preventing fatal or nonfatal dog bites. An alternative to breed-specific legislation is to regulate individual dogs and owners on the basis of their behavior” (JAVMA, Vol 217, No. 6, September 15, 2000 Vet Med Today: Special Report 839-840).
For these reasons, and many others, both the CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association do not recommend discriminating based on breed.
The frenzy against Pit Bulls is nothing but blind fear fueled by the human need to find a scapegoat. There is not a single shred of proof that the American Pit Bull Terrier is a vicious, dangerous breed.
What are the facts?
The American Temperament Test Society (http://www.atts.org) perform their temperament tests regularly on popular breeds. You can visit their web site to view upcoming testing dates and location and actually get your own dog tested. The most recent aggregation of all test results was in 2008. Description of the test:
The test simulates a casual walk through a park or neighborhood where everyday life situations are encountered. During this walk, the dog experiences visual, auditory and tactile stimuli. Neutral, friendly and threatening situations are encountered, calling into play the dog’s ability to distinguish between non-threatening situations and those calling for watchful and protective reactions.
The dog fails the test if it shows:
-Panic without recovery
-American Pit Bull Terriers passed the test at a rate of 85.3%.
This is higher than Collies, Golden Retrievers, and other dogs generally considered “family friendly”. The average dog population is around 77%.
As most dog behaviorists and trainers will tell you, a dog is almost 100% a product of it’s owner and the training it receives.
And if the APBT is so inherently dangerous, how come they are so successful as therapy dogs? As search and rescue animals?
Honestly, more people die drowning in their backyard swimming pool every year than die from dog attacks. That doesn’t make it any less tragic, but to call it an “epidemic” is a little far fetched.
Pit Bulls are not the first breed to be unfairly labeled dangerous, and they won’t be the last. Politicians love to act important and pretend like they’re doing something, and media outlets love to sensationalize. Don’t let them get away with nonsense. Learn the history of the breed and educate yourself.
The only thing that can be said about them is that sometimes, they tend to be dog aggressive. But almost every breed of dog is aggressive toward some other animal. Where did foxhounds and wolfhounds get their names from?