THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF DOGS
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Several years ago, I was doing some research on how to improve myself and the relationship I had with my wife and was recommended a book, The Five Love Languages, and how it affected every aspect of your life in a positive way. I made a note of the title on my massive, long-running TBR list in Google Reading List.
Much later, being a middle-aged male adult, I had made some mistakes that had my wife really upset. So in my attempt to redeem myself, I started looking into how I could do better and this book came up again. The mistake I had made had to do with our children and I had wondered if there was a version for children and there was. I went to make a note of the title… and saw that it was already on my reading list.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago. A friend recommended a Netflix show called I’m Sorry (you guys, it’s hilarious… if you like totally inappropriate, subversive humor… you’ve been warned), and an entire episode centered on the book. Instead of making a third note, I bought a copy.
Here’s the gist: Everyone has a specific style of communication. Relationships improve when those involved know and understand and respect each other’s unique styles.
The entire time I read the book, I kept thinking, THIS IS SO TRUE FOR OUR DOGS! And, yeah, I totally thought it out loud! Here’s why:
No two dogs are alike.
Just like people, some dogs thrive with lots of physical touches while others want to be left alone.
Just like people, some dogs need a ton of personal attention while others prefer to have quiet time to recharge.
Just like people, dogs have very different needs and experience love in their own unique way.
So, I thought it would be fun to break down the five love languages of dogs, adapting the ideas from the book to our furry friends. Then, I’d love to know from YOU, which of the five do you think most applies to your pup? And, if you know yours, do you two “speak” the same language?
This language applies to someone who feels loved and valued when others do something for him or her. Does your dog jump for joy when you brush out his coat? Is she over the moon when you set aside a little extra bit of your day for a longer walk than usual? Or maybe he goes bananas whenever you take him on a car ride? Does your dog seem to enjoy the extra things you do for him or her? If this is your dog, figure out some ways you can sprinkle those extras into your regular routine. It doesn’t have to be crazy or inconvenient; simply bring your dog along to pick up coffee on the weekend or wake up 10 minutes earlier a couple of times a week to take a long walk!
I can safely say, this language is Cooper’s… His happiness is to just be with me!
Some dogs go gaga over belly rubs and butt scratches. When you pause, they paw your leg. When you sit down, their head instantly lands in your lap. These dogs crave pets and feel loved when they’re getting physical attention. For dogs who speak this love language, set aside dedicated time for a puppy massage, or make sure to give your dog his favorite scritches when you settle in to read or watch TV at night.
I can also state with total certainty that this is Cooper and Cora both! They could care less about the rest of the world if they are being petted.
“Who’s a good girl?” “Are you the most handsome boy ever?” “Such a good, good boy!” Some dogs primp and preen overpraise. In fact, for a small group of dogs, praise is as motivating as treats! Know your dog; if this is your pup, you can speak his or her language in training and get really far really fast! If your dog’s love language is words of affirmation, pour on the praise, even for silly stuff (ex. “YAY! Clean Plate Club President! I’m so proud of you for eating your whole dinner!”)
While Cooper and Cora both perform well with praise, it’s not their primary language… I’d say this might be a secondary language.
Treats! Toys! And more toys, please! Do you know a dog who hoards toys? Maybe he buries his bone or stashes his favorite squeaker. Perhaps he goes bonkers whenever a new toy comes into the house (and maybe loses interest in old toys kinda fast). Your dog might be most motivated by gifts! While it feels like gift-giving can put a hit on your wallet, remember: Rotating your toys makes old toys seem new again! If this is your dog, speak their language by rotating toys regularly and mixing in special treats in small doses throughout the week.
Also, not Cooper and Cora’s love language… they can give or take, take or leave treats and toys. They have been chewing the same antler for almost two years now EVEN IF I swap it out for something fresh. They will play with anything but they have their favorite go-to for sure and leave all the new ones behind.
THIS is Cooper’s love language. A dog whose love language is quality time only wants to hang out with you, no matter what you’re doing. Reading in bed? He’s snuggled right up! Watching TV on the couch? Ditto. There he is! Heading to the bathroom? “Wait, I’m coming, too!” Whether it’s walking or running, hanging around the house, playing in the backyard, napping, whatever, a dog whose language is quality time just wants to do it with you… even if it’s not his favorite activity. For instance, Coop love to take a ride in the truck, he would MUCH rather go with me somewhere than stay home. You can praise him, pat him, treat him, and so on, but it won’t make him half as happy as if he’s just hanging with me. Both of my dogs’ love language is 100 percent quality time!
Cora is the same way as Cooper. She is a little less clingy but loves to be piled up on me. Her favorite time is bedtime. If I am in bed she is curled up right next to me for sure.
If your dog speaks this love language, too, simply include him or her, even when it’s something small. Do you have to run to the bank? Bring them in the car! Walking down your driveway to get the mail? Leash him up and go, even though it only takes five seconds! Those small, simple steps will make your quality-time-loving pup feel loved.
Can You Bark About Love?
If you have not learned to speak dog yet, I will recommend it to anyone who lives with one. Think about it, how hard would it be if a person was living in your house that spoke a language you didn’t understand? There is a book I strongly recommend. How to Speak Dog: A Guide to Decoding Dog Language.
This book is intended for ages 8-11. I guess I am like a child because it really helped me understand their language and put it in such a simple form even as an adult, I found it so useful! Then I let my kids read it. Now we all speak dog!
This book is a fun, informative, and photographically driven book that helps kids understand what their dog is trying to tell them through body language and behavior. Super-engaging dog photography, along with National Geographic Kids’ signature bold and bouncy design, helps illustrate the key canine concepts. Quick-hit tip boxes, fun facts about mankind’s best friends, and informative sidebars from the experts enliven the text. Readers young and old will respond to the irresistible call of the canine in this delightful book that will warm hearts and wag tails everywhere. I think it is a must-have in every home where are looking for love and understanding for all the coolest dogs on the planet.
Can you apply the five love languages of dogs to your pup? Which do you think your dog is? Which are you? Do they mesh?
And, maybe most importantly, how can you take steps to show your dog just how much you care by using his or her love language?
I’d love to know in the comments below!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to show Cooper and Cora my love and appreciation for them by curling up on the sofa with my cuddle pups!
If you would like to share a photo of your coolest dog on the planet in the gallery, fill out the form below and upload a pic with their name. I will randomly select one coolest dog on the planet each month to receive a cool surprise.