Our pets love us unconditionally!! However, they do not express this love in the same way as a fellow human would.
So how can we return the love to our pets in a way they can understand?
Our dogs and cats enjoy receiving affection; they live for our love and approval! Recently, it has been revealed that pets do not appreciate human hugs. If your pet appears to enjoy a nice cuddle, this is most likely due to being used to the routine procedure. Here are some ways to better communicate your love to your pet…
<2>How to tell your dog you love them…
Gaze deeply into their eyes
Although direct eye contact for dogs is considered a threat in many situations. With your own, trusted dog, gaze into his/her eyes when the two of you are calmly relaxing. Speak softly, stroke him/her gently and maintain eye contact. These quiet moments stimulate the release of Oxytocin in the canine brain, the same hormone that bonds a mother and child.
Raise an eyebrow
Dogs use a lot of facial movement when greeting and being greeted. Facial movement is tied to emotion. The more facial movement you display when greeting your dog, the more your dog knows you love him/her.
Lean against them
Dogs show their trust and affection to you by leaning against you. You may notice your dog pressing up against the backs of your legs while you are standing still. Return the love by gently leaning on them too.
In the end just be yourself! Your dog already knows you love him/her through their special gift of being able to read your body language, actions and voice. So just continue doing what you are doing and your dog will show their affection back in their own special way.
How to tell your cat you love them…
Cats have scent glands all over their body. They rub their body against objects, other pets and you as a way of marking or bonding. You can mimic your cat’s body rubbing behaviour to show you love him/her. Cats appreciate the choice to interact or not, so firstly offer a hand for your cat to rub his/her face against. If he/she responds with a face rub, continue to rub the cheeks and shoulders for as long as your cat enjoys.
Cats’ most passionate way of showing their love is through a head butt. This behaviour is your cat’s way of showing their strong trust and affection for you. If your cat offers a head butt, declare your mutual feelings by leaning your head in and allowing your faces to rub against one another.
Cats have such a diverse range of vocal cues, with a noise for every feeling and situation. They even have some special noises reserved for interaction with us as humans. When your cat is ‘talking’ try mimicking the pitch and tone of the sounds he/she is making. This, accompanied with physical cues will help reassure your cat that he/she is safe and loved.
Some cats show their affection to you by attempting to groom you, as they would a feline companion. If you can endure the rough tongue, accept this as a compliment. Rather than licking your cat back, run a warm damp cloth along your cats head and back. This may resemble the maternal grooming your cat received as a kitten. A brush can be used also, as long as your cat’s fur is healthy and mat free.
Next time you lean in for a big squishy cuddle with your beloved pet; try one of the above techniques instead! Your pet will appreciate your attempt to ‘speak’ their language and may reward your efforts with more calm and loving behaviour right back!!
Veterinary Nurse Kirstie Hancock is qualified in animal behaviour with her Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services through the Delta Society. She has lots of great tips and ideas when it comes to misbehaving pets. Keep an eye out for her monthly tips on our Facebook page. Also check out her own business Facebook page – Positive Paws.