Developing a Bond with Your Pup

Let’s be honest for a minute…

There’s nothing quite fulfilling as the bond
between a dog and their beloved human.

New Picture (1)A dog’s attachment to you is fundamental to their overall well-being AND to yours. You can look it up. Dog owners have, as a general rule, healthier hearts; lower blood pressure, better cholesterol levels, lower stress and generally more active lifestyles.

There are lengthy articles and scholarly journals on the subject of this bond. However, our purpose here is not to analyze the dog and human relationship in a detailed manner. The purpose of this article is to provide you with a few simple and effective tips and techniques to help develop the bond between you, your family and your pup. After all, we want this to be his forever home!

The following tips are provided to help you and your dog have the relationship you both deserve.

1 – Spend Time Together. The process of bonding begins the moment you bring your pup home. You each begin learning about each other: your expectations, strengths, weaknesses, motivations, etc… The more time you spend together doing things, the more the relationship will grow and mutual trust and respect will develop. Remember, if you have adopted a dog that was abandoned or mistreated, this process will take longer.

2 – Provide for Your Pups Basic Needs. It seems simple, but is absolutely necessary to note. It is so important that The American Kennel Club includes it in their Responsible Dog Ownership Pledge. It reads, in part, “I agree to maintain my dog’s health, safety, and quality of life…” Remember, for many rescue dogs, these are things which have not always been provided in the past and the simple act of doing so goes a long way to developing that bond.

3 – Train Your Dog. Training has been shown to be the single most important thing that keeps a dog in his or her “forever” home. A positive reinforcement training program will reward your dog for doing what you want them to do. In doing so, it will quickly build trust and cooperation. Some specific benefits include:

• Time Together – Training is done as a team – together. In committing to training time together, you are also committing to one-on-one, quality time and your relationship will strengthen.

• Expectations – By learning what it is that you want them to do, they can achieve a primary goal: pleasing you.

• Confidence – Training improves your dog’s confidence and results in less anxiety and fearfulness – especially for those who were abandoned or abused.

• Mental Stimulation – A bored dog is often a destructive dog. Regular training provides exceptional mental stimulation and helps to burn off excess energy.

• Teamwork – Your dog learns to look to you for direction and guidance. You experience pride in your pups accomplishments.

• Happiness – A well-trained dog results in better behavior and a trained dog inevitably receives more affection from you and the general public, than an unruly one. Additionally, a well-trained dog is a fully participating member of the family and can join in whatever activities the family does together.

4 – Groom Your Dog. A clean, well-groomed dog is a happier and healthier pup. Regular grooming gives your dog experience with human touch / handling. In order to live safely in close contact with humans, dogs need conditioning to human touch. Grooming is an ideal way to provide this. Not only will grooming deepen your bond with your dog, it will also make physical examinations at the vet less stressful. An additional benefit, and one that is important, is that well-groomed dogs get more affection and that, of course, results in greater human bonding.

5 – Play & Exercise. Dogs need play and exercise to truly be healthy. So, play together. Some ideas include fetch and frisbee, of course, but also games like hide and seek, soccer, water-based games (for those who like to swim), long walks with play breaks, etc…

In all of the activities above, HAVE FUN together!

Every February and March we begin getting “this dog is driving me crazy!” phone calls from people who got a dog for the holidays. It’s an unfortunate reality and one that is not unique to puppies, or recently adopted adult dogs, or dogs purchased from a breeder, etc… Every situation is unique, but every one, regardless of specifics, is more easily addressed and resolved when the bond between family and dog is strong. To illustrate this, please imagine the “my dog keeps running off” complaint. If your pup is bonded with you and someone leaves the front door open, sure they might go into the front yard and explore a little, but run off… Why would they run off when it’s more fun with you than it is out there???

We hope that the above tips help you to create an unbreakable bond with your new dog. Josh Billings had it right when he said “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” You and your pup deserve this relationship and we are always happy to help you achieve it.

Posted by
K-9 Coach