A relationship we can have with any pet is a bond that can’t be broken but there can be issues from time to time. Whether your pet is undergoing a change or there are there are problems with your dog in relation to their health, you’re shaking up their routines by moving to a new place or you’ve even got another pet.
When it comes to your relationship with your dog, this can be one of the most fulfilling relationships you’ll ever have. And while you may be very caring and considerate towards your dog, they may be indifferent or they may not feel that close bond with you. These can be seen in certain personality traits such as depression, lethargic behaviour, them being emotionally indifferent to you and even poor focus or eye contact. There can be very logical reasons behind these types of behaviour, especially if they are a rescue dog or they are grieving their past owner. So when it comes to strengthening this bond, how can we do this?
Firstly, Give Them Time
If you have adopted your dog or they are old enough to pine for the previous owner, you need to be aware that it can take some time for them to get used to their new home. After all, they may be going through a period of grief, especially if they have lost touch with a family. During this period, it’s important to not let them off the leash when they are outside, as this could result in them trying to find their old owners.
Strengthening The Bond
This is where persistence pays off from your perspective. It’s now time to start strengthening that bond much like you would with any animal, do it little and often. So, firstly you need to start obedience training. The idea behind this is to nurture the idea of teamwork and belonging to your dog. Communication is vital, so start with the basics, from “come”, “stay” and so forth. After that, you start to implement the recall commands on a very regular basis. Practice with them being on the leash first, and then only take the leash off once they respond to your command every single time.
Play Is Vital
In strengthening the bond, you need to do everything together. So from playing, swimming and the standard retrieving games, this enjoyment and interaction at the same time will encourage you both to foster that bond. Remember, dogs need constant attention and engagement, so do this in the most fun way. Once that bond increases you can then integrate rewards systems which will up their desire to be with you. Hide and seek is a very good game to play because you can easily reward them when they do something right.
This is the key the very start and this is something that you need to keep up. The best way to implement a sense of structure is with their feeding times. Lots of people make the mistake of leaving a bowl of food down all day which will give them a more unfocused approach to eating and reward systems; instead, you need to feed your dog at specific times throughout the day. By you feeding the dog, instead of the bowl, this makes you important to them so they will rely on you more. A big mistake people make is to buy the dogs love with food, and so give them the things that they really want, but this may mean you will give them lots of and healthy treats, in the hope they will give you a bit more love. Instead, if you want to bribe them, you’re better off using healthy foods as a catalyst. There are foods like golden paste for dogs that can be made very easily with the spices in your cupboard and is very healthy for them. You should make sure that treats are rewards for them, but the regular mealtimes are healthy foods so they will start to differentiate between the two.
Physical Touch Is Important
There are many ways for you to look after your dog and by grooming them regularly you will get them used to you touching them which will help them to crave more physical affection. The bond will naturally get stronger as time goes on but by having a few of these key behaviours in place it will give your relationship the structure it needs. Not only will you build a bond with each other, you will also raise a healthy and happy dog.
Above all else, you need to be supportive, affectionate and fun. If you can keep these three behaviours in mind, you won’t go far wrong.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.