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Some naysayers would argue that dogs don't have the same ability as humans to show gratitude.
As a dog trainer, I see it daily.
In fact, a dog's sense of loyalty is one of the species' greatest qualities.
Many of the dogs we train are rescue dogs, and I am utterly convinced that most of them know they have been rescued, and are keen (sometimes too keen!) to show their new owners just how grateful they are. Some very quickly will bark or challenge any stranger (to them) approaching their new owner, as they feel this strong sense of gratitude can best be demonstrated by protecting their new owner.
We have trained many dogs that 'were due to be put to sleep the following day' and some of them have turned out to be just about the best dogs their owners could have wished for.
For a dog to really behave properly, there must, however, be a balanced mix of trust, bond and respect. We often come across cases where the bond element is extremely high, but the respect is a little lower, and the trust is a little lower again. Trust is a major issue with rescue dogs (understandably) and so professional advice on the best type of exercise to build trust from your canine companion should be sought.
It doesn't take a major heroic act such as saving your life to know your dog is grateful. We have all heard stories about dogs that have saved their pet parents from major fires or other disasters. However, here are the small acts they generally do daily that let you know they are grateful:
Although your dog may not be able to bark 'thank you', know that their actions speak louder than words. Remembering all the ways your dog shows gratitude is truly something to offer extra thanks for.