Thursday, February 17, 2005

Love Languages of Dogs

Gary Chapman's Love Languages books (for couples, teens, singles, children, God, etc.) revolutionized the way people express love to one another. For some, he claims, love is best communicated with acts of service; for others through quality time; still others through words of affirmation or tangible gifts. We communicate love best, the author maintains, when we use the love languages of the receiver, not the ones we prefer.

My husband's primary love language is physical touch: hand holding, neck rubs, a hand rested on his shoulder. My love languages are quality time and words of affirmation. The problem comes when I try to communicate love to him via my love languages, not his.

I think the same could be said for dogs (note to Gary Chapman: we need a Love Languages of Labradors book).

Baxter's love language is probably quality time. He loves to play. He craves our undivided attention. He wants to spend time, lots of time, playing and romping and hanging out--he doesn't care what it is as long as we're together. Elsie's love language is probably gifts: she's forever depositing gifts at the back door (old buried bones, pieces of wood, toys long ago lost outside, uprooted plants from the garden).

Then there's Ridge. He doesn't need undivided attention and he's not too enthralled with gifts. What he loves more than anything else is touch. Oh how he loves to be touched! He and Don are similar in that regard. Touch communicates love to them.

Don's away this week, so Ridge isn't getting his fair share of touching. And it shows. I'm just not a touchy-feely kind of gal. Words, time, gifts: I'm good at these. But touch? That's a stretch for me.

But stretch I will. Because I love Ridge. And I love my husband even more. Loving them, just as loving my children, has meant stepping outside my comfort zone to offer what they want and need (not just what I'm comfortable giving). I guess that's, in part, what is meant by the term "sacrifical love."

Thanks for the lesson on Love Languages, Gary. Little did you know your theory would work well for canines, too. I think I'll go give Ridge an ear rub now.

'Til next time,


Cheryl said...

Sounds like a great book. I'm going to have to give it a read!

Joan said...

The book holds a really interesting premise, Cheryl, and one I've found to be true. Read the first one (The Five Love Languages). You can get it used at for just over $5.00. Here's the link:

The first defines the languages best, I think. Take it for what it's worth; I thought there were some valid observations in this book and some helpful tips.

It may also be at your public library.


Anonymous said...

Have you read Bones Would Rain from the Sky by Susan Clothier? I love dog/human relationship books and this one is one I am really enjoying.


Joan said...


No I haven't read that one yet, but I'll put it on my "to read" list. It sounds interesting. Thanks for the suggestion.