How to Bond with Your Dog
Posted on October 20th, 2018 by FetchMasters in Resources
We tend to assume that dogs bond to humans quite easily, but that isn’t true for all dogs. Some dogs have had experiences, or a lack of experiences, that might make them slower to bond with humans. These dogs may have had very few early experiences with humans. Alternatively, they may have had negative experiences that broke down the dog’s trust of humans. Other dogs may just be genetically predisposed to be less social, and they may take longer to bond with humans. Creating a bond with your dog may take some time depending on its past history. Here are three ways to build a bond with your dog:
Bond with Your Dog Through Interaction
It’s important to find out what sorts of interaction your dog is comfortable with. Some dogs love being petted, others do not. Allow the dog to decide if it wants to be petted by petting it for 5-10 seconds at a time, and then stop and move your hand away. If the dog moves toward your hand, they are asking for more. If it moves away, it would like a break. For dogs who don’t enjoy petting (and even those that do!) food is a currency that works for most dogs; offering food is a surefire way to build a bond with many dogs.
Bond with Your Dog Through Building Trust
Dogs bond strongly with those who help them feel safe. Look out for situations that make your dog uncomfortable, and find ways to help them find some safety. Do this by moving away from something the dog is fearful of, associating scary sights or sounds with treats, or avoiding certain situations the dog finds overwhelming. By listening to dogs when they let us know they are afraid or overwhelmed, they develop trust in us, which leads to a stronger bond.
Bond with Your Dog Through Training
Training is one of the most effective ways to bond with your dog, because it develops a system of communication. Some behaviors help us to control the dog, such as sit, down, or stay. Others build the dog’s confidence and willingness to interact with us. For example, teaching tricks or participating in dog sports like agility or nose work are great for bond-building. When you train a dog, you have to figure out what sorts of things they will work for (food, play, freedom, etc.) in order to get the behaviors you want. Once you start to offer a dog the opportunity to work for its favorite things, you have built a two-way communication that will create the strongest bond of all!
The most effective way to bond with your dog is by creating positive associations, respect, feelings of safety and understanding. Always strive for creating positive interactions, building up your dog’s trust in you, and communicating with your dog through training. Your dog will learn that you are the provider of adventure, fun, and good food. In a dog’s world these things create a fast-track to a lifelong bond!
For more info on the history of the dog-human bond, check out this wikipedia article.
If you are having trouble bonding with your dog (or just need some excellent obedience training), Contact FetchMasters for information on our programs, pricing and avialability.