Strengthening the Bond with Your Pet

Dogs have long been named “Man’s best friend,” and for good reason. Dogs are full of unconditional love and can be a faithful and loyal companion to their owner for their entire lives. It is necessary, however, to nurture the bond as you would with any relationship if you want it to stay healthy. When it comes to dogs, that nurture will be unique. It is key to learn to communicate in a way your dog can understand in order for him to understand your expectations for him as a dog living in a human’s world.

 

Spend Quality Time Together

In order to have a relationship at the most basic level you need to spend an adequate amount of time together. Do not confuse quantity of time with quality of time. Instead be intentional about planning activities that your pet enjoys as a part of your regular schedule. A daily walk is great but additional activities such as throwing the ball or playing tug may be just what your dog needs to know that his master “gets” him.

Clearly Communicate Expectations

Good communication is at the center of a healthy relationship between you and your pet. We can confuse our pups when we talk to them as human beings and then are beside ourselves when they do not respond accordingly. When training for instance, be sure to give one word commands and use a distinct hand signal for each one. Use the same word and signal whenever you want him to repeat the action. Your consistency is key to his success.

Feed Healthful Food and Treats

Part of showing your dog that you care is providing the most healthful foods for him that you can. Dogs are carnivores and do not do well on grains. Check dry food labels and choose grain free as well as preservative free foods to promote your dogs health and quality of life. You should show the same concern for treats as many contain dyes and preservatives which affect your dogs behavior as well as wheat and other grains that are bad for his health. A great alternative is to make your own treats with simple ingredients you may have on hand. Refrain from giving your dog people food which can upset his stomach and lead to illness or obesity.

Get Back To The Basics

Training your dog to obey basic commands will result in a more focused and obedient dog which will earn him your favor and trust. Take the time to train and reward your dog for his obedience and you will both reap the benefits. This will eliminate lots of stress so you can spend less time yelling at your pup and more time enjoying his loyalty. Play is also a highly valuable practice to engage in regularly. Your dog needs an outlet to expel energy and build confidence. Find out what gets your dogs tail wagging and have a ball together! It will create a calmer dog and strengthen your bond.

Be Worthy of Trust

Bonds are built on trust. In order for you dog to bond with you, you must show him that he can trust you. You have a job of protecting your dog from other animals as well as people. While on walks, keep you dog on a leash to detour him from stray dogs or from running into the street. Do not scream at or hit your dog. This is not constructive communication and will only teach your dog to fear you. Avoid putting your dog in uncomfortable situations whether it be around small children, loud noises, or whatever your dog’s pet peeve is.

Reach Out And Touch Somedogie

Why is it the natural response of people to want to reach out and pet a dog? Touch is an instinctive way of communicating trust and nurture. Your dog needs this basic assurance from his owner daily. It is said that actions speak louder than words and when you reach out to stroke your pet on the head or scratch that special spot that gets his leg thumping, he will come to believe that you love him and even help relieve stress. This has been measured by reductions in heart rate and the stress hormone cortisol as well as by an increase in the anti-stress hormone oxytocin. These results only confirms what we have known all along, that your willingness to invest your touch, time, and attention is all that is needed for your dog to remain this man’s best friend.

 

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