6 Signs Your Dog Loves You Body Language

Dogs communicate through body language, so understanding key signals can give you insight into your pet’s mood and mindset. Being able to interpret dog body language allows owners to better meet their dog’s needs. It also helps ensure safety since you can identify signs of fear, anxiety or aggression early on. This article will cover 6 common dog behaviors that signal love and affection towards their human companion. Recognizing these signs will strengthen your bond and help you provide the best care for your four-legged friend.

Tail wagging

A dog’s tail can say a lot about what they are feeling. There are many different types of tail wags, and each conveys a different emotion or meaning.

A loose, mid-height wag indicates happiness and excitement, especially when seeing their owner. As VCA Animal Hospitals notes, this is one of the most common tail wags and shows your dog is pleased to see you.

Slow, lazy wags with the tail in a lower position can signal insecurity or uncertainty. A dog’s tail held high while wagging briskly often indicates confidence, assertiveness, or excitement. Quick, short wags are a sign of arousal or stimulation, while tense, stiff wags with the tail held high can mean aggression. Wagging in tight, rapid circles indicates intense interest in something or nervous energy. And a tucked tail wagging slightly means fear and lack of comfort with a situation.

Paying attention to the speed, height, stiffness, and circular nature of your dog’s tail wagging provides important clues into their emotional state. Understanding what the different types of wagging mean helps owners better interpret their dog’s body language.

Lip licking

Lip licking is a common dog behavior that can have different meanings depending on the context. Dogs may lick their lips when they are anxious or nervous, such as when meeting new people or animals (source). Lip licking signals appeasement and helps avoid conflict. However, lip licking can also signify happiness and affection, especially during positive interactions like petting or praise. When a dog frequently licks its lips in your presence, it is often a sign that the dog is content, feels safe, and enjoys spending time with you.

Dogs may lick their lips when being petted or receiving affection as a self-soothing behavior. The lip licking shows you have the dog’s trust and that it is happy in your company. Excessive lip licking can indicate dental problems, nausea, or other issues, so context is important. But in general, when a dog licks its lips around its loving owner, it can be interpreted as a positive sign of happiness and a solid human-animal bond.

Rolling over

One of the clearest signs your dog loves and trusts you is when they roll over onto their backs, exposing their belly for rubs. This submissive posture shows that your dog feels completely comfortable and safe around you. According to Rover, rolling over onto their backs is a dog’s way of saying “I trust you, I’m not a threat.” It’s an invitation to strengthen your bond through belly rubs and pets.

However, be mindful not to overdo it with the belly rubbing. While your dog may love tummy tickles, too much can actually become annoying or overstimulating for them. Pay attention to their body language – if they start squirming, licking their lips, or avoiding eye contact, it’s best to stop and let them get up. Belly rubs should be a special treat, not something forced onto your dog for too long when they don’t want it. Respect their limits and use belly rubs to show your affection in moments when your dog is happily inviting them.

Full body wiggles

One of the most obvious signs that your dog loves you is when they greet you with excited full body wiggles and wags. According to the AKC, “A loose, wiggly body often means a happy dog.” https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/advice/how-to-read-dog-body-language/ When your dog sees you after a period of absence, they may start wiggling their whole rear end in joy. This wiggly body language is a giveaway of their delight at your return and seeing you again.

Dogs will often combine the full body wiggles with rapid tail wagging upon your arrival home. The wiggling and wagging together are an expressive sign of your dog’s unconditional love and excitement to reunite with you. According to the AKC, “A loose, wiggly body often means a happy dog.” So if your dog greets you with their whole backside swaying back and forth, take it as a clear sign they adore you!

Play bows

A common sign of affection dogs demonstrate is the play bow. According to research from The Wildest, the play bow is a play signal that dogs use to invite and initiate play with other dogs or humans. It’s a gesture that communicates playful intentions.

When a dog bows down with their front legs extended and hindquarters in the air, it’s their way of letting you know they want to play and bond. The play bow shows they are feeling energetic and want to have fun with you. It’s an affectionate gesture inviting you to engage in playtime.

So if your dog bows in your presence, see it as them trying to connect with you and strengthen your relationship. It’s their way of expressing their love. Respond positively to play bows by engaging in play with your dog when possible. This helps reinforce the loving bond between you.


One of the clearest signs your dog loves you is when they want to cuddle up close to you. Dogs are pack animals and view their human families as their pack. Snuggling up against you shows your dog feels completely comfortable, safe, and content in your presence. It’s also a sign of great affection and attachment.

According to pet experts, when dogs cuddle they release oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” This chemical deepens the bond between owner and dog. It’s the same hormone released when mothers nurse their babies. Your dog derives pleasure, joy, and comfort from physical closeness with you (Source).

Dogs may cuddle more when they need reassurance, such as during storms, fireworks, or car rides. Cuddling provides security. Some dogs even cuddle their owners in a protective, possessive way. Your dog’s desire to cuddle shows how much they rely on you for safety and happiness.

Gaze Locking

One of the most intimate forms of communication between dogs and their owners is gaze locking or making eye contact. When a dog stares into your eyes and holds your gaze, it is a sign that they are interested in connecting with you and understanding what you are thinking and feeling.

According to a study from Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, making eye contact and holding a mutual gaze triggers the release of oxytocin, known as the “love hormone,” in both dogs and humans. This helps facilitate bonding between dogs and their owners (Bonding With Your Dog Using Eye Contact, Rover).

By gazing deep into your eyes, dogs are seeking to create an emotional connection and bond with you. It shows that your dog is invested in the relationship and sees you as a trusted member of their pack. Maintaining eye contact for more than 2 seconds releases oxytocin and promotes feelings of trust and affection (Researchers determine which dogs more often establish eye contact with humans, Phys.org).

So when your dog locks eyes with you, it is their way of saying “I love you” and strengthening your lifelong bond. Make sure to return their loving gaze so they know the feeling is mutual.


Dogs have a natural instinct to use their paws to communicate, and gentle nudging or pawing at their human is one way they seek attention and affection. When a dog nudges you with their nose or paw, it’s showing you affection and wanting to connect [1]. Nudges and paw touches are your dog’s way of saying they want your attention and physical contact. It comes from their natural instinct to touch things with their paw and nose.

Some common reasons a dog may nudge or paw at you include soliciting petting, seeking food or treats, or requesting play time. It’s a sign they care about you and want to interact. Dogs naturally nudge and paw when they want to make a connection. While some view pawing as dominance, most experts agree it’s simply how dogs can get human attention and show affection since they don’t have hands to touch with [2].


As we have seen, dogs have many subtle yet endearing ways of expressing their love and affection for us through body language and behavior. While every dog is unique, watching for signs like tail wagging, lip licking, rolling over to expose their belly, full body wiggles, play bows, cuddling, gaze locking, and nudging can help you better understand your canine companion. It’s important to take the time to observe and learn your own dog’s special signals. Paying attention to your dog’s body language allows you to more fully appreciate just how much they care about you!

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