Anyone who’s ever owned a dog knows how special the bond between human and hound can be.
You can see it by the way your dog greets you with their tail wagging at 100 mph or by the gentle nudge of a wet nose. Our friendship with dogs goes as far back as 40,000 years – but what is it about humans that dogs are so drawn to?
The UK’s leading dog sitting and walking platform, Rover.com, revealed today which traits dogs love in humans.
Similar to humans, dogs actively seek out eye contact when they are in need of comforting. Studies have even shown that staring lovingly into your dog’s eyes can boost levels of oxytocin – a hormone that’s released when you interact with someone you like.** So why not take a minute to stare longingly into those puppy-dog eyes!
Their Human’s Smell
It’s well known that dogs have a heightened sense of smell, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that just the scent of a dog’s owner is enough to cheer them up. A study published in 2015 found that dogs connect their owner’s scent to pleasure, so when your pooch is feeling down, just your familiar aroma will soon get their tail wagging again.***
Do you ever catch yourself speaking to your dog in the most ridiculously high-pitched baby voice? Well, research has shown that happy sounds like this trigger parts of your pet’s brain to ‘light up,’ making them feel happy. So there’s no need to feel foolish the next time you spark up a conversation with your dog—it’s been scientifically proven that ‘dog-directed speech’ (DDS) can turn your pup’s frown upside down!
Part of the Pack
In the same way that we would consider our dog as part of the family, dogs view us as part of their pack. They rely on us for protection as well as affection – hence why dogs often run to their humans when they’re frightened or anxious. They are constantly looking out for us, the same way we look after them – if that’s not love, what is?
But how can you tell that you’re pleasing your furry best friend? There are several tell-‘tail’ signs that give it away. Since dogs aren’t capable of speech, their primary form of communication is through their bodies. Ears, tail, mouth, eyes and their bodies all have something to say about a dog’s emotional state. Of course, every dog is different, and body composition may vary but in general a happy dog will appear comfortable and at ease.
Physical signs of a happy dog include:
- A soft, partially open mouth
- Ears that are relaxed, not pulled back or taut with alertness
- An overall relaxed posture, with a raised head, relaxed tail, and confident stance
- A tail wag that involved the whole-body wiggle
- Rolling over to show their belly
- Making a “play bow,” with their rear in the air and chest lowered to the ground as an invitation to play
Behavioural signs of happiness in dogs include:
- Happy dogs are generally not destructive. Destructive behavior can be a sign of anxiety or stress
- They’re happy to play or take a walk. If a dog is uninterested in play time, they may be feeling down
- They have a healthy appetite, which indicates feeling physically well and emotionally content. Changes in appetite are usually the first sign of unhappiness
- They lean into your hand or body. Happy dogs make a lot of body contact
- They are excited to see you when you walk through the door
Nicole Ellis, dog trainer at Rover.com, said: ‘Dogs have been man’s best friend for thousands of years, but it’s great to know that the feeling is mutual.
‘Whether we take a minute to gaze into those droopy doggy eyes or squeal with excitement when we see them, it’s important to show our loved ones that we care.”
Rover.com is a dog walking and boarding service, bringing dog owners and trusted sitters together. For more information or to sign up either as a walker, sitter or owner, visit: https://www.rover.com/uk/