Do you remember your first encounter with a dog? That instance when you feel the softness of his fur, the gentleness of his nose bumps, and how sticky his licks were (EXPERIENCE VARY!)
Sometimes, all you need, after a bad day at work or school, is just a nice warm hug from your loyal fur buddies.
If you've never tried, do it. You'll not regret the power of dog love.
But there is a note of caution that I must add: There is actually an IMPROPER way of giving affection!
What I mean by improper is that your dog might mistake your love and touches as a form of weakness or subservience to your dog.
One must understand that touch is something quite big for a dog. In the wild, dogs use touch as a display of both affection and dominance.
So everytime you experience dog affection, they ether really love you, or are asserting dominance over you.
That's why sometimes, depending on body language, your dog will put his paw on you as a sign of him dominating you. Don't mistake dog love for dominance sometimes!
In short, dogs are not the little 'humans' we think they are. Their thought processes are VASTLY DIFFERENT from us humans!
Dogs are animals that is based mostly on instinct - to survive and reproduce - and that they rely on the owners as the leader of their pack. Which is why being the pack leader is so important!
If they sense that you're not 'strong' enough to lead them, they might just take charge (which leads back to the dominant dog paws on you)
Of course, you have to do your research. There are dogs that belong in the 'gentle dog breeds' category - meaning these dogs love affection. These explains why dogs cuddle as well.
So what happens when they're 'in charge'? They'll boss you around. When you take their food bowl away, they snarl and snap at you. You get the picture.
All because you *MIGHT* have given affection in situations that doesn't warrant it, in perhaps a different state of mind/energy level, over the course of weeks.
A few pointers for you to note will be first to observe yourself: How do you behave when your dog say, eats?
If he shows his teeth when you're taking away his food bowl, what do you do? Shout? Pat his head? These are obviously big no-nos to do.
What are you rewarding your dog for? If he comes up to you, whining for treats, do you oblige and give him because of that pouty, puppy-dog eyes?
Yeah, we get it, those eyes are too cute to resist. I know, I've given in before to those eyes oops. However, in giving in (too often at least), you become his servant, and he becomes your owner. You get the idea.
So anyway, allow me to share some tips for you when you're going to give affection to your dog(s):-
- Always be mindful of the state you're in when you're giving affection to your dog. If you're excited, chances are so will your dog. When your dog is excited, he will be harder to control.
So be a little careful when giving praise then. Best case would be to reward/give affection to your dog after he's done what you asked of him in a calm state.
That would often lead your dog to associate affection with being calm and doing what you want.
- Don't share affection when your dog is in any state that is not calm! (i.e. Anxious, dominant, aggressive, whining etc.)
- BE THE PACK LEADER. I cannot overstate this enough. Once they dominate you, it becomes much tougher to take back the reins and control your dog.
- Of course when your dog is calm, and has done what you want, you can lavish lots of love on your dog (or as much as your dog giving you love by waking you at 6am everyday on your bed)
- Exercise your dog! This often goes hand-in-hand with a calm dog (if your dog is tired, what are the odds of him being in a high energy state right?).
This is not to say to immediately give affection though; when your dog is tired, you can always issue commands to your dog. Should he do well, then of course you can give affection.
Sometimes, dog love and dog affection isn't so straightforward for us. But armed with these simple tips, it'll make it much easier to love your dog!
However, if you're still having a little bit of trouble with your dogs, you could have a look at lessons and other help here.