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TrainingPet CareHealthPlay

February 6, 2023

PetSafe® Expert

Rob Hunter

What’s Your Pet’s Love Language? A Guide to Understanding and Strengthening Your Bond With Your Pet

The concept of a love language refers to the unique ways that a person or an animal shows that they care for someone else. Love languages are give and take, meaning that they not only include how a pet chooses to show affection, but also how they prefer to receive affection. Learning to read your pet’s love language is the key to building an even stronger bond to last a lifetime.

dog and person

What are pet love languages?

The five love languages for pets fall under the same general categories as they do for people:

  1. Words of Affirmation: This pet love language refers to how we use our voices and nonverbal signals to express affection.
  2. Quality Time: This pet love language refers to how we choose to spend time together.
  3. Physical Touch: This pet love languages refers to how we use physical contact to bond with our pets.
  4. Acts of Service: This pet love language refers to actions we can take that go above and beyond to make our pets happy.
  5. Gift Giving: This pet love language refers to the rewards and surprises we offer our pets, just because we love them.

The 5 love languages for dogs

Do you ever wonder how to know if your dog loves you? Or how to show affection to your dog in a way that’s especially meaningful? Understanding your dog’s love language will help you and your buddy get closer than ever.

Words of Affirmation for dogs

Dogs express affection for their family members with a variety of signals. When your dog greets you at the door with his tail wagging, it’s clear he’s happy to see someone he loves! Dogs also bond with each other through grooming, which for us can mean getting a lot of licks on our face and hands. And did you know that, according to the American Kennel Club, sneezing can also be a sign your dog loves you and wants to play? To show your dog some love with words of affirmation, you can simply talk to him! While pets don’t always understand the words we’re saying, the tone of our voice can mean a lot to them, so speaking to your dog in a warm, playful tone, as you would with a baby, can be a clear sign that you love him – no matter how silly it sounds to us!

Quality Time for dogs

Sometimes, it seems like our dogs would spend every second of every day with us if they could! If your dog snuggles up next to you on the couch or rests at your feet while you’re working, he’s showing you that there’s nothing he’d rather be doing at that moment than just being by your side. You can share quality time with your dog by making sure to set aside moments throughout the day that are all about him. A brisk walk in your neighborhood, a quick bout of tug-of-war with a favorite toy, or a trip to the dog park are all ways you can make the most of quality time with your dog.

dog and person

Physical Touch for dogs

Has your dog ever pawed at you to get your attention, or rested his head on your knee and looked up into your eyes? These are some of the ways dogs use physical touch to connect with loved ones. And of course, petting, head scratches and belly rubs are all ways that you can show your dog some love. Pay attention to your dog’s behavior to learn what kinds of physical touch he prefers. For example, some dogs enjoy being embraced, but hugs make some dogs uncomfortable. If your dog’s ears drop low and he gives you the side-eye when you try to give him a hug, stick to the pats and belly rubs to show him you care!

Acts of Service for dogs

Dogs are well-known for a long history of service for their human companions, starting with hunting partnerships tens of thousands of years ago. Today, dogs still serve us in big ways: service dogs devote their lives to helping people overcome disabilities and manage physical and mental health. But acts of service don’t have to be big to be meaningful! Dogs perform small gestures every day to show their love. Behaviors as simple as coming when called or waiting for you at the door are acts of service. You can return the love with small, everyday acts like brushing your dog, opening a jar of peanut butter so he can enjoy a treat, or raising the curtains so he can see out the window.

dog and peanut butter

Gift Giving for dogs

Giving is an important love language for social creatures like dogs. If your dog brings you his favorite toy, it often means he wants to play, and that he’s willing to share this prized possession with you because he trusts you and he wants you to share in the fun! If your dog is a giver and you want to return the favor, pay attention to what gets him excited! If your dog is food-motivated, treats might just be the perfect gift. If your dog loves to chew or fetch, you can’t go wrong with toys. And if your dog just wants to follow you around all day, chances are he values attention from you more than any material gift you could provide!

The 5 love languages for cats

Signs of cat affection are not always as obvious as they can be for dogs. But if you’re wondering how to know if your cat loves you, just be patient and look for the subtle signs. Soon enough you’ll notice your cat showing love all the time.

Words of Affirmation for cats

Did you know that cats have evolved specific sounds exclusively to communicate with us? Many of the meows and purrs that we hear are just for human ears, and not used when cats are talking to each other. In other words, over thousands of years living together, cats have learned to “speak human!” While meows can be difficult to decode, paying attention to when your cat meows can help you understand what she’s trying to say. Many cats use a unique meow when they greet us, their way of saying “it’s nice to see you!” Like dogs, many cats respond positively when we speak to them in a soft, loving tone – so don’t hesitate to tell your cat how much you love her! Some cats even meow back when we meow at them, giving us a unique way to bond through shared vocal expression.

cat and pillow

Quality Time for cats

Cats are not always as social as dogs, but this just means that the time they spend socializing with us can be even more precious! For a cat, often simply being in a room together is a way to spend quality time. Because cats often like to be alone, simply inviting your cat up onto the bed or couch while you’re binge-watching can be a significant form of quality social time. And if your cat is the playful type, spending time engaging her with toys like laser pointers or dangly catnip toys on a string can be a source of quality time that’s fun for both of you and helps strengthen the bond you share.

Physical Touch for cats

Cats are often solitary in nature, but when they do get together, grooming is one of the main ways they bond with each other. If your cat licks you, it’s a sign that sees you as a family member. Another physical gesture that cats use is the head-butt, or “head bunt,” as it’s technically called. This adorable greeting is how cats say I love you, and it’s one of the cutest things cats do! If you want to return the gesture, you can lean down and offer your cheek or forehead to your cat. Petting and brushing your cat are also great ways to reciprocate your cat’s grooming behavior and show her you care.

cat and person hugging

Acts of Service for cats

Grooming is a form of social bonding that also serves as an act of service. When cats groom each other, they’re cleaning each other’s coats, removing loose hairs and harmful parasites like fleas and ticks. When it comes to acts of service we can provide, giving them a consistently clean litter box is one of the most helpful things we can do for our cats. Simple daily tasks like feeding your cat and refreshing her drinking water are other acts of service that go a long way to tell your cat how much she means to you.

Gift Giving for cats

In the wild, mother cats bring gifts back to their kittens in the form of prey. In your home, this instinctive behavior may show up in the form of a freshly dead mouse or lizard on your doorstep. While these gifts may be a bit icky to you, remember that from your cat’s perspective, she’s brought you a very special present! Even indoor cats may bring you an insect or spider that managed to get inside. You can return the favor (and help prevent your cat from bringing home critters!) by giving your cat toys that simulate wild prey and engage her predatory instincts. And just like dogs, most cats will enjoy getting healthy treats every now and then.

cat and person

So what’s your pet’s love language? Pay close attention to your pet’s behavior to see how they show affection to you, and reciprocate in kind. No matter what your pet’s love language is, understanding how they express and perceive love will unlock a whole new level of connection in the relationship you share.

Written by

Rob Hunter

Rob Hunter

PetSafe® Brand Copywriter

PetSafe® Expert

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