Dogs really can show affection to their owners and react favourably when they receive care in return.
New research by dog-friendly holiday specialist Canine Cottages used special tracking collars on four different pooches to discover how heart rates are affected when their owners cuddle and tell them they love them.
Combining the heart rate tracking data from the four dogs over seven days, their average heart rate was 67bpm.
However, when their owners told their four-legged friends they loved them, their heart rate jumped by a huge 46 per cent to 98bpm.
In comparison, when having cuddles with their owner, the average heart rate decreased by 23 per cent from 67bpm to 52bpm, showing how relaxed and comfortable they were when getting affection from their owners.
Canine Cottages also tracked the owners’ heart rates to see how much this compares with that of their pet, and discovered their heart rate increased by 10 per cent on average when they saw their dog after being away from them for a period of time.
Five ways in which dogs showcase their affection:
If your dog curls up next to you, on your lap or at your feet, he/she is saying they want to be as close to you as possible. Dogs will only cuddle in and lean on people they feel comfortable with, so it’s a sure sign of love.
When you greet your dog, they will likely wave their tail back and forth, jump and wiggle because they love you and are happy to see you.
Bringing a toy is another way dogs show their love. They want to play, but they also trust you with their favourite thing and know that you will have fun with them.
If a dog shows his belly to you, or sleeps on his back with his chest up, that’s a sign of perfect trust and love. It’s a vulnerable position for dogs because they are completely exposed and at the mercy of anyone who comes across them.
Coming to see you when they’re in pain
When our dogs come to us holding a paw up, or they feel a little under the weather so come and lie next to us with their head on our lap, it shows a great level of trust.
Shannon Keary, campaigns manager at Canine Cottages, said: “In the UK we are a nation of dog lovers, but although we know how much we love our pets, we’ve never really known if, or how, our dogs show their affection for us, which is why we conducted this research.
“It’s amazing to see that our dogs’ heart rates increase when they are told they are loved, showing excitement, and decreases when having cuddles, showing contentedness.
“It’s also interesting to see all the weird and wonderful ways our pets show their love for us.”