The 5 Love Languages of Pets (+ Quiz)
With both Valentine’s Day and Love Your Pet Day in February, it’s a great time to learn more about the 5 love languages of pets.
Knowing your pet’s love language can help you to understand your furry companion better as well as strengthen your bond. Learning more about your pet’s love language can also be helpful with training, as you’ll know what motivates them the most - verbal praise, petting, or treats.
The original concept of love languages was created by Gary Chapman over twenty years ago as a way to describe the primary ways people express and receive love and affection. The five love languages are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
Like humans, cats and dogs will also show their love for their pet parents and families in a variety of ways — some like to cuddle, while others prefer spending time together in separate spots of the same room.
What is your pet’s love language? Let’s find out!
1. Words of Affirmation
Pets whose love language is Words of Affirmation will literally turn themselves inside out when they receive verbal praise. These are the pets who show their love for you by purring and vocalizing (cats) or by wagging their tail intensely and barking (dogs). For pets whose love language is Words of Affirmation, verbal praise should be at the center of your time together and can be very useful when training your pet. If this sounds like your pet, then “Who’s a good girl?” and “That’s my good boy!” will go a long way to show them you care.
2. Physical Touch
Pets who crave physical affection, seek out petting and closeness, and give out an abundance of kisses in return may be speaking the love language of Physical Touch. Although most pets like belly rubs and ear scratches, these pets can’t get enough! Affectionately known as “velcro pets,” they might return the love by rubbing against your legs or laying down on or next to you, as they look for that physical closeness. These special cats and dogs need lots of physical affection and closeness to feel loved and secure. Pats and scratches are also very motivating for them and can be a great training tool.
3. Quality Time
Does your pet like nothing better than jumping in the car, going for a walk or hike, or playing a rousing game of chase-the-laser-pointer with you? You might have a pet whose love language is Quality Time. Reinforce your bond by spending time with your pet doing what they enjoy most! Similar to those pets whose primary language is Physical Touch, these pets also don’t like to be separated from their parents and may experience separation anxiety. If your pet becomes anxious to the point where they are engaging in obsessive or destructive behaviors when you leave, it might be time to chat with your veterinarian.
4. Receiving Gifts
These are the pets that go crazy when the delivery person comes because they know they are about to get a new toy or gift just for them. Likewise, cats and dogs whose love language is Receiving Gifts may like to bring you gifts of their own choosing. Do sticks, rocks, and dead animals left at your doorstep (or even worse, your feet) sound familiar? This may be your pet’s way of saying, “I love you.” These are pets who love new things to combat boredom and to stay active and engaged. Show them you love them by introducing a new bone, ball, or treat.
5. Acts of Service
Pets whose love language is Acts of Service are happiest when they have a job to do. Herding, playing fetch, performing commands, or learning new tricks are all great outlets to provide mental stimulation for these intelligent pets. Agility training is a great option for dogs like these, who love to feel useful and engaged. Celebrate your pet by lavishing praise on them and giving them a treat for a job well done!