Dogs are great at telling us how they really feel.  And now we can know just how much they love us by watching what happens to a dog's heart rate when owners are around.

CanineCottages.com talked with behavioral experts about the true meaning behind licks, begging, barking, and more, and they discovered what excites our dogs the most.  Seeing us come home from work is one of the best parts of their day, and there are other signs that they can't live without us too.

If our dogs lick us, it's a sign of appreciation.  And kinda gross, but they don't understand that picking up their toys and would be a more hygienic way to appreciate us.  So they lick.

Jen Austin - Townsquare Media

If our dogs go belly up, it's a great sign that they trust us.  The belly is a dog's most vulnerable section, and if they expose it they're exhibiting complete trust.  When Benny the Schnauzer sees me storm into the room after he's destroyed another prize possession, he immediately flips onto his back and exposes his belly, so I think it's a sign of submission too.  "The chief is mad, and I am under arrest. Oh no."  And then it's back to forgiveness and cuddles five minutes later because I can't stay mad at the little guy.

If our dogs curl up on our laps or lean into us, it's their way of saying they love us.  Sometimes, Libby, the Mini Pinscher will crawl onto my lap, stand up, and put her arms around my neck like she's hugging me, or tell me not to move, I'm not sure which. Love is strange.

After we've been away from home for a few hours and our dogs jump up on us to greet us, they're taking in all the scents we've picked up, to figure out where we've been.  It's a sign of curiosity and affection and we should be flattered.

We know that dogs can recognize certain phrases, and it turns out, some make them more excited than others.  My Libby almost pees herself when I repeat her name over and over at a high pitch.  She dances, wiggles, and wags, and throws her head back and scrunches up her shoulders like it's the only giddy thing left that she can think of to do. And sometimes she does tinkle a little.  Again, love is strange.

If we watch doggie heart rates, it seems the best thing we can say to our dogs is, "I love you."  Inflection probably matters, so they can match our excitement level.  But a dog's heart rate will increase by 46 percent, according to CanineCottages, when they hear the L-word.  Cuddles and lap time will increase a dog's heart rate by 22 percent, and seeing their humans will make their hearts race an extra 10 percent.

The dogs have gotten used to extra cuddles during the pandemic since we've been home so much, and if this is the new norm it would be just fine with them.