Dogs don’t actually speak the English. We talk to our dogs all the time, but since we also talk to our friends, neighbors and family in front of them, our dogs mostly hear the teacher from peanuts…
Telling your dog you love them has to happen in their language! Dogs, much like humans, enjoy physical affection, food, pampering and adventure. Show your dog love by meeting their needs. This can be walks, feeding special treats, ear rubs, or snuggling on the couch.
That being said, your dog (especially your brand new rescue dog) probably does not want you to hug him. Physical affection in the form of leaning or snuggling next to you is much more their speed.
Or you could always try “woof”.