One of the very best ways to show affection to your dog is to give him plenty of exercise. Going for walks or playing toss-and-fetch are two of a dog's favorite activities. All you have to do is say "Let's go for a walk" and you get joyful eyes and tails from your dog, indicating his happiness and love.
Dogs love massages, too. If he sits in your lap - no matter how big he is - he'll love scratches behind his ears. If you can get him to roll over, he loves belly massages. Hugs while you've got him up close and personal are particularly enjoyed by your dog. He knows for sure by your hugs and massages that you love him.
And how do dogs show their affection back to you? Well they certainly can't use words, but they can and do use actions. It's up to you to discover the action your dog is using to show you his love. He might wag his tail when his tail is upright. (Tail wagging can have many meanings, so watch your dog carefully to see if it's about joy or nervousness.) He could lick you. He likes the salty taste of your sweat and it's a way of bonding with his human that shows his love. He might bark and jump - and it's a jump for joy at the very sight of you! It's heartwarming to see a dog jumping excitedly because he's so happy to see you.
Dogs can smile, and their smiles show the same feelings as a human smile does. If you see your dog smiling, smile back at him.
Your dog might need some extra affection if you are leaving the home, because he might be suffering separation anxiety. Your dog might become jittery or whiney if he's accustomed to being with you more, so be sensitive to his emotions. A slight pat on the head could be reassuring.
Golden puppies love to be praised, so your words of praise mean a lot to him, particularly when he's behaved well and deserves it. Spending quality time with your dog shows you love him, as does discipline. Humans love to know where the boundaries are, and so do dogs, so he would see your establishing the lines of boundaries or discipline as a way that you love him. Work to find a good balance between discipline and affection that is clear to your dog.
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