how to bond with your dog

How to Bond With Your Dog

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There is no stronger bond between humans and animals than the relationship with man’s best friend. Dogs and humans have been living together for over 20,000 years.

We may descend mostly from apes but our emotional connection with canines is that much closer. How did the human/dog bond establish and how do we improve the bond with our dogs?

The Root of Dog Affection

We have domesticated and bred dogs to work and live with us. Their amazing work ethic and obedience have been used mainly by shepherds and hunters.

Their desire to interact with us has created a “will to please”. Dogs love human interaction and they have their own ways to express love.

If a dog falls in love with his owner, he will stay with him forever. Humans also fall in love with dogs and the aspiration towards having a long life companion has inspired us to breed dogs only for companionship like the Yorkshire Terrier.

Dogs have a need to feel safe, useful and wanted. They love spending time with us and that love will create confidence and loyalty.

Sadly some dogs are mistreated by their owner’s lack of affection leading to issues like separation anxiety or destructive and aggressive behavior. Those people don’t understand that dogs demand our attention because that is what we actually bred them for. To avoid this conflict, here are some tips on how to improve the bond with your dog:

Bonding With Your Dog

Nurturing or improving the bond with your dog should be prioritized in any dog training. If your dog doesn’t happily want to play or train with you then there is no point in it.

Recommended Reading: How to Exercise Your Puppy

1. Spending Quality Time

Take out at least half an hour a day to spend quality time with your dog. Exercises like playing or walking release endorphins and there is no quicker way in bonding than having a happy puppy.

When walking your dog outside, be aware of how your dog behaves and how he reacts to certain distractions. I see too many dog owners just pulling their dog behind them and not paying attention at all. Their lack of communication is deeply rooted but could easily be made better through practice.

Let your dog rest on your lap in the evening. That is a way they show affection by searching physical contact and if you offer it to him then he will surely be pleased.

2. Teaching New Tricks

Frequent training sessions not only satisfy your dog but will also improve your bond. Dogs crave mental stimulation and are eager to learn new things from you. Even if you don’t notice it, your dog is watching you throughout the day and is truly aware of your behavior.

You may want to check out my post 8 Easy & Unique Dog Tricks for Beginners which will give you many new ideas for quality training time with your dog.

3. Taking Your Dog on Adventures

As I already said, dogs love to spend time with us. So treat your dog once in a while and go on adventures with him, like hiking traveling, or visiting new cities.

Even if it just means that you take him with you to visit your relatives or friends, he will much appreciate the moments you spend with him. Every positive experience your pup gains with you accumulates to a much stronger bond.

4. Treat Your Dog

Make your dog a surprise and buy him his absolute favorite treats. Or bake your own following the plenty of recipes you can find on the internet and on Pinterest. Like playing, food relieves endorphins and especially his favorite food will boost his happiness.

Amalia loves when I treat her with bananas, coconut chips or sprats. Try out new things and really get to know your dog’s taste.

5. Show Your Dog Some Support

We always expect our dogs to be looking out for us and protecting us from danger. Although many dogs show their affection by doing that, our role as humans should be the same.

If there is a situation that throws your dog off and scares him, calmly pet him and assure that you always got his back. He will then have the strength to approach new things with more confidence and self-esteem.

If you are at a dog park and playing gets too rough and your dog can’t get out, immediately stop the fighting and save your dog. Do not just stand there and let nature do its thing. Your dog will only lose trust in you because you were not there for him.

6. Cuddle Up

Physical contact is very pleasant for dogs and it’s a sign of true love. The highest level of shared trust is by sleeping with your dog. While you don’t have to take him in bed with you, you can just cuddle up on the sofa and enjoy some intimacy.

7. Building Great Communication

Getting to know your dog and learning what he likes and dislikes is very important. Nobody knows your dog as well as you do. Your dog might show certain signs in specific situations where he may be doubtful of what to do. You must be there to reassure him and to build confidence.

Learn how your dog communicates his needs and fulfill them. That doesn’t mean you have to feed him the pizza you are eating just because he demands it. Your puppy might get nervous or restless when he is not feeling well or might bark when he is stressed.

Every dog of every breed is different and you have to only be able to perfectly communicate with your own companion. Also, be clear in how you communicate yourself. Dogs don’t understand sudden anger or frustration so never yell at your dog. You cannot let your communication be influenced by emotions.

8. Actions Speak Volume

As dogs obviously don’t speak our language they communicate only with their body language. We are used to telling our loved ones how important they are for us but that simply doesn’t work for dogs.

Actions are much more important to them than what you say. Every moment is a chance for teaching and learning. What you choose to do with your dog will be remembered by him.

9. Hand Feeding

In nature, mealtimes are times for rivalry, dominance or fear. Hand-feeding builds an enormous amount of trust and prevents food aggression later on.

It shows your dog that you are the provider of good things like food and that you do not intend on stealing it from him. You offer the most important source that canines have and it will set up a great base of training.

10. Rules Are Rules

Your dog needs to be fully sure of himself in his own home. He needs to know what he is allowed to and what not. Setting boundaries is extremely helpful and they need to be clear and consistent otherwise your dog will live in constant confusion.

Set some rules as soon as you can, at best before you even get a puppy. You have to sit down with your whole family and discuss what he is allowed to do and what should be permitted. Everyone has to always stick to these rules to avoid frustration. If you agree that your dog is not allowed on the bed then the kids cannot secretly let him sleep there.

11. Lining Out a Schedule

This also applies to schedules. Puppies thrive for routines in their daily lives. They give them comfort and assurance because they know what a typical day looks like and what to expect. Stick to this routine as close as possible.

Ask yourself these questions:

It could look something like this:

Source: Urban Potty

12. Reward Desired Behavior

It is always nice for a dog to hear what a good boy he is. If he does something you like and appreciate, encourage it by praising him verbally or feeding him with treats.

It doesn’t stop once he has learned something. Every time my dog sits before she goes out of the door, I praise her for that although she has done that a thousand times before. Every time I like how she walks on the leash, she gets a little pet.

13. Be Positive

Always be positive when interacting and talking to your dog. Especially puppy’s love to hear a high pitched voice and respond very well to that. If you train with your dog all grumpy, he probably won’t enjoy the experience. Have some fun, dogs are such happy and worriless creatures and we could learn something from that.

Signs of a Weak Bond

It is no shame if your dog shows some signs of a weak bond. You can work on them and establish more trust over time. Signs of a weak bond include:

Your dog won’t be very interested in you especially on walks or at dog parks. You are pretty much invisible to him. Especially the recall could need more training.

When you talk to him he will try to avoid eye contact and get distracted very easily. Also when you pet him, he will try to keep his distance. He can be pretty tired most of the time and doesn’t engage into play with you. If the door opens or if you let him off leash he might attempt to run off.

Signs of a Strong Bond

Your dog loves being around you and always pays attention to where you are going. Off-leash he will stay close to you and won’t attempt to run off.

He is very happy around you and always gets excited when he sees you. His tail wags and his body is full of joy. If you leave the room, he gets up to see what you are doing and where you are going.

He has a strong need to communicate and to interact with you on a daily basis. He is very happy to perform commands for you and puts real effort into it. You have strong communication and always know what your dog needs and wants.

When you play hide and seek, he won’t stop searching for you until he finds you. He is focused when looking at you and voluntarily chooses to do that.

On walks, he tries to match your pace and he constantly checks on you. In strange situations, he is concerned for you and wants to protect you. Your recall is very strong even in high distractive environments.

If many of these points apply to you, congrats you have established a great and strong bond with your dog and it can only get better.

I hope that these few tips could give you a better picture on how to bond with your dog. I am sure there are plenty more points I haven’t talked about but you can leave them in the comments down below.

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5 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for all these tips. Bonding with my new rescue had been a struggle and I didn’t know how to approach it appropriately. he is very fearful of other people and I hope that I can take this fear away from him.

    • Thank you for this comment Debrah. Great that you are taking on the work of resocializing a rescue dog. It’s a big responsibility but I know that you can do it.

  2. Heya, I would just like to tell you thanks for the post. I’m not one to leave a comment that often but continue the great work and many thanks for the quality posts.

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