18 Signs Your Dogs See You As Their Parent

Dogs are more than just pets; they’re part of our family.

They look up to us for love, care, and comfort, much like a child looks up to a parent.

But how can we tell if our dogs truly see us as their parents?

Dogs have special ways of showing their love and attachment.

Here, we will uncover 18 signs your dog considers you as parent.

Each sign is like a piece of a puzzle that reveals how much your dog loves and depends on you.

So, let’s explore these heartwarming signs and celebrate the loving connection you share with your furry family member!

Check-ins During Play

The park is a paradise for dogs.

Friends, foes, and those fascinating birds.

Yet, amidst all this excitement, they often pause, look around, and come bounding back to you.


Well, it’s their version of a child checking in, ensuring you’re still around, watching.

Every return, every nuzzle before they dash off again, is their way of seeking validation, that nod that says, “Go on, I’m watching.”

Licking You

Sloppy, wet, and sometimes right on the face!

Those doggie kisses, while occasionally a bit much, are packed with meaning.

In the early stages of their lives, puppies lick their mothers as a sign of respect and to seek attention.

When your dog showers you with these kisses, it’s their way of showing deference, affection, and a bond that says, “You’re my family.”

Plus, licking can also be a self-soothing act for dogs, much like a child might find comfort in a parent’s embrace.

Bringing You Their Toys

Remember those moments when your dog suddenly trots over, a slobbery toy dangling from their mouth, and drops it at your feet?

It’s not just them seeking playtime.

When children proudly present their artwork or a new toy to their parents, it’s a mix of seeking attention and a demonstration of trust.

Similarly, for dogs, offering their treasured toys to you is a testament to the special bond they share with you.

It’s as if they’re saying, “Look at this! Isn’t it great? I trust you with my favorite thing.”

Excitement When You Return

There’s little that compares to the sheer jubilation your dog displays when you walk through the door.

That tail-wagging, joyful jumping, and the chorus of excited barks are akin to a child’s elation when a parent returns from a long trip.

This burst of enthusiasm isn’t merely about being fed or walked; it’s their genuine happiness at the return of their beloved family member.

Their day, no matter how long or short your absence, truly brightens with your presence.

Sleeping By Your Side

Nighttime can be a vulnerable time for anyone, including our pets.

When your dog curls up beside you, or maybe even sneaks onto your bed, it’s not just about finding a comfy spot.

For them, being close to you is synonymous with safety and comfort.

Just as a child might sleep peacefully in a parent’s embrace, dogs find solace being near you, reaffirming the bond even in their dreams.

Constant Shadowing

You’ve probably noticed it.

That feeling of being followed around, and not by some suspenseful character from a horror movie, but by your loyal dog.

It’s not just a mere following, it’s shadowing.

When they accompany you from the kitchen to the bathroom, then to the bedroom, and everywhere in between, it’s their way of sticking close to what feels like home.

Historically, wolves, the ancestors of our domestic dogs, are known for their pack behavior.

Just like a child shadowing a parent in a busy market, hoping not to get lost, your dog’s shadowing stems from a deep-seated need for security and companionship.

Eye Contact

Now, locking eyes might seem like a romantic trope, but with dogs, it’s so much more.

That prolonged, deep gaze they give you, it’s not just them zoning out.

Science suggests that when dogs look into our eyes, they release oxytocin, the same hormone that plays a crucial role in the bonding between parents and their children.

When your dog holds that gaze, they’re not just looking; they’re connecting, bonding, and seeing you as their anchor in this vast world.

Nuzzling Or Snuggling

Cold nights, warm blankets, and then there’s that gentle weight of your dog’s head resting on your lap.

This gesture, akin to a child snuggling up to a parent after a long day, is your dog’s way of seeking warmth and comfort.

Beyond the physical warmth, it’s an emotional bridge, a silent conversation where they express their trust, their dependence, and their deep-rooted affection.

Protective Behavior

Ah, the brave guardian!

Whether it’s the mailman or a squirrel, some dogs have this innate drive to stand guard.

While it might seem overzealous at times, especially if the “threat” is just a friendly neighbor, this behavior is deeply instinctual.

Just as an older child might feel protective of their parents, wanting to shield them from harm, your dog’s protective instincts highlight that you’re not just an owner; you’re family, someone worth guarding.

Listening To Commands:

“Sit”, “Stay”, “Come here” – these aren’t mere words or routines.

It’s about mutual respect and understanding.

Children listen to parents because they trust their guidance; it’s the same with dogs.

When they heed your commands, it’s not just about obedience.

It reflects their recognition of you as a leader, a guiding force in their lives.

They respect your authority, but above all, they trust your decisions for them.

Calming Down With Your Touch

An upset or anxious dog can often be soothed with just a simple touch or stroke from you.

This magic isn’t just random.

In times of distress, just like a child calms down with a parent’s caress, your dog finds solace in your touch.

It reminds them they’re not alone, reinforcing the bond and the unspoken understanding between you two.

Seeking You Out When Scared

Thunderstorms, fireworks, or a strange noise – these can send your dog scuttling to find you.

Their first instinct during such times?

Find their human.

This behavior harkens back to their pack instincts.

In the wild, a scared wolf pup would seek out its parents for protection.

Your dog seeking you out in distressing situations signifies they see you as their protector, their safe haven in the overwhelming storms of life.

Tail Wagging When They Look at You

We’ve all seen it, that unmistakable wagging of the tail.

But there’s a special kind of wag when they lock eyes with you, different from when they see a squirrel or a toy.

It’s slower, more deliberate, full of emotion.

This isn’t just any tail wag; this is a symphony of happiness and contentment, dedicated solely to you.

Research has shown that a dog’s tail wagging to the right side is often associated with positive feelings, especially when they see their beloved owner.

So when they wag seeing you, know that in their heart, you hold a place that’s filled with pure joy.

Checking On You

Have you ever been engrossed in a task, only to feel a nudge or see a pair of watchful eyes on you?

It’s not them being nosy.

It’s concern, care, love.

Just like a child might peek to see if their parent is still in the room during playtime, dogs often come over, just to ensure everything’s alright.

In their world, you’re the epicenter, and they like to make sure that their world is safe and sound, even if it’s just a quick check-in.

Their Behavior In Public Places

New places can be overwhelming, even for us.

Now, imagine the world from your dog’s perspective.

All those smells, sounds, sights – it’s a sensory overload!

Yet, in these unfamiliar terrains, their behavior is often tethered to you.

Whether they stay close, look back at you for guidance, or even react based on your reactions, it’s evident they rely on you as their compass.

Like a child in a bustling market, sticking close to a parent, your dog looks to you for guidance, reassurance, and a sense of security amidst the chaos.

Response When You’re Upset

Perhaps one of the most touching aspects of a dog’s bond with their human is their uncanny ability to sense our emotions.

Feeling blue?

Your dog seems to know.

Their response, often filled with nudges, licks, or just silent companionship, mirrors the consoling touch of a child trying to comfort a saddened parent.

They might not understand the complexities of our human lives, but they grasp the ebb and flow of our emotions.

Their reactions, driven by pure empathy, aim to offer solace and remind us that in our weakest moments, we’re never truly alone.

Trying to “Heal” You

Ever had a minor injury, maybe a cut or a bruise, and found your dog unusually attentive to it?

They might lick it, sniff it, or just intently focus on the affected area.

This isn’t just curiosity.

In the wild, animals often tend to each other’s wounds.

By attending to your injuries, even minor ones, your dog is essentially trying to “heal” or comfort you, just as they might do for a member of their pack.

This protective and nurturing behavior showcases a deep-rooted instinct to care for their family, akin to a child wanting to put a band-aid on a parent’s small wound, even if it’s just symbolic.

Intuitive Reaction to Your Moods

It’s been a long day, you’re emotionally drained, and you haven’t said a word.

Yet, as you sink into your couch, your dog quietly ambles over, resting their head on your lap.

They haven’t just picked up on your body language; they’ve sensed your emotional state.

Dogs are incredibly adept at reading our emotional nuances, often more so than other humans.

Whether you’re elated or downcast, their behavior often shifts to match or counterbalance our moods.

It’s like a child intuitively understanding when their parent needs a silent hug.

Your dog doesn’t need words; they read the unspoken, providing companionship, understanding, and solace when you need it most.

This intuitive connection is a testament to the depth of their bond with you, seeing you not just as a caretaker but as an emotional anchor.

Before You Go…

You now know the signs your dog sees you as parent.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

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Dimitra Kokologianni, DVM
Dimitra holds a Masters’s degree in public health and a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. She is a versatile professional with over 7 years of experience. Her passion for animal welfare and preventive medicine makes her an excellent resource for our readers.