Does your dog know you love her? Would you be able to recognize the signs your dog isn’t getting enough love? Dogs are incredibly loyal, loving, and giving, but they are also deeply intuitive. Dogs are the epitome of unconditional love and manifest their affection for us in hundreds of ways.
Dogs are revered for their ability to interact with their human pack. People and dogs also look at one another and gaze into each other’s eyes. Science says this is a sign of understanding and affection between the two. That’s pretty amazing, right?
Science has proven that dogs love us, but how can pet parents know when our precious pups just aren’t getting enough affection? The signs may be subtle, but dogs talk through actions, movements, body posture, and vocalizations.
Here are 15 signs your dog isn’t getting enough love.
She Chews Things She Shouldn’t
Puppies chew during teething and periods of boredom, but adult dogs may feel anxious, bored, or like they are not getting enough love if they chew inappropriate things.
Consider this example: You work all day whether from home or in the office, and your dog is alone. She spends her day waiting for you, listening for your familiar footsteps. In your absence, she may chew on your stuff – the couch, clothes, shoes, or any number of household items.
Dogs use their mouths to explore the world from the time they are born. If your dog’s chewing is anxiety or boredom related, show her love in a few ways.
What to Do
Have someone stop by to check on her, take her for a walk, and play together. Dogs who aren’t mentally stimulated will resort to other activities, and chewing is one of them.
Provide your dog with plenty of love, attention, and exercise before you leave the home. Check in on her with a puppy cam from your phone. Give her some chew toys that are safe to gnaw on in your absence.
She Goes Potty In The House
Dogs do not pee or poop in the house to get even with you. Dogs are not vengeful by nature, even if they pee on your bed or poop in a spare bedroom.
Perhaps you came home and found urine or poop on a carpet. You shout at your dog, ask her what she did, and she cowers away. She isn’t acting guilty. She’s upset with your tone or voice. She hasn’t seen you all day, and the first thing you do on returning home is to raise your voice.
Dogs relieve themselves to express a variety of emotions, but revenge is not one of them. She may feel sad, depressed, or alone. She marks her territory by peeing on it, just like her wolf ancestors did in the wild. She smells your scent and she marks her territory.
This may also indicate that your dog has a health issue, such as a urinary tract infection, or kidney stones, so reprimanding your dog may not be the solution she needs.
What to Do
Instead of getting upset with household accidents, make sure your dog has plenty of opportunities to relieve herself throughout the day and keep up with regular vet visits to rule out medical issues. Above all – don’t leave your pup alone for inordinate periods of time. And always use positive reinforcement when housetraining.
She Starts Barking More Than Usual
Dogs bark for a variety of reasons, but your dog may bark more if she feels ignored. We all get busy and sometimes we forget to spend special one-on-one time with our dogs. Life gets in the way.
Dogs don’t understand we have a lot going on in life. Their world revolves around yours. Dogs communicate in many ways, and barking is one of them. Your dog may simply be doing this as a way to get your attention.
What to Do
If your previously quiet or less talkative dog suddenly starts barking, something’s up. Take a look at your schedule and the things you do in the course of a day. Are you accidentally forgetting to take her for long walks, pet her, play together, or simply sit in silence and chill?
Her bark might be telling you it’s time for some TLC.
She Sleeps A Lot
Mental stimulation is as essential to a dog’s longevity and overall well-being as exercise. Some dogs may simply be tired, and if this is the case, it’s okay. It might also be time for the veterinarian to do an overall assessment to rule out any underlying medical issues.
Most adult dogs require between 8 and 13-½ hours of sleep each day. The rest of the time they eat, play, explore, walk, engage, chill, and spend time with you and others they encounter. It’s up to you to meet your dog’s enrichment needs.
What to Do
Bored dogs will sleep because they have nothing else to do. Mental stimulation toys, doggie board games, and keeping her active are all wonderful ways to show love and lift her spirits. You can even try different types of activities like scent work, agility training, or scheduling play dates with other pups. Keeping your dog active and her mind engaged is a great way to bond.
She’s Packing On Extra Weight
A dog’s heart is not through her stomach. Some dogs, depending on the breed or previous history, may act as if they are hungry 24/7/365.
And while treating a dog may seem like an act of love, not staying on top of your dog’s dietary needs or allowing her to gain weight is actually the opposite. It’s easy to take shortcuts and stop measuring your dog’s food or give her extra snacks as a way to keep her busy while you work. But not paying attention to how much you’re feeding your dog may cause some serious harm.
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention says that pet obesity remains a serious health threat. During a recent survey, 59.5 percent of dogs were classified as overweight or obese. If that doesn’t convince you, the American Veterinary Medical Association says that overweight and obese dogs live shorter lives.
What to Do
Start a log of all the food your dog eats in a day. Buy a notebook or keep a log on your phone. Anytime someone feeds her, you log it in – the quantity, item, time, etc. After a week or two, take a peek at the list. How many treats is she getting? Is her food being measured? Does she get table scraps or lunch meat with her pills hidden inside?
Calories add up fast. Show your dog you love her by feeding her the right amount, giving her mental and physical exercise, and talking to your veterinarian about her ideal weight. Your vet can also give you tips on cutting back portions and measuring calories.
Learn how much exercise a dog needs and give her more one-on-one time instead of extra treats. Substitute fatty treats for healthy fruits and vegetables with your veterinarian’s guidance.
You Can’t Remember The Last Time You Took A Day Off Together
Whether it’s a picnic, a hike, a day trip, or a fun outing at the park, dogs love spending dedicated time with their human pack.
Ask yourself when you last devoted a day to your dog. Having done this many times in my life, I have zero regrets when I think back to the dogs I’ve loved and lost. Our day trips stand out in my heart and mind.
If you can’t remember the last time you spent a day pampering your dog, it’s time to act. Your pup will appreciate the quality time together.
What to Do
Whether you live in a cold climate or experience warmer weather year-round, there’s always something you and your dog can do together for a day. Whether she’s a puppy or a senior, if dogs could talk they’d ask for more time with you.
Here are a few ideas for a doggy day spent together:
- Indoor picnic
- Visit a pet-friendly winery or brewery
- Get together with friends at a local dog park
- Explore a new city together.
- Visit a pet-friendly beach
- Go pet supply store hopping.
- Take a boat ride
- Throw your dog a “just because” party and invite some of her doggy friends
- Play interactive games together like doggy puzzles
- Refreshen her trick training skills and reward her with a long walk
Your Dog Hasn’t Had a Bath or Grooming Session In a While
Love means more than spending time together and playing games. Being a responsible pet parent also means giving your dog regular baths and/or grooming sessions or having a professional do it.
Dogs who smell, or feel itchy, grimy, or dirty may act withdrawn or uncomfortable. You may think your dog seems aloof, but maybe her nails are too long.
What to Do
Most dogs don’t care if they missed a week or two or three when it comes to bathing. But dogs who are long overdue for a nail trim, haircut, or bath really need you to step up and help them feel better. Love and bath are both four-letter words all dogs should have in their lives.
She Follows You Around
Some dogs follow you around because it’s just who they are as a species. Their pack and animal mentality comes into play here.
But other dogs will often follow their humans around because they want something, and that something is likely you! They may want attention, dinner, a play session, or they are trying to communicate another need.
What to Do
Although there are many reasons dogs follow people around, she might simply want more attention and love. Have you been out all day? Did you just get back from vacation? Is she alone more often than not? She’s adoring you and silently telling you to show her the love – so stop what you’re doing and oblige!
You Haven’t Made Eye Contact in a While
The eyes are the windows to the soul. If your dog has ever stared at you for a period of time, you know they are trying to get your attention. But if you’ve been too busy or distracted – and spend more time looking at your phone than in your dog’s eye – you’re pup may be feeling pushed aside.
What to Do
When your dog looks at you and you look back, those happy hormones kick in and everyone feels better. Those ‘puppy dog eyes’ will melt even the busiest and most distracted hearts.
Back away from the computer, PlayStation, laptop, or phone and spend some quality time bonding with your dog.
She Doesn’t Respond To Your Voice or Cues
If your dog is emotionally indifferent to you, she may not be feeling the love you have for her. She still knows you care and are kind to her, but dogs who are ignored or not feeling love, may do any of the following:
- Ignore you when you ask her to do something (sit, stay, recall commands)
- Won’t play with you
- Leaves the room when you enter
- Won’t engage in eye contact with you
- Appears irritated or annoyed in your presence
What to Do
If your dog isn’t communicating with you or responding to your cues, something is off and you need to work on building your bond. Start slow and do little things to show affection like gently rubbing her ears, playing a game of fetch, or enticing her with some high-value treats. Consider signing up for a training class, so that you can spend time together interacting and learning. With time, your bond will grow.
You Don’t Recognize Her Body Language Cues
Sure, kisses, hugs, and being coddled like a baby may be ways you think you’re expressing love, but not all dogs like this kind of affection. And it’s up to you to recognize when your dog is uncomfortable.
Dogs express their emotions through different body language cues. If you can’t read them or know what your dog means, you might not be paying enough attention.
What to Do
Read up on dog body language and study your own pup. If your dog appears nervous, anxious, or wants to get away when you kiss, hug, or crowd her, then stop. Dogs like to initiate behaviors, and if they give you a smooch, that’s wonderful. If they want to be held in your arms and enjoy it, keep it up.
Love means knowing what your dog likes and doesn’t like. Strengthen your bond by doing more of the things she enjoys and avoiding the stuff she doesn’t.
She Doesn’t Get To Enjoy Her Walks
It’s finally time for a walk and you tell your dog to “stop it,” “move on,” or “let’s go.” If you find yourself impatient on your dog’s daily walks, it’s time for a reset.
Rushing walks and not allowing your dog to sniff and enjoy the stroll is detrimental. Whose walk is it anyway? Trust us – those other things in your life can wait a few more minutes.
What to Do
Take a lead from your dog and allow her to sniff, explore, and engage on her walk. Love means sharing and giving freely of your time. Plan walks during less busy times of the day so that you both can enjoy the experience and not feel rushed.
You Deluge Her With Commands
She’s a dog, not a member of the military in boot camp. I’ve wanted to say that to pet parents over the years who treat their dogs like soldiers.
Dogs should have fun, and they look to their human pack to guide and provide the way to a happy, healthy life. People who constantly tell their dogs to do something, perform, act a certain way, or give them too many commands are setting themselves up for failure.
What to Do
Dogs don’t love being treated like soldiers. They do want to please us. They do want to be with us and have structure. But they don’t need to be performing and learning all the time. Training your dog should be a fun and interactive way to bond. If it begins to feel like work, it’s time to take a step back. Love means slowing down, enjoying life, and simply being together.
She Hides From You
In addition to being a sign of medical illness or not feeling well, your dog may hide if she feels sad, scared, or upset.
Is there anything lately you might have said or done to make her run off and hide somewhere in the house? Did you raise your voice? Lose your temper?
What to Do
This can usually be rectified by understanding what you did and then showering her with fun, attention, and things that she enjoys. And don’t underestimate the power of apologizing to your dog. If you acted in a way you shouldn’t have, own up to it and say you’re sorry. While your dog might not understand your words, she can probably pick up on the meaning.
She Isn’t Wagging Her Tail For You
Dogs say a lot through their body language. Usually a wagging tail or wagging nubby means happiness. If your dog raises or tail or completely stops wagging, something is wrong.
A dog with her tail between her legs is scared. A dog with a raised tail not wagging may be alerting to something. A dog who doesn’t wag in your presence at all may just not be feeling the love.
What to Do
Time to turn that frown upside down and help get her mojo back! Greet your pup with an excited and happy tone and get down on her level to pet her and appreciate her. Engage her in regular games and playtime so that she starts to associate you with fun. That tail will be wagging again in no time.