When we bring a dog into our lives most of us do it for companionship, the bond between man and dog has developed over the centuries and the love they give us is never in doubt but there is more to that special relationship than love. Trust and respect are just as important, but how do you know if your dog trusts you? Here are 10 signs that your four-legged friend is able to put his trust in you.
10 signs that Your Dog Trusts You
1. He doesn’t mind you leaving
Dogs are social creatures and love being with their family, they don’t like being left alone and this is primarily because they are frightened we are not coming back, this can be especially true with rescue dogs or dogs that have been abandoned. Some breeds like Poodles, Bichon Frises, German Shepherds, Labradors and Staffordshire Bull Terriers are especially prone to separation anxiety either because they have been bred as companions and lap dogs or work closely with their masters throughout the day. Separation anxiety can lead to your four-legged friend becoming extremely stressed and destructive. However, once you have built a level of trust with him, he learns that you will return and stops panicking when you leave. A dog that remains calm when you leave the house is a sure indication of trust
2. She can look you in the eye
Dog’s like most mammals see eye to eye contact as a challenge and this can be the cause of many a dogfight, it is also why staring at a stranger’s dog is not recommended. Similar to humans, dogs don’t like being stared at, however, a dog which is fully confident with her family doesn’t shy away from direct eye contact and in fact, sometimes will initiate it. Experts have found that staring into your canine companion’s eyes raises oxytocin levels, the same hormone that builds the bond between a mother and her newborn baby and is a definite sign that your four-legged friend trusts you.
3. He seeks affection
Some dogs are more affectionate than others, while some are happy to spend a lot of time cuddling, some prefer their own space. Recent studies have shown that our four-legged friends are not keen on hugs as it can make them feel trapped, but that doesn’t mean they are averse to other forms of affection. If your pooch snuggles up to you especially after a meal it shows he considers you a part of his pack and trusts you.
4. The way she sleeps says a lot
Dogs like to feel safe when they sleep which is why outside dogs and wild dogs curl up when they snooze, although this is the least restful position it protects vital organs, the throat, and face and conserves body heat, sleeping like this also means they can get to their feet immediately if a threat occurs. You won’t see these dogs sleeping on their backs like some indoor dogs do. Falling asleep in this vulnerable position is a sign that your canine companion is confident that she will come to no harm and trusts you to keep her safe.
5. They learn your routine
Animals like routine, it makes them feel comfortable, and this is one of the easiest ways to know if your four-legged friend trusts you. A dog that is fed every morning at 7.00 am will be standing by his bowl and once they know you come in from work at a certain time you will often see them looking out the window waiting for you. He becomes conditioned to expect these things and trusts your routine will stay the same.
6. He enjoys a belly rub
You may have discovered how to make a dog love you but trust is a different matter, it takes time and patience to build that bond. When a dog lies on their back with their belly exposed they are at their most vulnerable and while a good old tummy scratch may feel incredible it still shows your canine companion has confidence that you won’t take advantage him putting himself in a such an exposed position
7. She stares at you when pooping
Have you ever wondered why your best friend stares at you when going to the toilet? Well, it isn’t as many people assume they are embarrassed and want some privacy. When a dog feels vulnerable she naturally looks to the pack leader, she is depending on you to warn her of any signs of danger. Why? Because she trusts you.
8. He will let you handle him
There are many things we need to do to our four-legged friends to keep them healthy and happy which they may not enjoy, for example cutting their claws, cleaning their ears, examining them for injuries, all these things can cause a nervous or untrusting dog stress and they may react negatively, however, if your pooch lets you handle them with no problem it is because they are used to you doing it and trust you, that is why it is essential to get your dog used to you handling them from an early age. Grooming, checking paws, dental examinations are all so much easier if he is relaxed and calm and handling your best friend regularly is a sure-fire way to build trust.
9. She leans on you
Have you ever noticed, when you are in an unfamiliar or crowded place your dog leaning on you? This is because she trusts you to protect her and keep her safe. It used to be thought that this was a something a dominant dog did to assert their authority but in fact, she just wants security and to be as close as possible to the one she trusts.
10. He has relaxed body language when you’re around
When you come in the front door your best friend will most likely greet you with great excitement but after that initial whirlwind a sure sign of trust is that they calm down and their body language becomes relaxed, indications that your canine companion is relaxed in your company include
- Relaxed mouth with lolling tongue
- Floppy Ears
- Soft eye contact
- No creases on brow (wrinkly dogs aside)
- Wagging tail slowly
This post is written by John Devlin
He is a husband, father and avid dog lover. Currently the proud owner of George a pedigree Golden Retriever that barely leaves my side. However cute this sounds, a little break from the dog hairs every now and then would be nice!