10 Ways to Strengthen Your Bond With Your Dog
Dogs are one of the best friends you will ever have, but that doesn’t mean your relationship doesn’t take work. Many of us love our dogs very much. However, to establish a strong bond, love alone is not enough. The bond between you and your dog isn't something that automatically happens as soon as you bring a dog home. It's something that takes work to build and can grow over time.
Here are 10 ways you can strengthen your bond with your dog
- Spend time together.This may sound strange, but when was the last time you really just sat with your dog and focused on him? A relationship is about being with one another and sharing experiences, so time spent together strengthens it, especially if you spend that time in enjoyable ways.
- Train Together. Positive reinforcement training is all about strengthening the bond between you and your dog. Well-trained dogs are allowed greater freedom. If they come when called, they get to spend more time off leash. Your dog will come to see you as “the giver of all good things” and working together to solve problems will make you stronger together. Training also reduces frustration because when you ask your dog to do something he’s been taught to do, he knows what you want.
- Touch your dog. There is strong evidence that physical contact such as grooming and petting lowers stress in shelter dogs, which is measured by reductions in both heart rate and the stress hormone cortisol as well as by an increase in the anti-stress hormone oxytocin. This has led researchers to believe that physical contact plays a role in enhancing the bond between people and dogs.
- Play Together. Play is so important! Scientists have observed that across a variety of species, parents who play with their children have the closest relationships with them, and this also seems true in relationships between people and dogs. Dogs love to have that time with you and it truly does strengthen your bond.
- Put a little love into their food.The way to many a dog’s heart is through the stomach, and preparing healthy, tasty food for your dog shows you care. You can choose to have a picnic Look for a dog-friendly park and then pack a dog-friendly lunch for both you and your dog.
- Respect your dog. A lot of the times, we are so focused on what we want, that we forget our dog is a living being with his own likes and dislikes. Knowing your dog’s preferences, favorite games and foods means that you can give him what he really wants and be the source of all things wonderful. Your dog will trust you more if he knows you are not going to force him to do something he doesn’t like and your bond will grow stronger.
- Build Trust Together. You can’t have a strong bond without trust. When you can identify the signs that your dog is anxious or scared, it will be easier for you to protect or remove your dog from situations that make him uncomfortable. If your dog can count on you to keep him safe, the trust between you will be better and so, therefore, will your relationship. Help your dog trust you by remaining calm and not using aversive training methods.
- Travel Together. Next time you go on a trip, don’t leave your best friend behind. Instead, take him with you. New adventures are a great way to strengthen any bond.
- Take your dog to work.Some companies set aside a single day a year for pet owners to bring their pets into work. While he’s at the office with you, take him around to meet co-workers and their pets. Take him for a long walk on your lunch break, and bring plenty of treats to keep him happy through the day.
- Buy a new toy together. Visit a pet store and let your pooch pick out his own new toy or treat. There are lots of doggie playthings that will stimulate your dog both mentally and physically, and entertain him for hours.
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