Five Ways to Strengthen the Bond with Your Dog
By: Jeff Noce, Voyce President
There’s a reason dogs are known as man’s (and woman’s) best friend. The relationship between human and canine is unlike almost any other in the animal kingdom. Whether helping us hunt, herd, guard, or just keep us company, dogs have been our faithful companions for thousands of years.
In modern times, our relationship with dogs has expanded even more. They’ve become full-fledged members of our families, sharing our homes and our couches. They come along on vacations, accompany us to restaurants and shopping centers, and go to special doggie daycares so they won’t get lonely during the day. For so many of us, life is quite simply unimaginable and incomplete without them.
If you’re a pup parent, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. No doubt, you’re extremely proud of the strong bond you share with your dog. As with most relationships, though, there are some simple ways to continue to improve it and bring the two of you even closer:
For so many of us, our time is consumed by work, hobbies or our human family. Since dogs ask so little of us, it can be easy to shift them to the bottom of our to-do list. But nothing will build the bond faster between you and your pup than spending time together, just the two of you.
So get outside for a quick walk. Take him for a car ride to pick up your prescription. Make a trip to the local pet supply store. The best part? It doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time; even 10 minutes a day will make a big difference.
When it comes to one-on-one time, training together is one of the best choices you can make. Whether it’s a formal obedience class or just teaching him a cool new trick at home, training sessions build trust, improve communication and exercise your dog’s body and mind.
You’ve probably noticed that dogs are creatures of habit and thrive on routines. They love knowing when and where they’ll get their walks, their meals and their potty breaks. They also love knowing what to expect from you, so try to stay consistent in both your behavior and rules. For example, if you have a “no dogs on the couch” rule, enforce it fairly and consistently. Only allowing them on the couch sometimes is confusing and can limit their trust in you and your actions.
Studies* have shown that when owners pet or groom their dogs, the powerful hormone oxytocin is released in both. This is the same “love hormone” that is produced to help parents bond with their human offspring. So the more time you spend petting your pooch or gazing lovingly into his eyes, the stronger your bond may become.
Respect your dog
Dogs, like people, are individuals. And, like us, they have particular likes and dislikes when it comes to affection, playtime, sleeping and food. Taking some time to get to know your pet’s preferences and then respecting them (as much as possible) will help increase your bond. So if, for instance, your pup is uncomfortable with hugs (many dogs are!), look for other, more Fido-friendly ways to show your love and affection.
I’d like to hear from you! If you have questions you’d like me to address on this blog regarding pet health or behavior, send an email to email@example.com.