On our blog “If They Could Talk,” part of our goal is to help interpret what your dogs and cats are trying to tell you. When it comes to affection, however, your pet is already speaking to you in a language anyone can easily understand. By learning to read your pet’s signals, you can always tell just how much they love you!
Licking: There’s a reason we call our pet’s licks “kisses.” As the blog Miniature Paws explains, though there are lots of reasons that dogs lick; one of the reasons is to show that they love you. This type of licking, which often occurs while you are greeting your pet, can easily be compared to human kissing as it has an affectionate meaning behind it.
Upright Tail Wagging: A swish of a dog’s tail is often the first thing people notice when their dog is happy. The Daily Puppy warns that not all tail wagging means your dog is pleased; a low swing of the tail can often indicate uncertainty or fear. If your dog’s tail is wagging quickly and in an upright position, however, you can be sure that they are happy to see you.
Barking and Jumping: Just like humans, excited pets are prone to jumping around and making a lot of noise. Barking, leaping at you, and even nipping are ways that your pooch expresses their affection and excitement to see you. This indicates that your pet sees you as a friend, and is how they would play with other dogs. There is a fine line between affectionate and dominant behavior when it comes to barking and jumping, however, so make sure you only encourage it when your dog is calm and obedient. For tips on controlling barking, read our recent post on recognizing why your dog barks.
Rolling Over: A dog that offers you their belly for a good scratch is completely comfortable around you. Displaying this kind of security is a sign from your dog that they are happy to be with you!
Trying to get your attention: Dogs and cats do this by pressing against you and calling out to you. You know the way they act: a cat will weave between your legs; a dog will press its head into your lap. These pets love you and want to be with you. They will often follow you around, not wanting to let you out of their sight for even a moment!
Smiling! We are often surprised to find our pets with an expression on their face that looks a lot like a human grin. It turns out this twitch of the face might be an intentional smile. Miniature Paws references a McGill University neuroscientist named Jeffrey Mogil, who said that animals feel many of the same emotions as we do and use the muscles in their face to show it. If you think your dog or cat looks like they’re smiling at you, you might be right to assume they are shooting you a smirk. It means that your pet is happy, filled with love and ready for a perfect photo!