Dogs are loyal animals by nature. Building a strong bond with your dog is important and will add so much value to your life. Whether you just brought home your new best friend and are wondering how to establish a bond from the start or you are looking for ways to strengthen your bond, these tips are sure to help.
Create a Routine
Establishing a solid routine will help to build trust and consistency with your dog. Your dog will know what to expect and how the days will generally play out. These can be simple routines like taking your dog out around the same time every morning for bathroom breaks, taking an evening walk after work, etc. This will allow your dog to learn to trust you will take care of their needs and look forward to these daily activities.
Allow your Dog to “hang out” in your Space
It is not realistic to think you can spend all your time catering to your dog. Many of us have busy lives full of work, family, and other important obligations. By just allowing your dog to be close to you while you are working on other things will help to strengthen their bond with you. If you are working from home on the computer, consider allowing your dog to be in your office with you. Although you are not actively giving them attention, they will feel better being physically near you. I do this with my dog, Lacy while I am cooking dinner every evening.
Do Activities Together
This might seem like an obvious tip but it is important, so it needs to be included. Quality time together is vital in building a strong bond with your dog. Take your dog on walks, go for hikes together, and play fetch. Check out this post for more ideas on activities to do with your pup.
Hand-Feed your Dog
Hand-feeding your dog is such a simple but strong way to build trust. It requires your dog to put all their focus and attention on you and boost their confidence. You can choose how often you want to hand-feed your dog. Hand-feeding really helped to build trust with my dog, Lacy. She is cautious by nature and feeding her that way really helped to build our bond. This method also works with Lacy when family comes over to visit. Sometimes, they will hand-feed her a treat until she starts to feel more comfortable around them. Try it out with your dog to see if it helps.
Brush your Dog Regularly
Not only is this good for your dog’s coat in general but this habit will help to strengthen the bond between you two. Similar to petting your pup, brushing can help to relieve stress and anxiety and be something your dog looks forward to. My dog, Maverick loves to lay down while I brush his coat. Try and find a calm time, maybe at night while you watch your favorite show, to brush your dog.
Cuddle with your Pup
While some dogs are bigger cuddlers than others, most will appreciate being close to their human. My dogs are polar opposites when it comes to cuddling. Maverick lives to be cuddled and could lay in my lap all day if he could. Lacy prefers not to be cuddled but likes to be nestled next to me in close proximity. Being close to your dog helps to ease anxiety and makes them feel comfortable. They will associate those feelings of comfort and protection with you which will help to strengthen your bond.
Praise and Positivity
Just as people, dogs like to be encouraged and praised for positive behaviors. Using a lot of positive language with your dog will help to build a “team” mentality between the two of you. In return, your dog will want to do more behaviors that will bring them praise. It is important to reinforce positive behaviors throughout their entire life, not just puppyhood.
While this post focuses on the good and how to strengthen the bond between you and your dog, there are ways to damage that bond you will want to avoid.
Not Providing Enough Mental/Physical Stimulation
Your dog wants to feel cared for and needs to have time throughout their day where they have the opportunity to get out their energy- both physically and mentally. Many dogs can become destructive out of boredom and not having those basic needs met. This will cause frustration for both you and your dog.
There are right ways to discipline and there are wrong ways. Yelling and scolding your dog will only cause them to feel anxious and scared. If this becomes a habit, your dog can start to associate you with those feelings of fear and confusion. Your dog is supposed to feel at peace and most comfortable when they are by your side, but if you are harsh with them, those feelings will be the complete opposite.
Harsh Training Techniques
Most dog parents have the best of intentions when it comes to training their pup. It is important to research and learn proper ways to positively train a dog. Using harsh training can do some major damage to how your dog feels about you. If you yell, shout, or hit your dog in response to negative behaviors, your dog will feel scared, confused, anxious, etc. It would be wise to seek professional advice from a certified trainer to learn best practices when it comes to this important topic.
No Quality Time
If you are too busy for your dog and never spend time establishing that relationship, your bond will suffer. Your dog will likely not feel close to you and will not gain the trust needed to have a tight-knit bond. Make sure you are scheduling time for walks, training, playing, and just being with your dog in general. Every breed, even individual dog, is different and requires a different amount of attention. Some breeds are a bit more independent than others but I believe every dog, no matter what, wants to feel loved by their human.
Love this Content? PIN IT!