The study found that dogs also get excited when they are shown physical affection and cuddled.
Cover image used for representational purposes only
We all want to hear words of love and appreciation from our near and dear ones. It makes us feel happy and appreciate the people who are there for us. It warms our hearts and makes us feel secure. It does not take too much to make someone feel good and let them know they are loved. You can express it through words, gestures, or in a way they know will be appreciated. But this not limited to just humans. It is equally appreciated, if not more, by our furry buddies. They also need to hear from us that they are loved. And the best part is they will understand what you are saying and appreciate it with all their heart.
Canine Cottages is a dog accommodation service based in the UK. They recently conducted a study with the help of a behavioral expert for dogs, to understand the real meaning behind many of the gestures of our four-legged buddies. We can discern what the wagging of the tail is and what it means when they whine. But they went a step further in this study to see the true meaning behind licks, begging, barking, and much more. They also wanted to find out what excites a dog the most. So they decided to put this to the test and with the help of doggy heart rate monitors, they measured how dogs’ heart rate reacts to certain scenarios.
The study found that the dogs really get excited the most when their owner tells them they love them. The heart rate monitor found that the dog's heart rate increases by nearly 46.2% in the scenario where their human tells them, "I love you." This is closely followed by showing them physical affection and giving them loving cuddles. Their heart rate showed a 22.7% increase. They also tracked how seeing their dogs impacted the owners themselves. The research found that their heart rate increased by 10.4% when they saw their dogs. You should try and see this for yourself.
Shannon Keary, campaigns manager at Canine Cottages, said about the study, "In the UK we are a nation of dog lovers, but although we know how much we love our pets, we’ve never really known if, or how, our dogs show their affection for us, which is why we conducted this research." She added, "It’s amazing to see that our dogs' heart rates increase when they are told they are loved, showing excitement, and decreases when having cuddles, showing contentedness. It’s also interesting to see all the weird and wonderful ways our pets show their love for us. From this data, we can now officially say that our dogs really do love us!"
The study also revealed what other gestures by the dogs were trying to convey. When your dog wants to show you their appreciation and say "thank you" they will lick you. It may be aggressive licks or a gentle lick. If you see that your dog is leaning into you, sitting really close to you, congratulations! It means they feel really comfortable around you and this a sign that they actually love you and want to spend more time with you. And when they place their head on your lap or next to you, looking up with those puppy dog eyes, it could mean you either have food in your hand or they just want your attention and want to be petted.
Other ways your dog can show you love is by trying to protect you. When they start growling as a stranger approaches, or barking when someone is at the door, it apparently means that they consider you a part of their pack and want to protect you. And before you get cross with your dog for chewing out your stuff the next time, it actually happens to be a sign of their love for you. When your dog is chewing on your belongings, it means they want your attention and miss you.