Do Dogs Really Love Their Owners | I Believe So

Dog owner’s and dog lovers are always saying how much they love their dogs.   As a previous dog owner myself, I sure loved my dogs with my whole heart.  The next question is  do dogs really love their owner’s back in return?   My boys I know for a fact loved me back in return.   How did I really know though, did they show signs that I could read?

We can look to recent studies and evidence that shows some very interesting findings about dogs and how they love  their owner’s.

dog kisses
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What does the science show

Yes I absolutely believe that dogs love their owner’s.  We constantly say that dogs are our best friends.   They don’t judge us or stay mad at us for anything that we have done.   The second they see you, they exhibit joy and happiness which tells us that they are happy to see us.

Dr. Gregory Berns a neuroscientist in the field of canine cognition wrote a book called “How Dogs Love Us, A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain”.

He says that dogs are so good at reading humans emotions, that they can even pick up a subtle change in our voices intonation.

dog love

Dr. Berns even goes on to say that he believes dogs may experience emotion even more purely than us humans do.   He is saying that when you are feeling down and need your best friend to be by your side to make you feel better, they may feel that same emotion more intensely than we do.

Scientists at Emery University conducted a neuroimaging study on dogs brains.   By actually training dogs to stay completely still they did MRI brain scan testing.   They presented dogs with different smells that were familiar to them and some that were not.  The second the dog was presented with their owner’s scent, their brain lit up like fireworks.

This study proves that an owner’s presence sends a dog a very strong positive reactions.



Signs your dog loves you

I believe dogs really do love their humans.   How do you know?   Your dog shows you they love you by clearly communicating how they are actually feelings.

Some obvious signs you dog will show are:

  • a wagging tail
  • eye contact
  • yawning when you yawn
  • they lean against you
  • bring you their toys
  • sleeping in your bed
  • hugs

These are also indications that you and your dog have a special bond.

Dogs that have a special bond with their owner show some or all of these signs that indicate how they feel about their owner.

Do they love us unconditionally

Nobody can say for sure that dogs love us unconditionally, but there are things like different stories that can lean us in that direction.

We have all heard amazing stories of dogs that stay in one spot looking for their owner’s after they are gone or passed away.

There are pictures of army dogs laying beside the casket of their human partner that were killed in action.   These dogs always portray the image that they are heartbroken.   To me this seems like proof that dogs do love their owner’s unconditionally.

They are physically showing signs that they are feeling the loss of their owner.   If a dog didn’t feel love for their owner than a dog would show no emotion at all.

We have also heard stories of dogs that will still continue to go to their owners even after they have been beaten or neglected by that owner.   Some people may say this isn’t unconditional love but dogs being easy to forgive and forget by just moving on.

I suppose this is open to your own opinion, but I take it to mean that dogs do love unconditionally.

dog family

Dogs believe they are family

Like human to infant bonding, dogs feel their humans are a secure base and presence in their world.

Lisa Horn from Vetmeduni’s Messerli Research Institute conducted a study of exactly that….dogs and a secure base.

The secure base effect is something that Lisa wanted to look farther into, as studies like these have never been done on the human to dog caregiver.

She examined dogs reactions to in 3 different circumstances : an absent owner, a silent owner and an encouraging owner.

Dogs could earn a food reward by playing with interactive dog toys.   A surprising thing that was noted was that when the owner wasn’t present, the dog seemed less interested in playing with the toy for food.    If the owner was present the dog seemed much more interested.   Owner encouragement towards the dog seemed to make no difference to the dog either way as far as motivation goes.

One of the real surprising things that came from this study is that adult dogs tend to behave towards their caregivers like that of human children.

We feel like dogs are part of our family, but now we can say that they also feel like they are part of the family.

Finn baby loves

Dog love

Personally for me and my 2 dogs, they constantly showed me many of these amazing signs of love.

My boy Finny would always do the big lean against you when you were sitting on the couch.  He would sit down at your feet and lean his body against your leg.

He was also super fond of the hugs.   Literally he would sit on the foot of the bed and wait for you to come up to him so he could lay his head against you, like a real hug.   I always took these signs to mean that he definitely was showing me he loved me.

Boo on the other hand was a little more subtle.   He was the guy that would lay beside you in bed and lean all of his 10 lbs against you just as a way to cuddle.

Although both dogs showed different signs that they loved me, the end result was the same. They really did love me.

I have absolutely no doubt that my 2 boys loved me like family, just as I loved them like they were my children and we all together were one happy family.

I guess everyone can determine for themselves about their own dogs.


10 thoughts on “Do Dogs Really Love Their Owners | I Believe So”

  1. Thank you very much. It is so interesting the way that they can study a dog’s brain and find that they respond to human signals. I have heard a lot that dogs are very unconditionally loving. I hope that humans will continue to be kinder and kinder to dogs. Especially once they realize how much dogs love them. Thanks and I hope more people find your article!

    • Hi Edward,

      I am fascinated with all the studies that have been done with dogs brains and abilities just in the past 10 years alone.  They really have come along way helping us understand how they think and behave.  It may not be 100%, but it seems to give us a glimpse into their minds.

      The love that dogs give to us is so unconditional and amazing.  People need to do everything possible to see that dogs are treated well and with love.

      I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me on my post.



  2. Nice topic and great review. Well, according to history and studies i believe that dogs do really love their owners. These is not just evident in their behavior towards us. How they react to situations and act towards us. As rightfully listed in this review when dogs wag their tail or sleep on our bed,it shows how much they love us. The love they have for their owners can also be seen in how they protect there owners against any attack. This shows love. Kudos for this great review.

    • Hi Willy,

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comments on my latest post.  I love everything that you said about the small indications that dogs give us that more than prove they love us.

      Having a dog around always makes a person feel more safe, and I think you are right that we know they would protect us from danger.  There is just something to having a dog around that makes you feel so much more calm and relaxed too.  I certainly did with my 2 dogs around.

      I appreciate you sharing.


  3. Oh absolutely, I agree! Dogs love their human guardians. Mine show all the signs you described in this article, the leaning against you, sleeping in bed (one of my dogs drops his full weight of 34 pounds on or against me in bed, yep, he doesn’t realize how heavy he is 😉

    One of my dogs hugs me like a human would, she puts her front legs around me and rests her head on my belly, wagging her tail happily. My dogs always follow me around, and when I come home from work, they are super excited. No science is needed to prove that dogs love us. All dog owners already know that, right? 😉

    • Hi Christine,

      Isn’t it funny that the bigger dogs always seem to think that the big lean is light as a feather.  When they lean all that weight against you they really just want to feel us next to them.

      A dog that gives human hugs…..WOW lucky you.  Our Doodle FINN will lay his head like a hug, but not with the full paw mode.  How awesome.

      The coming home from work excitement, can literally take me from a bad mood to such a happy feeling.  Who doesn’t want to come home to that love everyday.

      Dogs really are such loving animals. 

      Thank you so much for sharing your stories about your own dogs.  I love to hear from other dog owners. 


  4. Thanks for this amazing post. I’ll start by saying dogs loves their owner as much as we human love ourselves. My buddy gives similar reaction to that of my son when even I get stressed, in pain or even fall sick. She never left the side of my bed some time ago when I fell sick. This amazing creature feels just like we humans to any attitude you present to them.

    • Hi Chloe,

      I am so glad that you enjoyed reading my post.  Dogs truly are amazing creatures.  They always seem to know exactly what you need from them, especially when you are sick and need some cuddles.

      My 2 boys were sure great at bringing me joy and love whenever I needed it.  I miss them terribly.  Unconditional love is one of the best things about owning a dog. 

      Thank you for sharing your comments with me, I really appreciate it.


  5. I absolutely believe dogs love their owners.  My little 4 pound chihuahua loved sleeping in our bed.  I always said I never thought I’d let 4 pounds come between my husband and I, but I did!  LOL!  She ran the house!  Our little girl, Tequila, was so spoiled that we would not leave her by herself.  I would let my mom keep her while we were at work.  Mom said she would sulk when we left, but always flipped on her back for belly kisses when I walked in to pick her up.  She was a true lap dog and always wanted to be held.  Unfortunately, she passed away in October from a seizure.  But yes, I know she loved us!  

    • Hi Monica,

      So sorry to hear about your dog.  It is so hard when we lose them unexpectedly, honestly it’s just to lose them anytime. They are such a part of the family, and it is a tough loss.

      But wow your little Tequila sounded like quite the character.  Isn’t it funny how we allow our dogs to come between in bed especially.  We just want them to be happy and if that means they sleep in the middle we just give in. We sure did with our boy BOO. 

      I really appreciate you sharing your story about Tequila with me and am glad she brought such joy to your life.
      Thank you Coralie  


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