It’s common for dog owners to refer to themselves as their pets’ parents, and there’s a kind of logic to that. When you do this, you’re telling people that you love and care for your dog as you would your own children.
But a lot of parents could tell you there’s another element to this too. Much like with kids, you can love your pets and not understand them at the same time. But while parents might be confused about whatever hip new phrase their kid keeps spouting, they have the luxury of otherwise speaking the same language.
Not so with pet owners. So until someone finally invents a dog-to-human translator, you’re going to have to learn to read your dog’s body language.
With that in mind, here are 12 common behaviors dogs will show around their owners and what they could mean.
1. Constant eye contact.
Now, this one depends a lot on how the dog is looking at you. But if her expression is normal and she’s staring into your eyes, it’s a pretty powerful way of showing affection. In fact, a group of Japanese researchers found a link between this eye contact and increased levels of oxytocin, a hormone that affects how we express attachment and nurturing qualities.
2. Bringing things to you.
You might think that he wants to play fetch, especially if he’s bringing you a toy. What your dog may be doing instead is giving you a gift. It’s apparently a leftover of the dog’s hunting instincts, only he’s bringing you things he thinks you’ll like or need instead of dead prey.