Signs Your Dog Has Imprinted on You - Pet Hub USA

Signs Your Dog Has Imprinted on You

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Dog imprinting means that your dog has formed a strong and lasting bond and attachment with you. Dogs will engage in specific behaviors with the person they imprinted with. Here are the signs to watch for.

10. The Dog Follows You

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The most common sign a dog has imprinted on you is when they self-appointed themselves as your four-legged shadow. Dogs are pack animals. Viewing you as the pack leader, dogs will follow you everywhere to help ensure that the most valuable member of the pack is protected. You make them feel safe, they want to keep you safe.

9. The Dog Seeks Your Attention and Affection

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Generally, dogs are eager for a physical connection with humans. But for the person they imprinted on, it’s a much higher level. To get your attention, they will lick your face, lean or lay on you, or bring you a toy or a gift. Even the slightest physical contact given to the dog can release happy hormones such as oxytocin.

8. The Dog Checks in on You

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Your dog views you as the most valuable “pack member” and sees you as a possession it needs to guard. When you’re engaged in activities or new environments, the dog will “check in” with you. Your dog wants to ensure you’re okay while reassuring themselves. In new environments, your dog will look to you for signals it’s okay to relax.

7. The Dog Keeps Eye Contact With You

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Typically, in the animal kingdom, staring and eye contact are signs of physical aggression. Staring at unfamiliar dogs can result in getting bit. However, dogs have evolved to hold nonthreatening eye contact with loved ones. A dog that has imprinted on you will stare at you to express its affection. Ditto for a dog that winks or slow-blinks at you.

6. The Dog Snuggles With and Sniffs Your Stuff

white and black Cavalier King Charles spaniel lying on sofa inside the room
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A dog that has imprinted on you will snuggle with your stuff and/or want to sleep with you. It’s very common for dogs to steal shoes and socks. Your dog may get into your laundry. They’ll climb up in your bed and may want to curl up and sleep with you.

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5. The Dog Readily Follows Your Commands

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A well-trained dog will listen to commands issued by other people. However, when a dog imprints on someone, they will listen to that person more. High responsiveness to commands is a sign the dog has bonded with you deeply. Your dog seeks to please you. Strong command recall is vital as it can save your dog from potentially dangerous situations.

4. The Dog Mirrors Your Behavior and Mood

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Dogs have an uncanny ability to recognize human emotions and respond to our moods. Dogs can sense when humans are fearful, happy, agitated, or excited. Your dog will mimic this behavior. One study found that dogs yawned more when seeing a familiar person yawn, rather than an unfamiliar person yawn.

3. The Dog Exposes Its Belly

dog rolling on back

When a dog shows you its belly – the most vulnerable place on its body, exposing its vital organs – it’s a huge sign of trust. When the dog rolls on its back, for you to give a tummy rub, or does this while sleeping, it’s a sure sign they feel safe around you.

Read More: How to Introduce a New Puppy to Other Family Dogs

2. The Dog Gets Excited to See You

Dog in sweater play bowing

Anyone who’s owned a dog knows the excitement their dog expresses when they return after an absence. A dog that has imprinted on you can’t help but exuberantly express that it has missed your company and is happy to see you. Signs include tail-wagging, licking your face, jumping up to meet you, and sticking close and following you around thereafter.

Read More: Why Does My Dog Like to Lay on Me?

1. The Dog Is Distressed in Your Absence

White and Tan English Bulldog Lying on Black Rug
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

Attachment can become too strong. Signals of imprinting and anxiety often overlap. Examples: A “Velcro dog” that sticks to your every move, cuddles your belongings, or constantly seeks your company and attention. A dog that whines when you’re out of the room too long. Separation anxiety needs to be addressed by a behaviorist or trainer who specializes in anxiety.

Read More: 10 Signs Your Dog Is Unhappy

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