Let’s be honest: You probably love your dog more than you love many people. But are those feelings shared by your furry companion?
Your dog learns your habits
Trust is perceived differently in humans and animals, says Vicki Stevens, director of pet marketing communications at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Habits are part of normalcy in pets; they ensure a comfortable and happy life. So the best way to build a good relationship with your dog is to turn those habits into positive interactions.
If you feed him at 8 a.m. every day or take him for a walk as soon as you get home from work, he becomes conditioned to have these events happen at the same time every day. Once the routine is in place, he’ll be ready to eat or go for a walk every time and he trusts that you’ll do your part.
Your dog’s eyes say he loves you
A recent study from the University of Japan found that when a dog and owner look into each other’s eyes for 30 minutes, oxytocin levels rise in both. There is a reason why oxytocin is called the love hormone or the pleasure hormone. It facilitates the attachment of mothers to their babies and is activated when we are close to someone we love and trust. Takefumi Kikusui, the study’s lead researcher, concludes that dogs try to form attachments with their owners, which is definitely a sign of trust.
Kenny Lamberti, acting vice president of companion animals at The HSUS, cautions that staring at you doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing every time (for example, if you notice that he has cloudy eyes, he may be sick). You also need to consider, in dogs, body language and the environment.
Your pet sleeps in your bedroom
“Generally, dogs sleep in a place where they feel comfortable,” writes Lamberti. Also, if he goes to sleep in his owner’s room, it may indicate that he is comfortable there.” He also noted that if your pooch takes up residence in your room or on your bed, it’s all about the environment. However, carefully weigh the pros and cons of inviting your dog onto your bed.
He doesn’t see you angry often
It’s normal for your dog to annoy you, but a study from Brigham Young University suggests that he can read your emotions, and is less likely to trust you when you’re in a bad mood. Researchers observed how dogs reacted when people silently pointed to a hidden reward, using positive or negative facial and vocal expressions. When the dogs saw the negative behaviors (furrowed brows, furrowed brow or harsh voice), they were less likely to seek out the treat.