Expert Reviewed

How to Make Dogs Love You

Dogs are very loyal and intelligent animals. You can create lasting friendships with them. By providing structure for a dog, you can start earning its respect and, most importantly, its love.

Part One of Three:
Integrating the Dog Into Your Home

  1. 1
    Establish yourself as the leader. To gain a dog's respect and to make it feel happy and secure, establish yourself as the leader. This helps your dog understand the pecking order of your home. If you have children, he should be below them in the house hierarchy. The owner or primary caretaker of the dog should be at the top, and your dog should respect this leader. This will ensure a happy home where both you and your dog are safe.
    • Dogs are pack animals who feel secure when they are being taken care of by someone they respect. This means they can follow someone else's orders and someone else will make the decision while taking care of them and keeping them secure.[1]
  2. 2
    Be consistent. There's nothing more frustrating for a dog than an owner who can't make up their mind. Dogs like structure and rules so things are predictable, and therefore, less confusing or stressful.[2] By establishing boundaries for your dog, they feel secure and loved. By praising your dog when he consistently follows the rules, you increase his confidence, show him he's loved, and make him eager to please you.[3] By being consistent and establishing boundaries for the dog, he will come to respect and love you.
    • Dogs don't understand exceptions. If you don't want your dog eating human food while you're at the table or laying on the furniture, don't let him do it at all. Your dog won't understand the concept of a special occasion.
    • Don't let a dog up onto the bed one day and then get mad when he jumps up on the bed the next day while muddy. The dog doesn't understand the difference.[4]
    • Use single word commands like "sit" and "stay" and stick to them. Don't use "stay" one day and "wait" the next. If you teach a dog to lie down by saying "down," don't teach him to get off of the couch by saying "down." He'll think you want him to lie down; use "off" instead.
  3. 3
    Socialize your dog. Dogs are social, so they need to be socialized with other people and other dogs. They love going places with you, and taking them along to meet people and animals shows that you love them.[5] Plus, he will learn to be friendly to both if he is familiar with them.
    • Dogs are pack animals, and they love being with their pack. Take them on rides in the car, take them to the park with you, and even take them on vacation. This not only helps the dog not be bored, but shows him you love him.[6]
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Part 1 Quiz

What can you do to be consistent with your dog’s training?

Correct! Offering your dog consistent positive reinforcement is a great way to let him know what behaviors are acceptable. By praising him every time he does something good, he will feel motivated to continue doing the things that you like. Read on for another quiz question.

Not exactly. Although it might be tempting to let your dog get up on the couch with you if he's been really good, this will send him the message that it is always okay to get up on the couch with you. If you don’t want him on the couch, then do not let him get on the couch under any circumstance. Choose another answer!

This isn’t quite right. It is important to use one word for the command you are trying to teach. Don’t alternate between multiple words. For example, don’t alternate between “sit” and “down” when you want your dog to sit. Just say “sit.” There’s a better option out there!

Not quite. Dogs don’t understand the meaning of special occasions. If you feed your dog something off of your plate one time, then he will likely expect you to do it again. Pick another answer!

Part Two of Three:
Teaching Your Dog

  1. 1
    Speak in your dog's language. Dogs don't communicate the way humans do. They don't understand words, beyond a simple command. They understand body language. Learn how to read your dog's body language. More important, pay special attention to your body language. This is especially important when you are training your dog. Your body will speak louder than your words.[7]
  2. 2
    Teach the dog good behaviors. One way to bond with your dog is to teach him good behaviors. This includes things like "sit" and "stay."
    • You also want to teach the dog not to do negative behaviors. This may include not biting another dog or person, not running off, or not being aggressive.[8]
  3. 3
    Use a calm tone. Talk to your dog. When you speak to your dog, talk in a warm, calm tone. Don't yell or be angry. Let the dog hear and sense affection from your tone of voice.[9]
    • Remember that dogs pay as much attention to body language as words. Make sure you always pay attention to what your body is doing while you are interacting with your dog.[10]
  4. 4
    Use positive reinforcement. When training your dog, use positive reinforcement instead of punishment. Dogs learn much better this way. Always reward good behavior. Give them praise, petting, and treats when they do something correctly. They will choose these behaviors and feel secure and happy knowing what to do. Make sure to do this quickly. Don't fawn.[11]
    • Giving dogs treats as a reward encourages them to behave well if the treats are connected to good behavior. Be sure to use a variety of rewards - not just food treats, but toys, attention, games, and activities. Use positive praise with a happy voice and back scratches.
  5. 5
    Reprimand, don't punish. When the dog does something wrong, or if he does not perform a command correctly, don't punish him. He might not understand what you mean. Instead, show the dog the correct action. Use scolding or corrections, but never raise your voice or hit the dog.[12] Don't hit the dog either. Your hands shouldn't be used for hitting. Shake the collar, give a leash correction, or help the dog into the correct position. Make sure to give the reprimand with authority. When the dog does what you want, praise and reward him.[13]
    • Be fair and tough. Think about it as tough love. Don't get angry, but expect the dog to obey you.
    • For example, if your dog starts barking and you say no and it stops, don't punish the dog for barking. Instead reward the dog for stopping.
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Part 2 Quiz

What should you keep in mind when teaching your dog a new behavior?

Not quite. Dogs actually do understand your body language, so it is important to hold yourself in a confident manner. Face your dog and stand up straight when you are training him. There’s a better option out there!

This isn’t correct. Having a calm tone of voice is actually important when you are training your dog. It will help to soothe your dog and encourage him to do well. Click on another answer to find the right one...

Correct! There is no point in yelling at a dog or hitting a dog. It will only frighten him and it will not teach him anything. Instead, be patient with your dog if he does something you don’t like and work on correcting the behavior using praise when he does the right thing. Read on for another quiz question.

Not exactly. You can use food treats as a reward for your dog’s good behavior, but you can also use toys, praise, playtime, and petting. Include a variety of rewards to keep your dog motivated. Try another answer...

Part Three of Three:
Taking Care of Your Dog

  1. 1
    Give your dog affection at the proper time. Any affection you give your dog needs to be given at the proper time. You should use affection as positive reinforcement for good behavior. If you give affection when the dog is doing bad behavior, you will be teaching the dog that bad behavior is okay.
    • Give your dog affection after exercise, feeding, obeying a command, changing a behavior, or calming down. Don't give affection when the dog is angry, irritated, whining, begging, or breaking rules.[14]
  2. 2
    Pet your dog. Petting your dog is a great bonding experience, but make sure you do it correctly. Most dogs don't like being patted or touched on the head because this is a show of dominance. Instead, scratch the dog behind the ears. Or pet the dog on the back or rear right near the tail.[15] You can also try scratching your dog under the chin or on the belly.[16]
    • Exercise caution when hugging your dog. Many dogs will take that as a sign of dominance and feel threatened. Other dogs may love it. Watch your dog's body language to figure out which he prefers.
  3. 3
    Give the dog treats. One way to make your dog love you is by giving him treats. Remember, you should only give dogs treats as a reward for good behavior. Before giving the dog a treat, ask him to sit, stay, or obey another command. Treats should be used as positive reinforcement.
  4. 4
    Exercise your dog. Dogs with pent up energy tend to become destructive and depressed. You want to make sure you walk him every day.[17] When you go for a walk, keep the leash loose so the dog knows you are calm and relaxed. While you two are walking, let the dog smell and explore. On these walks, go slower and longer. This gives your dog some mental and sensory stimulation he craves and enjoys.[18]
    • Dogs need daily exercise to keep them healthy. But it is also an activity they enjoy. Taking them outside for walks, playing games with them, and allowing them to exercise shows that you love them because you let them do fun things. This also helps keep your dog mentally stimulated and healthy, which keeps him happy and shows you love him.[19]
  5. 5
    Spend time with your dog. It is important for you to do joint activities with your dog. This includes daily exercise, obedience classes, grooming, or playing.[20]
    • Play controlled running, chasing, and fetch games with your dog.
    • Don't tease your dog by covering it with a blanket or pulling its tail.[21]
  6. 6
    Be near your dog. Spending time with your dog doesn't always mean cuddling. They love to sleep next to you or by your feet. They also love to cuddle. Balance how you spend time with your dog so they always feel loved.[22]
  7. 7
    Give your dog outlets. Just like you, your dog gets stressed, bored, or frustrated and needs an outlet. Get your dog safe chew toys. Try hiding treats or cheese bits in them when you are gone to work to give him something to do.[23]
    • If he digs, make him a "dig box" (a wooden frame in the ground, filled with soft dirt, this saves your yard!).
  8. 8
    Feed your dog. Feeding your dog is an essential chore, but you can make it a bonding experience. Give your dog healthy, tasty food. This shows that you care and love the dog. Even try cooking for your dog if you have the time and interest.[24]
  9. 9
    Groom your dog. Another way to bond with your dog is to groom him. Give him baths, brush him, and keep him clean. Grooming is a way for you to spend time with your dog and a way for you to touch your dog, which shows affection.[25]
  10. 10
    Give your dog belly rubs. Your dog loves to be touched. It's one of the ways he communicates. Give your dog a belly rub to show him you love him. If you have some extra time, give him a massage. Start by rubbing his coat and skin below the neck in circles. Make your way down his back and flank. He'll love you for it.[26]
  11. 11
    Get down on your dog's level. Show your dog you love him by getting down on the ground to play with him. If you're always standing up and over him, it makes you dominant and could cause stress. Getting down on your dog's level shows that you trust your dog, which can help build his trust in you.[27]
    • Some trainers think this is not a good idea. They believe you should always assert your dominance over your dog and never get on his level. Decide for yourself if you feel you can get on the ground and play with your dog and still be the leader.
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Part 3 Quiz

True or False. Giving your dog affection can teach him something about how you want him to behave.

Correct! If you pet your dog after he does something you want him to keep doing, then this will reinforce the good behavior. Likewise, if you pet your dog after he has done something you don’t want him to do, then it will reinforce the bad behavior. Read on for another quiz question.

Not quite. When you give your dog affection actually does matter because he will make a connection between the affection and what he just did. Make sure to provide affection only when your dog is being good. Guess again!

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • I accidentally hit my dog, and now he doesn't answer when I call. What do I do?
    Answered by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS
    • Reward the successful recalls. While he's relearning this skill, keep him on a long line so you can control him without frantic shouting. Find a tasty treat he loves (cheese or sausage works well). As he pads towards over, show him the treat and say "Come." As he trots over for the treat, give him a lots of attention. Try this in the yard, call his name, and then say "Come." If he ignores you, turn your back and walk off. As he learns he gets a tasty treat and praise when he comes, his enthusiasm will increase. Now practice on a walk, on the long line. If he fails to come, never chastise him, as this will make him less likely to return next time.
    Thanks! 41 8
  • How can I let my dog know that I love her? She does not love me for sure.
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • All dogs love their owners. Probably you're over thinking it. If she doesn't even come near you, that's a different story. You should play with her, give her hugs and treats and stuff like that. Don't presume that dogs show affection in the same way as people -- many dogs actually find hugs distressing but that doesn't mean they aren't loving you.
    Thanks! 77 6
  • I need to know if petting a dog when he is anxious is a good idea.
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • If the dog is feeling anxious (scared), then just gently reassure him with a calm, soft voice. If he is anxious (angry), leave him alone. Either way, avoid petting until the dog seems calmer and happier.
    Thanks! 88 8
  • What can I do if my dog hates me but loves everyone else?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Your dog doesn't hate you. Sometimes dogs choose a master, and maybe that master isn't you. Maybe if you spend more time with your dog and get to know them they will like you just as much as everyone else.
    Thanks! 85 11
  • What if my dog loves me but bites me?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • The dog might think he/she is playing with you. Be firm with them that this behavior is not okay. If your dog starts to bite you, immediately stop playing with or petting it until the biting stops. Your dog has to realize that biting is not an acceptable behavior, even if it's playful.
    Thanks! 15 2
  • What should I do if these things don't work and my dog enjoys my brother more than me?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Dogs all choose special people that they listen to most but really they love you the same. Maybe try playing or spending more time with your dog and it might work out.
    Thanks! 61 18
  • What can I do if my dog is constantly running away, but always returns?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • If your dog is running away, don't give it the option. Bring him inside, and close the fence tightly. Secure any places from which your dog escapes.
    Thanks! 21 5
  • My German Shepherd jumps on people while playing. How can I stop him from doing this?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Ask them to ignore the dog. Eventually he will realize that if he jumps, he doesn't get attention and he will stop.
    Thanks! 5 0
  • Why doesn't my dog see me as her master when I spend almost all of my time with her?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Dogs are pack animals: they have roles in the pack that still need to apply in a home environment. To help your dog see you as the alpha, try learning about body language for dogs. Be a calm, loving, leader, but be firm.
    Thanks! 32 10
  • Is it okay to feed my dog different treats when he does different tricks?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • As long as he likes all of the treats, sure. But the simplest and usual way is to just use the same treats.
    Thanks! 17 4
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  • My dog starts barking at me whenever I ask him to go outside. What could I do to make this behavior stop?
  • What do I do if someone's dog loves me, but ignores her?
  • How do I make my dog think of me as the leader?
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  • It may take a bit of time for a new dog to get used to you. If they hide, don't bother them. They will love you at some point.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • Old dogs can learn new tricks; sometimes it just takes time and Patience.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • Do not be physical with your dog if she isn't comfortable with you. Over time, your dog will be more and more comfortable with you, and you can progressively get more physical.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • Try to take your dog out with you when you go to the park or any place that allows dogs so you and the dog can bond.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • To make a dog to love you it just takes time. Start by just trying to help your dog to recognize you. You can do that by talking in a sweet and soft voice. This helps your dog to feel safe where you are around.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • Most people think that letting a dog sleep with you is a bad idea but its actually recommend for proper bonding.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • While walking a dog let him walk behind or beside you. This way you become his leader and he obeys you.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • Treat a dog like you treat a person. Dogs are amazing animals and you should never be cruel to one. Merely loving and caring for a dog, regardless of whether or not it loves you, will make it happy.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • Don't hit your dog. If you do they might get scared of you.
    0 Helpful?  0


  • Dogs could be hurt by their previous owner. If you get mad at them, they can get upset. Take it nice and slow; you don't want to be in a rush.
    18 Helpful?  1
  • Rescued or shelter dogs may have a hard time trusting you and learning new things. Be patient; they may have been hurt by their previous owner. Show them they can trust you by giving them time, patience, and love.
    17 Helpful?  1

Expert Review By:

Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

This version of How to Make Dogs Love You was reviewed by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS on April 5, 2017.

19 votes - 75%
Co-authors: 116
Views: 363,866
Categories: Dogs

Reader Success Stories

  • ML

    Mark Laurence

    Dec 23, 2017

    "Playing with the pup and when to show affection."
  • ML

    Mark Laurence

    Dec 23, 2017

    "Freeway is a 5 month old pup. I learned that patience and love is the most important."
    Rated this article:
  • MS

    Mannat Sharma

    Sep 27, 2017

    "Never treat your dog badly, ever! The dog is an animal, but it also has feelings. Respect your dog and he will respect you and protect you. Take him out for walks at least two times a day, otherwise your dog may get cranky and start eating your furniture."..." more
  • A


    Jun 6, 2016

    "This really helped me because I am getting a dog in the summer and I want him to love me, unlike my dog I had before, I was definitely not her favorite. This taught me it will take time."..." more
  • A


    Mar 29, 2017

    "This is very helpful. My brother always says that my dog hates me (I know she doesn't), so I wanted to know how the change that, and here it is! Thank you very much."..." more
    Rated this article:
  • AH

    Ariel Haynes

    Nov 29, 2016

    "This article helped me understand that hugs sometimes are good and bad at other times for dogs. Also helped with how to take care of a dog."..." more
  • AT

    Abbie Tallman

    Nov 19, 2017

    "The body language and interaction tips helped me bond with my friend's dog. She used to hate me, but now we're best buddies."..." more
  • AS

    Avi Singh

    May 22, 2017

    "I never knew so much about my dog. There is so much I can do for it. I was lucky I found this wonderful article. "
    Rated this article:
  • SS

    Shubham Sharma

    Jan 16, 2017

    "This is an amazing article. I tried all tips listed in this article, and it gives extraordinary results."
  • H


    Jun 29, 2017

    "I would like to get a dog, and this has really made me excited and more eager to get one."
  • RS

    Ritika Sharma

    Mar 15, 2017

    "This helped me a lot in a way that now I can communicate with my dog in a more loving way"
  • AH

    Abbas Hassan

    Apr 18, 2016

    "This really works. I've been able to teach my dog sit, stay, and come, and he loves me. "
  • CA

    Chelly Amamiya

    Jun 5, 2017

    "Since I got a newborn puppy, what helped me the most is tips about an unfamiliar dog."
  • DW

    Darian Woods

    Mar 21, 2016

    "This article helped me learn how to get my dog to obey."
  • DB

    Daniel Blair

    Mar 21, 2016

    "All this information is helpful, thank you."
  • TC

    Teresa Carpenter

    Jun 6, 2016

    "Easy to understand. Pictures helped too."
  • AS

    Audrey Smith

    Aug 26, 2016

    "It all seems true!"
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