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Five signs your dog loves you

Is it your sparkling wit? Or the smell of sausage on your fingers? Read on to find out how your dog really feels about you.

Thursday July 23rd, 2009

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These days, it's difficult to know whether your dog truly loves you, or whether he's just hanging around for the free cheese cubes and access to the toilet bowl water. It's a scary thought: What if your dog's just not that into you? We think it's important for you to recognize the signs of true puppy love.

Your dog loves you? Here's how to tell:

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1. He's not hung up on your appearance
You get the feeling your dog's up for cuddling, regardless of what you're wearing, when you last showered, or how foul your morning breath is. He doesn't care that you're still sporting sneakers from 1983 or notice that you haven't combed your hair in six months. Gain 20 pounds? No problem. That's just more of you to love.

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2. He takes an interest in what you're doing
You're frying bacon and he acts like it's the most fascinating thing he's ever seen. Or you're preparing a pizza and he becomes more rapt with each slice of mozzarella you position. If you feel his eyes on you, even when you're simply making a peanut butter sandwich, you can count on this dog to be mesmerized by your every move.

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3. He bristles when you talk about others
Do his hackles come up when you mention Rover or Sparky? What about at the dog park - does it seem like it's impossible to pet another pup without You Know Who wriggling in between? Do you sometimes find the photo of Coco face down on your nightstand, even though the Spaniel died when you were eleven? We're just sayin'...

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4. He returns your calls
We all have friends who call and call and call their dogs before they get a response. Frankly, it's a little uncomfortable for everyone. It's like the more they bellow, "Mr. Snuggles, come here" the deeper into the bushes the dog disappears. Ask yourself, when you call your dog, does he quickly bound to your side? Or does he seem annoyed and give you that I need more space look?

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5. His tail wags to the right
According to a 2007 study by two Italian veterinarians and one neuroscientist, the direction your dog wags his tail says a lot about how he's feeling. If he wags to his right, you're probably the human of his dreams. To his left, and it may be he's just not that into you. Come on, could we make this stuff up?

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Oh, and one signal that shouldn't be analyzed, scrutinized, or otherwise taken for anything more than face value: He humps your leg. This behavior indicates little, besides a willingness to publicly embarrass you in front of your in-laws. And yeah, we went there.

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