It’s common to see dog owners out and about with their pets, fawning over their cuteness, telling them how cute they are, and cuddling them. It’s a well-known fact that canines can sense their owner’s mood and can differentiate praise from a reprimand. While they probably don’t understand it when we say “I love you” to them, they can feel definitely our affection and adoration.
So how can we express our love to animals in a way that they can understand?
Tedeschi has spent more than 20 years at the Institute for Human-Animal Connection, discovering things about how dogs communicate and how humans, in turn, can communicate with them. He has dedicated his years studying the bond between humans and animals, exploring ways on how to strengthen that bond so both parties can benefit from improved communication.
Get to know Tedeschi’s top tips on the best ways to express love and affection to your dog:
Playtime is Important
Dogs are very expressive animals. You can easily see when they are happy or even mad. Over time, people have become good at reading dogs, making it easy for us to recognize their body language, like when they want to play. Make sure to spend lots of time playing with your dog, which is a way for dogs to express not only love but friendship as well.
While dogs are animals, it is equally important that we still treat them with respect. Consent is a key factor in understanding our dogs and being sensitive to cues on what they enjoy and what they don’t like. Some dogs may get used to these actions, but they will still feel anxiety, distress, or even fear. Ignoring these signs can send signals to our dogs that we aren’t respectful and don’t care about them. Some actions that can cause distress in dogs include being taken to unfamiliar places, having to interact with huge and noisy crowds, or even being dressed in a costume. The way we teach manners to our dog is critical too. It’s important to be mindful of our approach in training, keeping in mind that it can be hurtful or coercive to them. Causing fear or anxiety in your dog is never the right way to go about training. Rather, it should always be about respect and permission.
Send Clear Signals
Dogs are very expressive and likewise, they are also very good at reading expressions. While they cannot understand human speech, they easily get the way we convey our message through the tone of our voice, our posture, and even our actions. Dogs tend to use their tail, eyes, paws, body posture, and even use vocalization to express their feelings, and humans have learned to be quite adept at reading these cues. Being the emoji equivalent in the real world, our expressions and body language likewise help dogs analyze human emotions. Dogs are very attuned to emotions, especially with their owners which is why one important aspect of showing affection is through effective communication. Even a loving gaze from their owner will go a long way in letting them know that they are loved.
Dogs are used to licking and nuzzling from birth. They are often comforted this way by their mothers and even as a way of playing with their siblings. Touching your dog gently and allowing them to nuzzle you allows them to experience a sense of maternal affection. Being generous with touching allows them to regularly use their senses and a beautiful way to convey your affection.