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Why Do Dogs Love Humans? What the Science Says

Adam Mann

By Adam Mann

owner petting a happy dog

We all know that dogs are man’s best friend, but it turns out that man is dog’s best friend too! While you need to be careful not to give your pup too many personifications, the science does back up that our dogs love us just as much as we love them.

But how do we know this, how do they show us, and how can we show them that we love them too? It’s some important questions to get right, so keep reading to learn everything you need to know.

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The 3 Scientific Reasons Our Dogs Love Us

While your dog will give you some clear-cut signs of how they love you, these are things we perceive as love. The only way to know for sure is to dive into the science, and that’s exactly what we did here.

1. Genetics

Scientists have run studies comparing wolf puppies and dog puppies, and the result is clear: dog puppies love their owners more. The reason for this makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, as humans raised dogs to love and respond to their owners in a way that wolves and other animals don’t.

Humans have highlighted traits for dogs to really create an animal that wants to bond with us, and this means humans have genetically hardwired dogs for love.


2. Oxytocin

Oxytocin is the chemical that humans have to create the feeling of love, and dogs have the same chemical working in their brains. Scientists have observed oxytocin centers in dog brains spiking when they’re near the people they love, really highlighting how much they love us!


3. Unique Brainwaves

All it takes to see a dog loving their owners is a quick look at the brainwaves, even when all they get is their owner’s scent. Dogs can recognize these scents, creating a chemical reaction in their brain that shows they love us.

smiling woman with her cute jack russell terrier dog
Photo Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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The 4 Ways to Know Your Dog Loves You

While we know from a scientific standpoint that dogs love their owners, they can show this love in a few different ways. They can’t say the words, but they can tell you they love you with their behavior and body language.

1. Wagging Their Tails

Dogs show their joy by wagging their tails, and if they’re constantly wagging their tails when they see you or when they’re around you, it’s a clear sign you’re making them happy. They don’t need to wag their tail all the time, but even doing it when they first see you means they’re happy just because you’re around.


2. They Want to Be With You

If your dog is constantly trying to get to you, is following you around the house, or even is just climbing into bed with you at the end of the day, it means they want to be with you. What better way for them to show their love than by wanting to spend their time with you?


3. They Bring You Things

Is your dog dropping their toys or treats at your feet? Sometimes it’s because they want to play, and other times it’s a way to show that they love you. It’s their way of trying to share the things they care about with you, which is a pretty big deal for them.


4. They Seek You Out for Safety

When things scare your dog, are they constantly running to you for comfort and safety? While this might drive you nuts at times, it’s also a clear sign that they love you and look to you to keep them safe.

calm purebred dog is resting with owner in bed in night
Photo Credit: IAKIMCHUK IAROSLAV,Shutterstock

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The 3 Ways to Show Your Dog You Love Them

Your dog does a great job of showing that they love you in their own way, but how can you return the favor? The good news is that you’re likely already doing everything you need to, but once you know how to show them a little more love, you can make it even clearer that you love them as much as they love you!

1. Care for Them

Dogs recognize that you provide for them, and they can equate this with love too. You don’t need to go crazy with things, but taking them for walks, feeding them, and giving them a constant supply of water are all great ways to show that you love them without having to go too above and beyond.


2. Spend Time With Them

This is all your dog really wants, so if you’re really trying to show them how much you love them, give it to them! Of course, your dog will likely want all your time, but the more of it you can give them, the happier they’ll be.


3. Give Them Treats and Toys

Dogs love their treats and toys, and when you give them a little more than usual, they’ll notice. Pick them up a new toy from time to time and give them some of their favorite treats, and they’ll really start to understand how much you care for them.

man petting his dog at home
Photo Credit: Prostock-studio, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

We love our dogs, and our dogs love us, no matter how you look at it! In fact, while we don’t know for sure that they feel love the same way we do, they do have the same chemicals in their brains that make us feel love. So go ahead and love your dog with the confidence that comes with knowing they love you right back.


Featured Image Credit: Bachkova Natalia, Shutterstock

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