To be honest, I had no idea how to bond with my dog or even how to deal with him when I adopted Jake. Consequently, the first weeks in Canada were chaotic, because I focused more on what the dog is doing than vice versa. However, during all the years I learned a lot about this and could strenghten the bond with the dog a lot. Here, I will show you on which aspects you should focus on and how you can also improve the relationship with your dog.
Bond with the dog – what does it actually mean?
There are quite a few indicators that show you how strong your bond with you dog is. One could be when he never comes to you out of own motivation or nearly always stays in other rooms instead of being in the room you are. When you take him for a walk and he rarely comes back when called or everything is more exciting than you, this can also be a point. When the dog shows aggressive behavior when feeded, this could be a sign that he doesn`t see a social partner in you. Logically, this is also influenced by the bond.
In the end, the bond is like an imaginary leash. When I do have a good relationship with my dog, he will literally stand next to you. When it is not the case, he won`t even be at the end of the leash, but anywhere on the other side of the yard. As with people, dogs have a strong bond to some humans, whereas having a weaker one to others. But what is important here?
Offer your dog appreciation, security and reliability
A fundamental basic of having a strong bond with your dog is appreciating the dog as the creature that he is. All animals have needs – like humans. Many of the needs are similar, others are different. Carrying the dog in your arms, lifting him up whenever a dog is coming close, coloring the claws, not offering a place to retreat or applying physical force (yep, also throwing the leash at the dog) has nothing to do with species-appropriate interaction. In contrast, he will most likely look for my companionship, if I respect his needs. Why should he NOT do it, if he finds everything he needs when being in your proximity?
Obviously, you should be reliable – so, be consequent and consistant! That concerns EVERYTHING you do. If I insist on “come!” today, then I cannot be consistent tomorrow. Also, when you feed the dog and give the command to eat, there is no day where the dog decides when to start. Particularly pack animals like dogs need someone they can rely on. This is why it is so important that you take the leading role.
As a consequence, your dog will feel safe. He can feel safe, no matter what might happen. You care for the food that magically comes out of a can or box and that doesn`t look like a fresh rabbit. You lead hime through the crowd of people through the inner city. Also, you are the one that know the best smelling yards and greatest other dogs you meet when having walkies.
Pay attention to your dog
Spending time together does not necessarily mean quality time. When everbody does his own stuff and there is almost no interaction, you miss the potential of improving the bond with your dog. In times of digitisation, you can recognise that on the example of walkies. Here you have numerous opportunities to play with the dog, let him go sniffing and marking, searching for objects or training commands. However, if you spend the majority of time with Facebook, Instagram and other apps, it doesn`t have anything to do with attention. It is the same, when I`d just walk the dog without having any communication. If the dog looks for eye contact and you are busy with other things or not attentive, what should the dog do then? (7 tips how to spice up your walkie and daily life with dog)
But also inside, you can do many things to strenghten the bond with your dog. Most of us already know that humans release the hormone Oxytocin whenever you e.g. cuddle with someone like dogs. However, the same effect is recognizable with dogs, which is a quite interesting fact. We can therefore cuddle the “bonding hormone” out of the dog! So, what are you waiting for?
All in all, you should not only spend sufficient time with your dog, but also have quality time. It doesn`t matter, if you spend some time with your mobile phone or other things. But it is about recognizing the dog as a social partner and to not spend the majority of time with other (less important) things.
Spend enough time to get to know your dog!
All of the described tips and support is logically only applicable, when you know your dog well. Very well. Of course, everybody claims to know the own the dog by heart. But if you are honest and think about: Have you really tried ANYTHING what your dog could like?
- Did you throw balls, frisbees and sticks to bring back?
- Does you dog liek to swim?
- Are you sure that he doesn`t like carrot slices?
- What about agility? Or brain games?
- He also may like to do spectacular stunts or simple tricks?
This small variety of acitivties is extendable much more, of course. As a consequence, it is worth it to spend much time! But isn`t it a great thing to go through life with your dog together and get to know each other better by doing so? I am always happy when Jake carries the newspaper, while I have enough to carry after my purchase. He really likes to do that and I can literally feel what a great pack we are. I have the impression that he walks with pride when carrying the newspaper. But it may also just seem like that, because it is so big and his legs so short.
Every human being is unique. Every dog is unique. Believe it or not. Consequently, the personalities and needs always differ at least a bit. The one dog loves to fetch balls, whereas for others (like Jake) fetching balls makes no sense. For them, searching for delicious pieces of cheese is much more enjoyable. After a while, you find out a lot of new things. Here is the chance to strenghten the bond by fulfilling the needs.
When we have spent a significant amount of time and know our dogs very well, we can offer them life quality. A crucial role play is the appreciation of the species dog and the respect for their needs. Our reliability and consistance makes the dogs feel secure, because he just needs to follow us. Now, nothing stands in the way of having strong bond with the dog!