How Do Dogs Say Thank You? Signs And Behaviors

Gratitude is an essential attribute that humans possess. Showing gratitude fosters a good relationship is a beautiful feeling. This feeling is common to the person showing gratitude and the person on the receiving end.

We experience gratitude as humans, but is it the same with animals? Animals also have various ways to show gratitude, although it may not be the same as people. 

The animal that people mainly deal with and have as a pet is a dog. So, how do dogs say thank you? Do they feel gratitude? Read this out to find the answer for yourself.

Do Dogs Feel Gratitude?


Dogs are an integral part of people’s lives, especially the ones that live as pets with their owners. You do so much for your dog out of pure love and care.


Humans have a strong bond with dogs and will take care of them as a family. Dogs also show the same behavior and love their owners very much.


You would have experienced the unstoppable licks and adorable tail wags whenever you come home to your dog. You would have seen it get excited when you handed over some treats to it.


Dogs do feel gratitude, and they have their ways of thanking you. 

How Do Dogs Say Thank You? Signs And Behaviors

Dogs cannot speak, so they cannot say ‘thank you. However, if you pay close attention to their facial expressions and body language, there are many ways in which dogs show gratitude and appreciate you.


Once you know these non-verbal signs of communication, you will see how often your dog thanks you, even though you won’t imagine it would.


Dogs are also very receptive to their owner’s feelings. So, you must pay close attention to any cues it may be showing and express your feelings to it.


Let’s find out how dogs express gratitude.


  • Dogs Smile

You might not believe the fact that dogs do smile. You can try it out by giving your dog a treat or a belly rub.


Watch your dog’s facial expressions carefully. You will notice a slight smile on its face as a way of expressing gratitude for your actions.


You can see this when you do something it enjoys or gives something it wants. Smiling is a way in which dogs show gratitude.

  • Dogs Cuddle 

We cuddle for many reasons. For love, protection, safety, gratitude, etc. Dogs like it when their owners hug them. It makes them feel loved and cared for.


Similarly, dogs also cuddle you to say thank you. If you give them a treat or praise them, they will come to you for a cuddle.


You should also cuddle your dog at other times. Dogs watch you and learn a lot for themselves in this manner. So, you must show them how you feel and express your feelings openly.

  • Dogs Give Kisses

Dogs also love to kiss their owners to show how much they mean to them. Your dog will come to you and lick your face when it feels like showing gratitude.


It is why your dog comes running to you and licks your face as soon as you come home. It misses your presence and is thankful that you’re back home.


You would also see the same behavior whenever you give your dog a treat or something it likes. Kissing also helps you develop a strong bond with your canine friend.

  • Dogs Wag Their Tails

It’s a known fact that dogs wag their tails when they’re happy. You would have seen your dog come running to you, wagging its tail when you came home.


It would have done the same whenever you gave it a toy or treat or played a game with it. Dogs wag their tails as a form of saying thank you. They thank you for giving them what they like or for spending time and being there with them.


Next time you do something for your dog, you can see it wag its tail as a form of showing gratitude.


  • Dogs Show Unconditional Love

It’s no surprise that dogs love their owners very much. They can feel your emotions and will be at your side.


Dogs understand it when their owners are sad, upset, or depressed. Has your dog ever jumped onto your lap while sitting on a couch feeling sad? Indeed it has, and that’s how much it loves you.


Dogs will show gratitude towards their owners through unconditional love if you, as an owner, show kindness to them too.

  • Dogs Are Very Protective

A Dog is very protective of its family. It considers its family as part of its pack. Dogs are also very loyal to their owners. They know that their survival is connected to the survival of their pack. So, they will do anything and everything to protect their pack.


Gratitude depends a lot on how you treat your furry friends. You must spend time bonding with your dog. 


“Take your dog out for walks or hikes. Play a game with it. How much time you spend with your dog matters the most when creating a strong bond with it”, says Thomas M. Villalpando, a dog behavior expert with over a decade of experience training over 100 dogs.


All of this cultivates affection and strengthens your relationship with your dog. In return, your dog will show gratitude for all that you do for it.

  • Dogs Try To Grab Your Attention

Dogs are a bunch of attention-seeking animals. They love it when their owners praise them. If you ignore them, they will be upset and come to you hoping to grab your attention.


You should also show them that you care for them and love them. This way, both you and your canine are happy. Your dog will know you are there for it no matter what happens.

Dogs And Gratitude


Dogs express gratitude by looking into your eyes and taking comfort in your calm. They may not be able to express gratitude through language, but they do it through energy and actions.


Dogs cannot lie. So, what you see from your dog at a specific moment is how it feels right then. 


There are many things that your dog is thankful for, including the following.


  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Walks
  • Hikes
  • Playtime
  • Comfortable bed
  • Food
  • Belly rubs
  • Simply you being there for them

Body Language And Other Signs


These are the body language cues and other signs which show that your dog has feelings of gratitude.


Body language


  • Barking
  • Guarding
  • Staying alert
  • Jumping up
  • Panting
  • Wagging tail
  • Tail up
  • Ears up


Other signs


  • Cuddling
  • Kissing
  • Licking your face
  • Following you around
  • Running in circles
  • Wanting to play

How To Train Your Dog To Feel Gratitude


The fact is that either your dog will show gratitude or none at all. There is no in-between state. A lot depends on how you treat your dog and show love. You must form a solid and loving bond with your dog so that you understand each other.


Here’s what you can do to build a loving and trusting relationship with your dog.


  • Spend a lot of time with your dog.
  • Play games with your dog.
  • Teach your dog new tricks.
  • Take your dog for walks and hikes.
  • Go swimming with your dog.
  • Praise your dog verbally.
  • Give belly rubs and snuggle with your dog.


Most importantly, tell your dog that you love and care for it. Although it cannot speak, it will be able to understand what you are saying. It will make your dog happy and show gratitude for this reason.

What Do Dogs Teach Us About Gratitude


There are a lot of things that dogs teach us about gratitude. Although, as humans, we need to show more gratitude, dogs can teach us a lesson or two about the subject.


Dogs teach us to appreciate the small things in life, such as having food to eat or someone to take care of us.


Dogs also show us the gift of unconditional love. They accept their owners the way they are simply because of their loving bond.


Dogs teach us the value of true companionship. Dogs are always by your side whether you’re rich or poor, happy or sad. 



Dogs may not be able to speak, but there are many ways in which it expresses gratitude to their owners. Dogs say thank you through various body language cues and other signs.


You must cultivate a loving relationship with your dog. Spend more time with your dog, doing things it enjoys. This way, it will reciprocate your feelings and express gratitude towards you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Dogs Lick To Say Thank You?


Dogs lick you as a form of showing gratitude.

What Animals Show Gratitude Other Than Dogs?


Other animals, including chimpanzees, cats, impalas, and antelopes, show gratitude to humans and sometimes to each other.




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