How Dogs Show Affection to Humans

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: March 3, 2022

Are you currently wondering if your dog truly loves you? Even though dogs are unable to verbalize their thoughts and emotions to us, there are so many ways that they can show love and affection towards us. We might easily recognize some of these signs, but some might be so small that we miss them altogether. This article will show you many different ways that dogs show humans love and affection. There might even be a few on here that you would never have considered a sign of love or affection from a dog.

Close Proximity to You

Dogs that love you will want to be close to you most of the time. This means that your dog will probably follow you around and want to be near you, no matter what task you may be doing. This also means that your dog feels safe when they are around you. If a dog loves you, that means it will probably follow you all around your house or yard, whether that be when you are standing in the kitchen making dinner, in the bedroom, or anywhere else. This could also be represented in a dog wanting to sit next to you while you are on the couch or in bed. An example that many dog owners usually give is that their dogs tend to always follow them into the bathroom. They sit next to the toilet or sink for as long as their owners are in there. Even if humans may find this a bit odd, it is an excellent sign that your dog loves you and always wants to be around you, no matter if they are directly interacting with you or not.

Tail Wagging

A pretty much universally recognized sign that a dog is happy is that it wags its tail. This happiness also translates to dogs showing affection towards humans. If you are around a dog that wags its tail when it is around you or first sees you, then you can pretty much take this as a sign that the dog loves you. The harder or faster the tail wags, the happier the dog is. It is also important to know that a looser tail that is not tense or stiff, indicates a relaxed and comfortable dog.

Licking You

Dogs tend to show affection to other dogs by grooming their fur for them. Since your dog cannot groom you as they would other dogs, they will try to lick you instead. Dogs usually feel comfortable and at peace when being groomed by other dogs. It probably reminds them of when they were puppies, and their mothers would lick them and their littermates. They associate this feeling with affection and attempt to share it with people by licking them. They will usually lick people’s hands, feet, or faces to show them that they love them.


Dogs have historically been companions to humans for thousands of years. They tend to feel an instinctual sense of loyalty to their humans that has been ingrained in them throughout several generations of ancestors. If a dog loves and cares for you, it will be loyal to you for its entire life, no matter the circumstances. Many dog owners have stated that the loyalty they receive from their dog rivals pretty much any other relationship in their life.

Sleeping Near You

Dogs are instinctively in their most vulnerable state when they are sleeping. If a dog sleeps near or around you, this is a great indication that your dog has strong feelings of love and affection for you. A dog will tend to snuggle up near you on the couch or bed, or even at your feet if they are very comfortable around you. If a dog exposes its stomach while sleeping, this is an even more significant indicator of its love and affection. The combination of an exposed underside while asleep, puts a dog in its most vulnerable state possible. If they are willing to do this around you, it is the ultimate sign of trust and love.

Nudging or Nuzzling You

A dog’s nose is an excellent tool used to show its love and affection to humans. They can use the tip of their nose to nudge against you. This is usually just a quick touch with their cold, wet nose to show you that they love you and that they want you to know it at that moment.

Another method that a dog can use to show its love to you is by using its nose to nuzzle you. This is a longer touch than just a quick nudge with their nose. They can use their nose to burrow into your body. A great example is if you are on the couch with your dog and they burrow their face into your side or your lap.

If a dog rubs its face on you, this can also indicate that they are “claiming” you as their own. This puts their scent on you so that other dogs know that you “belong” to a dog already. This is an incredible show of affection to be “claimed.” Overall, if a dog touches its nose or face to you, that is generally a great indicator that they love you.

Playing with You

One of a dog’s greatest joys in life is being able to play with the humans that they love and adore. This could be a game of fetch, playing with toys, running around you, or any other types of play that dogs partake in. This is an excellent sign of affection for them to be able to share these moments of pure happiness with the humans that they love. Even if you are busy, if your dog is trying to play with you, please try to remember that they are doing so because they love you and that they want nothing more than to interact with you and share those moments of joy with you.

Sharing Toys with You

Toys are the most prized possessions for dogs. If they attempt to share their toys with you, then that speaks volumes in regards to this showing you that a dog loves you. The most apparent sign related to toys and love is if your dog presents their toy to you as a gift of sorts. You should treat this as a huge gesture from your dog and know that they genuinely love you.

Gazing Into Your Eyes

Eye contact from human to human is significant, and that is also true for dogs and humans interacting with each other. This eye contact for dogs is a little different, however. Please don’t overdo it when it comes to eye contact with your dog, or they can possibly sense that as a threat to them. A few moments of eye contact at a time during a loving moment is enough to share that love and adoration with them and for them to show that love to you in return. This is a great way to deepen the connection and bond between you and your dog.

Cuddling With You

Cuddling is pretty much a universal sign of affection, no matter the species. Humans cuddle to show their love or affection for other people, and the same is true for dogs. This is an extension of the closeness they want to feel for the ones that they love. Many dogs demonstrate this by sleeping cuddled up to their owners at nighttime which is a combination of the physical closeness aspect and the vulnerability aspect of sleeping dogs. This is an excellent sign that your dog truly loves you and cares about you.

Providing Comfort to You

Many dog owners believe that their dogs can sense when they are hurting emotionally, upset, or distressed about something. The dogs will try to make them feel better in any way that they can. This could be rubbing against them, licking them, or simply trying to be close to them to attempt to make them feel a little bit better. This is a huge sign that the dogs genuinely love and care about their owners and their feelings. They do not want to see or sense their owners in emotional pain or distress and attempt to remedy that.

In conclusion, there are so many different ways that dogs can show their love, affection, and adoration towards human beings. Many of these deal with physical closeness, which tends to deepen that emotional bond between the dog and its owner. Dogs will also attempt to aid their humans when they are in emotional distress, share their belongings with their humans, and showcase an incredible sense of loyalty to their humans as well. Next time you interact with your dog or any other dogs, see if any of the signs discussed in this article are shown to you by the dog you are with. If they are, you can assume that the dog loves and cares for you greatly.