9 Ways Golden Retrievers Show Affection (How to Know Your Golden Loves You)

As a dog owner, I can guarantee that the greatest thing about owning a dog is the unconditional love they give and how they show it, dogs can show affection in different and many ways.

Some of them are really obvious and do not need research to notice but the other ways are kinda like hidden signs that you probably didn’t realize that means that your dog is being affectionate.

So, how do golden retrievers show affection? Golden retrievers can show affection in many ways including rubbing their nose on you, licking you, bringing you things as gifts, wagging their tail while they are looking at you, putting their paw on you, resting on your lap, making eye contact with you and blink slowly, or trying to cuddle with you.

Keep reading to learn more about how to tell if your golden loves you and how to let them know that you love them as well.

How do golden retrievers show affection?

golden retriever with woman to show how golden retrievers show affection

Golden retrievers like to show affection by licking the person they love, wagging their tail, they may bring you dead animals, sleeping on your clothes because it has your smell on them, guarding their owners while they are eating, sitting on your lap, or wherever you are sitting they are going to be next to you and sleeping on your spot after you leave.

Let’s break them down and briefly discuss how your golden retriever is likely to show affection;

9 ways golden retrievers show affection 

  1. Rubbing their nose on you 
  2. Licking you 
  3. Bringing you things
  4. Wagging their tail 
  5. Putting their paw on you 
  6. Resting on your Lap 
  7. Making eye contact 
  8. Trying to cuddle with you 
  9. Getting excited when they hear your name.

Rubbing their nose on you 

One of the most common ways of a golden retriever showing affection is rubbing their nose on you, well, dogs do it in general so they can gather as much information about you as possible, and they do it with other dogs as well.

So if your golden retriever rubs his nose on you then it’s a sign that your pup loves you.

Licking you 

This one is pretty obvious, so yeah when your pup licks you it means that they love you, and in their world, their licks are equal to our kisses.

Dogs groom each other by licking as well, so if your pup licks you, it means that they consider you as one of their pack and they got your back. 

Bringing you things

Golden retrievers can also express their love to you by bringing gifts and by gifts I mean things like your sock that they found, a shoe, or a stick they found in the backyard, however, that doesn’t mean that these gifts aren’t incredibly cute coming from them.

So the next time your golden brings you anything, let them know that you care about them too and praise them a little bit. You can learn more about why your golden brings you things here.

Wagging their tail 

When goldens are happy they wag their tails and it’s the ultimate body posture sign of love, so if your retriever wags his tail every time you walk in the room or when they hear your name then your pup loves you and that’s their way to show affection.

Putting their paw on you

Goldens usually put their paws on you so they can have your attention so they are basically saying love me, please.

So if you are doing something and they put their paw on you, you should pay more attention to them or just give them the attention they crave throughout the day so they don’t have to ask for it.  

Resting on your lap 

If your golden leaves the whole room and chooses to rest on your lap then it’s a big sign of love, dogs tend to show that they trust people by letting themselves be vulnerable around them and trusting you enough to let their guard down when they are sleeping on your lap.

So the next time your dog does this, make sure to pet them and tell them that you love them.

Making eye contact 

All Animals, in general, use eye contact to communicate, and when dogs look into your eyes, they release oxytocin (the bonding hormone).

So if your golden usually makes eye contact with you then they definitely love you.

Trying to cuddle with you

Golden retrievers are known for being cuddly pets, they express their love and show affection to their owners by cuddling.

If your golden loves you, then they are always going to be close to you, for example, if you are watching a movie with your family, they will choose to sit on your lap, next to you, or even on the floor in front of your feet.

They can also show affection by hugging you just like humans.

Getting excited when they hear your name

If your dog gets excited whenever they hear your name then bro, that’s true love.

You can notice if someone calls you and your golden wake up from the nap, they do a little jump, they wag their tail, or they smile. 

How to tell if your golden loves you? 

You can tell if your golden loves you if they get so excited every time they see you, they follow you everywhere you go, or they maintain eye contact with you, also, they may get things such as a sock, their favorite toy, a shoe, or even a stick.

When goldens love their owners they show them that they trust them by putting themselves in vulnerable positions around them, for example, if you are cuddling with them and they give you their back, it means that your pup trusts you. 

7 Reasons a golden retriever may not show affection?

There are many possible reasons why a golden retriever may not show affection, here are the most common ones.


If Your golden had previous owners then they may be scared to show affection because of a trauma that their previous owners caused.

It could be that whenever your golden tried to show affection they mistreated them so they stopped showing affection.

However, they can still show affection but you need to give them unconditional love and show them that you can never hurt them, it’s going to be a slow process but it’s totally worth it. You can learn more about how to slowly help your golden get over their fears in my guide on why some goldens are afraid of everything here.


If your dog usually shows affection but stops doing it for a period of time it could be they are not comfortable showing affection around certain people.


One of the possible reasons why your golden is not showing affection may be their nature.

It’s more likely the reason if they never showed any affection, or they show affection but in small gestures.


If they suddenly stopped showing affection then they are probably ill or injured so they are feeling uncomfortable and can’t behave normally.

So if you noticed any other changes in their behavior then maybe you should take your pup to the vet to see what’s wrong.


Your pup could be depressed and if you notice any other signs of depression, you should take them to a behaviorist or their vet.

Here are some signs of depression in dogs.

  • Sleeping more than usual 
  • Losing appetite 
  • Changes in their behavior 
  • Having a little enthusiasm 
  • Appearing restless

Lack of socialization 

If you didn’t socialize with your golden retriever, then they may not be able to show affection properly so make sure to socialize with your puppy.


Finally, it could be that your golden retriever is getting older so it’s normal for them to be less affectionate.

You are going to notice that they are also losing interest in things they were obsessed with and they are not as active as they used to be.

How to make your golden retriever love you more? 

In order to make your golden retriever love you more, you should bond with them, and here is how you do it.

  • Spend as much quality time as possible just the two of you, that way they can focus all of their attention on you.
  • Play games with them such as fetch, tug-of-war, or find the treats.
  • Travel with them and try different activities with them such as hiking.
  • Try to associate your name with positive things and you can do that by giving them a treat whenever anyone says your name.

You can learn how to hike with your golden retriever here. It’s a full guide that covers everything from training your golden to the pro tips that can make the hike easier on both of you, make sure to check it out.

You can also learn how to help your golden live a longer and better life here.

How to tell your dog that you love them?

Here is how you can tell your dog that you love them.

  • Read to them 
  • Talk to them 
  • Use positive reinforcement
  • Make time for them daily
  • Massage them.

Read to them

Just like babies, reading to your dog can bring them some kind of peace when they are with you, and when you are reading to them, make sure to use your facial expressions to describe what you are reading, also, use an upbeat voice. 

Talk to them

Talking to your dog will let them know that you like to communicate with them, plus, dogs are really smart and they understand us when we tell them that they are being good and that we love them.

Use positive reinforcement 

The best way to tell your dog that you love them is by using positive reinforcement and training because by doing that you have to give your dog treats whenever they do a good job and they will see you as the person who loves them and give them treats whenever they are well-behaving.

Make time for them daily 

Making time to hang out with your pup daily is a life changer and just like humans, dogs appreciate the effort and the attention.

Make sure to hang out with them at the same time every day, for example, you can make that time after coming back from work and just focus on them. 

Massage them 

Dogs can know that you love them if you rub their belly, ears, or back, it’s in their language that massage means love.

So maybe the next time your pup crawls to sit on your lap or just lay their head on your leg, try rubbing their ears ( the ears are an important spot for nerve endings), and when you massage their ears, it releases endorphins all throughout your pup’s body.

Why do golden put their head between your legs?

Believe it or not, dogs can put their head between your legs for many reasons, so here are the most common reasons why your golden puts their head between your legs.

  • They are nervous 
  • Excited 
  • They are scared and that’s how they feel safer 
  • Seeking for comfort 
  • They are suffering from a lack of confidence 
  • Struggling with anxiety 

Keep an eye on them to notice what is causing them to behave that way, for example, if they do it while there are loud noises around them then your pup is scared and you should comfort them if they did it as soon as they a certain person then your pup is nervous and you should take them away from that one person.

Do golden retrievers like to cuddle?

Yes, golden retrievers love to cuddle, they usually bond with their owner by cuddling.

Golden retrievers are incredibly loyal and friendly so they love nothing more than spending some quality time with their loved ones.

So if you ever feel that your golden retriever is feeling down, just cuddle with them and they will immediately cheer up.

If you like this article, you can share it with your friends and family, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me here.

Related Questions 

Do all dogs love their owners?

Yes, all dogs love their owners and based on a study, the scent of their owner excites the dog more than any other thing, however, all dogs form a strong bond with their owners whether it’s only with their favorite person or with the whole family.

Why do golden retrievers put their paws on you?

Golden retrievers put their paws on their owner when they want to get their attention, or it can also mean they are trying to show you some affection, so if you are talking to someone or busy doing and your golden puts his paws on you, try to give them some attention because they are feeling neglected.

What makes golden retrievers happy?

Golden retrievers are people pleasers and it’s easy to make them happy, for example, you can make them happy by spending some quality time, make sure they are healthy, give them daily exercise, show them that you love them, and give them lots of attention throughout the day.

Helpful Resources 

What makes dogs so special and successful? Love.

Dogs Have Feelings—Here’s How We Know

ways your dog is showing that they love you, according to veterinarians

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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