Whether or not you realize it, you have your own way of showing and feeling love. There are a total of five “love languages” that most people are grouped into, with each category housing a different style preference for expressing and understanding love and affection. For example, you might feel most loved when someone spends quality time with you. On the other hand, your romantic partner might see love through acts of service—like washing their car or cooking breakfast. Love languages are often applied to people, but do animals have love languages? Many people believe they do. Just like animals have their own personalities, animals also have a love language. And if you have an emotional support animal (ESA), you might be curious to know what their love language is.
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The Five Love Languages
There are five types of love languages: receiving gifts, words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, and quality time. These types are the lens through which a person—or animal—sees love. Let’s take a look at the different love languages and see which language best fits your ESA.
1. Receiving Gifts
If you have a cat, you already know that most felines fall under the “receiving gifts” category of love languages. Cats often leave their owners a “gift”—or what they think are gifts—on the floor, like a piece of half-eaten food or a feather. Some cats may even have their gifts hanging from their mouths, like a dead lizard. Although we may perceive these gifts differently than they do, a cat sees them as an expression of love; they offer the object of their hunt and bring home a present for you!
2. Words of Affirmation
Dogs are especially notorious for responding to the words “good boy” or “good girl.” Just the words can set a doggie tail wagging. Huskies, for example, are very vocal. They often get their thoughts across through a set of whines, barks, and huffs, all different tones. Because they’re so verbally communicative, huskies are exceptionally responsive to words of affirmation. They like being told that they’re doing a great job and feel most loved when receiving kudos. Dogs understand us through our tone, facial mannerisms, and body language, so be sure to be very expressive when you convey love and approval towards your canine ESA.
3. Physical Touch
Physical touching is one of the most obvious love languages. For example, hugs give the body a burst of the hormone oxytocin, the “feel-good hormone.” Golden Retrievers often have physical touch as their love language. If you find your goldie leaning up against you, snuggling with you on the couch, or begging for belly rubs, then you know they’re looking for love. When an ESA places their head on your lap or licks your face, they’re informing you that you have their heart.
4. Acts of Service
German Shepards are known as working dogs and are one of the most obedient and service-oriented dog breeds. This is because German Shepards often have acts of service as their love language. They show their love for their owners by following orders and learning their commands quickly. According to the American Kennel Club, German Shepards may have an “aloofness,” especially when it comes to physical touch or verbal communication. However, they are incredibly service-oriented and will listen to commands well, preferring to show their affection through service acts. If your ESA demonstrates their love through service, they’re probably extremely obedient.
5. Quality Time
Some pets don’t like being left home alone, and a Border Collie is in that camp. These dogs don’t want to be away from their owners for long and do best when spending long periods with their owners. For these animals, quality time is their love language. Border Collies thrive on companionship and see love through time spent together. Some animals, like cats, will bring you a gift and then leave to bask in the sun. A Border Collie, on the other hand, seeks out long stretches of time for togetherness. If your ESA watches the minutes on their proverbial clock until you come home, then their love language is quality time.
Love Languages and Your ESA
It takes some time to identify your ESA’s love language, but your bond becomes more profound when you figure it out. By learning your emotional support animal’s love language, you’ll be less troubled by what you may perceive as a lack of interest in your pet. They’re probably drawn to you but speaking in a love language that you’re not expecting. Take the time to understand your ESA’s love language, and enjoy the love your ESA will shower you in.