If you're interested in the self-help genre (or have scrolled any number of minutes on Instagram), you may have heard of the five love languages. Invented by author Gary Chapman, they're a series of descriptors aimed at better understanding your significant other and how they prefer to receive and express love in relationships. As the theory goes, every person speaks a few "love languages" fluently, and others not so much. If you can learn which expressions of love your person prefers, it can strengthen your connection and make it easier for you to share feelings of affection.
Since we're obsessed with all things pet, we can't resist taking this theory a step further. How about dog or cat love languages? Just like humans, animals each have unique ways they show affection for their owners. Read on to figure out how your cat or pup most prefers to express their love so you can better understand and connect with them.
Dogs and cats who prefer to show love via physical touch are easy to spot. They're the first at the door when their humans get home, waiting for pets and kisses. If you consider your dog to be a lapdog, no matter their size, chances are their top love language is physical touch.
If you're a cat owner, others may describe your pet as a "dog cat". We think this descriptor is a little unfair, but it does indicate that your feline might be a physical touch type of pet. These animals feel love by receiving affection and being physically close to their owners. Often physical touch-motivated pooches get a spot in their owner's bed and are big on morning snuggles!
Words of Affirmation
Who's a good girl? Who's a good girl? If you find yourself uttering these words often to a tail-wagging pooch, your dog's love language may just be words of affirmation. These pets might be more or less aloof than others, but the moment you give them praise, they're all smiles.
Of course, all animals thrive on positive attention and one-on-one training sessions with their parents. But taking extra time to verbally express your appreciation and even teaching them some new tricks, is a way to strengthen your bond with a word of affirmation-loving pet.
My own dog Greta would likely put gifts at the top of her list of love languages. When I bring a bag home, whether it's full of clothes from shopping or food for dinner, her tail is wagging 100 mph. No matter what's inside, she assumes it's a gift for her. A single toy or bone will make a gift-loving pet's night, and they often take their favorite item of affection out with them for walks, so it's never out of sight.
These dogs and cats are easy to please, but might not be so gentle on your wallet. Try surprising them with tokens of affection every so often to keep them happy and engaged.
Acts of Service
Does your dog get down with a grooming sesh or two? Do they adore getting dressed up to the nines, with you carefully placing a new bandana around their scruff? Do they enjoy being pampered and treated to a special dinner? If these apply to your pet, their love language just may be acts of service.
These animals love when their owners take time out of their day to make their lives easier. Try enriching their environment with some hide-the-treat games as a fun way to stimulate their minds and show them you care.
If your dog loves nothing more than a 1:1 evening stroll with their human, or if your cat craves a solo cuddle sesh before bed, you might just have a quality time pet on your hands. These animals tend to be highly attached to their owners and find joy in spending time with them.
Some owners may have trouble differentiating these pets from physical touch-lovers, but quality time creatures are just happy to be around their family, with or without affection. That's why you might find them perfectly content on their bed in a busy family room while everyone is around. Their goal is to be with people, as much as they can.
Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.