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The Telltale Signs of Your Dog's Emotional Attachment to You

written by Freshpet

Our canine friends are well-known for the strong emotional bonds they develop with their humans. While every dog is unique and may show this attachment in slightly different ways, there are several common dog emotional attachment indicators. If you recognize any of the following emotional attachment indicators in your dog, it’s a sure sign that they’ve formed a deep emotional connection with you.


Body language

One of the best dog emotional attachment indicators is their body language. Dogs who have a strong emotional attachment to their humans display it in a variety of subtle – and not-so-subtle – ways.

●     Full-body excitement: One of the most obvious signs of attachment is the enthusiastic, full-body greeting you receive whenever you return home. Your dog may jump, wag their tail vigorously, and even bark out of excitement.

●     Maintaining eye contact: Dogs that are emotionally attached to their owners tend to maintain eye contact, looking at them with soft, relaxed eyes. Eye contact releases oxytocin, often referred to as the "love hormone," in both dogs and humans which helps to further foster a sense of connection and affection between pet and pet parent.

●     Leaning on you: If your dog leans their body weight against you or rests their head on your lap, it's a sign of trust and attachment. They only do this with people they feel comfortable and secure around.

Behavior around you

Dog emotional attachment indicators aren’t just limited to their body language – it’s also apparent in a dog’s behavior around their people.

●     Happiness during activities: Dogs that are emotionally attached to their humans often show a lot of enthusiasm during activities they enjoy together, like walks, playtime, or training sessions.

●     Attempts to comfort you: Dogs with strong emotional attachments will be very in tune with their pet parent's emotions. They can pick up on feelings of anxiety or sadness and will try to provide comfort by nuzzling or licking your face.

●     Initiating cuddles: Dogs often show their love through physical affection, especially cuddling. An emotionally attached dog will be the first to initiate a cuddle session – snuggling with you on the couch or curling up at your feet while you work.

Daily routine

Dog emotional attachment indicators can also be seen in your pup’s daily routine. A telltale sign that your dog is emotionally attached to you is if they want to join you for every part of your daily routine.

●     Following you around: An emotionally attached dog will follow their human around the house from the moment they wake up, making sure that they are always within sight. Whether you’re brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, or doing a workout, your four-legged friend wants to be involved.

●     Bringing you gifts: Some dogs express their attachment by bringing you toys or other items as gifts throughout the day. This behavior is similar to how a mother dog might bring food to her puppies, showing that they want to provide for you.

●     Sleeping next to you: In the wild, canines are at their most vulnerable when they sleep. To maximize their safety, members of the pack will sleep with their backs facing each other and their noses facing out creating a safe little circle. If your dog chooses to sleep with you or next to your bed, this means they see you as a trusted member of their pack.

How to strengthen your dog’s emotional attachment

You can further strengthen your dog’s emotional attachment to you through the use of their favorite Freshpet food and treats.

●     Incorporate treats into your training sessions: Positive reinforcement training with treats can create a positive association between obeying your commands and receiving rewards from you. Whenever your dog displays desired behaviors, like coming when called or being well-behaved, reward them with praise and their favorite fresh treat.

●     Create mealtime rituals: Create a routine for mealtime that involves your dog, such as practicing a few commands before their Freshpet meal is served. This can make mealtime feel like a shared experience for the two of you.

We hope you have a better idea of the emotional attachment indicators to look for in your dog. To build an even stronger emotional bond with your dog, look for opportunities to spend quality time together, provide love and care, and be consistent in your interactions and training!

  • A person holding a dog's paw

A person holding a black and white dog reaching for a Freshpet recipe.

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