Have you ever wondered if your dog truly loves you, or are you just a food dispenser for your pooch? Many people may see themselves as a ‘doggy waiter’ who only get attention from their canine friend because they feed them. However, research has proven that dogs do experience feelings of love and affection towards humans and look at us for social comfort and bonding.
Anyone who already owns a dog knows the relationship with their canine friend is a tremendous connection that is long lasting. It will come to no surprise to these owners that given the choice, chances are your dog would prefer your praise over food.
Humans and canines have lived together for hundreds of years which have allowed the development of a close bond between the two species. Over these years, dogs have progressed from watchdogs and hunters to more family-friendly fluffy pets. In saying this though, they are one of the most self-sacrificing creatures known to man. A major measure of love is how much you would be willing to sacrifice for a loved one. A dog is willing to put themselves on the line in order to save their owner from harm, sometimes leading to injuries and death. They do this without hesitation as they show an unconditional love towards their owners.
There are four major signs that your dog loves you more than food
- After eating, your dog cuddles with you – dogs live in the moment, so when food is available, it’s no surprise they go after it with delight. But what’s their top priority after eating? You!
- Your dog enjoys sleeping with you – whether your dog sleeps with you at night or just naps while you sit on the couch during the day, this is a sign that you’re connected on a social level.
- Your dog is happy when you come home – it doesn’t necessarily mean an all-out jumping, barking, and licking extravaganza. If your dog approaches, tail wagging, you know they’re happy.
- You love your dog – if you don’t love your dog, how can you expect them to return the feeling?
It is no coincidence that we teach our pets new tricks with a positive reward, as research has suggested that a dog would rather affection over confection in most cases, and at worst, human praise and treats are very close. This shows the importance of social rewards and praise to dogs.
Your dog may clearly love food and love you for bringing them food, however, they also love the connection you have with them. A dog would much rather play with us or go for a walk than be given a treat or food. So next time you reach for a treat when praising your dog, remember that they may be wanting your interaction and attention a lot more than a snack.