Puppy Love: Do Dogs Love?

12 Ways Puppies Show Love

Man sitting in chair with puppy sitting on lap
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Dogs have well-known reputations as loyal, loving companions— the quintessential "man's best friend." Dogs communicate their moods, emotions, and desires in a variety of ways, from obvious to subtle. Although affection should be reciprocal, dogs are unique in that many offer us blind adoration, whether we deserve it or not. It is rare for dogs to be indifferent to people, although mistreatment and/or poor breeding can warp the canine personality into a dysfunctional animal.

Although your puppy thrives on social interaction, they remain individuals with a wide range of personalities.

How Puppies Show Love to Other Pets

Puppies show their affection toward other dogs, cats, or other pets, by sleeping together. They also lick and nuzzle each other. Simply sharing space can be a subtle sign of affection between dogs. Affectionate dogs may also share toys or food. They often enjoy playing together, incite games, and take turns being “it” during chase and tag. Puppies show love to people in similar ways.

12 Ways Puppies Show Love to People

  • Puppies show love by wagging their tails. Considered a “distance decreasing signal”, a puppy tail wag often invites you to come closer and begs for attention.

  • Licking is another sign of puppy love. Slurping your hands and aiming a smooch at your eyes or mouth is a canine declaration that you are in tune with your puppy. This submission gesture often is used in greetings or as an appeasement gesture, a way to say "I’m sorry" when you act upset.

  • Leaps are messages of love from puppies. Jumping up is an action with an aim to lick at your face-- a proper doggy greeting. When this happens, you can kneel or teach your puppy a better greeting, like to sit when you come home.

  • Puppies love by rolling over. Showing the tummy puts puppies in a vulnerable position that declares trust and affection. Rolling over in front of more powerful dogs or people is how puppies show through body language that they offer no threat and want to be friends.

  • Shaking paws is another way puppies give love. Dogs often offer a paw before they roll over and they paw your leg to ask for attention.

  • Crawling into your lap is common with puppies as they crave contact with you. It is a sign of deep affection and trust, in addition to leaning against you or resting across your feet.

  • When puppies nap with you, they are showing great trust by falling asleep on your lap.

  • Believe it or not, puppies love by wetting the floor. This is different than urine marking. Even when pups understand potty training basics, they may squat and wet when you first greet them or raise your voice. Technically called submissive urination, consider this gesture your puppy’s way of declaring you to be in charge.

  • Puppies love by chewing your stuff. They target certain objects because they smell like their most beloved person—you.

  • While they mean no disrespect, puppies sniff private areas as a signal of love. To dogs, sniffing these areas is the equivalent to shaking hands in a greeting.

  • Puppies often love their owners with play. They bring you gifts of their favorite toys and eagerly join in your game.

  • Smiles are a sure sign of puppy love. Some dogs learn to "grin" by lifting their lips to illustrate a toothy smile to show their happiness and affection.