Sure, he’s man’s best friend, but that doesn’t mean a great relationship with your dog is a given. Every canine is different and some form bonds much more readily (and faster) than others.
If you’re looking to forge a connection that will last forever (and even longer in doggie years), you’ll need to put in a little work. The good news? It’s all pretty fun.
Top Ways to Forge a Solid Relationship with Your Dog
Spend time together.
Like any relationship, your friendship with your dog depends on quality time spent together.
Whether you’re going for walks, playing fetch in the park or simply relaxing in front of the TV or on the front porch, your dog will begin to feel connected to you as you share activities and time.
If you’re busy (and who isn’t?), find ways to let your dog know she’s part of the family. Let her tag along to the hardware store (usually it’s allowed) and try to limit the amount of time your dog spends home alone.
Get him some training.
If spending time with your dog is a chore in itself or you’re unable to take him anywhere because of his behavior, your best bet is to get your dog some formal training.
Once you have a trained dog on your hands, you’ll be able to trust her more and give her greater freedom – like running in the park without a leash (if it’s legal in your area) or joining you while running errands around lots of people.
Training is the best way to empower both of you to build your relationship productively.
Get on the floor.
Dogs might love humans, but it’s important to remember that they’re definitely different species. That’s why it’s important to “play” with your dog.
Think of your dog like a child. No toddler is going to want to spend all her time parked in front of a TV or computer. So give your dog some play sessions on his level. You’ll quickly see how your relationship benefits.
Learn to communicate.
Most dogs aim to please, but not all dogs are great with communication.
When she misunderstands a command or signal, you might lose your temper, she might get frustrated, and that’s not doing anything for your relationship.
Work on being very consistent with your communication. Use the same visual cues and vocal commands, and try to be adept to the times when your dog gets confused.
Just like all relationships, your bond with your dog hinges on clear communication.
Don’t lose it.
Especially with young dogs, it’s easy to lose your temper and yell, throw something or generally “freak out.” This won’t help you bond with your dog – like at all!
Dogs have emotions too and they often feed off the energy you’re putting out. Calm, rational words and actions work better than fits of temper.
Treat her now and then.
Like anyone, your dog loves a good culinary treat here and there. And believe it or not, dogs also relate good food to love and care.
While you want to keep your dog’s health top of mind, feel free to throw a tasty treat in the bowl every now and then.
Board them with love.
Just because you have a dog doesn’t mean you have to give up vacations, long weekends or even a hectic work schedule.
When you board your dog, it’s important to do so at a place that knows how dogs should be treated. Make sure the boarding service or doggie daycare employs educated, passionate, dog-loving professionals to care for your pup, and make sure the environment is both calming and playful! Your doggie’s time away should be fun!
Your turn: how are you making your relationship with your doggie better?