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clueless puppy owner
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Discussion Starter #1
Is there anything that a dog does that can be considered purely a sign of affection, i.e not something to show submission also.?

Likewise, is there anything that the dog will NEVER confuse for something else? (Rubbing the belly? Can he consider it a sign of dominance?)

Thanks for any comments this might receive.

Oktay
 

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Dogs take lots of things in context, so it's hard to say. Lots of things aren't interpreted as "dominant" or "submissive" by them, but could still be intimidating.

For example, petting a nervous dog on the top of the head could make it more nervous, but wouldn't really be a sign of "dominance" on your part. By the same token, many dogs will offer their bellies for a scratch, and even though a "submissive" dog might also roll on its back, it's not necessarily a sign of submission in a confident dog who likes belly rubs.

So, in answer to your question, it strongly depends on the dog. My dogs lick my hands sometime, but I couldn't consider it "submission," even though licking can be something a submissive dog does to show it. They also jump up on the couch and come over to snuggle or put a head on your leg, but I wouldn't consider that "dominance," even though it could be a sign of pushiness in another context.

Does that help?
 

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A lot of times when I'm working, Tucker will come up tp me and shove his head under my arm and then put his head in my lap and sigh loudly. I consider that purely affection. He also loves to curl up in our laps in the recliner while we're watching TV, even though he's about 75 pounds now.
 

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where the tails wag
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When I walk into a room and my dogs all break off whatever they are doing eating, playing, being given attention by someone else etc; and come running up to me; I consider these an unmistakable sign of affection.

When my dogs come running back from the wonders they have found in the woods (even when rolling) when I stop and/or give them a call, I consider this unmistakeable signs of affection.

When my dogs gently lay their head on my lap when I am upset and just gaze up into my face, I consider this unmistakable signs of affection.
 

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Mom to Fyodor & Gibson
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There are a things Gibby does that I consider are things signs of affection. He just comes over during the day, burrows his head into my chest or lap while he stand there wagging his tail very slowly - this is unmistakable to anyone that he's showing affection. He also comes over, lays his head on my lap like Tucker does above. Whenever I sit on the floor, he comes over wagging his tail (no matter what he was doing previously) and leans back into me and looks up at me backwards with dreamy eyes. When he does these things without wanting anything back (other than some belly rubs or head scratches), I know it's pure affection.

There are also times when he lays his head in my lap or nudge my hand with his head but I know that he has other motives - he wants to play or go outside or wants some of my ice cream... lol. I can see right through him when he has motives. It looks different from those pure affection moments.
 
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