5 Ways Dogs Say Thank You

November 24, 2015

dog thankful andreBy Laurie Darroch

Even though our dogs don’t say thank you in words and may not truly understand the concept of giving thanks, they do say thank you to their human companions in their own unique ways. Dogs definitely do show their gratitude for our care, companionship and love. Here are 5 ways dogs thank us.

Licks and Tail Wagging

Although licks may be interpreted as a sign of affection, a soothing habit or a way for a dog to taste whatever is on your skin, licks can also be a way your dog says thank you for coming home or for giving them food, love and attention.

Tail wagging has different interpretations as well, but give your dog attention or a CANIDAE treat, or simply come home from a day away, and they are so grateful and happy to have you home.

However you interpret either physical act, your dog may simply be saying, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! ” and “I love you too!” while he repeatedly licks you and wags his tail exuberantly.


Whether your dog is cuddling, jumping around excitedly, barking, bringing you odd gifts, licking you, or any other interesting way they show their emotions, their behavior is a major way they communicate their happiness and gratitude at being a part of your life. It doesn’t take words f or your dog to convey their feelings any more than it does for human beings. The old expression, “Show me, don’t tell me” comes to mind.

When your dog obeys your commands and follows the rules, he is not only being good and showing respect for the leader of his pack, he is saying, “Thank you!” in appropriate behavior.

Cuddling and Leaning

Whether you came home with his favorite treat, played with him or simply gave him love and attention, you dog may show you special affection when he is trying to say thank you. Some dogs are big lickers and others are not, but the sheer happiness a dog can dog thankful nathanexhibit in their cuddling and leaning on you may be a way of saying thank you for whatever you brought them, did for them, or for the sense of belonging they have with you.


In the human world of personal relationships, real trust is usually something that is earned, not automatically given. It is the same for dogs, particularly if they have come from a less than stellar former life.

Trust is also associated with genuine love. The two often go hand in hand. Dogs give us unerring trust to care for them, share time with them, and protect each other. If your dog has given you trust in everything in their life, they are in essence saying not only “I love you,” but “Thank you!” as well.

Bearing Gifts

If your dog is a gatherer, he may be one that likes to bring you gifts. Sometimes the act is acknowledgment of your role as leader of their pack, or a way they contribute, or just  a sign of love on their part. Gift bearing can also be a way your dog shows gratitude to you for all the things you do to add to the richness of his life.

Whether the gift is a dead frog, a favorite toy or some ratty old treasure dug up in the backyard, your dog is proud to come bearing gifts. Try not to make too much of a face if it happens to be something that gives you the urge to squeal “Eww!” and rush to throw it out. Resist the urge, at least for a short time. That gift may be a real sign of honor and thank you from their perspective.

In this holiday time of giving thanks, include in your moments  of gratitude these wonderful four-legged creatures who show such amazing love and loyalty. Dogs say thank to their human companions in their own special language each and every day. It is all in how you view it and interpret it.

Top photo by Andre Hagenbruch/Flickr 
Bottom photo by Nathan/Flickr

Read more articles by Laurie Darroch

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