Many of you are familiar with the concept that people give and receive love in different ways. You may be a hugger, while other family members show affection by hanging around or giving gifts.
Dogs also give and respond to affection in different ways, but there are some generalities that correspond with the human types of touch, time, communication, affection and service.
Craving Praise – There is a cartoon showing a human in the distance saying, “Good Boy!” The focal dog lights up. “That’s my name!” All the other dogs at the park reply, “Me too! Me too!” If your dog gets excited and wags his tail whenever you interact pleasantly, you can tell that’s a love language he speaks. Spoken affection means a lot to him. He will give praise back to you in barks and wags.
Touch – Other dogs enjoy physical contact most of all. Your dog may love you so much, he might knock you down. This type of dog thrives on being petted, groomed, hugged or wrestled with — anything that creates a physical bond.
Quality Time – Is your dog inseparable? Does he bring you the leash to take you for a walk? Your dog wants quality time with you. It doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as he can do it with you.
Giving gifts – Do you like to give each other little gifts? Pet stores are banking on this. Giving your dog toys and treats makes this type of dog feel very special. He may respond by bringing you your slippers.
Service – Some breeds of dogs such as German shepherds, retrievers, Labradors and spaniels are naturally more inclined to be helpers. These types watch over the family, guarding them and looking for ways to fill a need. This type of dog will work tirelessly as a medical and emotional companion, or a police or rescue dog. There is a need to make a difference in someone’s life, and to be appreciated. When you see a news clip about a rescue dog receiving an award, this dog is enjoying the honor.
Your dog may use one or all of the love languages. The most important thing is to learn that there are different ways of showing your love. Notice the ways your dog shows you affection. This is the kind of acknowledgement your dog would also appreciate in return.
Rover.com has a lighthearted Dog Love Language Quiz that can help you discern some ways to treat your pet even better. What is your dog’s love language?