When we open our hearts and our homes to a dog, it doesn’t take long for them to build an unbreakable bond with us. Dogs bring us joy in a way that creates memories that last a lifetime—even long after their time with us has ended. We know that puppies are most impressionable, but that doesn’t mean that a dog of any age cannot imprint on their human.
Dr. Jessica Pierce tellsRover.com that,
“Dogs don’t immediately seek someone to attach to from birth. In fact, they only begin to recognize their littermates and mother when they’re about 4 weeks old. That said, dogs often form very strong attachments to their pet parents. Between about 7 and 12 weeks of age, dogs go through a critical sensitive period where they can form a strong attachment to a particular person.”
If you’re your dog’s chosen one, then it’s highly likely that your dog has imprinted on you. Not sure how to tell? Just keep reading!
Eye contact is a big deal for dogs, and you may have heard the old saying that you should never stare directly into a dog’s eyes. While this might not hold much truth with our very domesticated canine companions, for their wolf ancestors, direct eye contact is seen as a threat and a challenge. Some dog breeds that share more wolf ancestry might still feel this way, but for dogs that have imprinted on their humans, eye contact is a sign of love, respect, and a way they feel connected.
It should come as no surprise that it’s not just dogs who benefit from looking into the eyes of their humans, we reap the benefits, too. Recent research even found that mutual gazing can have a profound effect on both humans and canines. A study showed that locking eyes with your dog creates a surge in oxytocin levels, which is the same hormone that allows human parents and infants to bond after birth.
Dogs that have imprinted on their humans will often want to sleep with them when it comes time to go to bed at night. Allowing your dog to sleep with you at night is a personal preference. But if your dog has imprinted on you, they will likely hit you with those sad puppy dogs that make co-sleeping hard to resist. For dog breeds that have thick, dense coats, sharing the bed with you might make them feel too warm and bothered while sleeping, so the cool floor near your bed might make for a more optimal sleeping choice.
Dogs are pack animals by nature. Although they are far removed from their wild ancestors, co-sleeping with you shows they trust you and that you make them feel safe. Many dogs also like knowing you’re nearby when they’re sleeping because it’s their way of showing you that they can protect you when you’re in your most vulnerable state.
Trust is a big deal in the animal world. When an animal is on its back, it’s most vulnerable to predators and sudden threats. If your pup likes to flash you their belly, this is the ultimate sign that your dog has imprinted on you. Even the friendliest of dogs isn’t going to flash their belly to just anyone. So, consider yourself pretty special if your dog does this to you.
Is your dog your shadow—and not just when you’re in the kitchen making a tasty snack? Dogs that have imprinted on their humans are eager to know their whereabouts whenever they are home and will even get up from the comfiest of spots just to follow their human to the other room. If you find that your dog is your shadow, this is a sign that your dog has imprinted on you—just be careful not to accidentally step on those cute little paws!
We’ve heard the funny saying that sometimes dogs and their owners can look alike—but can they act alike? The truth is yes! In this case, however, it’s your dog mirroring your behaviors after careful observation. Have you ever let out a big yawn and suddenly your dog yawns too? Many say that yawns are contagious with people, but when dogs do this after watching their owners, it’s taken as a sign that your dog has imprinted on you. There are other cute ways dogs will copy our behavior that you may have noticed, such as “helping you” with yard work. Studies have even shown that adog can mimic human behavior even ten minutes after it has occurred.
Dogs are extremely intuitive to human emotions. You may have noticed your dog bringing you their toys when you are sad as a way of cheering you up. They are doing this to engage with you and lift your mood while showing you that they care. Thankfully unlike cats that like to bring their owners dead animals as gifts, this is one of the many ways our dogs make us feel special—and also doesn’t make for a messy cleanup. Your dog wants to see you happy, and they have no problem being the one to help you lift your spirits. If your dog has imprinted on you, they know how much you need them in those hard times, and they are eager to brighten your day with their natural ability to make you smile. Feel special knowing how much it means to your dog that you are happy.
Did you just discover that your dog has imprinted on you? Share this article with another dog lover in your life who will appreciate this read, too!
by Grant Withers - Canine Specialist & Writer 4 min read 0 Comments
by Claudia Bensimoun - Canine Specialist & Writer 8 min read 0 Comments